Catacomb came in both a CGA and an EGA mode. CGA mode only had four colors, whereas EGA had 16. I’m going to use EGA coloring, because 16 the colors looks much better than four, and lets me draw more details in the dungeon.
EGA graphics consisted of 16 colors selected from a 64 color palette. Below is the full 64 color EGA color palette (source Wikipedia).
I the palette in Aseprite, which you can download here. Background tiles were 8*8, sprites were 16*16. The screen was 320*200. Blowing a resolution that low, up to a full screen size is what gives the game that old, low-res pixelated look.
In initial drafts of games, I like to use placeholder graphics. Placeholder graphics are meant to be quick to make and temporary. When making placeholder graphics, there are four pretty good general rules of thumb to follow.
- Don’t waste time trying to make them look good.
- Use your real color palette
- Use your real tile/sprite sizes
- Use high contrast colors to make sure everything is easily visible.
During the initial art phase, it’s a good idea to have a vague idea of what you want, but you shouldn’t be too married to the idea of any one theme. Right now, I am thinking I will call my game “Crypt”. You’ll play as a sorcerer who travels through the levels of an ancient crypt to fight the Skeleton King. Enemies will skeletons, demons, goblins (because who can resist putting goblins in a labyrinth) and ghosts.
For the placeholder art, I drew the player, a skeleton, a floor tile, some wall tiles, a fireball, and some assorted goodies. All graphics, placeholder or otherwise were made in Aseprite, using the palette I provided earlier in the post. Below you can see the sprites at their actual sizes.