Graphics Blog

Computing (Games Design), Ty Symes

Finished Projects.

Below is a list of all my own finished art work for my Graphics Module with all 5 of the A3 Boards. I have done a small write-up on each finished piece or collection and will reflect on what I’ve done and how it compares with what I wanted out of my ‘Research and Planning’ blog post.

1. Background final design.

I begin with my finished background environment art. This has been done in a 2D style. I had this saved from a while back when I was fiddling around with art software and wanted to really bring it to life on Photoshop for my game concept. Below is the A3 Presented Board I will hand in as part of my assignment. (Could only fit a JPEG Image, PNG is included in my pen drive).

Environment Finished Design (JPEG FOR BLOG).jpg


Unknown Galaxy? (Milky Way Styled System) : Using similar styles with the pixelated art style used in Risk of Rain mentioned in my research and planning, I created small milky way systems using a grid of 1×1 pixels, which can be seen below. The image is a bit lower detail because of how large the screen size is on the original canvas but each of these were drawn in one by using the same style in my Door’s and Objects. I wanted to express the lack of light pollution and beauty in the area at night by adding visible red dwarfs and brightly lit stars and systems.


For the sky I used rectangular shapes ascending in brightness, leaving the top area dark to mimic a clear night sky. Using gradients as well as high lights and low lights with low opacity to hep the color’s blend without losing the blocky 2D feel. Examples shown:


I wanted to also add a northern lights effect creeping over the landscape but managed to get creative with the Burn and Dodge tools on Photoshop to create a more eerie atmosphere covering the area. Using dodge on the tips of the mountains for the lighter blue effects and a small line of burn marks over the top to give off the secondary yellow/grey tips. Finally design for the mountains was made using similar techniques we learned on Illustrator in our lessons for creating shapes using the custom shape tools. I chose more triangular shapes to form the mountains, to give it a sharper feel. Blending color correctly to give them a martian type feel, rather than earth like green/grey landscapes.


2. Character final design.

For my character design I wanted to go with a style I have enjoyed from Angry Video Game Nerd, Risk of Rain and an Android game I played a while back called Tiny Death Star, the game featured heavily on cute 8-Bit characters and designs. Using techniques used for the body of the human characters on Risk of Rain and the blank expression on the faces featured from Tiny Death Star, I have created my Main Character, The Archaeologist’s design. I have detailed sprite animations with their functions and have added alternate outfits, including 1 Item pickup, which is the Oxygen Mask. Again using the same technique with the pixel grid, I built these sprites using my research as guidelines.

JPEG (*PNG will be on Disc)

Character Finished Design(JPEGF FOR BLOG).jpg

3. Objects Final Design. 

For my objects, I chose to use objects which have physical use in my game, in a typical 2D game style. Objects like Doors, Torches, Keys, Chests and other furnishing items and features. I’ve also included one of the Unlocks, the Blaster Pistol. Below is a JPEG version of my Objects Final Design, as with my other projects, PNG files have been included on a disc.  For the purpose of shading and adding glint effects to my objects, I used the dodge and burn tools, these were more effective and more practical then adding high lights and low lights.

Objects Finished Design (BLOG)

4. Items Finished Design.

For my Items, I chose usable items like Potions and upgrade-able items like the shovel and it’s rare alternative, the golden shovel, essentially just a repack of the color but in-game would have better effects, either hit speed, length of the swing etc. The 3 potions I chose to make will aid player characters Sanity, Health and Magic like in typical games. Below is the JPEG Image, PNG has been included in my hand in disc.

Items Finished Design (BLOG)

5. Final Character Design (All 2D Angles, Back and Front. Direction is reversible so not needed, examples of right facing walking given on Character Final Design already.)

I made a turn around of the character, I’ve only shown front and back examples because the character moves left and right with the “Character Front” Images, Whenever the player accesses an item in the background in-game, it will turn to it (Facing away from the screen).

CharacterPerspectiveFinish (BLOG)


Research and Planning.

Following my game proposal I will be looking into what aspects of my game I will need to cover in my Artwork. To do this I have simply broken down artwork used in current games and discussed which area’s I will focus on.

  1. Planning.

To begin I wanted to cover the very basics of the artwork I will be wanting to create. Using influence of games I have been researching, watching and have previously played, I will show examples of concepts and finished productions and try to follow the industry standard.

In order to do this, I have first of all looked into games I have mentioned previously in my Game Proposal such as Super Mario Maker, Terraria and Battleblock Theatre. I have chosen these games as they feature heavily a lot of the same concepts as I want to produce for my Game Proposal. Below is a few examples of the objects, backgrounds and characters I will be looking to create.

a. Characters.

