Visual updates: Spicing up the graphics for full release

Hey all, Ricardo over here. In this post I’m going to showcase some of the updates we’ve made to the visuals of the game in the last few weeks while we gear up for full release.

After releasing Operation Hardcore as Early Access a few months back, development focused fixing bugs and tweaking the game mechanics, while also making adjustments to enemy placement and stats to improve the difficulty curve of the game. After most critical bugs were fixed and the difficulty of the game felt right, we moved on to apply some much needed coats of polish to the game’s visuals.

Since I joined the development of the project, I’ve made updates to the assets used, which were made by different artists and also obtained from royalty free/open art repositories, such as OpenGameArt.org. To enrich the visuals and give the game more personality, I also made custom assets from scratch, and thus, as we development moved along, it became clear there needed to be a global revision of the assets to make them as cohesive as possible. Stuff like color palettes, textures and details, player sprites, readability of sprites against background art, among others.

So basically we worked with a top-down approach, by iterating on the assets for each level of the game, starting from the first one. The idea was to improve the game’s visual appeal, make the world seem cohesive and spice up the colors as much as possible while keeping the dark ambience and mood of the game.

Here are some before and after screens of the game showcasing the updates to the visuals for the first three levels:

As you can see in the gallery above, we’ve improved the assets in different ways: Color palettes were tweaked across all levels, lighting improvements were made, both baked directly in the sprites/tilesheets and in engine, tilsesheets were mostly redone and additional tiles were created for each level to add details and variations (cracks in the stone, dents, pattern variations, etc.). Some new props were made to beef up the visuals. It’s a good way to add variety and personality to each level and make them stand out more.

We are thrilled to be nearing the end of the Early Access phase for OH and we’re going to be sharing some additional information about the final release date.

We’re looking really forward to full release and having people enjoy our game.

Thanks for reading this update!

Ricardo

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