I decided to build a Panels mini-comic featuring a side story to my main comic, The Botanist. This mini-comic will serve two purposes:
First, it will be a cheap (or free?) alternative to the main comic. It’s hard to communicate exactly what the experience of The Botanist comic is like, so it will be nice to have a smaller comic that people can try before committing to buy the longer comic.
And second, I’m considering recording some tutorial videos for Panels. If I do, I hope to use this mini-comic as an example in those videos. I can show the entire comic getting built without worrying about spoiling the main story.
In both cases, I want to showcase as many of the Panels capabilities as possible, but ideally keeping the story (and thus the production time) fairly short.
I sketched out an idea for a short story featuring my botanist character. I tried to include as many features from the Panels framework as I could: horizontal and vertical scrolling, animated layers, frame animations, custom functions, sound effects, text layers, and more.
This will be a standalone comic. It doesn’t connect to the main story, except that it features the same main character.
The story I came up with starts with a light bulb burning out in the botanist’s outpost. Instead of changing the bulb, he climbs down into the seed bank, finds a packet of seeds for Glimmering Vine, and plants them with a spritz of Wonder Grow. After the vine grows, the player must pilot a robotic bee to pollinate the flowers. Once pollinated, the vine sprouts many tiny glowing lights which re-illuminate the station.
It’s not quite as concise as I wanted, but I’m not sure how much shorter I could make it while still showing off the capabilities of Panels and telling a coherent story.
I’m about halfway done with the drawings for this mini-comic. Here’s a quick preview of the second sequence where botanist climbs down into the seed bank: