Project G: Some Musings on Art & Design
In the wake of our successful Greenlight campaign for Project G, we at Nebula were hard at work to polish the game leading up to its release on Steam.
As lead artist, it was my duty to keep the style consistent between the ships, enemy types and backgrounds – and also bringing them to the final marketing designs and logo – as well as animate them for different wait and attack patterns. My main tool of choice was Photoshop, mainly using the Shape Pen Tool alongside various gradient and airbrush effects.
The Blue Ship was the first thing I’d designed for the game that was approved for use, and its colours and sleek shape akin to a submarine informed the rest of the look of the game. The first backgrounds and enemies I designed were the angel fish bots in the early level, and the setting for Area 2.
I also attempted to design some parts of the UI, but those duties passed on to a second pair of hands, while I was freed up to design the rest of the stages. I wanted to keep some kind of narrative in some of the background elements, namely Level 3, where the ruins of a massive bridge or structure is left in ruins under the sea.
I also wanted to continue this narrative into many of the enemy designs too. The fish-bots were created to protect the undersea farms to benefit humanity. And the first minor enemies and Level 1 boss are angelfish. And what are angelfish named after? The bosses also have a theme of ‘protection’ running throughout, whether it’s defending humanity or themselves. The difficulty of cracking open the data logs is also a nice tangent, as well as giving the ship’s shield time to restore itself.
Is it always necessary to have a theme in the game’s art design? Maybe yes, maybe no. Sometimes it’s good to start with a theme in mind, and other times, like Project G, the theme waits to reveal itself.