When most people play video games, they are unaware of just how much is required behind the scenes to create the finished product they are able to pick up and start playing. Even simple 2D mobile games have a whole host of aspects which had to be carefully designed and built so that the game is playable, enjoyable, performs well, looks good, and is an all-round, good quality experience. In this project, I was part of a small team who created all the artwork and assets for a hypothetical first person battle royale shooter game.

This involved creating an original character for the tank class, complete with a primary weapon, abilities, and an accompanying map for a ‘king of the hill’ style game mode. This whole process involved designing, building and texturing all the different assets, ensuring that they were all optimised and ‘game-ready’ - ie. ensuring that texture sizes and polycounts would not impede performance; that everything was created to a high quality.

The first stage was conceptualisation. We began by creating silhouette sketches and then development sketches for our character, who was to be of the “tank” class (that is, a beefier character who could withstand a lot of damage) and futuristic. We took this into consideration in our designs, as well as the fact that they needed to be bipedal and carry a gun or projectile weapon of some sort. We compared our designs and selected the one we thought would be best. We then created a character sheet, which contained a character turnaround and render, abilities, weapon turnaround, and character bio (I did the character turnaround based on the character render by another team member). From this, some team members began 3D modelling the character and weapon and another team member designed the map layout, while the rest of us developed concepts for the props in environment.

A green and yellow sci-fi gun.A blue and orange sci-fi gun.3D computer model of a giant tube of glowing green liquid.Textured 3D computer model of a elevator.Textured 3D computer model of a light.

The next stage involved the modellers building the rest of the assets while one person continued on the environment concepts and the rest of us textured the assets provided by the modellers. Using a combination of Photoshop and Substance Painter, we created realistic textures for all the assets using pre-defined colour schemes. This involved adding dirt, wear and damage to the models to give them a more realistic appearance.

Textured 3D computer model of a shipping container with the word "toxic" spray painted on the side..Textured 3D computer model of a shipping container with the word "toxic" spray painted on the side..A series of rough ability icon sketches.
A grey and white weapon icon.A grey and white ability icon.A grey and white ability icon.A grey and white ability icon.A grey and white ability icon.A grey and white ability icon.

During the texturing stage, I also was in charge of developing the primary weapon and ability icons (pictured above). These icons needed to be simple but identifiable, while also being clearly different from each other and having a visual connection to the ability they were symbolising. While these icons were based on the preliminary designs of another team member, I iterated upon the designs and even changed some completely. This was done to create a stronger visual connection between them and their corresponding abilities, ensure they would be discernible at a small size, and make the icons ‘generic’ so that they could be used for any character in the game who has those abilities (eg. the final Steel Ram icon does not feature a specific character as was in the original design, but instead uses an arrow which would work with any character).