I'm an interactive designer by day and am working on a stealth/platformer game by night.
So I took a break from working on the prototype level to start fleshing out some design ideas I had for different armor types. One of the main features of the game is that there will be 2 paths you can choose when it comes to how you approach each level. You can stealth in plain sight by blending in with brightly colored objects as you slowly and methodically kill your prey without anyone being the wiser. OR you can choose to take your enemy head on destroying waves of thugs and petty guards as you make your way to your kill target. With these different play-styles in mind I think it'd be cool to upgrade Neon's Arsenal accordingly.The standard Stealth Suit is made out of skin-tight spandex for maximum comfort and mobility.The Combat Suit is made out of leather and provides more protection while keeping sneaking around as an option.The Combat Elite Suit is just for the all-out badass brawler. You're pretty much the Iron Chef if the main ingredient is PAIN!
So while working on the prototype level I realized that I should probably test all of the possible suit colors out (sooner rather than later) since color is so vital to the game. I the first six are the typical popular Neon Colors I tried to push the limit when it comes to brightness. Orange and Purple were notably harder to brighten and I will still tweak them later I'm sure.
So I have 6 suits covered but I am looking to make 9 total levels. So these next three get me really excited. My plan with the last three is to make them change continuously change colors depending on the animation and the lighting. The main benefit to the two-tone suits will be that you can blend in with either of the two colors in the suit. I'm throwing around other ideas for suits but but these should cover the color spectrum.
So I still didn't feel like I nailed the look I was going for with my first concept piece for Tokyo. Since the main mechanic in the game is the Stealthing-in-plain-sight by blending in with bright-colored objects. It's incredibly important that the color palette of each level emphasizes the contrast between Neon and the world around him. So for Tokyo at night-time I'm going for a much more strict Blue/Teal Color palette with Neon Signs and lights on some of the buildings to add more variety to the level. I've simplified the buildings overall and offset them from the camera a little (This should drive home the fact that they aren't platforms and Neon can't interact with them. I've also added light paint brush marks as the primary but subtle texture for the mountain and buildings. I'm really trying to drive home the cartoon feel and keeping the textures more natural and hand drawn seems to be the trick.
So I'm trying to figure out what art style to go with. I drew Neon in pencil his "idle" stance with in pencil (with dual swords because yes I want to have sweet weapons in this game) and then worked on a pixel version and finally a vector version. I'm really torn on which direction to go with because I like the idea of vector art and the ability to really make the game look like a cartoon. but the pixellated version really ended up more badass than I could have imagined (Neon really has a meaner look that I'm digging). I am very undecided might need to work on some baddies and background art before I really decide which direction I'm heading in.Keep in mind the final result will be closest to the smallest sprite on this page so there is really only so much detail that is needed.
Ok so I left the pixel version it's same mean self but worked more on the Vector version. You can see in version 02 I lightened and lessened the gradient and simplified the black belt and bands. I also thickened up all of the outlines which really brought out the "cartoon feel" that I've been going for.At HD resolution the smaller size can probably be a little larger than I first assumed. (Really this depends on the level design) I also want the flexibility to be able to zoom in and out to an extent with the camera so it will be nice to have art assets that scale well.After these tweaks I'm really starting to lean towards the vector art style.
I'm also toying with the idea that the different looks signify upgrades, bonuses or power-ups. I like the idea of a slow-motion power up and maybe when this ability is triggered Neon's costume shifts into the cyan color. Maybe he can jump higher or does more damage or can take more damage when he shifts into yellow.Or maybe I'll just go with the more obvious choose your color at the start screen and have the bonus be pretty much superficial. Only time will tell.