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Saikyo Robots » Background Creation

The old backgrounds looked boring because … I never spent any time with them, yet! It was about time I made new ones.
I sketched my ideas out on paper until I liked one. In the end, I liked using a simple background color with some shapes in different sizes and shades on top of that.

Super simple right? This suits the game’s minimalistic art style well. The background with it’s colors and shapes shouldn’t take the players attention, they are supposed to be background.

Random generation

As a basis for the background I use a flat background color with a gradient on top. The gradient is just a small shader effect that is barely visible, but you do feel it!

How did I place the shapes? By hand? Ain’t nobody got the time for that!
Instead, totally time-effective, I spent a whole day writing some code that would automate the process for me. I saved a lot of time… in the long run since I can reuse this code for future projects.

On top of the background the code spawns shapes. The shape, its color, and other values are different each level.

To place the shapes the code first checks how big the area is.
It spawns the big shapes in a grid with a bit of randomness.
Then the medium shapes are spawned around each big shape’s center position with random distance.
The small shapes have a random position within the entire area.
I generate the placement until I feel it looks good and move them around until I’m satisfied.

The invisible hand

Once I had finished the backgrounds, I played the game to see how it feels. When I made them, I just wanted backgrounds for the sake of having backgrounds that are maybe pretty. But while playing, I realized that I had created more than just backgrounds! These big shapes are areas within an area.
There are real areas that have colliders that show where the player can and can’t go. But within those real areas, the background has created smaller areas. While they have absolutely no gameplay meaning, these smaller areas make the player feel different about the space they move within. Without real meaning the background gives space meaning.
I will use this more in future games to guide the player towards specific areas or evoke certain feelings about a space This is so interesting! They won’t realize what drives their actions or shapes their emotions.

Thank you for reading
– Deniz