Strange Worlds


If I had the dough I'd acquire some old franchise and maybe actually finish something. With my original projects the possibilities are always distractingly endless so I quite enjoy working within the confines of something cut clear into the granite of time, something with weight. That said, there are certain things which I might want to do my way and on this page I'll explore the idea of making some kind of post-apocalyptic wonderland. First, a few inspirational games:


Wasteland concepts

Wasteland looks pretty colorful and cartoony (characters, colors and story) for a spiritual ancestor of Fallout. Looking at the Kickstarter page (this text was written a while ago), the pitch art for the Wasteland 2 (while nice looking) sort of clashes with the so clearly expressed sentiment to stay true to the original. On the other hand, I don't mind when a different style is used, as long as the designs are intact. On the other hand, Wasteland 2 has an opportunity to be graphically distinct. I guess Borderlands is a bit more lighthearted stylistically, but I've never played it.

Anyways, I decided to draw some of the characters from Wastelands. A lot of the robots are just nonsense, but I decided to struggle with what I was given and not change them too much towards what I'd like to see. The game actually uses the same portraits for different encounters, so there's some room for doing variation once the base has been established.

Wasteland concepts

Ref: Mobygames page, Wasteland Let's Play.

Here I've used the 4 head tall figures from Wasteland's overhead view (people have more normal proportions on the encounter portraits though), but changed the perspective from what appears to be a sort of top down cavalier projection to a typical isometric one.

Isometric wasteland mockup

Wasteland certainly has components of what we now consider a typical post-apocalyptic game, but it also have this... atmosphere of 18-19th century type story telling. At one point in the game, the player's party enters a garden with giant wondrous fruits and vegetables. Apparently someone has made canoes out of giant banana skids. I could almost see Alice, Dorothy or (Beanstalk) Jack stumbling into such a place. This made me add the giant mushrooms wrecking the asphalt. There's also a type of haphazard, carefree quality to the storytelling which makes me think of older stories rather than our modern, formalistic 3-act, moralizing ones. Vengeful baby with gun!

I drew some random figures on the map just to see what happened visually. In Wasteland, encounters rarely show up as figures on the overhead map, which is understandable - it's a lot of work to animate 400 different enemies and NPCs. Persistent figures also brings up a lot of problems like, guys getting stuck, blocking each other, shooting at walls during combat, permanent corpses, yadda yadda. Though... I wouldn't mind seeing an X-COM version using the Wasteland setting. There's the Ranger Center trying to discover technology, random hostiles, mutants, and robot bad guys with their own bases.


I don't know a lot about this game, other than having some feel for the general atmosphere (that of a bystander). It appears to consist of a mixing of opposites... cute things being sort of putrid and nasty... kids shouldering the tasks of adults. While the society is burlesque, it's a sort of internally consistent vertical slice of ours, and it gives the setting a realism you won't find in RPGs with towns being a WEAPON SHOP and an old woman walking around randomly.

EarthBound roughs


EarthBound pixels

Last Armageddon

EarthBound roughs

Last Armageddon has a very... heavy metal feel to it. Humans are extinct and instead you control a group of evolving monsters (very heavy metal in appearance) and the bad guys are various peculiar looking aliens. I don't have any refined drawings for this project yet.

I like the intro but the story becomes very strange and a little off-putting later on. To the right is the cover for the MSX version, but it's also playable in DOS, on the PC88, Sharp X68k, PCE and... Famicom :o

Oz and Wonderland

My Gals'n Goblins page deals with these two settings. They are a bit too silly for my taste, lacking some of that internal realism which I like. The concept of Dorothy gathering up a party is very RPG friendly though.


If I were a writer, which I'm not, I'd like to develop some kind of story heavy / odyssey style RPG from these settings. So far I only have some rough ideas:

Art by Arne Niklas Jansson