First Screenshot!

It has taken a while, but here is this first in game screenshot for Sunset Over Lievnos!  This is the main screen from which you will start navigating to all actions.  The four large icons on the right are the four major categories of actions.  Each of those will have one or more sub menus.  For example, choosing develop on this screen will allow you to choose whether you want to develop agriculture, economy, or fortification.

The portrait on the left is the character who is the current vassal for the province you are currently looking at.

The column to the right of the portrait contains information relevant to that province.  The province name as well as the crest for the ruling family are at the top.  The stats for this province are below.

This screenshot is using the map that is going to be in the ‘lite’ version of the game and contains only 5 provinces.  The full map contains over 25 provinces.  You can touch and drag on the map to scroll it around.

Any questions?  Stay tuned for more screenshots that will be coming soon!

Sunset Over Lievnos Main Screen


I/W: Finished Poster Illo

Here she is. All painted. :)

She still needs some text and the logo and whatnot, but this is what you will see when you visit us next weekend (April 26,27,28) at the Calgary Expo.


Art Process

As I was browsing over some of Erika’s posts I realized that for someone who isn’t familiar with this game and how we are creating the art, it doesn’t look like we are making a game at all!  Most games are made with art created digitally, which is not what we’re doing at all!  I decided to fill you in on our process we are using for our art.

Firstly, I’ll should discuss how this game came into being in the first place.  I worked with Erika for at least a couple of years before I knew she was an artist.  After seeing some of her art my imagination went crazy.  I have not seen a style like hers in a game before and I thought that such a unique look would make for very appealing visuals in a game.  Of course, Erika is a classical artist and does everything on paper and didn’t have much experience digitally.  Another consideration of her methods were that we would have to make a game that didn’t rely on animations.  I have a huge stock of game ideas and one that popped into my head was one that is based off of KOEI’s Gemfire game.  The only thing that KOEI has released any time recently in this genre  is Romance of the Three Kingdoms but I am tired of the setting and characters after some 12 iterations and I wanted a game with a more fantasy feel.  Also, when I played Gemfire and ROTK I really wanted to know more about the characters and stories and KOEI wouldn’t deliver on that.  This style of game has lots of portraits and very few animations and its a style of game that hasn’t been done to death and it hasn’t been done exactly the way I want, so it was a perfect choice for a game idea for us.  We got to talking and decided it would be a great way to get her art out there and for me to create a game in less time since I wouldn’t have to do the art myself.  Erika’s art really gets my imagination going and her characters make perfect subject for stories and development which I could use to make my game stand out from similar KOEI games.

There are several challenges we had to overcome.  The biggest was at what size did she have to do her art so that when we scaled the art down we wouldn’t lose the detail and style of the art while at the same time making it large enough for her to actually work comfortably and to fit the detail in that she likes.  We actually did numerous tests to get something we are both comfortable with.  We also had to figure out the digitization process.  We wanted to keep the paper texture visible and we also wanted the colors to come out close to what they are on the page.  We tried several scanners and found hers to work for most cases.

After her images are scanned I take them and tweak them for the game.  Occasionally I need to do a color balance, modify the brightness or contrast, or tweak the rotation if they weren’t scanned perfectly level.  In the case of icons I have to carefully cut out backgrounds to create transparencies.  It works best when we scan at super high resolutions so that the line width is some 20 pixels.  Its fairly time consuming!

Once I have tweaked and re-sized the graphics in Photoshop on my PC, I move them to my Mac where I add them to their sprite sheets that I then import into the game.

There are several challenges with this approach.  For example, ff I find a mistake or I need something changed, we have to go through the whole process from the beginning.  She can sometimes modify the original but other times she has to create a new image from scratch.  This means she has to draw it, paint it, scan it, then I have to clean it up , cut it out, put it in the sprite sheet, and put it in the game.  Sometimes all of this because the ratio of width and height on the original image wouldn’t scale perfectly to fit the spot for the icon.  This is bad enough for smaller graphics, but for large ones, like the map (which is 14″x17″ in real life), we have to get it right the first time or we waste a lot of time.  By the way we did actually already mess this up and we now have a (wickedly drawn) map that won’t work for the game.

I think that these challenges are definitely worth it once you see the final product.  Sunset Over Lievnos is going to have an amazing style that is really unique in games.  By now you must be asking, “when can we see it!?” and I promise I’ll have the first screenshot for you to look at within the next week!


I/W: Promo Poster in progress

Here is a Work In Progress photo of the promo poster i’m working on especially for the Calgary Expo.

We will be giving away this poster to anyone who visits our table in the Artist Alley (booths G5 & G6).

She is my Medieval Mona Lisa.


I/W: Credits

Its time for me to give credit where credit is due. All of the portraits are created using excellent reference photography. Most of it comes from the great Stock Photographers over at Deviant Art. I have a lots of portraits to do for this project, and I wouldnt be able to do it without the variety of people’s faces I have found through that resource. Thanks for allowing me to use your pics! :)

*All of these Deviants can be found by adding (dot)deviantart(dot)com after the username.

-Faestock, – piratelotus-stock, – xnbcreative, – stevewackenking, – tracys-stock, – artforever123, – 9thplanetstock, – skydancer-stock, – felipa-de-noailles

-daniellefiremodel, – b-i-l-l-y, – jantiff-stocks, – fairiegoodmother, – cfstock, – dangerousdryad, – fatgirlstock, – blacksockstock, – my-last-breath, – jennsuteki

– meggane, – sd-stock, – southtownstocks, – joybelle, – chamberstock, – spiritedfool, – mithgariel-stock, – cathleentarawhiti, – random-acts-stock

– anariel-stock, – minorphicphoto, – edb-stock, – montvalentstock, – alicespiegel, – armathor-stock, – mawiiecooper, – magikstock, – ye-olde-stock

– jaymasee, – ailinstock, – grinmirstock

I will periodically update this post when I use the reference pics of new photographers.


Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo / April 26,27,28

We shall be in the Artist Alley of the 2013 Calgary Expo! This convention is shaping up to be the biggest in Canada (watch your back T.O.). Its drawing an amazing line up of talent, celebrities, and artists.


We shall be representing our game in spots G5 & G6. See you there!


Back at It

Well, I’m just starting to come to the end of my crazy busy spell.  I started a new job and had a bunch of obligations to finish up and I’m just about in a position to spend more time on SoL now.  I’ll update this page more often with my progress.


I/W: Not much to report.

Really, my Day Job has been kicking my ass for the last few weeks, with a ton of extra hours. That means less time in the studio, so the progress on my illustrations has been frustratingly slow. I hope to have something new to show you next week. The goal at the moment is still to get all the elements finished for a complete screen shot for the main screen of the game. The last few drawings I need to do for that are not many, but important (insert time consuming).

Right now im reading: Well re-reading all the Wheel of Time books, before I can finally finish and read the last three in the series. I have been waiting over a decade for this moment.

Right now im inspired by: The Spectrum Collections. I recently picked up Spectrum 18 and 19. If you haven’t bought any of these annual books of Fantastic Art … where have you been!

Right now im feeling: Like I need to get my routine back! Where did you go? Come back, I miss you!

Right now im looking forward too: THE CALGARY EXPO. OMG only a little over a month away! Gah so much to do.

Okay. Back to work.


I/W: New Character

Hoyce Doryma
The Doryma family sits in the shadows. While appearing to be the Kings closest ally, they plot to advance their own interests.