SCALE is funded! So far, we’ve raised over 100K so the game will also come out for the Virtual Reality Device the Oculus Rift, thus making my official adult occupation “Writer for Virtual Reality Games” as predicted by many of my daydreams when I could not sleep during nap-time in kindergarten; except in those scenarios I carried a laser gun, dressed in tall Han Solo-style boots, and was waaaay more jacked.
If we can raise another 25K, I will also get to draw an entire graphic novella to give to everyone! It would probably look something like this sample page I drew yesterday; except there would be a whole bunch more pages with different pictures on them that say different things making up a great story!
A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible – CHRISTMAS DISASTER SPECIAL work-in-progress animated GIF – prints for sale at Topatoco!
Read the finished comic (published January 1, 2005).
I wonder what I wrote back!
A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible – CAROLINE’S DOPPELGANGER – prints for sale! http://topatoco.com/alil
This episode from 2006 remains one of my favorites. This morning I was digging around and found these rough drafts, which show the layout evolving. I also found some notes I wrote to Dale at the time.
March 8, 2006
The main feature of the page composition is the large panel showing the view across the courtyard to the opposite window, where lurks caroline’s vague likeness. I identified this as the most exciting and spooky moment of the comic, most deserving of resources to achieve its effect. Reading the script, it was the moment that gave me chills. The strangeness which has been slowly building suddenly gives way to an outright scariness.
The comic opens with a normal enough scene (a), except that the wife refers to her daughter as “Caroline’s doppelganger,” which is obviously weird. Until the psychiatrist begins to address CD, there’s a nice opportunity for a silent sequence (b), (c), (d). Originally I was going to show him walking through the house, which could develop a sense of unease in the house, but the psych is not supposed to be uneasy; he’s a grown-up and the house holds no mystery for him. Better to get right to CD and let the unease develop through her. In this draft, I used the second panel to show the psych’s face, as he steals another moment of rest before heeding his wife. This might be a good chance to show his feeling about CD, e.g. ambivalence. (c) shows the psych in silhouette, cracking open the door to CD’s room, and (d) is a reverse shot, the first image of CD, a scared looking shadow.
A generous-sized panel shows the psych and CD together in (e), as well as providing a chance to elaborate on CD’s room. Here, the first couple lines of their dialogue are exchanged (“aww, sweetheart!…”; “it makes me think I’m not real”). (f), though badly drawn, it supposed to be the psych’s sympathetic, paternal face looking down at his daughter’s doppelganger, saying “you’re so much more to us than just the ghostly double of our long-gone daughter!” This line deserves emphasis because it’s an important plot element.
The next panel, (g), delivers the next two lines of dialogue, and the panels continue to grow. The comic began with small panels, a pattern broken by (e), which could do so without arousing suspicion because it’s got the task of establishing the main location of the story, as well as containing two characters interacting, and lots of dialogue. Plus, the more generous panel size contributes to the reader’s feeling that we’ve arrived (as opposed to the earlier panels, which were about moving). However, (f) and (g) continue to grow, a bit surprisingly… I’m going to try to emphasize this, maybe putting a bit more detail into each one, so the reader feels like he’s being drawn closer and closer, almost uncomfortably.
Then, (h) strikes like the soundtrack hit we’ve been waiting for. This panel should probably be askew, like a tear. (h) is about the gap between the two windows, and likewise it creates a gap between the two parts of the comic, both compositionally and in the sense that it complicates everything that happens afterwards.
The rest of the draft is poorly paced, but basically we’ve got (i), (j) and (k) dealing with CD and the psych’s subsequent dialogue, including when he shines the light across the way. I’m not really sure how to handle this gesture, and welcome suggestions. It feels a little bit less useful than it should be… almost is volunteering to be cut. It could make the comic a bit tighter. I know it allows CD to say she saw a flash, but in a sense even that is a reiteration of the fact that she thinks she sees Caroline in the opposite window. Anyway, in (l) and (m), the mother arrives and puts CD to bed again.
