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Author Topic: Need advice on design  (Read 935 times)

InCreator

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Need advice on design
« on: 25 Feb 2015, 08:17 »
Hi, CL over looong time!
I've managed to land myself into a bit of trouble. In July last year, I released a puzzle game named Pall. It was a logic game, roughly based on Laser Light (MS-DOS).
It looked like this:


As you can see, there's some stuff going on, but it isn't very clear if it's any fun or what's going on at all. Now see the trailer:



Website for further interest

Trailer, despite breaking YouTube 15-second immersion rule, shows what goes on much better. It shows that everything's much more alive and animated than screenshots would suggest, that background uses parallax movement and so on. Sadly, despite being on every imaginable platform except iOS, Pall was absolute flop. I had 7000 players, and 6940 of them chinese pirates. While most of the problems lie in lack of (and inability to do) marketing (keywords Android + Puzzle fires all spam filters for every journalist, screenshots look boring) and my blue-eyed belief that "if there's a quality product, people are willing to pay for it" (they do not on mobile market!), I'm also not satisfied with graphic style, hence this thread.

I'm still not done with Pall. A sequel is almost done, but I want to lose the pixellated, lifeless retro look and actually make use of color wheels and theory, and make it look fresher.
While I originally liked my art direction of first game very much - and was close to taking it even further and make everything in glorious 4-color cyan-purple-black-white CGA, audience did not like even current look (from as little feedback as I got).

So, as title says, I need some advice. Ideas. Vision. I've been experimenting with barebone shapes and almost no colors (See video), but on static screenshots it looks even more lifeless.

Generally, Pall isn't very complicated game. There's only 20-or-so setpieces that should have stylized, recognizable look.



Some of the game pieces. Sorry, glass corner isn't very visible due alpha.

What I need is a way to draw them in a way where they are still recognizable, but look significantly better. I also decided to up the size from original 48x48 to 96x96 pixels (or even 128x128), so I can add more detail and upscaling on various devices hurts less.

Does this make any sense?

Sorry for the wall of text, I've been thinking about this problem for months now while rewriting engine and I'm getting quite desperate :undecided:
« Last Edit: 25 Feb 2015, 09:05 by InCreator »

moloko

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Re: Need advice on design
« Reply #1 on: 25 Feb 2015, 09:09 »
You've come to the right place, my friend. :)IMHO, what you may want to do is take this into the 21st century. Designwise, I'd suggest the following:

*Limit your colour scheme. Drastically. 4 Colours will be more than sufficient, and allow for a hierarchy and structure in colouring. Make similar elements similar colors, so actionable objects stand out. Pick one color that is pleasing to the eye and use that for about 90 percent of the board, in different hues. 
*Lose the disco background. It doesn't contribute to the overall feel.
*Use depth to your advantage. These objects have dimensional qualities along the Z axis, but none of them seem to protrude in any way. Allow players to feel the dimensionality
*I'd steer away from clichéd materials and objects. Find a new, more fun theme for the objects your using. Make everything paper craft, or introduce a jungle, medieval, space, or even erotic theme. Once you pick a theme, you'll be inspired to create a fresh, actual layout.
*Fun is key. This is a game, so what you really want to do is make an aspect stand out. Exaggerate an object or action, introduce something no other game has seen before or animations that feel human and fun.

Hope this helps!






selmiak

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Re: Need advice on design
« Reply #2 on: 25 Feb 2015, 12:01 »
what moloko said, but don't chose only one theme like jungle, medieval, space, or even erotic theme, but create tilesets and base 20 levels on jungle, 20 levels on space, 20 levels on desert, etc.
Looking at the 2nd video (less colors stylized thing), well, the black particles look kind of interesting, maybe add some kind of glow/shadow around them. But when the balls hit the wall the particles still don't look good. The movement is too straight, add some randomness and also a different form than just 1px particle, maybe also random sizes to show the shattering of the ball object.

InCreator

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Re: Need advice on design
« Reply #3 on: 26 Feb 2015, 11:54 »
Hm. I don't feel like this game would benefit from jungle or haunted house theme, this isn't quite Zuma. The basic premise is somewhat physics-related. Original game had spacey feel and sci-fi-ish soundtrack.
Maybe neon-on-white feel like different header renders on my website? Feels like a Portal a bit to me?