The remaining significant work on Alabaster consists of building the graphical status line on the left side of the screen. My original idea was that this image should give hints about Snow White’s current state of mind (or your state of mind about her), by showing her with different expressions. Daniel Allington, who is contributing the line drawings we’re using, offered a considerably more interesting suggestion:
What if there were just half-a-dozen freehand line drawings that were then collaged in different ways? (eg. zoomed in, zoomed out, combined with other images, superimposed, folded in on themselves, washed-out, erased, over-written, etc.) Cropping the same images in different ways to achieve the 1×4 ratio would be another way of using them to contribute to the storytelling. I like the way that collaging and re-collaging can create continuity – a bit like the illustrations in City of Secrets, incidentally.
I really liked this idea that the status line would be procedurally developed and dynamic in the same way that the conversation itself is. Besides, this idea allows for considerably more movement and change in the window than if we were sticking only to literal-minded facial portrayals. So I’ve been working on some code to place, zoom, and superimpose the images that Daniel sends my way.
There’s a lot of work still to go in order to get the diversity of effects I really want to see here, and a certain amount has to be done by creating effects in Photoshop rather than applying them procedurally in Glulx (given the narrowish set of graphical tools Glulx provides), but it’s coming along.