Stage Select Expo 2015 in Toronto this week was good fun, met some great people. It’s one of the only game-centric events in Ontario, it’s a shame it doesn’t get more support from local gamers and developers.
If you happened to see me at Stage Select, you’ll have heard my proposition, which I make open here. Give me an unfinished work of art, a drawing or sketch, and I will include it in the background environment of “Unfinished – An Artist’s Lament.” Additionally, as a thank you, I will add your name to the credits AND give you a free copy of the game as thanks.
“Unfinished – An Artist’s Lament” is a small game about creativity, identity, purpose, and difficulties all artists face trying to finish a piece of work. You play Sketch, a unnamed doodle of a stick figure. Knowing you could be so much more and seeing the artist’s pencil continuing to draw in the distance, you follow after it, hoping to be finished one day to understand who you were meant to be. The game features a 2D hand-drawn character in 3D space, extending the use of “3D Cel Animation” as used “Drew and the Floating Labyrinth.”
This adventure game is only planned to have five levels, a short adventure that could be played in an afternoon. There are basic platforming and puzzle elements similar to what you may have seen in Paper Mario games. The levels may be a little abstract at times, so be patient and take your time with it. The story will be told through visuals, level design, and a narrating voiceover of the artist as he draws away, unsatisfied and lost in his own work. Some of these levels will be more focused on gameplay, some will be focused on the narrative elements, letting you walk through as the elements unfold.
In one of these levels, I plan to have a huge collection of sketches and drawings in the background, some animated, most not, to show a variety of work the artist(s) creates and his frustrations in making the perfect work. I literally have a book of concept art for potential games, but decided this was a good opportunity to have a community of people involved. I keep saying that I’m not fit to be making games featuring 2D animation after all, that I would love to see other artists and developers use the visual methods I do for their own styles, stories and gameplay ideas. This is at least a start. I’ve met dozens of talented artists over the last year, it’s a honor to think that I can include them in this game somehow, and I’m excited to already have over 25 artists contribute pieces of work for this project.
And you can contribute too! You don’t have to be a great artist at all for this. My main character is a stick figure, after all. As I like to say…
— Dust Scratch Games (@Dust_Scratch) June 10, 2015
So here’s the details: if you want to get in on this deal and receive a free copy of “Unfinished – An Artist’s Lament” (due for completion this summer for Windows, Mac and Linux), send me a image file of a piece of artwork before July 1, 2015. It can be of anything or anyone, person, place or thing, fiction or non-fiction. The style can be as you choose, it does not have to mimic the style you see in the game. It can be black and white or color. It can be a sketch or painting. It can be of a project you are working on (including it in my game can be done for promotional purposes of your own projects). The only rules here is that it has to be unfinished (if it was finished, you’d want a better place to show it off than in the background of a small indie game, but please do not send in a blank piece of paper), 2D, and made by you (I’ve also decided copyrighted characters are not allowed, please modify the character in some way if you wish to do this).
If you are interested, send a digital image file (minimum 512 x 512 px, png or jpeg preferred) or download link to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Unfinished Concept Art” in the header. Please include your email (to eventually send copy of game to) and a name/alias to call you in the credits (I will contact once more before game release to confirm this). By doing this, you are assumed to be allowing your artwork in a game that is meant to be put on sale and will not be receiving any money made with this game (which is realistically a few hundred at most), but have right to reuse and redistribute your provided artwork as you like. Remember, deadline is July 1 at midnight! Tell your friends! I look forward to seeing what you make, and thank you in advance for participating.
“Unfinished – An Artist’s Lament” is also on Steam Greenlight.