Artist Wanted to Collaborate on Horror-Themed Project

There’s been a very interesting thread about the use of AI-generated content in text adventures, particularly around the use of AI-generated graphics (Using an AI art generator to make graphics). One of the comments in the thread suggested that if there were more artists collaborating on projects (with those of use that can write/program but can’t draw), there would be less incentive to turn to AI image generators.

So I thought I’d see whether this is an option.

I don’t include art in my adventures because I’m an old-school ‘theatre of the mind’ gamer, but I have generated an AI image to promote my game (Instagram, Facebook, Forums, etc.):
(link here if it doesn’t show)

I have no budget but you will be attributed. Does anyone want to produce something equivalently eye-catching to help me to promote my project along the same lines as above? I have no general qualms about using AI-generated content for niche non-commercial hobby projects but would like to explore alternative options.

Many thanks.


I’ll offer $50 to any artist kind enough and open-minded enough to replace the AI art above. I know it isn’t really an appropriate compensation, and I would offer more, but my personal world has been burning down to the ground recently and that’s what I have to offer.



You’re a good person.

I’ll take a shot at it, but I won’t take your money. I’m not doing well financially either, but I’ve never been driven by money. I’m just not built that way. I can’t promise it’ll be a work of art, but I’ll see what I can do with an economical approach much later tonight. I suspect others will volunteer a crack at this as well.


Lee, I don’t expect you to take just any submission though. However, thank you for giving this community the chance to actually do something about this. Good on ya.

I hope you like MS Paint. :wink:


I committed to not post more than once in that thread, so didn’t say anything :slight_smile: But my guess is probably that the people with the skills mostly don’t also have the time (for me it’s not a guess – I’m working on my Kickstarted game so am really minimising all other commitments) or we would have seen a lot more of this kind of collaboration than we have to date. A lot of these people are on the forum because they’re already working on their own IF.

Where I’ve got friends or acquaintances helping me with my games, I have helped them. e.g. Produced cover art or music. And sometimes I’ve volunteered art for a game I tested because it inspired me. Outside of these rings of closeness, it moves into commissiony territory, and the trappings of commissiony work immediately take a lot of time and extra work beyond the work.

Having said this, I don’t mean that people should stop asking on the forum for interested parties to help with art and music. They should probably ask more often than they currently do.

Btw is your game complete? Sometimes just bringing in a visual artist can alter the choice of the image you actually use for your game. Where I’m going is, you can potentially get a better result if the artist has tried your game and they respond. To take the collaboration back to that level. Me knowing nothing about your game, this could be an overkill suggestion, or something you don’t want to spend time on. Certainly it’s an easier exercise for all concerned today to start with the AI image you obviously like. But in general, I’d get the artist involved in the actual choice of image stage, whether you have a clear idea or not. (‘You’ meaning - anyone going this route.)



I am not anywhere near professional, and I have a relatively limited range of things I’m good at drawing (I’m great at perspective but terrible at figure proportions), but once some of my projects are closer to completion I might start a trading thread. I make an amateur sketch of your MacGuffin if you make an amateur sketch of my important NPC or some such.

…of course that’s not necessarily useful to the OP here. Maybe we should split discussion of art-commissioning in general to another thread.


I really like the idea of a trading thread!


No. The premise is that you play a priest in an isolated pseudo-medieval village and have to banish a demon that’s taken up residence in a ruined castle. I had an aborted attempt at implementing chapter 1 a couple of years ago and have recently been inspired to revisit the project and migrate it to my new website. I’ve nearly finished the migration and revamp of chapter 1, I have chapters 2 and 3 (mostly) written, and chapter 4 in draft (mostly just the puzzles). Chapter 5 isn’t written at all - and this is the most ambitious chapter with free-roaming NPCs and the final confrontation with the demon. My plan is to implement about a chapter a month, with chapter 5 probably taking 3 months due to the extra coding needed.

The image is just for attention-grabbing and promotion. Something I can post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, forums, and the like. I’m very much a ‘theatre of the mind’ guy when it comes to text adventures so only write text (although I have thought about sound effects in this game…). But I also know that luring people in to play text adventure games (esp. folks unfamiliar with this kind of gaming) probably starts with an eye-catching and dramatic high-quality image (despite what people would have you believe, lots of people do judge books by their covers). I reckon it’s a good start towards luring a new audience to our games.

If someone is interested in this commission and would like to discuss the story/setting/locations for other inspiration, I’d be up for that (no spoilers :wink: ). I was going for dramatic-looking demon, night-time (hence the moon), and the ruined castle in the background. The writing style is serious and realistic, rather than comic, cinematic, or light, so the style of art should reflect that.

