After drawing my designs on paper I then had to move on to the task of creating each feature online, ready to put into my game, this would be the final designs.
I started with one of the features that weren’t going to have a pixelated filter put on, the health/ mana bar. I went with my first colour scheme as it had a good balance between colours and also had an interesting design with the darker chunk. When the protagonist looses health one bar with turn grey, however the outline will still remain that colour, indicating that the player only has a limited amount of health left, same with the mana. Even though this was one of the easier UI elements to create, it does have the most components as I had to created a bar for every time either the health or mana goes down. To start I first created the base using a circle and the Polygon Lasso Tool, which I used on a separate layer and coloured in using the same colour as the circle (I used the same same technique to add the darker shade to the overall design). To create the slanted bars I selected Edit> Transform> Warp, this allowed me to manipulate the shape to how I wanted, once I had one I just duplicated it and changed the colours to orange and yellow. I experimented with different colours to show the loss of life/mana and after asking a few people they suggested using grey instead of black as black was too striking and drew too much attention away. Finally I added the weapons which I made in a different file, I noticed that the original trident was too light so I changed it using Image> Adjustments> Hue & Saturation.
These are my finished mana/ health bars including the empty template I made prior to adding or getting rid of anything. Each of these collections vary in mana, health and weapon choice from 1/6 health and 0/6 mana with fire selected to full health and mana with fireballs selected. A few aspects that I believe make this health/ mana bar seem professional is the fact that I have it colour coordination, showing colours that help to show the players how dangerously close they are to loosing health, additionally blue is a universal colour to indicate mana for example ‘League of Legends’, ‘World of Warcraft’ and ‘Skyrim’. Red tends to indicate danger and panic in the colour wheel and blue is usually associated with healing, magic and wisdom. Another feature that looks good when it comes to my health/ mana bars is that I took all three weapons into consideration, most 2D platformer games tend to have one weapon however I wanted there to be the element of diversity with in the game and its not too repetitive. On the other hand something that I don’t feel that works well is the base colour as it is a very similar colour to the background colour chose, this could been avoided if I add border to it, whether it be white or a light colour.
For my weapons I used a technique that I used when I did my ‘Photoshop Fill-in’ blog and I got a photo to use as detail for my piece. I decided to create the daggers first as they would be the easiest to construct first; step one was to find the blade image online and then reshape it roughly into my original drawing, following that I draw the outline of the blade and colour in the image. To make it appear more pixelated I used a filter that I had used before Filter> Pixelate> Mosaic, with a cell size of 3 and I only wanted to slightly pixelate the weapon due to them being such a small detail. Unlike the dagger, I drew the other two weapons by hand, giving them more of a cartoon effect. With the fireball however, I did use the gradient tool to fill in the weapon then the design will show the direction of the flame as the lightest point is the furthest away. These weapons will be much smaller when being shot from the character.
One of the good things about these are that they are very pixelated, much like the 8-bit style i was going for, even though the dagger appears to be much less filtered compared to the other two, but then again it is more detailed. I feel like the trident in the center couldve done with some shading across the top, much like the dagger or even the minions that I have created below. I feel that for my game these will work well with battle however when it comes to putting these sprites on my final product, I’ll pixelate the daggers more so then they match in the other weapons.
Next up on my list of features for my game was the sprite sheets, this will be the frames that the player walk, the enemies across the map and even how the weapons disperse upon impact. First I started with the protagonist, Poseidon, with him i needed to created a walking sheet, a jumping sheet and even a shooting sheet- I based these designs off my original drawings and in order to get a similar shape throughout I duplicated the first figure and just re-shaped the arms and legs so it would appear like a basic walking cycle. As well as basing my design off my drawing, i also based my colour scheme off my drawings, going with the blue toga and the white facial hair. I only selected 3 on Mosaic cell size as I had a few people discuss what style would be better out of 5 or 3 and they decided 3. Personally each figure wasn’t as pixelated as I imaged so I changed the cell size to 4 that way it has more of an 8-bit style, the few people I selected for this decision also agreed with me.
As a basic character I feel pretty proud of what I’ve created, with this character I’ve managed to portray the Greek God, Poseidon pretty well, however I feel that I could have gone into a lot more detail when it came to the final outcome- shading, texture, less square. If I had gone into more pixelated detail like the characters from Sonic the Hedgehog or Super Mario Bros, Poseidon may be a more eye-catching character, or even had a geometric design like my background or my platform design. On the other hand I believe I have made very clear sprite sheets and plenty for the animation of walking as most 8-bit style games only have about 2 or three in each sprite sheet (stance, walking and jumping). The realism of the character also appeals to me because then the player may more of a submissive adventure rather than a story that makes no sense.
My minotaurs creation was very similar to the sense that I based my final sprite sheet off of my drawings and I used the first figure to duplicate the shape of each frame. Unlike Posiedon, I had to go into more detail with the minotaur as he is much larger and had a wider colour scheme. However as the minotaur will be an extra later on in the map as a final boss, I may not do as many sprite sheets compared to the protagonist. To get each arm to be different shapes, yet maintain the straight edges, was by putting the arm on a separate layer to the body and selecting Edit> Transform Path> Skew, allow me to manipulate the angle and scale of the shape.
The appearance of the Minotaur goes well with my 8-bit style, drawing with shapes rather than pixels, however I feel like I could’ve put more detail into in, much like my Poseidon character- scars, blood, texture, etc. I believe I used the appropriate colours for this character as these are the ones that ancient stories have, “Minotaurs stand quite large at over eight feet (including the horns), all of them are covered in short, shaggy fur. The color of the fur is variable ranging from a light brown to jet-black and even albino minotaurs are not unheard of (but very rare)”. When it comes to the sprite sheet it’s clear to what action this Minotaur is doing, on the other hand it could have more movement to it like the movement of the head or height as is an ordinary walking cycle, height differed as well.