(n) shows the psych, back out in the hallway, speaking to no one (his voice is low and CD can’t hear) the last line, about how Caroline’s eyes were brighter. Originally I’d imagined him saying this to CD as he leaves her room, but that’s a bit redundant; his wife has just made a shocking and hurtful statement delivered as a reassurance. Speaking to himself, his wife already back in bed and CD in her room, it becomes more about his own painful reflection. I think that helps, because throughout the story, he and his wife are so inexplicably cruel and off-key when trying to comfort CD… There must be some way to develop their feelings about her.
The psych seems like a guy who is trying to feel okay about what he has left. He’s suffered loss and he’s looking for a way to deal with his memories. He really has not arrived at a graceful acceptance: his interactions with CD refer constantly to Caroline, in fact depending on them, and the nature of CD’s existence is uncertain.
I’m not really sure about the mother. She’s less giving, more secretive…
Sorry for the comments about the script at this somewhat late stage. I feel like I should have raised those questions during the week you were working on this one, but it’s hard for me to think it out fully until I’m drawing it. I guess it’s always evolving. Anyway, I really think this is one of your best scripts, and has the potential to lead into a host of fascinating situations.
March 13, 2006
New SCALE gameplay clip! Shrink your prison to pocket size! Only four days left on our Kickstarter! Physical GIFs!
A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible – THE SECRET OF YOUR BIRTH – prints for sale! http://topatoco.com/alil
SCALE game play clip for the Kickstarter. Scale the moon, flood the earth the sail it.
Here are some more concepts I drew and some screen-caps from SCALE— the game I’m working on where you can make anything in the world any size. In the top picture, our main character Penny, is encountering a room full of subatomic particles sized-up to enormous proportions and floating eerily in the shattered remains of her prison cell.
The game takes place in a sort of open Mario 64 like world that emphasizes play and exploration, except each item of fantasy (knights and castles and monsters and so forth) functions as a metaphor for the character’s own ideas, perceptions, and maturity. In the second picture, Penny confronts one of these symbolic bosses, a knight whose hammer must be re-sized so that it crushes him.
The third picture is a screenshot of a beautiful level in which you can RESIZE THE MOON to flood the earth and travel by boat. You think I am lying to you? That I am telling you sweet lies of things that sound awesome but could never happen in games? Well, much like The Lord God in Genesis, the geniuses of the SCALE Dev team built that level in a day last week. And you can see it being played by them in this Kickstarter update video.
It’s somewhat terrifying to imagine what they could do if they were actually being paid for their work!
The last picture is you shrinking a spider with your SCALE gun. Many of the enemies you can enlarge and climb inside, travel through, etc. fitting with the game’s theme of completely deconstructing video games as a genre and putting them back together again in ways that will make your brain melt like grilled cheese.
If you want this game to happen, please think about reblogging this or pre-ordering a copy on the Kickstarter which is happening now!
I somehow lucked into working with a group of intensely talented people to make a video game called SCALE that lets you make any object any size. It’s sort of like Portal meets Mario 64 meets the gibbering madness of BEING ABLE TO MAKE ANYTHING ANY SIZE. The Kickstarter went up today where you can pre-order it! I work as the writer and sometimes do a little concept art. I drew the big illustration above of our main character, Penny, stomping through the skewed remains of the universe. Demo screen cap gifs are there to prove to you that this game is BANANAS *drops sunglasses to stare at you with real eyes. Real eyes have bananas on them.*
I made this show flyer for the first WORMS of the season. I tried to capture that moment when you open your wallet to see how much money you have and it’s just full of WORMS.
I made a show flyer for Dan Deacon, Future Islands, and Videohippos this month. They’ll be for sale at the show. But they are also on sale right now for $15 + $5 U.S. shipping! Email me at dale.ALIL.firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you one! Or just paypal me $20 to dale.ALIL.email@example.com and I’ll ship one out. But make sure you include a shipping address. The proceeds are going to help a mutual friend with cancer. There’s a limited run of 88 available, all hand-printed last week by myself and friend Justin Lucas at Baltimore Print Studios
The prints are silk-screened and measure about 17 x 22 inches. They depict a famous scene in Baltimore music history in which Dan and the Hippos travel to Future Islands to reconstruct Huckleberry Hound from the 20th century’s last remaining data fragments.
Also, these are all my favorite bands! This show is going to be amazing!