Whether you’re an artist or a game developer, game art is critical to creating a successful hyper-casual game. Antony Oms and Florian Laizet, game artists at Voodoo, shared personal tips based on their experience in the industry.
The importance of game art
The most important thing when creating a hyper-casual game is the core gameplay and how much novelty you bring to the market when prototyping your game.
If your core gameplay is engaging, this will be reflected in the first raw footage you use to promote the game. Gameplay should be clear to the user in seconds, but your game art needs to be effective to do so.
If we look at this Cube Surfer clip, thanks to well-balanced contrasts and clear, well-demonstrated gameplay elements, the visuals meet all the requirements. In just a few seconds, the user can project themselves into the game, capturing the main elements: character, obstacles, objective and so on.
Similarly, the feeling created by the game, whether satisfaction or frustration, becomes clear in just a few seconds. Speed is a key element of success when going from prototype to launch.
Tip 1: Use proven color schemes
If you’re looking for a color scheme for your game but don’t want to spend a huge amount of time testing different options, there are tools you can use to create palettes based on other successful games.
Adobe Color, allows you to upload a screenshot, select different colors and automatically generate a color palette. It will also provide exact color codes that you can use for your game. Here it’s important to define two parts of your game: the key core gameplay elements (character, obstacles, track, etc.) and the background, and the following screenshot will explain why that is.
Tip 2: Adjust the contrast
When it comes to game art, your visuals should focus on the core gameplay elements. To do this, you need to work on contrast.
The user’s eye, will focus on the most contrasting elements of your game and since your ads should showcase the core gameplay elements, they should stand out. The lower the visual noise, the lower the CPI. One thing you can do to test the contrasts of your game is to take a screenshot and put it in grayscale.
This will help you determine which elements stand out more. You can do this throughout the production process, making sure that each new element doesn’t interfere with the main gameplay. Contrasts are important for every single element in the game, so it’s crucial to set it up correctly! It is also worth remembering that 7 to 8% of users are color blind. Shades of gray, as well as obstacles such as spikes, will allow you to make your games accessible and every player will be able to distinguish different gameplay elements.
Tip 3: Use simple shaders
To get the best results, you need to use shaders, but how do you determine which one is best to use? People tend to choose the standard Unity shader, which is good, but too popular in hyper-casual games! In this genre, your color really needs to stand out, and you definitely don’t need the same amount of detail or detail as, say, a AAA-grade game.
Avoid all unnecessary detail to make your game readable! Voodoo developers use simple and customizable shaders that are perfect for getting good results quickly.
Tip 4: User Interface
A good user interface won’t improve your KPIs, but an unreadable or complicated interface will only hurt. In a hyper-casual game, users should be able to play the game quickly and easily, without difficulty or frustration. The controls should be intuitive, as hyper-casual games are enjoyed by almost everyone with a smartphone; gamers or non-gamers, young children, the older generation, etc.
Adapting the interface, it’s best to start with the home screen. The buttons should be clickable and it is better not to use any unnatural or exotic forms for this.
In the popular game Aquapark.io, simply switching between two buttons doubled the number of clicks. Artists recommend taking care of the position of your elements on the screen. Voodoo has found that 80% of players don’t use red areas, so try to stick to the green area.
Tip 5: Make game art attractive
Make the game more attractive by adding particle effects. From experience, artists have found that adding passive environments, such as water or city skylines in the background, improves the sense of progression and will add context to the game without disturbing the eyes or distracting the player.
Another idea is to create an interesting end to a level where players are rewarded, even if they lose, by using confetti, fireworks, or any other quirky things to cause player satisfaction. However, it’s important that these additions don’t distract from the core gameplay itself.
Spiral Roll has a great example of a successful level completion that uses attractive game art to encourage the player.
So, here are some basic tips to help you when creating graphics for your hyper-casual game.
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