In ENDLESS WAR, when you join a team, Killer or Rowdy, you have a communicator channel to strategize where you’re going to do this or that. When you abstain from those as a Ghost/Staydead, well, we still have a communicator channel, but ours is called The Losers Club. For a contest about the leaderboard, I imagined it as a breakroom one might have in an office where those of us who’ve abstained instead hang out.
I drew this sketch fairly quickly as a way to show, as a proof-of-concept, what I was going for, since that’s the easiest way to get across that one is serious in these sorts of matters. I imagined the breakroom from this perspective just because it seemed easiest, I suppose, and then I asked if there were any cultural norms against having such a thing. It hadn’t really been explored, so, sure, why not? That’s the fun thing about ENDLESS WAR. Everything is canon until something cooler or funnier takes its place, then that becomes more canon.
So what I wanted to do was populate the breakroom with all the regulars of the communicator channel, or other Ghosts that I met along the way. I enjoy doing these sorts of group pictures because it’s an easy way to bring people in that might otherwise not feel involved. There might never be a situation where I might draw some character normally, but if I wanted some background characters, sure, why not? As I met more people and as I solidified my resolve that, yes, I do like this sort of playstyle, I met others like me, and found their motivations.
Some might do art, or some might like the community. Some might abstain from the gameplay goon elements where it might be tricky to play Player-Versus-Player and if the Player-Versus-Environment elements are too challenging to overcome, then, why bother? There are other things to do in life besides deal with situations you dislike, so though I don’t know the psychologies of all these players, and admittedly half didn’t “Staydead” enough to fit the theme, I kept at it as a little doodle collage as I worked on the other pictures I’ve been featuring here lately.
I started off with the Bernie 2020 poster as a joke. One of the guys that co-manages the game, a member of the Pro Crastinators Podcast, was a big supporter of him, so it was a nod to that. Though that campaign might have failed, someone might have found and hung up the poster in the sewers beneath NLACakaNM. As I wrote about in “Plot Your Ideas,” I draw in stages. I’ll color in after I know roughly what I want the character or scene to look like to hide the black lines and to start to make a better sense of the scene. Just a few colors can make the difference between looking barely started and looking well along its way.
As I went, I also ran into the problem of not knowing who else to add, so I just started collecting the characters of people I might come across. taco, playing a roleplaying game on the table, was a big gameplay goon for a while. Gabriel is drawing on a floating next to my character, who I swear is just so cute. Below, you’ll start to see more characters pop up. Mangus next to the door stopped playing to study, and some of the programmers of the game stopped playing so they could focus on game development or other tasks, perhaps, so I had them huddled around a little laptop.
If you don’t know where to go with projects like this, one way to go is to just keep filling in details until things start to pop out. The two programmers turned into a programming area where they might discuss codebase stuff, as programmers would often do randomly, but since this was a backburner project, I hadn’t really put much effort into it while I was working on my more elaborate pictures.
As I played more, I found more people that could fill in spots. It’s funny to think back now because we have a more vibrant team of players, but back when this leaderboard contest started, it was just me and two other players, and since we knew how to play, we just sent memes to each other. There are ways we could collaborate to mutually benefit as a team, but to get much more into detail would make it seem like there is much strategy involved with Ghosts beyond what this wiki article implies.
So as I continued my drawings and climb into the leaderboard spot, I met more people, collected their avatars, and added them in. There was more of a push of this toward the end since I had bitten off a lot for this contest, but I’m happy with the results – not just because I won, but because these were good entries, even this one I’m happy with – even if I could have used more time to fill in more gaps with more characters or textures.
It was around this point when I think I had cleared up my biggest obstacles and was using this as a kind of palette cleanser from heavier art. I could talk with someone and come up with a quick doodle in about five minutes. When I rearranged the characters in the room to make the leaderboard more legible as just a screenshot turned into a television, as shown below, I did find myself with perhaps too much blank space…
Sometimes, you can’t worry about those little details in the moment. With hindsight, sure, it would have been better to have balanced that out sooner, but as it goes. I added more of the semi-popular Ghosts or people that had claimed to want to play as Staydeads before realizing how boring it is from a gameplay goon perspective and reviving themselves back into the streets to fight for slime. I figured I’d give them a nod anyways with them leaving the breakroom.
As I approached the home stretch of the contest’s deadline, I was able to fill in almost all of the picture. If I had more time, I would have filled in more characters – the bigger characters of lore, some other notable characters, perhaps – but in life, we shouldn’t look back unless to get a glimpse as to where we’ve gone or in case we need to check for something quickly. Although I enjoyed drawing this and these other contest entry pictures, I’ll quickly forget about them as I draw new things, which is why I wanted to spend some time to write my thoughts about their inceptions, no matter how trivial these essays or unrelated to the pictures they might be for anyone to read.
After all, isn’t something like this all about sharing the love of the community?
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: More of a technical exploration of the drawing than anything, but sometimes, that’s OK, because this essay is more of a memento of the experience of having drawn this.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Picture: Didn’t note the starting or ending dates.|
|Written On: 2020 July 26 [midnight to 12:30am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 July 26 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|