Making it Match

Being retro is fun and has a lot of advantages.  Since I’m artistically challenged, having graphics only a few pixels wide leaves very little room for error.  Unfortunately, making a retro game requires more skill than just putting boxes on a screen and making things glow to add a modern touch.  Every element in a game must match.  From terrain, to the player sprite, to the user interface and menus, everything has to flow as a single entity.  It’s pretty easy to see when something sticks out.  Sudden changes in art style, pixel size, or frames per animation can all scream “programmer art” to a player.

Lets do some obvious comparisons







Mis-matching color palette, wrong pixel resolution, and a very arbitrary bar that’d be difficult to measure how full it is.







I think the new style matches the bloody atmosphere of the game and uses some neat linear interpolation effects on the bar to keep it from looking jumpy.  There’s more polish incoming at a later time but this is a nice step forwards in terms of my HUD.

I read an article that’s overly nit-picky about the Mass Effect user interface but still managed to make some good points if you can dissect them from the pretentiousness.  It’s a fun exercise in taking criticism that might be painful and turning it into something more constructive.  Enjoy!