Coming up with a game style can take a great deal of creativity. There are many examples of how this has been done extremely well over the past years. A couple that come to mind are "Limbo" and "Braid" which both did an amazing job of creating a compelling world on indie budgets (though their budgets were still reasonably larger than mine).
After making "Legends of Descent" I learned a few lessons about the important of the style that you pick for your game. Legends used environment tiles which I would then arrange in a way to produce a dungeon. The first set of tiles that I used for development I borrowed from a game called "Tibia" and then later had an artist make original ones for me. I then took free character sprites from the web to use for my character and the enemies. This kind of worked out ok, but to be honest, the styles of the two clashed quite a bit. Also I ran into issues because the character sprites that I used were so large that they used a lot of memory. Furthermore, the character sprites were pretty expensive to get done by an artist, which limited how many enemy types I could put in the game. In the end, style is one of the things that I regret most about Legends.
|Tiles being used to create a dungeon level in "Legends of Descent"|
So, what are the important things that you should consider when deciding on your games style. Here are a few that I can think of...
- Will the style of all of the elements of your game flow together or feel disjointed?
- Is the style original or creative making it pleasing to view?
- How expensive will each asset cost to be made?
- How reusable are the assets? Can you easily tweak them to make many variations?
- Do the assets need to be created in several different angles (if 2d)? How many?
I found an awesome blog post about creating top down art here. You will notice that I have used his sprites with some slight modifications for version 0.1 of my game.
In the first build which is linked at the top of this post you can go try out the game and get an idea for how it will look. All of these graphics are either made by me or borrowed from free art sites. So, they give you an idea of how it will feel, but none of them are final. Once I am sure that this is the way I want to go I will bring on an artist to start doing the real ones. Let me know what you think in the comments!