I really want to make a game along the line of Myst. I have been collecting puzzles for years, and I have almost enough. I am flexible about the visual style. I’ve considered making sets out of lego, or cardboard, or cut paper. And I’ve considered AI-generated art.

I am willing to accept compromises on precision: If the palm tree ends up on the left side instead of the right, that’s OK. It’s even OK if it’s a date palm when I visualized a coconut palm. I might even settle for a willow.

But it’s important that it looks like a place you could be in, and that the objects look like objects that could physically exist. This is why I’m so frustrated with Stable Diffusion. It’s so close to giving me what I want. But it’s not there yet, because it does not comprehend physical objects.

I asked for a dock at the bottom of a cliff. It gave me some stairs at the bottom of a cliff (admittedly, some of the other images had some vaguely dock-like things, but none had the perspective I wanted: almost nobody takes a picture of a dock from the water).


Ok, the stairs look great — I’ll just paint in where I want a dock, and have it clean up that part. (I also rearranged the composition a little to make room).


Here’s what I got:


OK, that’s sort of a dock. Like, there’s nowhere to tie up your boat, and it’s got weird protrusions, and it’s somehow below the waterline, but I can work with that. I’ll erase the protrusions, fix the rear, and add some posts.


Then I’ll tell Stable diffusion to just clean up those parts:


Oh look, it decided to put a weird vertical line in the middle of my dock. Why? And also, it keeps wanting to fuck up the right side of the dock. OK, I’ll clean it up with the clone tool:


Sure, we lost a post, but at this point, I don’t care. Stable diffusion, please clean up the clonejunk….


No! You fucked up the right side of my dock again! Don’t you know how solid objects work?

Aargh, I give up. I’ll just hire Mœbius to do the artwork for my game. What’s that you say? He’s dead? Noooooo!

(Yes, I could pay an artist to make art for the game. But I’m not yet good enough at game marketing for this to make sense: The original, 1990s Myst had 2,500 images, which would cost me more than I expect to make this year. Also, it would take an absurd amount of time. So I won’t do that … yet.)

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