Some new Total Annihilation roughs

I've been trying to draw some TA stuff again, this time from a lower perspective (unit portrait views). It sort of makes sense to make sure the units look great and recognizable from a pure top-down view, but I still wanted to... expand on the designs, which is difficult with top-down drawings.

Core and Arm sheets.

I threw in some Dark Reign and Starcraft homages just for fun. I think Dark Reign in particular had some very nice unit and building design. Instead of a boring buggy, it had the Spider Bike. Even something potentially very boring like the (Taelon) power generator was turned into something very characteristic.

I also wrote down various ideas which popped into my head while drawing.


A particular concern of mine is the (unwitting?) use of "Dazzle camouflage"-style color schemes which I see in... well, not just in RTS games, thinking about it, so I rant a bit about that. Dazzle camouflage was not meant to hide ships, but rather to make visual identification (of ship type and heading) as hard as possible. Of course, when you alternate colors on a figure, you sort of tell the brain that these areas don't belong together. If done excessively all over the figure, the whole thing breaks apart, losing not only it's silhouette/mass, but also its identity in relation to other figures with the same color scheme. On the other hand, if you just paint all of the figures blue, the silhouette and mass will be intact, but telling the figures apart will still be hard.

So, in regards to color schemes in RTS games, I think it's best if one picks a few "flag" colors, say, two dominating colors, like a team color and a race color, then two or so more minor race colors. The top-most part of the units should have various iconographically effective shapes forming out of these colors (working with the masses of the figure). I don't think two colors is enough to help differentiate a lot of figures, so I'd sometimes put the extra minor colors in a dominant position on special figures. The Core is dominantly red and silver, but mix it up with some black and camouflage yellow, and then there's a role-defining colors like fusion core teal and construction stripes.

I've been playing TA Spring on my Netbook. It gets hot. I'm thinking it's because TA is so sexy.


phiq said...

Nice insights, thanks.

-=Y=- said...

did I see sad face on morty-round? :)

Arne said...

I think you did. Sometimes when I don't quite know with an area, but don't want to do random greeble, I do a face/head of some sort.

Gokuju said...

Oh man, I love all your Total Annihilation stuff. It's still one of my fave games of all time. I'm designing a strategy title (prototype) at the moment with friends using Unity, and this stuff is great for inspiration.

Keep up the great work!