Vehicle Design Progression

Initial Vehicle Idea &
Observational Sketching

I decided I wanted to try juxtaposing a 50s car onto the alien planet map I’ve been designing. This is a reference to the designs, though now retrospective, being in their day considered ‘futuristic’ and ‘space age’.

1. To research for the structure of the sprites to be, I made some observational sketches from photographs. I struggled a lot with my initial attempts.

2. I found myself eventually breaking the cars into chunks as I was drawing them just to find some kind of familiarity with their anatomy. This was still proving to be difficult for me.

3. I decided to simplify things for myself by rewinding my process and focusing on just certain details to begin with. Although this was a little easier I still wasn’t developing any sort of intuition for the shapes.

4. At this stage I thought I should shift my focus towards 50s racing cars anyhow. After a quick google search I found the designs quite interesting. For what ever reason I found the shapes of these vehicles much easier to get a handle on.

This is where that idea fell apart. I knew to be cohesive with my map, the cars would have to be drawn from slightly different angles. As I’m only a beginner I don’t know how to do this yet. Animation isn’t intuitive enough to me to be able to figure it out.

New Vehicle Idea

Even though it is an obvious choice thematically, I had been avoiding going with the idea of using a UFO for my vehicle. However, another student pointed out to me if I used a UFO I would only have to draw the same shape, over and over, perhaps with an alien inside to indicate which way it was facing. As the alien seemed too much for me as well at this stage in my thinking, I thought of adding racing stripes to the front instead, and maybe a spot light.

I had access to GIMP this day so took advantage of its layers and ability to export gifs to make a simple base mock up. While I’m hardly proficient at using this program in essence it appears to rotate as it should. There are 12 frames, I think I will either need 8 or 16 frames for the sprite to function properly and coincide with the controls of the game.


Out of curiosity I placed this mock up within the map. I believe it would appear more cohesive once I’ve designed a UFO on a slightly different angle, with shadows and tonal variety, a more united colour scheme and fleshed it out with more detail. I also want to change the thickness of the tracks in certain places. It looks funny at this stage but I believe I should be able to figure out a way to make it work.


Questions Queries & Quams

I am not sure whether I will need to keep the shadows on the map itself a seperate semi transparent layer that is placed above the vehicle in viewing order. I don’t believe they do that in Badlands but that one UFO on my map that is half on shadow, half not, is really popping out of the scene. Again I need to establish how many frames I need to draw of my UFO. I also wonder, when I get my hands on photoshop and a drawing tablet, whether I’ll be able to flesh the UFO out enough to the stage where I can incorporate some of the features from the 50s racing cars.


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