In a normal traditional platform game, we’ll need some pretty tiles that cycle without giving too much hint that they are tiles. This game however, aims to capture the natural organic feel of the environment, so it will have many unique tilesets (that is, there will be many tiles which are only used once). Games that feature this kind of tilesets include the Metal Slug series, as well as the arenas for most modern fighters.
Unfortunately, this approach requires a lot of observation and time to draw. For instance, this tree branch was “constructed” very much like a real branch. It has detailed individual leaves and is irregular and full of accidents. This gives it a much more organic feel.
Notice how it almost looks like the branch actually grows in the construction. The same is applied to the rock patterns that I’ve been drawing for the game. In nature, they don’t shape up chaotically, but rather in very complex ways, and you’d need advanced mathematics to calculate them. This actually means you have a lot of freedom to draw freehand and imagine the geometry any way you want because nobody will know the difference, but remember to keep the light source consistent!
In normal tile-based games these details are usually stylized into a generic shape, giving it a more anime look, for instance the trees in 2D Zelda games. Here’s a tree I worked on for a former project. The advantage is that it is easily recyclable and fits perfectly into any 16×16 tileset, making it very comfortable to implement into map design.
This game will actually be a combination of both, but there will be many visual treats to make every single surrounding unique.
Well, that’s it for today. Merry Christmas to you all!