When it comes to creating a game, sketches are needed prior to create characters, props, backgrounds and weapons in clearer detail. An example of this would be in Overwatch, the 2016 MMO game released by Blizzard, where we can see the design for one of the iconic charcters, Tracer. These images show the processes of the character design and what colours are used to create Tracer.
The style of my game will be 8-bit so that means that my characters and props will be in the pixelated style. With 8-bit characters, there can be all kind of styles, however I plan to do the style where the entire character is outlined, this way the NPCs and protagonist wont merge with the background, and if two colours are similar then the outline would help to see where they are. I have already doodled down a couple of designs about character design/ costume design, the first are the two possible costumes for Poseidon and the rest are his siblings; Dementer, Hestia, Hera and Zeus. I decided to go for the side on view rather than a three quarter view, then it doesn’t seem that each character are facing slightly away from each other, I was inspired by Nintendo’s character Mario and his 8 bit style. The colours for the characters will be heavily inspired by the images that I already found, however I may change Hera’s colours as they may give the impression that she is evil (red and black). I made a few different costumes and head designs so I could choose between them and decide what would look best for my game. Even though Hades’ final form would not be a part of the level I will be creating I decided to draw it up in case I would continue on creating this game in the future.
As my game is an 8-bit style, I decided against drawing weapons however I will have the character raise his hand and have the power shoot from there. Each weapon will be different colour when it is used; daggers will be ordinary daggers, water will look similar to Sub-Zero’s ice blast and fire will be a fireball.Much like the character design, I drew a rough sketch of what the mana and health bar will look like and the symbols/ weapons that can change depending on what the player thinks works best in that situation, as some enemies may be resistant to certain weapons. I may change the bars of mana and health as a grossing bar doesn’t give off an 8-bit style even though it doe give off more of an accurate measurement. As I wasn’t too pleased with my first sketch of the health/ mana bar I decided to create more and this was the design I went for- it will show the player what health they are at as well as the weapon selected and mana. The weapon selected will be in the light grey circle on the left. This health/ mana bar was inspired by the one you see when playing Spyro:A New Beginning when the player has to cycle through weapons when playing the game. When the health lowers, the blocks will be black or dark grey to indicate that they are gone and the only way the player can get it back is by finding a health/ mana crystal. I also designed how the player and the Minotaur will look when they run out of health, they will evaporate into pixels and regenerate at the last checkpoint.
As well as designing the various characters in my video game, I also esigned the first boss in ‘Betrayal’ and the different minions, varying in difficulty to defeat. The smaller minions will take one hit to defeat, whether that be one mana shot or the protagonist jumping on their head. I decided on a Minotaur for my first boss because after watching Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief I saw that the Minotaur is Percy Jackson’s first encounter, that and I wanted to save the larger creatures for the rest of the game, if I was to make it. In my drawings you can see that I did a few different designs on the minions and I decided against a couple as they did look very similar to ghosts from the game Pacman. The minion I’ve decided to do is the far right one as I believe it would be interesting to see a minion in the air and have parts of them floating behind, something we don’t tend to see in many 2D platformers. I’ve also drawn out a sprite sheet for the Minotaur for when we see it and Poseidon battle against one another.
Just like the Minotaur, I created a sprite sheet for Poseidon, three to be exact- walking jumping and shooting. My sequence is only small as I will be pixelating the drawing after and I may even add a few more when it comes to drawing the walking sequence online. Something that I could’ve improved on my drawings would be that on my jumping sequence is that I put all the drawing on head height instead of making the feet level, like most sprites sheets do. Additionally when the player shoots weapons and want to walk, both of the actions will work together instead of stopping and then shooting.
In my game, Poseidon will have three weapons to chose from, daggers, fireballs and tridents. These weapons will shoot from Poseidon’s hand and will cost one mana each. I was going to make the weapons unlockable when you rescue Poseidon’s siblings however I thought it would be more interesting if the player had all three weapons to start. Here are the several different designs that I drew, I didn’t want my final product to be too detailed as the detail wouldn’t show up when pixelated, then again I wouldn’t want the weapon to be too plain as I want my game to be unique. The colours ive chosen for the daggers are blue and silver, for the trident I’ve decided white white a slight glow and the fire ball will be the bottom one as it has a nice flow of colours and you can see what direction the fire ball will be going. Furthermore when the weapons hit an enemy I have drawn what will happen, each weapon will disperse into pixels on impact to give the game more sense of realism.
Another factor I took in when it comes to my game are the interactions between each characters. This will be shown by speech bubbles appearing at the top of the screen, cancelling out everything else that was on the screen, the arrows on the speech bubble will point to what character is speaking. Following that, if there are a bunch of characters in one spot and it is difficult to tell who is speaking, little music notes will move around their heads and their name will be at the top of the speech bubble. When speaking the text will come across the speech bubble as if it was being typed and there will even be a small bar flashing at the end of the text to give the illusion that it is being typed.
In 99 percent on games today, games have a background, whether it be ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ or ‘Thomas is Alone’, every game has one. I drew out a couple of layers that I thought would work, first I started with a background inspired by ‘Super Cat’, where the background is separated into colours of a gradient but that would be direct copying. After that I looked at the design of Super Mario, another game that has influenced me during the making of my game, but again, the design was too similar. My final design was mountains with a dark tone, but with a hit of random geometric shapes like ‘Super Cat’, that way it would match the design of the ground the player walks on. This background works well because it give the player that they are in an evil place because of the dark colours and the design looks similar to Hades’ Underworld. Furthermore I’m going to separate the mountains and the grey/ black background so then I can work on the Parallax Effect, an effect I have worked with before. As well as that I created the floor blocks which will be geometric shapes and random warm colours (pink, orange, browns, reds, purples), to give off the impression of the area being scary and evil, however still matching the other graphics. For each level I’ve also designed other features such as checkpoints, sprites (which will be used to unlock upgrades/ skins) and recharge centers for health/ mana. This concept was influenced by the game Tomb Raider: Guardian of Light, where Lara recharges her health and mana at glowing stops during the level. The health stop will be show by having a red glow coming from the ground, being two blocks high, likewise with mana however it’ll be blue instead of red. The checkpoint will look similar to a Van de Graaff Generator and once Poseidon passes it, the orb on top will change from brown to white.
A pause menu was the next factor I worked on, something that most games have. Both of my designs were inspired by 8-bit video games. My first design is an ordinary black screen with options in blue rectangular boxes, with tridents either side. These colours would work well because blue is very striking against the colour black and I feel the colour red would catch the player’s eye as much. The grey box behind the selected button I feel points out the option clearer than a small triangle on either the left or right, that and having it grey contrasts well with blue and black. Even though the second design matches my geometric theme well it may remind audiences of a mobile game which my game isn’t going to be. The black and blue design helps to show a contrast between the light and dark side of the sibling rivalry of this game, plus I could add a few subtle shapes into the black screen to match the theme.
Overall I think all of my sketches seem to cover everything need for creating the visuals in a video game, even the small details such as the death sequences, colour scheme and costume design. When making the products online I may change a few features however these drawings are a good base to start off with. If I had more colours to work with, they would’ve been a lot more detailed and have a clearer representation but I am pleased with what colours I used (I made a visual on most pages with what colours I used for certain features).