So I’ve been looking into artwork for making my own game now that I know the type of game I want to make, a Double Dragon/Streets of Rage esque if you didn’t already know. I’ve been looking at various screenshots of those styles of games so see how they’ve been drawn and animated for both the moving foreground images & characters you do and don’t control to static background and foreground images that bring the world to life.
In short, I’ve been both taking inspiration from and admiring; Double Dragon from the NES, Streets of Rage from the Mega Drive and TMNT & The Simpsons from the arcades.
I knew I’d had to draw everything on my own and I’d need to begin by looking at sprite sheets to see how drawings need to be posed to make them believable when moving. From here I needed to design my own, and I have had a crack at it. The only thing is, how I want it to look and how it actually looks are two different things. In a perfect world they’ll look like the images above – I’ll be able to realise what I’m imagining, but in reality my drawing skills aren’t likely to make that reality a uh, reality. But I’m hoping that with practice and several studies of videogame companies’ artwork, I’ll be able to forge my own and have results like I’m currently dreaming about.
Like I said, I’ve had a go at making my own.
What I didn’t realise, and probably quite naively, is that labour that’s involved. Making that initial drawing can be quite the time consumer but once its done, effectively a simple copy and paste can be made with a slight alteration to the character’s position is done and before long a character is born. And if you’re feeling particularly cheaty, a copy and paste of the entire sheet can take place with a pallet swap of colours to create different characters.
I know that’s one of the tricks used in the early days die to memory limitations of the systems, but a part of me thinks that its cheating a bit. I suppose it can also be classed as creativity too, seeing how you can turn existing drawings into something else too. This of course in turn helps with the reduction of timescales during development.
So here it is, my very first attempt.
A little basic I know but I wanted to keep things basic until I got the process nailed down – and my own skills too. Flick between these two drawings and they do look like they’re walking.
From here I took it a little further and made my own sprite sheet adding more details;
At present they’re just drawings that I’m quite happy with. I’m trying to find the balance to pixelate them so they’ll fit in with the game world I’m imagining. And yes, I have cheated a bit by re-skinning the model to make it into a second character. I may also do it a third time too!
As for the background and foreground images, I plan on trying (operative word here) to create one long background picture that’ll scroll as the character moves. As of yet I’m not sure what the setting will be nor am I sure just how long the background will scroll on for but I am thinking of having some kind of street level with foreground details – lamp posts, parked cars etc. But that heavily depends on time and what my drawings turn out like.
Again inspiration for this idea is taken from the games above. WordPress will probably shrink this down to an insect size, but in case you don’t know what I mean, this is what I’m aiming for…or at least a variant of it.