Here at Tasty Paste Industries, we love experimenting with different visual styles in our games. Many game developers are content programming mechanics using primitive shapes as placeholder art until the very end. Not us! We want our games to look beautiful and unique as early in the development process as possible. Enjoying the gamedev journey is a big priority for our team, so we frequently iterate on our sprites for both fun and functionality.

Today we are sharing the iterative process we used to create our pinball flipper artwork.

First we’ll show the five steps we took to get from a concept to the first version (aka version 0) of the flipper sprite. Then we’ll share four alternative flippers, created over a few weeks as we introduced new gameplay mechanics. If you stay til the end, you’ll get to see the original paintings we remixed into game art!

Generating Version 0

We followed these steps to generate the very first version of our flipper.

  • Sketch flipper by hand with pen on paper

  • Scan drawing into Photopea (an incredible free-to-use online photo-editing tool)

  • Draw outline of flipper (using sketch as guideline) with pen tool

  • Add background layer *

  • Fill in flipper boundary shape and sun design

Voilà! We spent a few minutes each day working through these steps over the course of a week. The result was a unique looking yet functional flipper, created with minimal time investment.

Iterating Alternative Art

We have since iterated on the flipper artwork several times. Here are a few alternate images we have created recently.

  • Green Background: new color and texture for default sprite (aka iterating for fun) *

  • Pink Background: Renders when flippers lose power (aka iterating for functionality) *

  • Colored Sun: Renders on the frame of collision (another new functionality)

  • Sun Animation: Because moving colors are more fun than a simple flash!

Our game Roley Guy is going to change dramatically, and the art we create today could be rendered obsolete by a new feature next week. Despite the fact that we don’t expect any of this art to end up in the final version of our game, watching our goofy little creations fly across the screen makes designing, developing, and play-testing that much more enjoyable.

* These are the original paintings we used as flipper backgrounds.