How to Use Visual Elements in Your Gamestar Mechanic Game

Visual elements add ambience to a Gamestar Mechanic game. They allow the player to experience sounds and images that enhance the gaming experience and give a greater depth to your game.

Understanding what visuals add to a game

Visual elements can improve a game in a few ways. They can

  • Provide visual meaning to gameplay: Visuals are helpful for establishing ambience and beauty around your gameplay. By elaborating on the elements of the game, visuals greatly improve pure mechanics with elegant presentation. Every game should have at least some visual appeal, but you can decide how much emphasis you want to put into it.

  • Draw out a story: A picture can be more effective at telling a story than words. If you have an absorbing idea for a story, visuals are an excellent way to communicate your idea to players. In addition, ambient design is useful for building your world outside the main storyline — make players feel like they’re exploring your creative universe.

  • Be aesthetically immersive: Elegant visual elements can catch the eye of players, building interest in your game. This is what makes visuals an important component of a game: They immediately grab the players’ attention.

Developing visuals for your game

Developing artwork is a fun experience, and you can easily implement visuals in Gamestar. Try these methods to get started:

  • Add building blocks. Many games have chunks of space that are reserved for buildings, pillars, thick walls, or other elaborate objects. This is common in games featuring large detailed areas, where challenges are spread out over expansive levels.

    When you have space to build your visuals, and no gameplay is required there, the design process becomes more like building blocks: You assemble large objects by using a collection of meticulously chosen smaller ones. By setting aside spaces where you have the freedom to build whatever you want, the building block method is a simple and useful strategy.

  • Experiment with sprite combinations. Blocks in Gamestar Mechanic don’t just have single colors, but rather gradients and unique textures. So you can produce interesting results when you use only a few sprites together. For example, maybe you find that using bricks and glass over a light blue background is an attractive design. If you can find unique combinations of colors and textures, you can create an interesting design.

  • Build a scene. It sometimes helps to have some sort of theme behind your game, from either the story or the gameplay, such as “medieval” or “outdoorsy.” If you have a plan for what the area should look like, you can construct it more easily. You can build your gameplay and develop the scenery around it, or build the scene and develop the gameplay to explore it.

Using visuals effectively

In addition, visuals have a few general rules that you should always remember:

  • Avoid colors that clash. Sometimes two colors clash, such as the red objects against a bright green background. Try not to use combinations like this one. Instead, use a background that goes well with as many sprite colors as possible.

    Keep in mind, especially when using a custom background, that light or dark colors can be quite useful because they blend well with almost everything. Bright colors can be tricky to use neatly.

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  • Don’t clutter the level. If you have lots of colors, objects, and moving sprites in your game, players may become distracted and frustrated. The second area from the left shows a cluttered level: The background and sprite colors are distracting, and the motion blocks are shaky, making it hard to pinpoint the level’s structure. In general, don’t use visuals that make it difficult for players to focus.

  • Define the game space. Space isn’t just an element of gameplay. Space and perspective make vital contributions to visual style, defining the area in which your game takes place. Fortunately, Gamestar Mechanic makes perspective fairly straightforward: Space out your sprites to create an expansive feel, and clump them together for a tight feel. A primary use of visuals is to give the game a refined and complete look.

    Note the second area from the right. The game space is defined as a small room surrounded by empty space, which looks a bit mismatched. To fix this problem, you can either expand the room and give the avatar more space to move about or fill out the area around the room with extra detail. This technique better defines the game space and gives the player a sense of perspective.

  • Use backgrounds that contrast rather than blend. Another potential problem with backgrounds is blending: If a color in your background is similar to a monochrome sprite, the sprite may become hard to see. For example, a bright red background can make enemy bullets almost invisible. The background should make sprites stand out rather than absorb them.

  • Use blocks as architecture. Use blocks and other sprites to design buildings, landscapes, and other structures. If you add a minimal number of platforms or walls and use the background only to define your visuals, the level may feel incomplete. Place lots of blocks in your level to establish the setting — sprites don’t have to affect the gameplay if they serve the purpose of making the game look better.

  • Define the palette. Many games require only a small selection of decorative blocks. These blocks form the palette of the level — the basic colors and shapes that define the look and feel of the environment. If you use a lot of different types of sprites for detail, the level might look inconsistent. Clearly define the palette for each level and use the others primarily for detail work.

Nonsolid blocks are helpful for designing visual elements that the avatar can move through instead of circling around. Use animated sprites such as enemies, Phoenix blocks, and moving blocks to add a dynamic feeling to visuals.