It’s been over a year, but I’ve still got a soft spot for Crossing to the Cold Valley. With pressure on me to make the entire game in less than four weeks, the product I had to call ‘finished’ at the time was as polished as a lump of coal. I told myself I would really give it that spit-shine it needed over the summer, but other (maybe more serious) projects had to take priority. Many months later, I’m finally back with Cold Valley on the operating table. And what an insight it’s been forming into. We rarely have an opportunity to revisit and improve our old works, but I’ve had the space to really rework and reconstruct the game’s art and music to a level I hadn’t anticipated. I sat down with the original artwork of the bridge, prepared to just tweak it here and there, but concluded that a touch-up wouldn’t suffice. Primarily because I originally created the game at 720p – I can’t for the life of me think why I settled on that resolution at the time, even for most of today’s phone that’s low-grade. So I would go back into it using a 1080p resolution, but also the knowledge of drawing and the patience I’ve developed over the last 12 months.
And when you spend a long time on something you learn about the things you don’t know just as much as the things you do. With so much time, you get to spend longer getting frustrated at the imperfections, at the colours you just can’t ‘quite’ get right, at the shapes not feeling confident enough. I’m sure, even now, I could rip these up, start over, and create something better. But life’s too short, and you have to let that white whale go. These illustrations aren’t perfect, but hopefully they match the tone of the story well enough. Most importantly, however, is how much of an improvement they are over my last attempt, and how far I’ve come.
So, for the morbidly curious – I invite you to go back and compare.