How to get people interested in the story before the game is released?
We thought out a creative way of promotion: comics, the storyline of which leads up to the story of the game. The main character of the comics is a hunter named Agol; he’s in love with a healer Naara. We used to publish a two-page part of the story every other week.
There are three of us working on the comics story: Adam, Kika and Adel.
Our creative comics team: Adam, Kika, Adel
How does our process of comics-making work?
- First, we create a synopsis for the whole story. That means you have to know where is your story heading, how it will end and how your characters fit in. Everything has to have its place and meaning - with comic strips being published continually you cannot go back and change the beginning. For example, when you discover that your character should’ve brought a lantern or a spear because it would have been useful for the quest. This is Adam’s work. He creates the story and prepares descriptions of the characters. The visual design of the characters falls to Kika.Different designs for the character of healer Naara's father (by Kika)
- It’s crucial that Adam’s vision stays focused on the personality traits of the characters and not their visual appearance. Focusing too much on the visuals could lead to emotional attachment to details unimportant for the story. Just imagine all the movie adaptations of your favourite books – failing you with their choices of actors.
Kika, who gives the characters their faces, will surely have a different representation from what Adam imagines; she can’t see inside his head. If some visual aspects are necessary for the character to have, Adam and Kika have to talk about it beforehand. That also applies to other aspects of the comics.
- The next step is turning the synopsis into a script. That’s also in Adam’s hands. The script consists of individual dialogues and descriptions of the action. Then he makes a simple sketch in MS Paint, as a proposal of how he imagines it.
Adam’s sketches in MS Paint & The final comics strips
Sketch of the by Adel & The actual room view to help with drawing scenes in that room
4. The first drafts of the comics are drawn by Kika, who studied movie animation. She knows how to logically distribute panels in comics for the story-space-time relations between panels to make sense.
But because Kika is mostly focused on the game graphics, the rest of the comics-making process is Adel’s job. Because she’s the newest member of the Elfscape team, she’s not as experienced as Kika yet. She draws the comics following Kika’s draft and then colours it. She discusses the final version with Adam and Kika, and they try to make it the best - overcome the eternal obstacles in the form of drawing perspective and backgrounds.
Panel sketch vs coloured
Process of changing the sketch to final picture
The comic strips were doing well – we’ve gained a small fanbase.
However, their creation is quite time-consuming, which later turned out to be a huge disadvantage. The creation of the comics took too much time which could have been used for creating the game graphics.
We have eventually decided to stop using comics as a promotion for a while. But, since it’s a good promotion, we’ll continue publishing the story of Agol the Hunter when the game is completed.
And some things we‘ve learned along the way:
- Our Mesopotamian-themed story gained the most success in India and Arabia (as we discovered thanks to occasional paid promotion on posts).
- We think our paid promotion on Instagram was quite successful, as we managed to get 300 likes for only 3 euros.
- Instagram is a better platform for comics than Facebook.
- It’s difficult to get noticed in the American market because everyone wants to be there.
- The most successful of our posts on FB was “The Gate”, probably because it sparked curiosity, making people react to it.
You can read the comics story of Agol the hunter here.