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Ravenloft

The first game company I worked for was DreamForge. It was a good place to work. They managed to combine proper office behavior with fun and balance it all successfully. We worked hard on the games, no mistake there. It helped that they were good games, Friday afternoons were RPG time, and I liked my coworkers.

When I arrived at DreamForge, they were just starting to create the game Ravenloft for SSI. I got the chance to create several animations for the game and some images that would pop up when the character investigated certain hot spots.

I still have to convert the animations so I can show them on this site, but here are four of the pop-up pictures. They were created in an unusual resolution: 320 by 400! DreamForge created several games with a proprietary video driver that would allow the old 8-bit video cards to display this resolution, which showed double the number of pixels that the standard 320 by 200 did. Of course, working with pixels that were twice as wide as they were high was a bit of a challenge, but it helped stretch my artistic imagination.


Near the beginning of Ravenloft, your party is swept away by a mysterious fog and transported to an unknown land. After a bit of wandering in this strange place, you come across a neat path, complete with road signs.

This image is the first piece of art I created for use in a game, and I think it helps to set the foreboding mood of the game....

...I'd feel a bit of trepidation about visiting this "Barovia" place.


Later on, your party makes it to the town and finds that center of all information, the tavern. This is the sign that they see on wall.

Oh, something's rotten in Denmark... err... There's trouble in River City...uhm....

I've got a bad feeling about this!


As you go through the game, you come across a couple more images designed to give you the warm and cozy feeling that everything is just fine here...or not....

(Hmm...if the vampire is centuries old, why is the blood on this message still fresh? Because it looks nastier, that's why!)


Okay, if DreamForge was so cool, why did I leave? I was ambitious, that's why. DreamForge's president did not believe that a good 2-D artist could be a good 3-D artist, and vice versa. Rather than take the time to prove it to him, I went to a company that would give me a chance to learn 3-D on the job.

Be careful what you ask for....


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This page created -- and re-created -- December 15, 2000
Contents © 2000 Nancy L. Janda