I know this is not what you were looking for, but I had fun making this image anyway. Don’t feel like you have to somehow appease me. Normally I would get more information first, but I was like, f*%# it. :wink:

This is what I would call economical art. Silhouettes, simple palettes, minimal gradients. It’s vector art, basically, and fairly easy to produce. I only used polygonal shapes, actually. Silhouettes, when done right, can convey a lot of information, but still leave a lot to the imagination. It’s a good fit for most IF, I feel, because it also doesn’t distract as much, especially when next to text. Being vector also has the benefit of rearranging elements and changing colours with much more ease than bitmap graphics. SVG is also fully integrated in web-browsers, so even individual elements of an image can be altered or animated. Change the skin colour of a character? No problem. :slight_smile:

The style you have currently is called painterly and while there are very talented artists who can speed paint to almost that quality within a couple of hours or so, it’s a big leap in skill level. I think it would take most artists considerably more time. That said, I dug out my old tablet and I’ll give the painterly style a go, but I don’t expect anything of real quality though. I’m not practiced. It’s just for fun.

For a text adventure of a serious tone, I would actually mostly focus on getting a good, unique looking font for the title. Something sharp and interesting. It would look great on it’s own in most cases. The horns and moon could be incorporated into the font to make a logo of sorts perhaps. Clearly, your game needs to be called Moondemon though. :wink:

Just FYI, the font I used is called Buckingham and is free for personal use only.

Anyway, I had fun. I hope others get inspired to share more of their time and energy with collaborative work, whether it’s art, chunks of code, music, RPG rule systems, or (heaven forbid) an awesome premise for a story.

Edit: I didn’t realize there was so much banding in the gradients. If you actually want to use this for anything, let me know and I’ll tweak it a bit and balance things a little better in the image.


I prefer yours, it feels more evocative to me. The original is more eye-catching sure, but it rings “false promises” bells for me. My cynicism might be at work here though.


That’s an interesting point - if you flash about some Skyrim-quality graphics, do people expect Skyrim-level quality? With such a small audience, it’s probably not possible to do any meaningful A-B testing (i.e., randomly display one or other image and see how many clicks each one gets).

With gamification, there’s the concept of the extrinsic rewards and the intrinsic benefit. The extrinsic rewards (like badges, points, etc.) are supposed to just signpost the intrinsic benefits of doing certain things. The extrinsic reward is all about getting you to do something until you realise that what you’re doing has value in itself and you no longer need the points to keep yourself motivated to do it. Which picture better signposts the feels that a player will experience? I don’t know… I guess i need to keep writing it!

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I gave you an unclear picture about my feelings of misgiving. It is not about the quality of the drawings. The first one says to me “look at this eye-candy, btw the story has little to do with it”; whereas Hal’s drawing intrigues me.

(That’s me, and I judge books by their cover until I read them.)


Thanks for clarifying; I had misinterpreted. Too much pizazz in the promotional art is suggesting that its overcompensating for deficiencies in other areas (such as storytelling, coding, engagement, replayability, or however else we judge IF).

And I like HAL’s version, too - I’m definitely going to incorporate it (with HAL’s permission and with attribution, of course), probably in some kind of A-B way that I haven’t determined yet. HAL’s version is also clearer at smaller resolutions, too, which might make it suitable for display in-game somewhere. The colour palette is sophisticated without being obvious (I like that it uses purple tones instead of red tones) and the shapes seem clean and modern whilst still conveying a sense of ruin. It certainly doesn’t feel “retro”, which could be offputting to newcomers to IF.


My game uses a mix of Magic Medieval and Morris Roman fonts. None of my websites are commercial - they don’t even include adverts or cookies (except for session cookies, obviously).

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Looks absolutely incredible!


I like @HAL9000 's version better, without qualifications. It wouldn’t matter if it were for a book cover or for a AAA video game advertisement, the second image grabs my attention and is more… evocative? That’s just my 2 cents.


Yeah, seconded.

I feel like when books or IF have extremely detailed and/or realistic covers, the gut reaction in me says the writing is going to be absolutely abysmal. Like, there’s absolutely no chance that the cover could ever relate closely to the cover inside.

I think the style that @HAL9000 brought to the idea lands right on the bell curve. It conveys the mood and themes of the story, but is also stylized/distilled enough that I can trust the image is there to supplement the story, and not the other way around.


Thanks for the encouragement, guys. It means a lot.

Here’s the new version (with 20% more castle!) and a possible avatar. I’ve sent the high-res PNGs and vector SVG to Lee.

Night of the Demon


I hope this encourages others to share some of their time with the community. I’d love to see others follow suit. If you’ve been sitting on the fence about volunteering your time and energy to another’s IF, I have to say, it feels pretty good. Plus I drew a penis in the graphic and Lee will never find it. Kidding!

…or am I? :wink:


What do you mean by “a penis”? I counted 6 of them!


@HAL9000 looks so good! I agree with everybody, Hal’s is the winner