The enemies are one of my favourite sprites/ character design as they have the abstract geometric style I was going for, however still indicating that they are evil. The way that I created these sprites are very similar to Poseidon and Minotaur, however I did add a step where I used the Magic Select Tool and the went into the Quick Mask Tool and selected a chunk out of the shape and then filled it with a darker red, after I was back in the normal ‘marching ants’ mode. Out of these two minions the smaller red is my favourite as it matches the colour scheme of the floor platforms with the geometric shapes. I feel like I could match the colours of both minions, or even have the same stones but a different warm colour such as orange or purple, the pink gives off too much of an innocent tone that I don’t want to portray. I decided red was an appropriate colour as it is mostly associated with being evil and showing a threat. However I do like the original idea where certain allies take less damage from certain weapons so I may add more creatures later. Additionally I should change the colour of the eyes of the lighter one to white as that sort of appearance is demonic, for example the Demon Hanzo from the 2016 release game Overwatch, a game I have mentioned before.
The background was easy to do, it was a very similar to my ‘Quick Mask Mode’ blog, where I selected everything in the foreground using the Quick Mask Tool, and then duplicate in in another layer and then fill in it using a gradients of pink and red. I duplicated the mountains on a separate layer and darkened them and increased the size so then they’d appear further away. When I filled in the background and mountains, I used the Gradient tool, like I did with the weapon, fireball. As I wanted the gradients to be different tones, I then changed the whole image to black and white then everything would contrast much better, like the characters, weapons and platforms.
Reminding me of the castle map of Super Mario, I believe this background turned out pretty well and appears to be relatively professional as it does draw too much attention to the audience yet still giving off the impression that this particular area could be dangerous. The dark colours match well with the colour scheme of Hades’ Underwould i.e reds, greys, blacks, etc. Additionally I am pleased that no two colours are similar so players won’t find it challenging to tell what’s further away than others. One aspect that could have been improved is circle scattered around the map, if these would’ve been more pixelated then it could’ve given off more of an 8-bit style as well.
The level platforms were the easiest feature to make out of all the features. The two tools I used for these were the Polygon Tool, and the changing the hue by going to Image> Adjustments> Hue & Saturation. I tried to make each box a warm colour to indicate evil and danger, so I tried to avoid useing blues and greens. I didn’t want to make these pixelated because these won’t be moving and I feel that if I filter too many features, players may believe that the game is out of focus or very low graphics. I decided to separate them like this because then I could put the in a random or when it comes to placing them in my game because then it shows new areas, rather than repeating the same pattern and getting players confused about where they are in a level, something that be common in 2D side scrollers such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario.
One thing that I enjoy about my level platform/ design is that even though it’s dark colours, it does have a fun and appealing design to gamers, something they haven’t seen before. One of the key features that games need are visual design so I’m glad mine is eye catching even though it’s a few basic shapes put onto coloured boxes. One thing that I could criticise about the level platforms is that I could’ve designed more boxes to put in the level, then it’s not as repetitive.
The making of other elements of the map such as spikes were pretty easy as I based them off the dagger design for my already designed weapon, however I did not just copy and paste. Firstly I used the Polygon Lasso Tool to create an isosceles triangle and then use the Quick Mask Tool to select one section of the spike which would then be coloured a different colour for shade. Outlines were then added to give a cartoon style and once I was happy I grouped up all the different shapes using the shortcut key cmd+e. I then duplicated the spike two more times and stretched them to fit on top of one of the blocks.
The simplistic design of the spikes really stand out on the level which is very helpful when it comes to playing due to players being able to see where they shouldn’t go. The grey and white design reminds me of the indie arcade game ‘1001 Spikes’, inspired by the movie Indiana Jones. One thing that could’ve been slightly better about these would be if i erased the sides to look more 8bit, as well as looking more like the spikes in ‘1001 Spikes’.
In conclusion I am very happy with how my designs turned out especially features such as my platform designs, enemies and health/ mana bar because they do have a professional look to them. The health/ mana bar does remind me of the one used in the 2-D game ‘Castle Crashers’, a co-op game where you and your companions venture off to rescue 4 princesses while encountering enemies along the way. On the opposing hand I do believe that the designs of Poseidon and the background could be improved as the protagonist himself doesn’t stand out to the surrounding level and does appear quite dull next to the platform level. As a first attempt of designing a level I appeared to achieve quite high level of designing, if i had knowledge of more tools on both photoshop and illustrator, I could have made more intricate designs, such as shadows and various leg movements.
Looking at what I could’ve improved, I decided to go back on my main character and bring up the saturation and lowered the brightness, this gave Poseidon more colour and not look anaemic.Additionally to give it more of a 70s style to it, I crafted up a blue geometric design and swapped it for the plain blue tunic- this meant going back over all of the individual sprites with this pattern. Lastly, I erased a few of the sharp edges so then the character would appear more smooth, while still having the pixelated style. When I added my jumping sprites into Unreal, they were almost double the size of the walking and shooting sequence, so in order to change the size I simply put the two sprite next to each other and decreased the size of the jumping figures to the right size.
This design is far superior to my previous one as it has more colours and I know it’ll stand out next to the black and white background. Additionally I hadn’t thought that a seventies style would be a good style until I experimented with the style of Poseidon’s tunic and it turned out very well. However an outline on the tunic could have made the overall look better, as I did outline most of the character prior to redesigning him.