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The Video Game Drawn By Hand

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the best-appendage-with-which-to-draw dept.

Games 55

An anonymous reader writes "Interesting behind the scenes interview with the creator of Paper Sorcerer, the stunning hand drawn RPG video game that was successfully Kickstarted last year and is now nearing launch. Jesse Gallagher, the artist single-handedly creating the game in Unity, has painstakingly drawn out each character and environment across all 50 dungeons. He estimates he's gone through at least 600 pages of drawings in his notebooks in the process, and had to scan them all in — but he says it's worth it to give artists more control over the games they work on. 'I was disappointed with how little input the artists had into the overall game design, so I decided to go the solo dev route,' he says. 'Now I'd like to just continue making indie games until I fall over dead at the keyboard.'"

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Well, shucks. (5, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43939939)

Sorry, Don Bluth, but this is the hand-drawn game. Despite being much-loved classics, Space Ace and Dragon's Lair will just have to hand over their crown, along with who knows how many other titles, to this one game. Because a Slashdot headline said so.

Re:Well, shucks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940025)

No sprites or background graphics ever drawn, scanned in and digitized. They are all written in assembly, usually.

This idea of having artists create artwork for video games just might catch on.

Re:Well, shucks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940091)

This is not entirely true. Many graphics are also procedurally generated. But I agree, I've never heard of anyone drawing graphics by hand and scanning them in.

I have started working on my own game as well. I worked in film, and am using story boards to design the game before I have my programmers do the graphics in C and assembler. This is the first time a story board has been used in game development, as far as I know.

Re:Well, shucks. (4, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43940423)

I think you've just fallen for some sarcasm—many, many games have been created by directly digitizing hand-drawn artwork, especially for backgrounds. In addition to the very prominent example of Don Bluth games that I gave (which are very literally traditional animation CELs played from a laserdisc), many LucasArts and Sierra adventures relied heavily on hand-painted backgrounds. A lot of fighting games were probably in this category, although I don't know the genre well enough to point out specific examples. Early sprite-based FPSes opted to go with photographs of clay models (Doom), 3D models (Duke Nukem 3D), or live actors (Rise of the Triad), which were then cleaned up in a graphics program (almost invariably DeluxePaint.) Image editing software just wasn't advanced enough yet to provide a worthwhile art medium unless you were already an expert at weaving tapestries.

Re:Well, shucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942981)

I'm quite sure the gp realised you were being sarcastic...

Re:Well, shucks. (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43943465)

...I didn't read the second paragraph closely enough. I... I don't know how to feel about this.

Re:Well, shucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43944717)

Feel embarrassed, that'll do ;)

Re:Well, shucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940661)

Everyone's a game designer these days :)

It's a HIP TREND! :P

Re:Well, shucks. (4, Insightful)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | about a year ago | (#43940047)

I think you are putting the emPHASis on the wrong word in the headline. It's "The VIDEO GAME drawn by Hand", not "THE Video Game Drawn by Hand".

Not even the idea of a video game drawn like pen on paper is original. I remember many years ago playing a game called "Pencil Whipped", which was a Doom-like FPS made entirely of hand-drawn figures on paper. It went one better though because all the sound effects were done by the creator making noises and onomatopoeia. It was awesome and hilarious.

Re:Well, shucks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940153)

Teen Girl Squad: the Video Game?

Re:Well, shucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940405)

I believe he was stressing the fact that "the" is the wrong word. IT should be "a" since it's not unique, prominent, nor has it been specified, yet, to be the subject.

Nice ad.

Everything old is new again. (1)

Elbereth (58257) | about a year ago | (#43940209)

Yeah. It's impressive that he's gotten this far, but the credulous, easily-impressed headline (and story) left me similarly annoyed. It's basically some manga nerd remaking the classic 80s graphical adventure games. Instead of calling it what it is, they decided to run it as some kind of revolutionary, radical new approach to video games. The guy himself isn't necessarily responsible for that, though. He has no control over how the media present his story. Sounds like an decent guy with a decent project, but it's not really all that interesting to me. Aren't most indie games made by guys who think their ideas are underrepresented and underappreciated in mainstream gaming?

