Updated My Avernun 7 Storyline Idea & Creating Game Art

I have decided to rescan and try maybe continuing to work on my story idea for the beginning of a new indy game, possibly Avernun 7. I have previously tried to take pictures of the old hand-written stuff I came up with one afternoon on a whim for a game idea and the scanning, or images created from the notes, didn’t turn out well. However, I highlighted some of the key ideas along with some art and marketing writing for such games, particularly Spiderweb Software’s, in this blog post.

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Taken from SpiderwebSoftware.com

As many of you know who have been reading this blog, I am a huge fan of Jeff Vogel’s Spiderweb Software and its games, particularly Avernun: Escape from the Pit. This game has a strong message behind it that I would summarize with the nouns exile, anguish, survival, rebellion, and above all else, triumph.

I originally played this game on an iPad Mini on a plane ride and trip to Poland from the U.S. and got hooked. It felt like the true WRPG or CRPG that the iPad at the time lacked and had no alternatives (even Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition hasn’t come out back then on iOS or mobile). So it reminded me of one of my favorite genres of games: titles like Divine Divinity, Diablo and the Infnite Engine games (Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale and Planetscape Torment).

 

 

Images are taken from Spiderweb Software’s website and based on in-game art 

Although I have not played any of the proceeding games in the series — the latest remake series now offers three of them already released although Avernun 3has not been released for iPad yet — I have read, researched and analyzed them. I have read many of the latest reviews of Avernun 3 and it, along with the initial Exile 3 release back in the 90s, seems to be the most ambitious title in the series. I have also been following Jeff Vogel’s recent interviews and he said that in his youth when Exile 3 came out he had many crazy ideas he liked to implement in his game design, and he recreated the title faithfully with the latest remake.

I was not able to complete my initial Avernun Escape from the Pit game run due to my iPad Mini being stolen along with the save data being wiped. This is why I have decided to replay it before purchasing both Avernun 2 and 3when it is released on the iPad (hopefully soon). I actually got almost to the end, or where I had different paths I could have taken like chose to fight the guardian dragon and escape to the surface. However, due to my saved data being wiped, I never got to properly see any of the possible endings.

Right now I am about a half way through the game now and enjoying it immersely. It is a living, breahting world, full of wonders and surprises. There are caves to esplore, huge number of towns to navigate as well as various quests to complete; There are magical orbs that spak to you in the game to find, various artifacts, weapons and items to salvage; and a variety of ways to upgrade the characters in your party. The Avernun series are a complete RPG package and you can play them co fortably on any of the iPad’s touchscreens.

This brings me back to my initial point I wrote this blog post about. I wanted to showcase my ideas for Avernun 7, or a similar game in that veil of storytelling. Thus, I have decided to rescan my hand-written pages I used to started the introduction. This is because the previously taken with my iPad camera pages did not show up very defined, as any readers of my previous blog post may attest.

So here is the latest scan using HP Scan software from my printer. The HP scanning software (HP Smart) seems to work a lot better than Adobe Scan app (I previously tried this as well) or just using my iPad camera, which is interesting that HP has such good scanning software that can use that same camera and make more light of what it scans).

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Screenshots:

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As you see, this is just an idea and gave me an ides to continue with descriptive writing because it is fun and creative. I would love to work for a game company or an indy dev studio on such writing ideas, marketing ads, or even do some artwork and visual design (or concept art as I prefer to work with scenes or landscapes rather than people). I may continue on this idea and refine it further by also typing it up.

Speaking of which, here is some digital art I created that could be used for scenery, or in-game title screens or even intro art to indy RPG titles where you enter a nee location for instance.

 

 

 

All my images, visuals or art added on here or anywhere on this site is my copyright and if you want to work with me, commission me or hire me for additional work or to use any of my work — whether wrt, graphics or writing — we can work together. I can also create multimedia content for your brand by combining my writing, art, marketing or video productions into something interesting.

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The Fine Art of Creating Business Cards

I’ve finally decided to take some images I created into a business card format using thick paper and printing on both sides. The rear side was really quickly done yesterday using Illustrator and the front on iPad using Artstudio. Here is how they came out:

After, looking at them over and after trying to cut them into size, I realized I had to redo them. Their proportions for one didn’t match exactly as when they cut, the back section’s corner lettering would be off or get cut off. Not only that, but due to their 640×480 dimension sizes (even though I created both image assets with this ratio) came out too large at the heigth and overall I realized that many wallets wouldn’t have pockets wide enough to fit them. Not only that, but I realized on the upper-right section of the back image, there are two capital letters as part of “i po Polsku, i po ANgielsku,” which definetely looks unprofessional.