For my characters I will use examples of both male and female sprites. I will create a sprite sheet for my main character which will be male, other characters such as NPC’s (Non Player Character’s) will be shown as well. I have chosen to look at Terraria for this specific task as I like the styles they have. More specifically the styles shown below [Online] Available from: – on the Terraria Wiki page on Gamepedia. [Accessed: 4th December 2015]. These are the default styles for the male and female characters showing different uses of clothing. Terraria expands the personal looks further with the use of armor and equipment which overlay the default looks.

                   Style1                         Style2

I found a great image someone created for the characters on risk of rain and I really liked the way the characters were laid out with their abilities underneath the sprites for each character. I want to replicate this same style using my own art with writing describing my character (The Archaeologist) and his own abilities. The image shown below is from a post [Online] on Reddit and Imgur, User: ‘zingrook’, Available from:  [Accessed: 08.12.15]

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Tiny Death Star was a business simulation game created by Lucas Arts, Disney Mobile and NimbleBit. The game features 8-bit characters in a hotel level based system. Player’s would expand their death star by adding more rooms and improving production in shops and bars etc. Unlocking more residents and skilled workers along the way. I really enjoyed the art style for this because it has a lot of the spacey elements I want to replicate in my own designs. Similar games by this developer are Tiny Tower and Tiny Tower Vegas, these feature similar graphics but collectively they’re present in time on earth and not very futuristic or astral in terms of design like Tiny Death Star was. Below is an image of some of the objects and designs that were featured in the game (as it has been removed from the marketplace by Disney, as reported on Wikipedia, Source: [Online] [Accessed: 10.12.15]

b. Backgrounds, Terrain and Objects.

Again, looking back to Terraria another great use of environmental changes with the Biomes which affect the locations overall appearance and objects used within the scenes. More specifically use of outdoor area’s and underground or subterranean spaces. Which will be useful to me for my proposal given it’s requirements. I have shown images below of how they portray backgrounds in 2D side scrolling games.

Picture taken from the AlphaCoders website [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 4th December 2015] [Online]
Stepping away from Terraria for a second, I have chosen to look at a page I stumbled across on the Spriters-Resource website [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 4th December 2015] [Online]. This page has all of the assets used in the Super Mario Maker game. After looking through I decided it would be best to research the page covering the Super Mario World assets. I chose these because all of the games after this point on the page feature, 3D stylized assets for the Wii U, but for the purpose of my proposal, the Super Mario World section seemed more fitting to research. They also have higher detailed objects and backgrounds compared to it’s predecessors.

Moving on, the final choice of design for the backgrounds. Taken from one of Risk of Rains first levels, “Desolate Forest” features some really nice spacey artwork in the background for how this style can be replicated in a non earth-like environment. Image taken below from the website Sharc Tank [Online] Available from: %5BAccessed: 7th December 2015] [Online]


In the image above, they show items collected at the bottom of the screen. I really like the flat layout for the items and how they’re presented. Each item has a background layer of color to show rarity. White/Green backgrounds are common item types. Reds, Purples and Oranges are used for higher rarity items. The same has been used in the difficulty bar at the top right of the screen, I love the color pallet used especially on the background and will try to replicate this technique, especially on my environment image. Although it’s a high res image, the background contains a lot of pixelated techniques, used in the clouds, ground etc.


What skills/techniques will I use to create my assets?

For the purpose of all sprite based pixel work I will be doing, I will use the same technique as shown in one of our graphics lessons, where we set up a grid to create the Sword. As reported on Wikipedia, [Online] “Pixel art is a form of digital art, created through the use of raster graphics software, where images are edited on the pixel level. Graphics in most old (or relatively limited) computer, console, graphing calculator and mobile games are mostly pixel art.” Available From: [Online] [Accessed: 11.12.15]

Digital Artists with this Style?

Pixellent: here is a brilliant pixel drawing showing 2.5D elements. 2.5D drawings are a good way of adding more depth to 2D pixelated work and allows the additional option of showing off 2D environments keeping the same style. Available From: [Online] [Accessed: 11.12.15]


Planning for presentation of Artwork.

For the purpose of planning my presented work of objects and art work, I will use all objects and sprites created and have them presented in tiles similar to the images we looked at earlier in the Tile set page’s on the Spriters-Resource website mentioned in the Backgrounds and Objects sub category. I have shown an example below with loads of sprites and how they’re presented, neatly in a tiled formation. I will also show blown out images of the original copies so they can be viewed at a larger resolution.

Tiled Assets-SMM1.png
[Online] Available from:  [Accessed: 4th December 2015] [Online]

Game Proposal..

Game Proposal/High Concept Document

What is the concept/game?

For my game using the ‘Design by Chance’ rules, I have been landed with a 2D Side Scrolling game, using 2D Sprite Based Art, set in a system of caves, with buried temples, using the style of a Horror game, but with 30’s streamline moderne style. For this to work I have chosen influences from other games that I would like to blend.

Unique Selling Point’s (USP’s)

Hook #1 – A classic style of gaming revisited with a blend of different genres to give a unique feel.

