It's an unfortunate fact that no matter how good a game is, if it doesn't look good no one will want to play it. So this blog post is all about how I did that. Or at least tried too.
As I've said before, I don't like art, I'm no good at it and therefore, it is evil. That being said, I understand its necessity. Straight away I decided to keep things simple, no overly complicated drawings or digital art methods. Mostly because I didn't know how to do any of that but also because I was using Inkscape which loves to crash when I haven't saved in a while.
I started with the main backdrop. It consisted of 3 layers, a foreground, a mid-ground and a background.
As we go back, the detail become more vague and the colours become lighter and wash out. This is a classic way of showing depth in 2D. The end result looks like this.
I'm happy with the end result, It looks busy without being distracting and there is a clear indication of depth, as if you could walk in to the drawing. I used a colour palette I found on Adobe Kuler to keep a consistent theme. On uploading the images to the game there was a minor issue to fix; there wasn't enough contrast between the backgrounds and the characters. The peacock blended in with the background, and the snake was well camouflaged with some of the mid-ground trees.
This was easy to solve however, by editing the colours within the SpriteRenderer in Unity. This useful feature is great for making on-the-fly edits or even just testing how different options look. Eventually I ended up with this:
The backgrounds still look interesting but the changes in colour make the jungle look more foreboding whilst also helping the important sprites stick out. You'll also notice I've changed the ceiling and floor sprites to a tree canopy and forest floor respectively.
I then further added depth to the scene by putting a parallax script on the backgrounds. To the layman, this makes the backgrounds move at different speeds to the player to create the illusion of distance and depth between the camera, player and backgrounds. I took the script from this video:
Great work "Brackeys"
Seriously anyone who is starting out in Unity and hasn't watched a Brackeys video needs to crawl out from under their log and get with it. Asbjørn's videos are easy to follow, well structured and explained excellently. It is quite clear from his ingenuity and his hair that he is some sort of Wizard. This script isn't the most optimized but is way easier to tweak and adjust then anything else I've seen. All the backgrounds repeat using the scrolling script I mentioned in a previous post.
Finally, I wanted to add something to give my game that aesthetic edge and really make it pop. All the inspiration pictures and source images of jungles I looked at had wonderful golden God rays beaming down from between the trees. So I added them in. They're just simple cones drawn in Inkscape with there alpha channel set to below 50 percent. They spawn randomly on the object pool script.
I'm starting to feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. Certainly, I feel like the bulk of the work is done and I can start moving down into the juicy details of the game.
Next up for me is refining the start and end conditions of the game. This'll probably involve animations which aren't exactly my best friend but I like them a lot more than art, so things are looking up!