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The Pickford BrothersJohn and Ste


Evolution of a cursor

Archive entry by Ste Pickford on Tue, 07 Apr 2009
Subject: Magnetic Billiards: Seriously Casual

Ste Pickford

This is another example of the how we rarely get things right first time, and how you've got to keep on experimenting in game development until things work.

The image shows four stages in the development of something as trivial as a cursor graphic for our new game, Magnetic Billiards.

The first is obviously just a sketch, but it was an experiment to see if something like a hand would work instead of the place-holder arrow we had from the beginning. It was obviously rough, but the rough lines worked surprisingly well on screen, and this test cursor sketch was the germ of the idea to get lots of hand-drawn graphics into the game.

The second one is just a photo of my hand, cut out. John was interested in trying photographic textures (something he's been wanting to do for ages, but which we've never properly got around to doing in a finished game). Obviously it's a rough photo, but it didn't work nearly as well as the line drawing, so I did attempt #3, a fairly detailed line drawing, based roughly on the photo.

This was drawn at way too large a scale, and was way too detailed, with all the cross hatching blurring into a mess at the relatively small size of a cursor on screen (schoolboy error on my part really).

The fourth drawing is the final cursor (or one frame of it at least) that we settled on. After going the the first few stages, and living with each version of the cursor and playing the game with it for a few days, by the time I drew the last one I knew exactly what was needed, in terms of level of detail, line thickness, which colours worked, etc.

It's possible to get things right first time sometimes, but most often you've got to be prepared to keep throwing away your first attempts, and doing them over better, if they don't quite work. Well, that's how we go about things, anyway.


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