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

Garridan (597129) | about a year ago | (#43940421)

It's basically some manga nerd remaking the classic 80s graphical adventure games. Instead of calling it what it is, they decided to run it as some kind of revolutionary, radical new approach to video games.

Whatever, man. I'm just happy that hand-drawn games are back... and at a higher resolution than ever. Gonna play some Quest For Glory now, seeya in a few weeks.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | about a year ago | (#43944333)

I guest picked up QfG IV recently. I never finished it. And found out there is a V, so am looking forward to it.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

Applekid (993327) | about a year ago | (#43940783)

Can't we just appreciate this post for the blatant slashvertisement it is? There is literally nothing that's special about this game.

Mechassault (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year ago | (#43940809)

Aren't most indie games made by guys who think their ideas are underrepresented and underappreciated in mainstream gaming?

I dunno, but as a gamer, it's my firm opinion that the right ideas are under-represented in gaming. The right ideas being embodied in Mechassault v1, and to a lesser extent, v2. They had *everything* right in v1, based on the tech of the day. Redo it with no changes except more polys and perhaps some additional environments and put the damn online gaming system back up... I'd pay $500 for that game. Hell, I'd even buy the new XBox POS to play it, and literally NOTHING else could make me do that.

I own all manner of mech games from Steel Battalion (the one with the mongo controller) to Japanese manga weirdness, and Mechassault is the one that nails playability to the wall.

Can't say I'm in the least tweaked by hand-drawn stuff, though. The more real it looks, the better I like it.

Re:Mechassault (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about a year ago | (#43941125)

Personally, I like games that are entirely abstracted down to strategic considerations. Art makes games worse. Chess doesn't need art. Go doesn't need art. Crap games need art.

Re:Mechassault (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43943895)

So I assume you only play chess on lines scratched in the dirt, using rocks and leaves as pieces?

Because if you have ever played with anything like an actual chess set, you're contradicting yourself.

Re:Everything old is new again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43941511)

The catch is that the drawings aren't penciled and colored properly.

Re:Well, shucks. (1)

dissy (172727) | about a year ago | (#43941945)

I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned The Kingdom of Loathing [kingdomofloathing.com] web RPG.
I think an image search [google.com] would be better suited for the uninitiated.

I signed up about a decade ago, and this thing was a huge time sink every day at 4pm at work for a good three years.

Being turn based and turn limited, like the old school BBS door games of yore, one always seems to end up having 5-6 accounts just to get more play time.

Curse you interwebs, my old account still works!

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43939975)

Lots of video game artwork is drawn by hand. Just because they don't look like the Paper Sorcerer doesn't mean they're not drawn by hand.

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940043)

Shut the fuck up. You need to suck out my cum dripping out of your mom's ass, sissy boy.

Can we get a kickstarter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940053)

To remove kickstarter advertisements, I mean, news articles, from Slashdot?

Re:Can we get a kickstarter (1)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | about a year ago | (#43940281)

Whenever I mod submissions I always mod down Kickstarter spam. However, I would not have modded this one down on that basis because it is a past-tense kickstater campaign, i.e. successfully kickstarted.

Re:Can we get a kickstarter (1)

Applekid (993327) | about a year ago | (#43940791)

To remove kickstarter advertisements, I mean, news articles, from Slashdot?

Maybe they can create a kickstarter.slashdot.org channel so those that like it can keep it (or go right to it), and the rest of us can exclude it.

Re:Can we get a kickstarter (1)

kesuki (321456) | about a year ago | (#43941097)

i second the use of a kickstarter group.

Hand-drawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940057)

I'd like to see a game where the player gets to draw the sprites of the hero; similar (but more complete and professional) to this:
http://www.drawastickman.com/

Re:Hand-drawn (1)

Brumdail (1270932) | about a year ago | (#43940569)

You mean like the Nintendo DS / Wii Drawn to Life [wikipedia.org] games? My wife (a digital artist) got a kick out of that and the game looked a lot cooler than my junky stick figures.

