Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Sat, 29 Mar 2014
We've been working on making 'I Sent My Monkey To The Moon' (currently playable as a prototype within Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint on iOS) into a finished, releasable game, hopefully coming out on iOS in a month or two.
This week, for the level select screen, I've been drawing pictures of nine different moons. Each one is based on a real moon, one from each planet in the solar system more or less.
I wanted them to look nice (obviously), but also come up with a technique or style where I could draw them quite quickly and easily. Spherical objects can be surprisingly difficult and time consuming to draw (as I learned with Magnetic Billiards ball designs), and I didn't want to get bogged down with rendering 3D models and messing about with lighting and materials, or something else that would end up taking me weeks for what's only a tiny part of the game front end.
After a bit of experimentation I came up with a cheapo technique where I could just drew some circles that I made look a bit like crates with some layer effects in Photoshop, then I used the Distort / Spherize filter on the image to make it bulge like a planet (it's not quite right - it's a bit flatter than a wrapping the texture around a sphere, but it's close enough), then a added a couple of inner glow type layer effects on the finished image to simulate some rim lighting, and a curved shadow over the top.
I'm really pleased with the result. I think they look pretty nice, and I was able to get all nine done this week, along with some other work as well. They averaged about two or three hours each, all told.
At last, I'm finally learning to be fast!