Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lost One

I don't know if any of you are familiar with the RPG Maker programs. If you don't know about them, they are PC programs that allow you to make very basic RPG video games pretty easily, and more advanced games if you work at it and can work your way around the program's limitations. I played quite a bit with various versions of RPG Maker when I was in high school. I never finished a game that I started making, since even a very basic game requires a hell of a lot of time and work, but I started several. Recently, on a whim, I opened up RPG Maker once again and played with my old games a bit. The passage of time allowed me to see the old worlds that I created in a new light and become interested in them again, so I'm resurrecting some of my old characters.

I spend a few hours today painting the being above. I really like the rendering technique I used for this. I used soft, textured brushes, which is a nice change from the hard edges I've been mostly using lately.
The being above, name uncertain, is the main character of one of the games I started making. The characters of this game were initially inspired by the characters of the SNES game Demon's Crest (screenshot below). I ripped many of the graphics I used from that game as well. However, once I started working on the game, the characters and storyline changed immensely from the material that originally inspired them. The storyline, in particular, bloated out into grotesque and incomprehensible proportions; I had to make it epic, you see. The storyline was a mostly senseless mess, far too big and complicated, and littered with plot holes and unanswered questions. Telling a story like that, obviously, is difficult, and that's partially why I gave up on this project.
Anyway, if anyone cares, let me tell you a bit about this character. The game opens with him awakening from some sort of life-support tank, with a computerized voice giving him instructions that he's too groggy and confused to fully understand. The only message that gets through to him is that he is expected to seek out and retrieve a being known as the Jester. Before he can completely figure out what's going on, though, disaster strikes, and the computer system that had been instructing him shuts down. Terribly confused, he makes his way out of the underground facility in which he awoke, and almost immediately encounters the Jester, who tries to kill him and then flees. The only thing he knows is that he needs to retrieve the Jester, so he gives chase. He finds that the outside world consists of rocky "islands" of land floating above a sea of clouds, and that the land is populated by demon-like entities. As he pursues the Jester, he gradually learns that this strange world is actually Earth, and that its demonic inhabitants were once normal humans. What could have happened to have transformed the planet in such a way? Just who is the Jester, and what is his purpose in pursuing him?
Like I said, the story is a mess, and I didn't quite know the answers to those questions as I was trying to tell it. Maybe one day I'll untangle that mess, and try to tell the story again. Or maybe I'll just draw some of the characters and leave it at that.

In the game, he starts off as the rather weak and pathetic being you see in the top image. As you progress, you unlock more of his powers and abilities. I'll draw alternate versions of him to show that transformation.

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