Hook #2 – Colourful environments, deep exploration, and an expansive world with character progression to further your experience.

Hook #3 – Fun missions. Race, fight and explore your way through the deep.


I’m trying to appeal to mostly all ages, but due to the genre of the game being a horror and the general setting being dark and mysterious, this will prove to be difficult. I will be using a range of different techniques to keep it from being dark and dull. I will use bright colour schemes on quest items, weapons, tools and general pickups so they stand out from the background. Hopefully it will appeal to some of the younger age groups as well as older players, as broadening the market will make for widened sales.


I will be hoping to release my game on Consoles like the PS4, XBOX One as well as PC (Steam or Disc). I will be avoiding Mobile gaming platforms such as IOS, Android and Windows. (explain why in detail on part 5 of the Proposal)

Proposal (following pages)

1. What is the game?

My game will be a 2D side scrolling game based in either a series of caves and ravines or large subterranean spaces. Inside the caves will feature different temples and old ruins which the player will have the option of exploring for additional items.

2. What is the premise?

The story begins with the character climbing down a rope into the cavern. The main character for the story is an archaeologist with an unrelenting passion for haunted ancient artifacts. Only problem is, our heroic little archaeologist is terrified of dark and scary caves. Ironic? Well, there’s only one thing to do, collect as much as possible as quickly as possible to avoid scaring the adventurer to death and get out alive, all or nothing.

3. Features:
Clear levels to progress further..
The player will have to clear a level in order to go further then the current stage, death will result in respawning at the start of the level, but checkpoints are made each time a stage is cleared. Requirements might be having a specific statuette or key to progress. Save points can be made on levels, storing players items and progress.
Pickups: Temporary boosts/items and constant boosts/items (Relics/Statuettes).
The player will find hidden relics which can temporarily or permanently boost the characters stats, I.E. health, stamina etc. Timed items will be limited to.. well, time. These are called “crumbling relics/statuettes”, permanant items will remain in the players inventory throughout their game progression.
Weapons and tools to help exploration.
Explore, search and raid temples and old ruins for new items to help you overcome obstacles to clear levels.
Avoid being spooked! The Sanity bar explained..
Players will have to avoid certain enemies. The Sanity bar will drain when near Ghosts of the buried temples. When the bar drains all the way to zero, the player will go insane causing health to slowly drain with other potential curses. Curses can include, reversed movement, blurred vision, reduced lighting and more. After time out of contact with Ghosts, or after boosts have been applied, the Sanity bar will fill up again and health will no longer drain.

4. Gameplay:
The game will feature a set amount of chapters, each with a specific number of levels. For example, “Chapter 01, Level 01”. Each level has a different map and each chapter has a different map type, correlating to the depth of the cave or the environment, progressively becoming more evil.

The player will advance through a series of levels filled with traps, timed jumps, temples and old ruins, as mentioned, whilst avoiding enemies. The goal is to complete the mission by achieving all of the requirements and reaching the end of the level.

Enemies will wander randomly through the depths, some are able to be defeated some are not. Ghosts and ethereal spirits cannot be defeated but can be avoided when following mission objectives or using tools. Coming into contact directly with ghosts can severely drain the players Sanity. (character sprite will go completely white or transparent)

Finding the temples and old ruins will add exploration to the game allowing players to explore deeper into the lore and overall theme of the game, taking them deeper then just the caves themselves (Kinda how the pipes work in Mario for additional levels).

5. Platform Specifics:

I will be aiming to release this on PC and Consoles. I have chosen these as my platforms to release my game on because I feel they can benefit by them the most. I have not chosen Mobile Gaming devices such as Android, IOS or Windows phones because the scale of the game will be a lot smaller on typically used devices and the controls will not be as easy and intuitive for mobile gaming.
6. Competitive Analysis:

There has been a lot more serious RPG styled side scrolling games over the past few years. I have chosen games like Terraria, Starbound, Rogue Legacy and more recently Super Mario Maker, to research and take influence from. I will also be looking at games in the horror genre to see how I can blend the two in the format of a 2D side scrolling game.
Other games with the same style?

Super Mario Maker is a game which allows the player to edit their own levels, based on previous Super Mario games. And of course the Nintendo giant attracts a lot of attention in this specific market. [Online] Super Mario Maker sold 138,000 physical copies, it was also the second best selling game on the week of it’s release in the UK, succeded by Metal Gear Solid V and is the fourth fastest selling game for Wii U, since the consoles debut in 2012. – Sources Wikipedia, link from Metro Newspaper. Accessed: 20.11.20015 [Online]


My name is Ty Symes and I am a student attending Northbrook University, studying the Computing (Games Design) Foundation course, first year. I have created this blog for my graphics module, in which I’ll be discussing progress and will try to update it on a weekly basis. Each week I will write about what we have learned in lesson by writing about the summary of the tasks we have been set and using images with proper references for any personal or stock images uploaded.

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