Hello friends, it is Gabby with a devlog about art. Specifically how much art changes as a game comes along. Perspectrum, since its inception with Connor and Jacob, has gone through several different styles and concepts with that.
The way Perspectrum’s art works is quite unique. Because of the palette-changing mechanic, colors are limited to 6 (~8 if you count the grays that do not change color). This makes creating art a bit of a challenge. The color-change mechanic works by detecting the red value in a color, resulting in an entirely black spritesheet where a single digit change in the RGB determines what color it shows up in-game. During work, I usually put in the palette colors and sprite with that, then re-color with the black shades for using in-game. All of the art has to be made with each element in mind as well as making sure it doesn’t all blend together, with a careful attention played to where the most vibrant colors get used.
I’m including two images here, one is a basic ground tile through 5 different phases and the other is the protagonist. There have been even more phases, alongside numerous smaller redraws. I accessed and pulled all of the images from the project’s source control.
The first image in each image was the very first art pushed in the source control, basically the first real incarnation of the game. It had a smaller resolution than the current project, with a 32×32 tileset and character, alongside 4 colors per palette rather than the current 6. The second was the game’s art when I joined the project in November 2016, with a gray ground and robotic protagonist. The third was my first redesign, now with plain dirt ground and golem protagonist. The first golem suffered from a lack of features that stood out, so the next redo came along. The golem was now a standing-out gray, with features that were in the brighter colors of the palette, as well as losing goggles.
This design stuck around until early 2017, when we started to form together the ideas of the current final project. My skills as a sprite artist had improved, and the idea of a golem was no longer what the protagonist should be. Alongside that, the solid dirt was not at all smooth and looked very blocky and out of place in the black void the levels take place in. We decided to go back to what was there at the start: a tileset that “faded” into black via circles, and a cloaked figure. There were I think 4 different prototypes for our current protagonist, and the final result is our current tall stranger, whose design is a lot more dynamic than the golems’.
So there you have it, a giant devlog on the art journey of Perspectrum. I’m proud of where are art is currently at, and I’m certain the art will make the game’s atmosphere alive and exciting for players.