Once again, I’ve been chatting to the team in celebration of Scrolls Week. This time it was with arty-types, Junkboy, Henrik, and Poi Poi. Read on to hear what they had to say about their work on Scrolls.
Owen Hill (chief word officer): So what do you guys do?
Henrik Pettersson (artist): I’m artist! I draw! I try to avoid animation when I can – I can dump it on Mattis.
Poi Poi Chen (artist): I’m also an artist. I like doing everything!
Junkboy (art director): I’m the glorified button maker. I make buttons, bars, and [BEEP] like that.
OH: Are you the guy that’s responsible for the scroll bar in Scrolls?
Junkboy: I am actually. That’s something I’ve been wanting to change forever, because it actually scales up vertically and stretches out the graphics so it looks blurry and weird. Hopefully we can sort that out at some point.
OH: To be honest, I didn’t expect such an insightful response. What’s the most fun thing you guys have created so far?
HP: So many favourites! They’re like my children. No, that’s a complete lie. After a while you don’t like anything you’ve made. I think there’s one Scroll that I like, but that’s possibly because it’s not been released yet. It’s one called Untainted. It actually looks nice. It’s a Growth Enchantment.
PC: That one has cool art.
OH: Poi? Can you think of anything specific that you love?
PC: Um. I like that I’ve been able to introduce more female units. Not because they’re female, just because…
Junkboy: …but mainly because they’re female? I think that’s what you’re trying to say.
PC: I think we were lacking female units. It’s important to have more female characters, but not make them female just because you need more of them. Usually, when I make a character I don’t really think about gender but rather what would make the character – their virtues and flaws. Things like that.
Junkboy: I haven’t done much with Scrolls in a while, but on some level I’m still satisfied with the Gravelocks. They’re not super original, but they are a fun merge of different fantasy tropes, and I think it would be fun to make a few more of them.
OH: One of my favourite things about the Scrolls is that, most of the time, the art doesn’t fall into traditional fantasy stereotypes. Was that a conscious decision?
Junkboy: I would say it was a conscious decision. If you go back and try to work out the original inspiration behind Scrolls, I would say it started with us actively trying to avoid as many fantasy tropes as possible. “No orcs, elves, goblins. OK, what are we left with? A bunch of beardy guys” We tried to work out a different direction we could go in, so we didn’t end up units that we’d seen thousands of times before.
HP: That was the ambition at least, but you’re made of what you’ve seen and grown up with, so you can’t avoid all the tropes. Some things feel like a trope to one person, and not to another. Of course, there are a few standard fantasy items in there.
We’re really taking off now though; I’m looking forward to exploring where we go once we have a good baseline of beardness. We can make it more and more unique as we go.
Junkboy: One of the things that Mattis was originally struggling with was how to make undead creatures that aren’t the traditional zombies. That’s the thinking that started him on the “Path of Decay.”
OH: Do you guys prefer doing landscapes, or characters? Do you have a favourite faction to draw?
HP: I definitely prefer drawing Growth dudes because they’re more organic. That means you have more room to cheat and do it sloppily. I like the beards, straps, and leather. I like to draw that. But then again, when I play games I prefer Order-style military stuff. What you want to draw, and what you want to consume are different things.
PC: All the factions have their own personalities. For example, Growth has a lot of soft clothing: leather and the straps, with a lot of colour, patterns and fur. That’s fun to draw. Order has a lot of shiny armour, which I also like doing.
OH: Do you think of the practicality of the armour in battle, or is it more about the looks?
PC: I try and mix and match. Even though I love practicality, it’s not always the most important thing when designing characters.
OH: If you guys were a Scroll, which Scrolls would you be?
Junkboy: I’d be Junkyard. Most of the time I feel like a useless pile of [BEEP].
HP: I actually designed the useless contraption to answer that question.
OH: Henrik – you drew the guy in the Scrolls trailer – and he looks suspiciously like you. Is it you?
HP: People say it looks like me, but that was not intentional. I was trying to make the opposite of the character Poi Poi made for the end of it.
Junkboy: I think a more interesting question is “Is the girl at the end of the trailer Poi?
PC: It’s a boy, but you can’t see it
Junkboy: Really? Oh god, I did things… it’s a boy? Wha?
OH: Back on track. Poi, which Scroll are you?
PC: I’m nutrition because I want to eat meat.
OH: You like sacrificing things too.
We’ve done a lot of updates to the GUI over time. What were the motives for the tweaks?
Junkboy: It was a bit [BEEP].
No, the main reason was that we wanted something that was a bit more modular where we could create templates so Måns, Aron, and Jakob could put together new elements without having to recreate the whole thing.
OH: I guess it was a similar deal with the logo?
Junkboy: It was originally made to look like a typical fantasy game from the 90s. and that didn’t feel relevant after a while. Also, the logo wasn’t really saying much. It was a bit boring.
The new one is more versatile. It can be used as a one colour logo, and the fully rendered one. You can use it in different places too, like in the title screen or as elsewhere. The shape of it refers to in-game lore that we haven’t really gone into yet, but we’re touching on it with the release of Decay.
OH: What’s the best thing about working on Scrolls?
Junkboy: One of my favourite things working on Scrolls is seeing what all the other people make. I have this weird obsession with the card art folder.
Since Henrik has started, it’s possible to flick through this amazing gallery of artwork. It’s really pleasing. There’s hundreds of them. It’s great; the card art, and the animation that goes with them.
OH: It would be cool to make that stuff more accessible for the community.
Junkboy: Yeah, we’ve been talking about that.
HP: The thing that really gets me going is not the art alone, but making a single scroll where all the parts fit. You have to get the name right, the art for the scroll itself, the rules, and the animated unit. They all have to communicate something. Even the rules say something about a unit or a concept. When all those play together – that’s when I feel good about working on Scrolls.
Up until now, it’s been around 80 per cent mechanics first, followed by the scrolls. But, as we move forward, we’ve been looking at taking steps to work on higher level concepts that will inform both art and mechanics.
PC: That’s when our sets will become more thematic!
OH: Thanks guys!