I have been thinking about adding a lot of small drawings to my current project, like diagrams of guns and quick sketches of buildings, people, etc. They would be drawn in a style so as to fit into the tone of the story, so mostly rough charcoal sketches on canvas for my mc. I was thinking of spreading them out throughout.
What do you guys think about images? Do they detract from a text story? Should i just leave it to the reader’s imagination?
If you can’t understand what’s going on without being able to view the drawings, then that will make your game inaccessible to anyone using screenreaders. It’s really awesome that Choice of Games are so accessible, and that would be sad.
But - if the drawings are necessary, you could split the difference by offering either visuals or text descriptions of visuals up front, and then people could do whatever works well for them. And that would be great.
Alternately, if the drawings aren’t necessary to experience the story (just an enhancement) then rock on, if you think the game will be better for it. This happens occasionally in print too - my copy of Wolves of the Calla has illustrations heading each chapter, and it never felt like a detraction to me.
Yeah they are supposed to be enhancement, completely unnecessary to actually playing the game
What do you mean by screen readers though?
A screen reader is a software application that reads the text on the screen out loud. They make it possible for people with visual impairments to use computers. But they only work with text - not images.
Most video games are not accessible to blind people. Not even all interactive fiction is accessible - Twine, for example, does not work properly with screen readers. But ChoiceScript games are, and I think that’s important.
Oh I see, In that case I’ll do both pictures and descriptions.
I prefer location shots to character ones. Sometimes it’s nice to see the area (“Oh that’s what she meant by the corpse of a dessicated 40-ft long beetle”). But character images tend to go against what I have in my head.
I was thinking the same (totally not because I cant draw faces…)
Yes, I think you should add images. There are times when one’s imagination may not imagine a scene correctly.
I vote against images in CS, simply because of the “purity” of the form - a world of pure imagination. I instinctively react against messing with that form.
But pics can be enjoyed in their own right too, and can even add to a story (eg in “Divided We Fall” the pics are beautiful, and give a sense of history - since they are photos from the real-life historical setting). And of course a lot of games have such gorgeous imagery that it’s like walking through a gallery as you read.
And I’m utterly opposed to NJG’s view* that a person might imagine something “incorrectly”. That’s precisely what makes imagination better than pictures. As long as the basics agree (which is only really anything plot-relevant eg if the character’s hair is pulled later, we need to know they have long hair when we first meet them), a reader can add wonderful layers of meaning and depth that are special to them, improving the story.
An example of imagination getting it both right and wrong…
The actor who played Samwise Gamgee in the Hobbit movies said that Christopher Lee (massive Tolkien fan) had made sure he grabbed Frodo’s hand when he awoke from illness. It was in the book. To Tolkien, it was probably a minor thing, but it meant a great deal to many gay men. They’re probably imagining something Tolkien didn’t consciously intend, and that just adds depth to the story.
*Hi NJG, nice to meet you… shoots you with water pistol
On the one hand, I like the occasional image in a story. Sometimes writers have these magnificent images in their head, but the way they write them confuses me. I can’t quite picture what they had in mind, so my own imagination falls short.
On the other hand, I don’t like images of characters. Some characters are missing description or it’s glossed over, like, say, culture or ethnicity. This allows for fans to imagine characters of different backgrounds and skin colors. The Harry Potter series comes to mind, where many fans I know picture Harry as Indian and Hermione as a black girl. In the art, however, they’re depicted as white. People in the fandom who hate these theories (read: white supremacists) use these images to claim that Harry and Hermione can’t possibly be people of color. I think that detracts from the experience and alienates the audience.
I don’t mind images of either characters or other things, as long as it helps the story as opposed to being needed for the story.
NJG gets a towel and begins wiping himself
You do know that everyone has their own opinions, right?
And no need to shoot others with a water pistol.
What, no waterfight? Not even a picture of one?
walks away dejected
Okay, now I have to say something relevant so it’s not off topic. Umm.
I gather from the official FAQ that the designers of CS only reluctantly allowed images. I generally trust their judgement, but on the other hand, if your art is great (or even merely enjoyable for you as an artist, which is a completely different but still important consideration) then it’ll add to the game-playing experience.
I’m going to have some pictures in my book, only a couple, and they’re there just as an accessory to the story, not as an excuse for lazy writing. (And because I like making them). I kind of like the odd sketch or map in a book, but its not a deal breaker buy any means either way and are happy with it without them. Too many pics, yeah that would probably start to take away from the book. Incidentally I have no sketches of the mc, and since its an interactive story, unless the character being played is very specific, (ie a historical figure etc) it probably is better to leave that to the imagination so people can see them however they want to.
I don’t think racism comes into it here. If the book is well written, main characters will be described well, so you probably already have some idea of their skin colour, eye colour, hair colour, build, gender etc from the text alone before any pictures if the writer thinks it’s important. You could level an accusation at the writer for making all characters white if that was inappropriate, but does a picture change that much if it’s been spelled out in the text? I dont find it changes much myself at least. Not that I’m saying you shouldn’t be able to visualise a character how you want to if you want to have a different opinion to the story.