lavenderbard: (pic#4042576)

Cantata in Coral and Ivory is set on a world named Ialfa, which I had originally intended to be used for fairytale retellings, or fairytale-like stories. But I thought I wanted to do tales that featured a slightly more… er… sophisticated grasp of politics than ones where kings arbitrarily pass the rulership down to whichever of their sons brings back the golden fish, or where princes can get away with marrying kitchen maids just because they happen to have the smallest foot in the kingdom. I wanted the romance and the magic (and the happy endings!) but set against a richer, more realistic cultural backdrop.

Because of that, I had two main interests when I started working on this world: the creation of an elaborate historical background, and a magic system that had an organic feel to it.

I didn’t actually have a specific story in mind yet, just those two goals. So started on a very large scale. I created a solar system, and a world geography. Then I started mapping the rise and fall of nations, and worked out what exactly magic was here, and how it accomplished things. This established the “rules” of the world. But everything I knew was very general and grand and sweeping, and it wasn’t until I decided that I wanted to actually write a story in this world that I started to think on a smaller scale about what it might be like to live there.

The spot I rather arbitrarily decided was the location of my first story, turned out to be on the equator of a continent roughly the size and geographic position of Africa. So I started reading about Africa, as well as other tropical locations and civilizations—feeding the fabulator. The large-scale rules I had already established by creating my geography guided my search for smaller details, which then ballooned back out to large-scale rules again.

If the most common form of agriculture in my target climate is slash and burn, then what sort of civilization would emerge from that base? Would they have money? What would their religion be like? How about their courts and palaces?

One book I checked out of the library commented that Africa was home to the greatest variety of very large mammals still in existence, but that giant mammals used to roam all parts of the world. Africa’s abundance is merely because, for some as yet unknown reason, more large species survived extinction there. “What,” I asked myself, “would my world be like if I reversed that trend? What if this continent I was working with wasn’t the place where the most giants survived extinction, but the place where the fewest did? Then, if I had elephants, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses and giraffes here, what did that mean the rest of the world would look like?”

My world was gradually gaining depth. And although it didn’t look anything at all like what you’d expect from the word “fairytale”, it did have cultural richness, plenty of room for romance, and some nicely understated magic. Most importantly, it had achieved a unique personality all of its own, and was coming to life.

It became so much alive, in fact, that it did what most authors complain that their characters do.

My setting developed a mind of its own, and completely took over the story.

Mirrored on My Website.

lavenderbard: (pic#4042576)

This might amuse people who have read Cantata or Pavane. (And maybe even those that haven’t.)

I have a webpage that will do you up a horoscope Coral Palace style. Now with a fancy image showing your birth signs and the current state of the skies that displays if you tell the page your birthdate.

Please be aware that the advice of the Coral Palace astrologers comes without any warrantee express or implied.

Mirrored on My Website.

lavenderbard: (pic#4042576)

I’ve finished the last of the art for the faction I was working on. These final few took the longest, but were also the most fun to do. Camelriders and rocs. :)

I’ve still got a couple special units to do for the campaign that my game developer has been working on, and maybe a few more tweaks and fixes. Then I can move on to the last faction.

Mirrored on My Website.

lavenderbard: (pic#4042576)


Because all these little pictures I post are for units in a game, and those units “level up” they often come in first, second and third level variants, as so:

Usually the units get more elaborate costumes as they go up levels, but on very rare occasions I do the opposite, as in this line of magic users who get increasingly consumed by their magic:

But fancier and better armored and so forth is what most often makes sense. Unfortunately, my game developer doesn’t think it’s working with the following set. He says that with the chest muscles covered up, the higher level versions actually look less “beefy” than the first level. OTOH, having higher level guards dress simpler and wear less protection doesn’t make sense either. ::sigh::

Edited to Add: That last set has been altered slightly since I originally posted this message due to advice from a friend. My game developer says it’s “somewhat improved”. But I don’t know that he actual copied the changes into the game.

Mirrored on My Website.

lavenderbard: (pic#4042576)

My game developer reports that two more people have posted enthusiastic approval of the Battle for Wesnoth expansion Era of Four Moons (which is based on one of my story worlds).

This is more to his credit than to mine, of course, but it does make me happy to hear it. I’m not sure that’s why he told me though. I have this sneaking suspicion that he’s trying to encourage me to get more art done faster.

I’m just not seeing may way to doing that… but I did get some art to him yesterday.

Mirrored on My Website.

lavenderbard: (pic#4042576)

I started a while back to work on the next Era of Four Moons faction, which I decided would be the “Whites” because the borrowed art for the other remaining faction, the “Freemen” wasn’t nearly as hodge-podge and “just wrong” looking. I got as far as doing a couple base figures for the faction, one male and one female, before Across a Jade Sea took over my life.

Doing the base figures is usually the hard part, (at least, it is if we don’t mention animation), once you have them to work from, making the rest of the figures is just a matter of adjusting their pose and dressing them up different. So with Across a Jade Sea starting to lose its grip, I thought I was finally ready to get on to the easy stuff.

Then my programmer up and said: “I’ve been writing a campaign that features the Freemen, and doesn’t use the Whites. Could you…”

So it was back to the beginning all over again!

Mirrored on My Website.

lavenderbard: (pic#4042576)

I am one step closer to having the fancy artwork I’ve been wanting for the Ialfa Horoscopes page. I now have images for each of the constellations. Like so:

Mirrored on My Website.

lavenderbard: (pic#4042576)

Yesterday I was doing something on my website.

And while I was working I realized that only half of the links on my A Writer’s Sketchbook page actually led somewhere, and so I started to fix that. And while I was fixing that, I realized that I had created a link to a Sketchbook page for “Ink” and I didn’t actually have any artwork done in ink on my website anywhere to be displayed on that page. So I went and added some “Ink” art to the website. And since I don’t have a lot of ink art, most of it ended up being the line drawings of the Borgim signs of the Zodiac, that I had inked and scanned, but never incorporated in the site in any way. (I was actually hoping to use the inks as the starting point for something much fancier done in Photoshop, which would end up on the Get Your Personalized Borgim Horoscope page, but that’s going to have to wait a bit longer.)

Because it seemed silly to have art that only showed up on the sketchbook page (which nobody in their right mind would ever look at anyway), in addition to putting them up on the server, and getting them into the database, I also added the drawings to the page that lists the signs and their major meanings. And I created an Art Gallery Page that would show images from the entire site all together, instead of only being able to see the ones from each different world.

Finally I went back and finished fixing the Writer’s Sketchbook (I hope!).

But I can’t remember what I was doing BEFORE that. Which means I can’t go back and finish it. Which means that in order to fix one half-done page before I forgot again, I have probably created another! Waahhh!

Mirrored on My Website.

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