Art Direction and Menu Design

With the setting and aim of the game solidified (a pirate-themed time management game), Roy set to work building our engine and framework, while I began looking into the mood and atmosphere of our game.

Right from the start we both agreed on the mood: light, fun and sort of ridiculous. We planned on making a game that sought only to entertain the user with addictive gameplay and quirky, enticing graphics. The name would be whimsical, the pirates happy and the setting anachronistic.

With this in mind, I settled on a few choices. First, that the style would be cartoony and simplified. Second, that I would use no black (#000) for line work and thirdly, that backgrounds would flow softer and more painterly than important objects.

The very first item I started working on was our menu, since we had a solid idea of the links provided and it would set a good precedent for the art direction of the levels. After making a few quick sketches, we picked out one that echoed our game best.

First menu designs

Counting from the top, we picked the third design. All others had a range of complications, including being unclear, unattractive or deluding about the game’s content. I then made several more sketches with just that design, paying attention to button placement and size of touch surface.

Further menu designs

Eventually, I used the last design without the flag, to be replaced with the logo. The menu progressed as follows.

Menu progress

With the menu finished and art direction clear, the design of the pirates, levels and interaction objects would be the next step.

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