Devlog 4: L'art


I have two days until the prototype deadline. What do I do in that short time span?


This is a completely unnecessary thing to do when I'm under such a strict limit, but creating appropriate art styles for games is something that I take VERY seriously. Mess up the visuals, and you have yourself an amateurish mess of a game. I also wanted to communicate to players how the game would look before doing anything else. Again, I take art quite seriously.

The Problem

Before the process, Rotor Drift's visuals consisted of basic colors with no detail whatsoever mixed with detailed stone bricks and tiles, which you can see in the first image. If you've ever looked at anything art-related, you'd know: That's not good! Every game needs to remain consistent and follow a set guideline. Through this rule, even the most basic visuals can still remain appealing.

I picked up on this pretty quickly, but how could I fix it?

Deciding an Art Style

To fix this problem, I would need to pick an art style and stick with it. 

Even though Rotor Drift is a simulator, having a realistic art style would be a no-go. Creating all of the materials and textures would be a nightmare and take up precious development time that could be used to flesh out the gameplay. Although I wanted to put maximum effort into the visuals, I also wanted a functional game.

Instead, why not do a 180 and try a "PSX" art style? A "great" idea! Using the Unity PSX Shader, I toyed around with 90s visuals for a bit. However, the game looked quite bland with this coating, and I didn't really want to become "just another indie who uses PS1 styling to get away with poor graphics."

What now?

Turning the Game into a Cartoon

I realized Rotor Drift would need a balance between simplicity and complexity.

"Toon Shading" is essentially a process where colors and materials get a more cartoony look. If you'd like to see the specifics of the type of shading I used, check out the Unity URP Toon Shader. After a bit of tweaking with the rim colors and adding a hint of post-processing (A GREAT feature), the game looked as good as new! You can see the final result in the second image.

Stay tuned! Rotor Drift's alpha release will be released on the 30th, or whenever your time zone is.

There's no more stuff here. Scram!

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