In this post I will be describing how I am designing the ships for a Unity Asset Pack that I am developing. The art could be potentially used in many engines (Construct 2 for example), but some of the instructions will be specific to the Unity Game Engine. (Ye Olde disclaimer: Do not use / copy art without permission).

I am currently experimenting to see what kind of awesome combinations of lighting and pixel art can be achieved. My goal at this stage is to ensure that my workflow will consistently produce a good end product, which means keeping in mind gameplay possibilities in addition to artistic quality. What I mean by that is, how can the asset be created to be as useful as possible to different developers!

For example, what if someone is developing a top down spaceship brawling game where each piece of the ship has its own health pool? Maybe parts pop off and explode once they lose their individual component health, limiting the ships abilities after being damaged. For this purpose, I create the image in a combination of layers and make each piece look complete when separated from the whole.

Each piece should look ‘Whole’ when separated. This tiny fighter doesn’t have many damageable components due to its size, and this effect is more important for the larger ships.

Finally, lighting adds no small measure of immersion. To enhance the pixel art in Unity, I used the following.

  1. Normal map of components to allow dynamic lighting of the objects
  2. Light source at key parts of the ship, for example the engines can have their own light source that gains intensity as throttle is increased.
    1. In addition, a flashing light source at the weapon hardpoints would look quite impactful when firing.
  3. Using Bloom to add a ‘Glow’ to light sources. See the image below for an example of ‘Bloom’.


Example of lighting effects with Normal Map, Bloom, and small (but intense) lighting source.




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