Around every two weeks, there’s an art contest in ENDLESS WAR. I [co-]won the last one, which was featuring characters as they might appear on the leaderboards, with bonus points given for using the leaderboard in-game. This contest is about food and food vendors. What people liked about my entries is that they added to the lore through emic additions of new elements. Why not add in new lore related to possibly new Ghost/Staydead vendors?
My idea started off with a humble request.
“Can anyone go to the wafflehouse and order me a waffle to go?” Staydeads can’t buy things, so we have to acquire them as gifts or getting them from community chests, so my idea started off as roughly showing how someone might get from the normal map to the in-game Wafflehouse. I did this with some of my other pictures before, and I like this sort of writing or art as teaching gameplay mechanics; it’s an edutainment trick. If I were to write a straightforward tutorial on how to do it, where you !mine until you !jump and then !goto wafflehouse, well, who’d care?
But if I showed how someone did it in an entertaining way?
That was my idea behind this five-panel comic.
I’ve never drawn a comic before, so this will end up being a weird amalgamation of pictures and text-over-pictures, but I’m a weird sort of artist, so I imagine it will turn out alright. The way I’m drawing these is rather than focusing on one picture at a time, I’ll go through all five and draw them all, so that way I can have good proof-of-concept sketches along the way, and, say my health declines significantly. Well, I’ll have something; even if it’s not done. Who to feature, though? I’m a fan of serendipity, so I just asked for the first person to buy me a waffle. I didn’t mention this comic.
Khan only knew during the process that he’d be the main character of this comic.
I’d talked with Khan before and I have other friends in ENDLESS WAR.
So asking for the first available person to go through some kind of silly experiment helped in a few ways. First, by him going through the process, he showed that it worked from a gameplay perspective. Second, him going all that helped us see some gameplay aspects that I took screenshots and notes for later use. I may not need all the research, but it’s more useful to have than not. Third, I’m always more of a fan of capturing moments than just arbitrary thoughts. Though this comic transposes thoughts, where my character below might be writing alone, with some other characters hanging out at another booth, I could see this being what the Wafflehouse could be in-game, even if no additional gameplay mechanics are added to the game because of this contest.
What if there were?
The main weapon to use against Ghosts/Staydeads is coleslaw.
Eating coleslaw allows you to !bust ghosts, like you would !kill players, and throwing coleslaw at a ghost does much the same thing. Food, in-game, rots as well. You can recycle food, but what if there were a vendor near the Wafflehouse that would buy spoiled coleslaw from players for slime and sell ghosts items in exchange for their anti-slime? This idea might require some writing as a subtitle to the picture. Or maybe even an additional panel?
I’ve added that note in, so hopefully that won’t be too much effort to add.
If not, I feel confident that I can get the rest of these drawings done easily enough.
The most difficult one was the diner interior. I drew that between 11:40am and 12:20am on July 28, so it just requires time. Writing essays like this helps justify that time partially because it gives these essays something more visually interesting than just template pictures, but also as we just saw, thinking about how I might need to write more about this coleslaw vendor, Cole Slawman as a teammate – Church – called him, led to the realization that I would need to add a panel featuring him, his wares, along with Khan, and my character. Maybe Khan would sell some expired coleslaw? Church and I thought about what we’d buy with our anti-slime, but we don’t really do much as ghosts.
While I enjoy being a specter spectator, others do want more gameplay ghost activities.
I can’t blame them, because there’s only so much one can do as a Ghost/Staydead.
In the next drafts of these pictures, I think I will add in a picture showing Cole Slawman’s wares table, since we jammed on the idea of what he would look like, and I also wanted to feature this silly bug that happened where some human players – Juvies – ended up in the sewers. One of these “Sewer Juvies” was vocal about wanting to remain in the sewers. Who am I to disrupt that? Even after it being reported as a bug, that vocal Sewer Juvie creating art, and more than one programmer seeing it, well, the Sewer Juvies remain. Maybe they’ll be patched out in a future update?
Until then, I like to do what I can to retain little bits of culture like that.
Sewer Juvies are emic cultural elements.
If I were to add something from outside, that would be an etic cultural element, and sometimes that’s fine, but if done too much and excessively, then it just feels weird. ENDLESS WAR, in that regard, is helping me learn the value of storytelling elements by making sure not to add in arbitrary elements just for the laughs. Cole Slawman could add legitimate gameplay value. If not, it’s just a silly character idea that might deserve a chance here, and if not, then he could always appear elsewhere. Not every idea is gold, and you won’t win every time, but a little forethought and planning never hurt.
It would be weird if I won again; only if most-deserved.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Writing about drawing.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Picture: Looks like I drew these all over the course of three hours. I don’t think I drew them all in a three-hour set or anything.|
|Written On: 2020 July 29 [12:46am to 1:27am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 July 29 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|