Tag Archives: Art

Jetboard Joust Devlog #103 – A Broader Palette

Well, I reckon this has been the longest break between devlog updates so far. I’ve had two contract jobs on, one of which turned into a bit of a never-ending spiral with the client refusing to pay me unless I kept adding additional functionality (for free). Shame, as it was kind of a nice project otherwise. I have a bit of a rule about not working for startups which I broke for that one as I knew the person involved and was interested in the concept.

I’ve also had a lot to do at a rental property I own which needed considerable TLC between tenants and which was built to a very shoddy standard. Grinding out and re-doing grouting between floor tiles in the bathroom was a horrendous job – hope I never have to do that again!

Anyway, you don’t want to hear about that shit. The bulk of the work on Jetboard Joust has been in finalising the main palettes for each of the five ‘worlds’ that comprise the game. I’m going to have four main palettes per world, plus a bunch of ‘bonus’ palettes that can be unlocked by completing specific levels.

I probably should have coded a tool to make this process easier but I just couldn’t face it when the time I had available was very piecemeal, generally half a day here and there between contract work and property maintenance! Consequently my working process was pretty inefficient, basically editing a big PNG of all the palettes in Photoshop before recompiling and running the game to see how things looked.

There are ten colours per palette in the game and the following items can all have a different palette applied (though in practice many share the same palette)

– Player
– Enemies (three types)
– Bosses
– Pickups
– Terrain
– Floor
– Background parallax (both layers)

To design the palettes I used a combination of reference material and inspiration from messing around with colour association using coolors.co and a simple colour ramp generator.

The actual palettes themselves I’ll list below and detail the specific inspiration where appropriate. These are all in the order they appear in the vids.

World One
I wanted to start the game with earthy, muted colours and then progress to more vibrant colours as the user moves through the worlds, as well as slowly introducing different palettes for different sprites. The first palette is the slightly gameboy-ish one I’ve been using from day one and I gradually add more subtle hues to this as we move on. There’s no specific inspiration for the palettes in this world though I was looking a bit at army camouflage designs for the third palette here which is currently named ‘Going Commando’.

World Two
Each of these palettes had a different inspiration, only two of them particularly related.

1. No Space To Scream
A good ‘segue’ palette from the muted colours of world one. This is inspired by the colour scheme for the branding of the original Alien movie.

2. Deep Dive
Inspired by photographs of coral reefs. As the boss in this world is a giant alien robot-fish this seemed appropriate somehow.

3. Neon Flux
Inspired by neon-heavy nighttime shots of cities, particularly Tokyo. Visually it has the feel of being a much more saturated version of the previous palette.

4. Aliens on Acid
Originally inspired by the ‘Alien’ colour scheme as was the first palette, only with colours so saturated it almost has an early arcade / ZX Spectrum feel.

World Three
We go back to a slightly more ‘muted’ feel for these palettes, all of which have their inspiration from vintage designs.

1. Stan and Jack
Inspired by the cheaply printed colours of early comic books, particularly the Marvel stuff.

2. Dead Red Revolution
Partly inspired by poster art from ‘Grindhouse’ style movies (I have a large poster for ‘Death Proof’ on the wall of my studio) and partly by the artwork for Red Dead Redemption which has a similar ‘vintage’ feel.

3. Forbidden Fruit
Inspired by a poster for the 50s sci-fi classic ‘Forbidden Planet’ – I’m really pleased with this one.

4. Retro Apocalypse
Inspired by some cover art for a 50s or 60s pulp sci-fi novel. I am not convinced by this one. It kind of works but some of the sprites just don’t. Needs more work!

World Four
All inspired by various ‘horror’ related themes! We move back to some pretty saturated colours for these ones.

1. Dead Evil
Inspired by the original posters for Sam Raimi’s ‘Evil Dead’ movie.

2. House of Hammers
Inspired by the poster art for various low-rent Hammer horror films. This is another one I’m particularly pleased with.

3. Toil and Trouble
I went for deliberately clichéd ‘Halloween’ style colours for this one. Very saturated and ‘in your face’ but I think it works.

4. Black Mass
Inspired by various different, more modern, horror film posters – as well as the artwork for the ‘American Horror Story’ TV series (which I thought was terrible and never made it past the first series).

World Five
These were mainly inspired by the manual artwork for early Atari arcade cabinets. I absolutely love that stuff and it also adorns the walls of my studio (alongside the aforementioned Death Proof poster and paintings by Basquiat and Tapies).

1. Rayguns at Dawn
Inspired by the ‘Space Duel’ manual art.

2. Planet X
I forget what inspired this specifically (oops) but I’m pretty sure it was the cover art for another vintage pulp sci-fi novel.

3. Gravity’s Rainbow
Inspired by the ‘Gravitar’ manual art. This is one of my favourite palettes in the game.

4. Prospero’s Cabinet
Inspired by the ‘Tempest’ manual art.

There’s still the bonus palettes to be finalised, I’ve done quite a few of them and there’s a lot of nods in there to 8bit home computers and consoles. That’ll be the subject of another post though! Hopefully things will move a little quicker over the next few weeks, next task is to fill in a few gaps in the audio then do a pretty much final teaser vid and get my Steam page up (I probably should have done the latter months ago).

Dev Time: 10 days (pretty broad estimate)!
Total Dev Time: approx 292 days

previous

World Two Palettes – Aliens and Oceanography

World Five Palettes – Atari Arcade Manual Art

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Awesome Atari Arcade Manual Art

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The Forbidden Planet Poster That Inspired One Of My Favourite Palettes