Cool style, but the animation... (3)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#43940083)

is a bit lacking. Actually there is no animation, it just shows you a still picture of a monster and when you attack it or it attacks you, red X's flash on the screen and hit point numbers change.

At least that's the impression I got watching the video in TFA.

Re:Cool style, but the animation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940567)

also in the video: you don't see your opponent in the game world, you just get a message that announces the present of an enemy and then you jump to a fight screen.

I hope this is only because it is still an early demo.

Re:Cool style, but the animation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942131)

Kind of reminds me of the old wizardry games.

Meh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940101)

Meh... I was expecting something more like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owQg9CRJgN0

there are lots of games with hand drawn graphics. (3, Insightful)

Khashishi (775369) | about a year ago | (#43940103)

for example, "And Yet It Moves"

Re:there are lots of games with hand drawn graphic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940257)

Wasn't Braid also done by hand?

As a game developer of 17 years (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940189)

There are good reasons not to listen to artists in game design. There are often excellent suggedtions on the look from the artists so I don't want to sound like I don't think they're valuable but most of their game design ideas ore not well thought out.
In the end, programmer art is better then artist code.

Artists and programmers (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43940241)

'I was disappointed with how little input the artists had into the overall game design,

Most people who program the games are also artists in their own right. Yes, on the Venn Diagram of games, "Good programmer" and "Good artist" is a thin sliver, but this isn't news to anyone -- there's a reason that despite so much money being in entertainment, only a small fraction of games achieve wide-scale success -- you can't force more people into that sweet spot.

That said, the industry would benefit from being able to isolate the programming/engineering aspect of the video part of video games from the creative aspect of its design; But to do that you need tools that are sophisticated, highly adaptable, constantly maintained, robust, and yet capable of being used by a non-programmer. In short, what you need is the gaming equivalent of the Linux Desktop.

The Year of the Linux Desktop hasn't come for the same reasons the Year of the Artist-friendly Game Development hasn't happened; The outlay of resources, coordination, and project management skills needed to build what would essentially be an operating system for video game design, dwarfs what any amateur community can do; And even professionally, organizing it all under one roof is still prohibitively expensive. It would be on the same scale as the NSA's current data center build project -- it would need hundreds of millions in capital, cooperation from a half-dozen competing industries and technology, and fundamentally goes against the current market paradigm.

Nobody wants this because if it actually succeeded, it would rewrite all the rules of personal computing, and our entire industry. A lot of people would lose a lot of money because they're invested in the current state of affairs... which is keeping supply scarce to keep prices high. Injecting artists who do this for fun, and have plenty of free time and energy to devote to quality games, would utterly destroy the bottom lines of companies like EA Games that depend on locking you in and squeezing every penny out of you in DLC and DRM.

Re:Artists and programmers (2)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year ago | (#43940309)

Well there's that, but there's also the fact that just because you're good at making pretty art, doesn't mean you're also good at making a fun game experience.

I personally would rather play a fun ugly game than a beautiful boring game.

Re:Artists and programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43943687)

That said, the industry would benefit from being able to isolate the programming/engineering aspect of the video part of video games from the creative aspect of its design

Most AAA games are thusly separated, and have been for years. The programmers may have some input, but the producers and designers control the actual direction of the game. Indies are less separated, which is honestly one of the draws of working with them, but even moderately large teams again have a separation between the design and implementation side (though the designers on smaller teams accept more input).

Re:Artists and programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43944711)

So...

What does this mean about Legend of Grimrock and Antichamber? Brilliantly artistic indie games better than an eye-popping fraction of commercially produced/owned titles. I think that you're just wrong: indies can and do do some of the most excellent works of Art in the industry, and they do it with programmers on board.

I still Like Kingdom Of Loathing better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940249)

I still Like Kingdom Of Loathing better.

http://www.kingdomofloathing.com/

Re:I still Like Kingdom Of Loathing better (1)

neminem (561346) | about a year ago | (#43940963)

But not enough to not be an anonymous coward about it? :p

I am also a huge fan of KoL, and admit it fully (to the tune of having a couple characters worth over a billion meat each, and no, I wasn't playing back in the bugmeat days.)