I changed some aspects of the card’s images and overall dimensions, but it has been a good learning experience creating such cards and my next prints should come out better. Here are my new card images with dimensions that coincide with the average european business card aspect ratio standards (85mm x 55mm or an aspect ratio of 1.586). These new dimensions of the cards I will be printing come in 576 x 374 pixels. They should print well into the standard business card format of 1.586 or close enough to it that many a wallet shouldn’t suffer.

Now the question is how to print them. The print shop I went to here in Warsaw didn’t seem like it had people too familiar with business card printing as not only did the paper seem to thick and not smooth or grainy enough as most business cards come printed on, but they wanted me to align the images in some PDF file with both images on one file. However, I am not sure how to do this and they didn’t explain it well. I will look forward to this method, but the way they printed the previous cards seems like it may work as well in this case, with these better dimensions and no letters near edges on the back this time.

They simply reprinted the same already-printed page on the back side with the second image and they aligned pretty well as the dimensions were the same and settings for the print remained unchanged during both prints (both sides of each hard page). So I hope this method will work this time and if not I have to figure out the dual printing process where specialty printers that many print shops have can print each side of a page simultaneously. Either way, these images should at least work better than my last try.

[edit: more below]

After posting all this I went to a print shop today and learned something else. This was much more of a legitimate print shop with various types of paper on offer, many of which are traditional or standard business card fare and not just thick cardboard paper like the other shop printed my previous batch with.

The shop owner told me that my aspect ratios were food, but resolutions too low and it will only work well on the Web. This is something I forgot from not having to print stuff physically for so long. I should have kept the same ratios, but the resolution much higher and better yet, created everything using Illustrator because vectors scale real well unlike bitmap images.

The owner also told me that jpeg isn’t a good format for physical cards, and really only good for the Web. So if I come back, I should save the files in either PDF or Illustrator (AI) file formats (this must have been what the guys in the previous shop were getting at, however the way I understood it they mentioned some alignment and two images in one file rather than seperat eimage files). It seems strange he said this considering the previous batch printed pretty wll in JPEG although the paper wasn’t great quality.

I will keep working with this business card idea though. Right now I will just use what I have even though the back looks bad in terms of alignment and formatting. It is a good learning experience because I am so used to working with digital and Web content I forgot efficient printing procedures and file formats that work best with specific printing needs.

Some Apple Computer Concept Images I’ve Created

I’ve decided to keep playing with my previous work into new concepts and ideas, particularly those bordering on the abstract. This time it was with Apple-related stuff, including an iPad which I created digitally from scratch and some previous images I out together.

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Here are some other revisions:

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These are just some ideas I’ve been throwing together in making Apple abstract, but still serious in what it represents. Some of you may remember Apple from back in the original Macintosh days when the famous 1984 commercial (inspired by George Orwell’s famous book) made it stand out among competition and had the revolutionary edge to it. Here is that commercial:

All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.

I Created a Little Youtube Ad for My Graphic Design Work

As some of you may know, I am a journalist by trade and mostly a freelance writer by profession focusing on tech. However, slowly and surely I have been expanding my skills to other endeavors and passions. One of them includes graphic design. Another includes video creation and editing.

Here is a little ad I created recently with iMovie on iPad using stills from previous graphic design projects and photography. I mostly tried creating a graphic design ad, but at the end I included the option to do video marketing ads or commercials as well if anyone is interested from my custom work, or other assets I can work with. Here it is:

Here is a second bersion of the ad showing a little bit different scenery and samples:

There are a lot of things I plan on revising or changing in my next ad such as keeping it one language with both the catchphrase text and ad menu descriptions on Youtube. I also plan on making a new version using Final Cut Pro on my Mac and changing the zooms from automatic algorithms to the way I want it exactly. There is also the fact that the music isn’t too interesting and the text options that I have to rework using better alternations of text added through images and texts later added with thevideoe editing programs. I need more time on this idea, but felt like posting it anyway.

By the way, since I originally created the ad I also ended up revising it and making changes. This includes this little graphic I created:

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IMG_5582And to top off my work in terms of the visual inspired by the ad:

 

All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.

