My name is Stephen Elder
I am currently working on an RPG demo with the ultimate goal of applying to Kickstarter for funding to complete the project.

The demo's official Facebook page.
Likes and comments very much appreciated.

I am available for commission in drawing sprites, battlers and making tilesets for RPG Maker.

All inquiries at:



+ Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing

+ Capable, part-time artist
(pencil sketching, watercolour, digital art, pixel art)

+ Self taught in Photoshop Elements 10 and G.I.M.P 2.0
(and, by proxy, MS Paint..)

+ General understanding of programming principles
(self taught the basics of C++ - made a functioning calculator and "guess the number" game..)

+ Excellent familiarity with Microsoft Office and general computer skills
(though by no means a qualified or even experienced computer technician, I am as au fait as 8 hours a day at my laptop can get me)

+ 24 years of being distracted by daydreams

+ Professional experience in teamwork and team leading within a civil service post


= Fantasy/ Science Fiction/ New Weird/ Cyberpunk

= World building
(map design, location description and detailing, a fascination for weird architecture and nature's more bizarre creations)

= Story writing
(short stories, concept outlines, character descriptions and bios, weapons, vehicles, items, romances, plot structures, rivalries, dreamscapes, lore, armours, magic systems)

= Video Game design
(script, character design, original concept, level design and layout - generally all creative elements)

= Tabletop RPGs
(avid Dungeons and Dragons DM, currently working on the lore and game mechanics for an original tabletop RPG with another writer and an artist. So far it's just a hobby, but serious thought and efforts are planned.)

= Modding
(specifically an old Sierra game called "Empire Earth", I redesign the game textures (.SST, .TGA) and swap model files (.CEM) for my own designs)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Erias Line: Island of Dolls

   A friend sent me a link recently in offer of an inspiration source. The link, which took me to "The Scariest Places on Earth" was a true cornucopia of ideas, but it was specifically Mexico's Doll Island that gave me the most to think about.

   The Verdamm Sublevels, now squatted in and ruled by the city's most depraved and desperate, are meant to have a threatening, haunted feel to them. Scratching ghosts, cobwebs and random claps of thunder from the list immediately, I wanted the design elements to have an original theme, but one that drew from a number of sources.

   Unashamedly taking from Doll Island what I can only describe as the perfect mix of Silent Hill-like decay and the 'scary little girl' trope, I decided that there would be a kind of shrine in the Sublevels where dolls and toys would be hanging.

   To preserve the sense of the unknown that makes the scariest things scary, the shrine will be unexplained. Orphan and Skyler's guide doesn't know what the dolls and toys represent. Are they hung in memory of children lost during the panicked rush back to the surface when the mining operation closed? Or were they hung by a gang of sadists to mark their territory or "for the sake of being creepy"?

   I've come to greatly enjoy spending hours working on the minutia of details required for my demo. In the beginning, the task seemed ominously huge. I struggled for a good while with the idea of making my own RPG Maker tilesets and then with facing the enormous workload involved in using pre-rendered maps. But, two years later, I find designing lengths of pipe pixel by pixel to be oddly relaxing. The dolls were extra fun to do, however. Especially the gathering of resource photos.

Apparently, the dolls are hung (on the real doll island) to ward off evil spirits.

I'd suggest that, nominally, the island rather invites and encourages them.

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