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  • Writer's pictureNaietz

Macro Croma progress report: pre-pre-alpha build postmortem

As I created Macro Croma's first build, I have gained some insight on the things I did well and the things I could improve upon.

Revisiting the original reason why I wanted to make Macro Croma, it is more of a testbed project to practice implementing artwork and animations to create a good looking game. From that point I am quite satisfied with how most of the character animations turned out, but I found that the environment is not as pretty as I'd hoped.

One of the ways I could have spiced up the environment more is to introduce more variety of background elements: even though I have the original environment planned, I had not specified exactly what elements needed to be drawn and in what style. In hindsight the lack of planning on the environment possibly costed me weeks of development time as there were multiple discarded drawings and a lot of time spent looking at reference images without knowing exactly what I wanted to implement.

Here are examples of environmental assets that were created but not used because I hadn't consolidated an artstyle I wanted to follow. Hopefully I can find better use for these trees in the future.

In contrast thanks to planning ahead, the drawings of the character had not taken nearly as long as I'd envisioned.

One thing that really helped consolidate my character was a unified palette that was carried over from the original key art. Even though the character design had been modified from that stage, the color scheme was kept and that helped speed up the creation process a lot.

While the current environment was created with a color scheme to contrast with the main character, this limited the palette a bit too much and made the background look boring, hence the need for more variety. I could have implemented the character in a whitebox first rather than have a plain white character on a colored environment - this would have helped consolidate a better color scheme that fit better with the overall art style.

Another part I was not too happy with was that the enemy creature looked too distinct from the main character in terms of art style, causing it to feel like they do not belong in the same universe. I wanted the two to contrast but right now they don't seem to belong. The monster's design was supposed to make it look more abstract and otherworldly but I have yet to grasp how to make it fit with the other parts of the world - to make something that looks foreign but still reads as part of the world is a skill I will have to practice more in the future.

In all I am quite happy with how much I have learned from this project: my digital drawing skills have definitely improved over the time I worked on this, mostly in that I am able to draw and color characters much faster than before. The biggest takeaway from this project is that I underestimated the amount of work that needed to go into this project's scope, as this became a bigger project than I am used to doing solo, which meant I needed to do a lot more planning beforehand compared to the other projects I have previously created.

If I were to do this project again from scratch, I would have built the environment and possibly even the characters using 3D assets.

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