Alabaster Graphics and Collage

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.

3 thoughts on “Alabaster Graphics and Collage”

  1. I don’t quite understand what that will look like, but it sounds enormously intriguing! And it makes me wonder — is there a feasible implementation of a glulxe interpreter that would provide a robust graphics functionality? Would you need in effect two separate libraries working in sync?

    1. Weeell. I could imagine expanding Glulx’s behavior so far as to allow drawing images upside-down or mirror-flipped, or drawing only a cropped piece of the picture. But the further one goes down this path the more specialized and hard to specify it becomes, and some Photoshop or equivalent preparation will probably always be necessary.

      1. To my mind, the one single enhancement that would open the most doors is the last one you mention, Emily–the capability to crop the image. In addition to the variable presentation of a single image you mention in the original post, combined with the simple animation facilities that Glulx provides, this would allow for scrollable maps, panning views of a scene, and dynamic zooming into an image. Of course, we can do all of these already (producing each different crop as a separate image), but it takes up a lot of the author’s time and results in quite large game files. If there were a vote for which single graphical feature to add to Glulx, this would be mine.

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