My pastel palette has spawned something of a monster. Folmer Kelly and I love playing with this strange collection of colours so much that we’ve begun building assets for a dungeon crawl game. We were heavily inspired by the Amiga classic ‘The Chaos Engine’ and are attempting to achieve something reminiscent of that visual style though we are going about many technical details differently.
Here’s the base tile set we worked out. The floor resides on a lower layer. The document is built on a grid of 16×16 pixels, with most assets requiring multiple tiles to assemble. For instance a floor section’s top surface is made from 4 tiles, with an additional 2 tiles to create an exposed edge. This is a slower way of drawing than if we had used 32×32 tiles, but it allows for more visual variety when on can create a single tile that can make a whole wall appear to have a different feature. The tile set supports elevations for raised platforms or pits. Outer walls are drawn with a false perspective while inner walls have no perspective. This is done to allow for more manageable map layouts where the objects that the player encounters are best with a simpler form, but the perspective of the outer walls gives a sense of place and theme. Keep in mind that the layout above is just for constructing the tiles around all the necessary geometries and does not reflect the kinds of arrangements that would be used in-game.
My first run at designing a style was to go for a techno dungeon aesthetic. I wanted it to feel a bit archaic still, so panels aren’t clean, monitors are a bit too small, and the materials are not shiny. I also cast the outermost wall into shadow to give it some more drama. I’m undecided if all the styles should follow suit.
After the techno dungeon I made this pool set. I played around a lot here with extra tiles and variants, along with cuts into the wall surfaces to make them look alcoved. This still has some spooky atmospherics but the decorations and hues give a more palatial feel. To make the negative spaces on floor appear to be flooded with water I made a new front edge to the floor tiles with a reflection indicated an a bright parting line to indicate the surface tension of the water. Some ripples and simple water splash tiles to scatter about the map will help reinforce that instead of a chasm the empty spaces are instead pools.