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Article - 'Colors' by ATARI

An item about Graphics/Audio posted on Jan 14, 2004

Blurb

An article about how colors affect your game.

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When you play any game, there are many elements that are involved in the game. You have the story of the game, the characters, the features and the graphics that are involved in the game. Now probably everyone would say that the story and the characters are the most important part in a game. So when you make a game, those are the two things that you most focus on.

However, this is no grounds to completely ignore the other elements as well. One of the most common things that happens, is game creators focus so much on the story lines and characters, and some on the features, but neglect to spend time on the graphics. Now most likely you aren’t going to get some cutting edge graphics in your game, or spend the time making them, and you don’t have to. Still though, graphics are important. Admit it or not. When you play a game, you want it to be able to be pleasing to the eye. So even if you are using a limited amount of graphic power (And most likely are), you can try to help out your graphics. One of those aspects in making the graphics of your game look good, as the
colors that you use.

One of the ways that color affects your game is the way things are shaded. Now take a look at these two pictures and see if you can see the difference between the shading on both pictures.


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As you can see, the first picture has a sort of refined feel to it, and the graphics are very eye catching. The second picture looks like it is an older game and has less of a serious atmosphere to it. If you were to change the shading and the colors in each picture, they would be very different and give you a different feel. This is one of the many purposes of color in a game.

Another part of colors, is making the colors fit with the way your characters look and the surroundings. Now take a look at these two pictures. The first picture is with the correct looking colors, and the second picture has altered colors.


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The second picture just doesn’t feel right at all. The trick with colors is to get colors that look right. Even if you feel that you are not color-coordinated, you can still tell the difference between the two pictures.

Another challenge with colors is making them look interesting and alive wen the screen is dark. Now look at this screenshot from the game Deus Ex.



If you’ve ever played Deus Ex, you know that all of the game take place in the night. So it’s a challenge to make the colors look interesting. So what is the first that catches your eye in the picture? Is it the light from the lamp or is the building in the background. Of course, it’s the lamp that showing light. This is because a brighter color catches your eye, and certain blends of light and dark colors are really appealing to the eyes. When you have darker times in your game, try to add lamps, or something that is bright to help blend with your dark colors. When you do this, your game is really attractive to the eye.

Now each game setting has certain colors that fit with them better. In the following, I will talk about the game setting of the Past, and the Future.

Past- In the past, there is more terrain that you are used to seeing in games, especially in RPGs. The most prominent colors that are in them are, Green (grass colored green), Blue (the sky), Goldish Brown, (the color of dirt) and the color of your hero’s hair. In the Past setting, the biggest focuses graphically wise is the hair, clothing, and terrain.

Future - In the future you have more things like floors all over the place, and tend to see things that you wouldn’t see when you walk outdoors. Most prominent colors are black, green, cyan, and silver. The most common two combinations of futuristic colors are black and green. Go play a futuristic game see how many times black and green are put together, and see how they fit so well. In futuristic games, the character designs, clothing, backgrounds, and walls tend to be the biggest focus.

Colors are very important in a game, and even if you have a limited amount of graphics you can use, you can still improve them when you help improve the colors.

- ATARI