Eventually I want to add NTSC artifacts using Pixel Bender. For now, I have to produce a small miracle of art assets, and use the tiny palette effectively. I never thought I’d study old Nintendo games, but that’s exactly how I spent my evening.
According to Tsugomo, the eye perceives brighter colors as being closer. Most games with decent art have solid blocks brighter than the background.
Obviously, you can see what’s solid, and what’s not. But, there are other ways to make this distinction.
In this example, the noisy texture of the glass tiles sets them apart from the solid background.
The waterfall is a torrent of bright colors, so the solid platform has to be even brighter, mostly pure white. Mega Man is almost the same blue as the background, but stands out because in this case, he is darker.
Kinda pushing it here… Everything is blue. The platforms are bright enough to stand out, but Mega Man is almost lost in the background.
Interesting use of color. Lots of black pixels in this image, but the platforms have the brightest colors, and stand out.
These are tricky — orange blocks are solid (they have bright highlights), green are background. They introduce this concept earlier in the level, too.
My game uses an overhead perspective, so I’m hunting for similar games with nice art. This screenshot is from the “Mission Impossible” Nintendo cartridge:
I love the geometry and the crafty use of shadows. Almost every tile uses 4 shades of one particular hue, and the effect is striking. And again, the most significant objects have the brightest highlights (your character, the solid crates, the medical kit).
More shadows, with varying lengths (compare the bench to the statue). This image uses a mere 14 colors, which surprises me.
One more from Mission Impossible, then it’s bedtime: