Developers' Diary

Grop – A WIP.

How about something a little bit different? Well, I recently realised I’d saved quite a few WIPs for an enemy as I was discussing it with various people. I thought I’d arrange them here and tell you a little bit about part of my creative process with this whole dealeo. It’s fun, trust me. Now, all of you, become pixel artists!

Draw outline of enemy. This is usually a vivid, random process of random scrawlings with an idea in mind. Sometimes I even just close my eyes and go nuts on the canvas to draw inspiration from random shapes. This is the one for the new enemy. I was kind of thinking of grasshoppers.

I then make the lines I drew faint, and trace the whole affair with a 1×1 pixel brush. This can take quite a long time since a lot of lines do not translate well into pixel form, for example: curves. This can be really, really challenging!

Basic colouring. This is almost never the final colour arrangement of the craft, though in this case it was kind of close. This normally surfaces all of the problems with the design and allows me to add in a few little details.

Detailing and colour. Most of the rest of the development of a sprite is this kind of thing. There is no easy way to explain my process because.. well.. every time I sit down to do a new enemy, my first thought is “where the heck do I begin!?”. Regardless, I am always undeterred. In this case I started with the main body of the craft and detailed in some mechanical sections using a standard (for Jules) selection of 4 colours. Or was that five? Also, at this stage I seem to have accidentally moved the whole sprite to the left so it looks like he is hitting the wall. Oof! Look out, badguy!

Further down the track, and I’m starting to regret having removed the “horn” at the front from the original sketch. Will I add it back in at the last moment? Stay tuned to find out! Most of my pixel enemies end up being two-tone or monochromatic – something simple to work with and easily distinguishable from surroundings. Usually at this stage while I am detailing I spend about half of the time choosing better colours and making sure the contrast looks nicer too. It’s very easy to make a sprite with too little contrast that will not look nice in the game. Additionally, it’s easy to make something with too much of one colour – or with too much contrast. This will make it stand out too much against the other game elements. Finding a balance is pretty tough work.

Add some more shading and little lights and effects and stuff. Lessened the height of the tail-section. Oh, and I did add the horn in the end. He is a happy little enemy and ready to be in game-san!

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