gwalla (gwalla) wrote,

  • Mood:
  • Music:

Webcomic Constraints Challenge #1: The Knight's Tour

My childhood interest in chess has been recently rekindled (in particular, an interest in fairy chess and other chess variants—more on this in a later post), and I've been doing a bit of reading on the subject online lately. Today, in the Wikipedia article on the classic knight's tour problem, I read that it had been used as a literary constraint by some writers. The idea of constrained writing seemed interesting—I've believed for a long time that relaxing restrictions in art is not necessarily progress in and of itself (not a big fan of free verse here!)—and I wondered about how it the idea could be applied to my favorite medium, comics. Something clicked, and I realized that the comics page, in which panels are generally layed out in a grid, is the perfect surface for a knight's tour!

So, without further ado, the challenge:
Draw a single-page comic that forms a coherent narrative when read in the usual left-to-right manner and when the panels are read in the order of a knight's tour starting at the top left corner.

A knight's tour is a sequence of chess knight's moves that visits every space on the board (or, in this case, every panel in the page) exactly once. A knight's move, for those of you who aren't familiar with chess, is an L-shaped move: either one step orthogonally (vertically or horizontally, not diagonally) and two at a right angle to the first step, or two orthogonally and one at a right angle, jumping over all intermediate spaces. A tour can be cyclic, meaning it leads back to the space it started on, or acyclic, meaning it leads to a space that is not one knight's move away from the space it started on. The traditional knight's tour problem is on the full 8×8 chessboard, but you don't have to make your page that big!

As an additional stipulation, at least one panel aside from the first must contain some dialogue (the first panel may or may not contain dialogue, but at last one other panel must). This is because just about any sequence of silent panels can seem to form a coherent narrative of sorts. Also, just filling the page with identical copied-and-pasted panels, so that the different paths result in the same sequence, is cheating.

There are plenty of other possible nifty challenges related to this one, but I'll keep it relatively straightforward for now.

Any takers?

(This challenge is dedicated to Scott McCloud's infinite canvas experiment My Obsession With Chess)

EDIT: Changed the title. Yes, I do intend to make a series of challenges like this.
Tags: comics, games, ideas, webcomics constraints challenge

  • Yet another drink recipe

    Long time no post! Since LJ's been on the wane, both in terms of community and actual functionality (we can seriously only go back ONE page on the…

  • (no subject)

    Wow, that's one hell of a lineup! I can confirm that Earth is excellent live, or at least they were several years ago when I saw them in SF. Also, no…

  • I can't stop watching...

    Yoshi's got the moves.

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.