Started working on another black and white illustration

So I started playing around with the idea of a cloaked man or a cloaked warrior exploring the u unknown lands or venturing out on an adventure. The idea is reminiscent of many computer role playing games as I have some ideas on doing artwork for game companies or just marketing ads.

Obviously, I am just practicing my digital stroke right now and fine tuning my techniques of shading and using various brushes with an iPad, stylus and potentially finishing my work in Photoshop.

It is a fun learning process and this is just another multimedia skill I am improving. If anyone is interested in using any of my work for Web ads, images inside software, box covers or book covers or ańything else, please let me know. Please also let me know if you want to ourchase any prints on specialized paper from me based on any of my work or even want some additional modifications done (such as commissioned requests or changes). I can also do commissions froms cratch combined with my journalism skills or adding catch phrases or good writing to anything.

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And a few other variations: 

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I think the idea making it black and white works well because it is more of a comic book style of a backdrop that way. With the previous two side by side pieces (not last one above, but above it), I tried adding a wall or clear definition of a cave of sorts, but I think making it a bit more abstract works better for this particular project.

Here I’ve decided to play with invert colors and some other adjustments such as sharpness and noise effects:

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And lastly some more brush tools at work producing interesting effects — in this case stones or rocky surface in background:

Here I added a more of a snow storm effect to the ground:

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All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.

Another Evolution Concept of Drawing Digitally

As you guys may have recently seen, I posted a blog post about using the iPad and a stylus to digitally restore or enhance pencil drawings from black and white to color. You may also have noticed the various interpretations that can result from each piece as there are so many different ways to accomplish this: from different filters to brushes and layered effects.

I wanted to add another project here as unlike my previous blog post about the pencil drawing turning into a digital piece, this one I mostly started digital from the get go — outside of photography I added and the two soldiers from the previous piece I worked on. This project started out from a basic concept of a cloaked warrior or wizard standing in front of a gate; this being similar to how many computer games or RPGs, in particular, have as either a box art or in game title screen art. However, over time somethings got worse while other things improved in the pieces you will see below. Either way, it was an interesting learning experience.

Here was the very basic outline concept as I worked my way down into something completely different using photographs for pillars I took (on iPad) and inserting them into the digital image along with a door I took as a photo in Barcelona Spain (also with an iPad).

(Oh and by the way, I mentioned how I started working on this piece at the end of my last blog post.)

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I am thinking of working out the concept further with the last piece, but including the solders as ai recently reanimated them or some other additions. I also do not know id the metallic or artificial-looking pillars are cooler looking than the photograph-based versions. It is in the eye of the beholder to judge.

Here are some ideas for cover art or marketing ads that could be done (Obviously instead of “Welcome to Mike-Lata.com”, it would say something like “Welcome to Spiderweb Software”).

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[Heavy Edit]: And after all that, here is something else I created:
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Here I tried to make the cloaked figure more into a wizard:

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The mouse seemed to big so I changed it along with a glitch near left side of ghost soldier where vapor or mist is hitting:

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Some ad ideas I created, or potential marketing pitches (before last revision though, which could be done to it or any of these revisions):

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All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.

 

Using the iPad to Turn Pencil Drawing Into Something More

I recently decided to experiment trying to use my iPad and stylus in order to turn one of my pencil drawings into something more digital and alive. This drawing I decided to work on I thought is almost medieval or game-like in appearance and could be used for game cover art or something so that is why I choose it. It is currently available in its original form (and has been for a while thus you may have noticed it) in the Artwork section of this site.

The way I spiced it up, and you will see the overall process of progress below, was done all using the iPad, a stylus, amd some filters within an app called Artstudio Pro. I also ended up adding or changing bits and pieces of the original to make it quite different from its original form and more vivid. Here is how the step-bystep process and progress that I am showcasing as the artwork went from a simple hand drawing to a digital and colorful piece:

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Here is the final piece or close to my final vision for it. I took the bottom of hanging latter out cause it didnt make sense with the water fall there as that is farther back and cliff is in front. Also note how there is no mouse this time like there was in the original pencil drawing, but a cat somehow materialized instead.

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[Edit] I’ve decided to keep working on it (hence the new feature image) and turn it into an ad for this site of sorts (and below that a further revision of the weapon or iron hammer):

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Some more variations:

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With some text thrown in for good measure and the filter effect fixed that made the arms on the figure on the left too wide and too narrow in places:

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I have also been exploring in creating multimedia content by adding up previous hand-drawn work with photography and graphic design into something I will reveal and showcase soon.

All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.