Hello, JRPGs Yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940267)

There's a lot of JRPGs with hand drawn art and much better animation.

Misleading a bit (2)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#43940317)

I was honestly intrigued, but quickly disappointed. It seems to be running on a 3d engine, with the textures "drawn by hand." Interesting style, but claiming the game is drawn by hand isn't really selling the truth. At least add some hand-drawn animations or something. Right now it looks like a cross between Wolfenstein 3d and a random flash game, with textures that are "drawn by hand."

Pencil Whipped? (1)

dchamp (89216) | about a year ago | (#43940721)

Anyone remember Pencil Whipped?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy_tEPkvYhU [youtube.com]

Re:Pencil Whipped? (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | about a year ago | (#43940873)

No, but I remember Game! [wittyrpg.com] , which is also very much hand drawn.

Similarities between Indy and EA? (2)

Shoten (260439) | about a year ago | (#43940749)

'Now I'd like to just continue making indie games until I fall over dead at the keyboard'

That's interesting...because it seems EA would like their employees to continue making EA games until they drop dead at their keyboards!

Take my paper money already! (1)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year ago | (#43942187)

Where and when can I play? I can't be bothered to RTFP.

Oh, come on. (4, Informative)

damnbunni (1215350) | about a year ago | (#43942413)

If you're going to talk about hand-drawn games drawn and programmed by one guy, and you're talking new games, you kind of can't ignore Dust: An Elysian Tail.

It's an exploration platformer with RPG elements, and it's all drawn, animated, and programmed by one person - Dean Dodrill - who had done some art for games previously, but decided it'd be fun to learn to program. And came up with Dust:AET.

I mean, finishing a game on your own at all is impressive these days, as is doing the art for it, no matter what technique you use. But compare the gameplay video in the linked article with http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK8M70cKxXw [youtube.com]

It's in color, fully animated, and utterly gorgeous. And just came out on Steam. (I didn't intend this to sound like an ad, but it's a damned good game. Not perfect, but good.)

Aren't most games are drawn by hand? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942717)

Take a look at the art books behind some of the big titles, especially the Japanese ones. Squaresoft has published some stunning art books. Lucasarts (back in the day) had some brilliant artists at work, pushing pencils or styluses. There's tons of concept and finished artwork produced by artists. There has to be.

There's no button on your keyboard which says, "Create cool picture".

I mean, I get it, this title *looks* like it was drawn by hand, but still... A Wacom tablet and a sheet of paper aren't terribly different in terms of how the artist gets the idea across. One just translates more easily into the computer environment without needing a scanner.

OK, money where your fingers are (1)

PsyMan (2702529) | about a year ago | (#43942829)

We need a slashpot/slashstarter fund, not for hand drawn games though as thats just backwards and wrong but for the gazzillion ideas that crop up on a daily basis, kickstarter my hairy hoop, all please rise and contribute to the slashpot. Or just trickle a bit in to it.

Re:OK, money where your fingers are (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43943127)

My fingers are in my asshole. I can't find any money in my shit chute so I'm not sure what you're trying to say!

Not that new (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43943257)

Some of Exile 1, 2, and 3 from the 90's (Spiderweb Software) and almost all of the main artwork in the Avernum sort-of-sequels was hand-drawn by artists.

Recommendation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43943279)

Dude, you could have saved a bunch of time with this neat software called photoshop...

there isn't even a wow factor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43945389)

I don't get the appeal. He could have achieved the EXACT same effect by just using a digital medium and drawing. After all, he just scanned them in and used a digital medium to clean them up anyways... Just because it took him a lot more work to achieve a simple outcome, does not make it better. Drawing digital textures, in color, would take a lot more skill and time. So this isn't even about skill. It is about doing a bunch of needless work just because he could. Nothing is wrong with that, but emphasizing that the game has more value because he did this does not make sense.

link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43990325)

How about a link to the game, moron? or is it because they're not paying you?

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