Friday, 15 November 2013

An Art Style Develops

Hello, readers! How are you today?

So I spent the last two days working on an art style for Recess Race. It's been a long road (mostly thinking about it), but I've finally come up with a basis for how I believe the final product will look.

Here's what I have right now:

What's going on: the background and level art you see are both scanned photographs I took (with a film camera) that I have manipulated for my needs.

Disclaimer: This is a work in progress and by no means final. It actually doesn't look that good right now, and I'm aware of that! There are lots of things to add, like adding mid-range background 'tiles' and possibly people/things in the foreground. I am also probably not going to use any of the photographs I currently have, since none of them were taken with this project in mind. Lots of improvements necessary, but they will come. The black box is a placeholder for the main character, Fitzwilliam.

How did I get here?

I have spent a few months on the design of Recess Race, but had never gotten to anything more solid than "retro 16 bit pixel art style" for art direction. I had sort of assumed I'd find a pixel artist to help me out, but I was never sure about that. So, when it became clear to me that now was the time to work on art for the game at least a little, I looked for a solution.

I had already taken these photographs when I was testing out my grandmother's old film camera at the school where Recess Race takes place. They were meant as reference images, nothing more. Then, (I think it was while I was playing Dust: An Elysian Tale) I thought, "It might actually work if I put the photos themselves in the art..."

At first it was only going to be in the background, but I quickly realised I needed something for the tiles (or collisions, block-out, whatever you'd like to call it) as well. I searched for a solution, and my already-purchased 2d Toolkit turned out to be the answer. They have a really nifty (and pretty powerful) tile map system integrated with Unity3D (the engine I'm using for anyone who doesn't know). I just told it I wanted these pictures as my tile set and now I can cut the images on the go very easily. 

At the moment, the result is interesting, but not pretty per se. I have not given up and I am fully aware of the amount of work that has to go into it for it to look at all presentable (the GUI, the actual character instead of a black box, other decorative elements, but I'm satisfied with how it's coming along at this stage.

Heck, the only reason there's any colour on the platforms is because I looked up colour theory after doing this:

So much more boring... At least as far as I'm concerned.

So let me know what you guys think in the comments! Thanks a lot!

Stay sharp, lens people.

-mysteriosum (the deranged hermit)

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