Digital Graphics for a Retro Game Reboot

Penguin Character Design:


As you can see from this image I have used my thumbnail sketches to help me design my final image of the penguin. I drew him holding the egg in the design as the egg is an important asset to the game.


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Here is my final design for the penguin game character. I added colour and simple line shading to the edges. I like the final outcome for this character as it has a simple cartoon like style to it so I think the target audience will be happy with it.

Penguin Digital Sculpt:


Using the digital sculpting software Z-Brush I sculpted the penguin character. Having already designed the look to the penguin, It was easy to take it’s features and apply them to the sculpt.


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Here is my final design character sheet for the penguin sculpt. I painted the sculpt with colour after designing it to bring life to it. I then presented it through a character sheet showing multiple angles of the character. It was easy to paint the colour on to the character because I had already chosen the colours and where to put them in mt 2D concept piece. Because the penguin is long and thin I could fit multiple renders of it with a side and front view as well as a close 3D render.

Polar Bear Character Design:


Here you can see my progression through the polar bear character design. Going from a thumbnail sketch into a final line drawing.


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For the final design of the polar bear I coloured it and shaded the background.

Penguin Digital Sculpt:


Here is the progression for the polar bear sculpt in Z-Brush.


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Here is the character sheet for the polar bear sculpt rendered in Z-Brush. I made it into a character sheet to present it to the best ability. The presentation of the work is key, bad presentation does not show off your work int he best way making it look not as good. I think it is very important to present your work well. Like the penguin I presented the polar bear with a 3D rendered view but because of it’s shape I did not do a side and front render. Instead I used the space as well as I could with another render of a face closeup.

User Interface Design:



Here you can see the progression on how the user interface was designed. Like the rest of my designs I wanted to keep the consistent cartoon like style to it and I think I have done this well through the user interface. Originally the middle design sketches were going to be the score system, however I then realised that I needed a timer system that counts down rather than a score system. This was fine though because they both can look the exact same. I have labeled the user interface designs accordingly next to the sketches.


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Here is my final user interface design. I used the sketches to get an idea for how I wanted the ui design to look like. I then took them in to photoshop to create the final outcome. Once the graphics were made I made a simple animation to replicate how it would look like in game. Because this is a reboot of a retro game I wanted this to look modern and advanced in terms of technology and art work. I think the animation on the user interface works well here because of that. I am very pleased on how the user interface design turned out. One thing I was very happy about was the health hearts in the bottom left corner. I like how the smaller hearts only rotate from left to right, but the bigger heart grows larger as it rotates. I think if I was to improve this design I would animate the timer in the top right corner a little better. I am not to pleased on how it only scales in larger. I think it would look better if it also rotated slightly.

In Game Art Work:


Here is an example of how the game will look with the user interface.

Critical Evaluation:

My overall outcomes for my project mostly came out the way I wanted them to look. I think I managed to replicate how the game would look in a modern cartoon like style while keeping the original elements of the game. However not everything was going to work the way I wanted it to or turn out the way I want it to. Mostly though the outcomes are the way I want them to be and I can clearly identify any changes I would make so I can improve on future projects.

With my penguin design I was going for a cartoon like style, so I began sketching out shape designs. After reviewing these designs I chose an egg like shape so I could then detail in and colour it in image editing software such as photoshop. Once the final image had been completed I wanted to take it further by digitally sculpting it in Z-Brush. Going into the sculpt I wanted to keep the shape and features as close to the original artwork as much as possible. I knew I could do this if I was working straight from the artwork looking closely on the features. Once I began colouring the character it began to look a lot more like the original design so I was very happy there. I am very happy with how the colour turned out on the 3D model. I think it looks very similar to the artwork and keeps the cartoon style to it. I think if I was to do the sculpt again however I would have improved on the design to it. There were a lot of techniques that I learned along the way that I can put into affect into future sculpts.

For the polar bear character designs I wanted to keep the style identical to the penguins to keep it consistent. So again I began with sketching out shapes for the polar bear. Then I carried on the designs looking more into the facial features. Then again I took it into photoshop and finalized my design based on my best sketches. This time taking the character and sculpting it I was a lot more confident with the sculpting software. I think because of this my final design was more stronger than the penguin design.

My user interface designs were pretty simple but I think they give off the right style and feel to the game. I am please on how they animate and I feel that they will make the player feel more immersed into the game.

If I was to do this project again I would do more original promotional content such as posters. I think they need their original environment artwork to help promote the style of the game. For my user interface design I would spend longer animating the different objects to it. I think the animations are very simple but If more time was spent a better look could be created.

Ideas Generation for a Retro Game

Project Proposal:

For this project I will need to produce 2D digital graphics for a revamp of a retro computer game. I have chosen to do a revamp of the game Penguin Land. Penguin Land is a retro game that came out in 1985 for various old school consoles then came out for old school hand held consoles like the game boy in 1990 [Sam, 2013]. The game is a 2D platformer where you play as a penguin. The aim of the game is to get an egg to the bottom of the maze like level. You do this by rolling the egg by moving into it and breaking the ice you move on to let it drop down. However there are enemies like polar bears that kill you on impact with them. I will generate ideas through mood boards, mind maps, and thumbnail sketches. Once I have my ideas I can begin to develop designs for the game. I will use 2D image editing software such as photoshop to create concept art. I will also use digital sculpting software such as z-brush to create digital sculpts of characters. Once I have all my designs completed I will present my work professionally.

I am aiming to create my designs in a cartoon like style. This is because I will be designing the looks for a penguin and a polar bear. I don’t think a photo realistic style would go well with these characters. I will be aiming the designs for this game at a target audience of children mostly but will be open to teenagers and older. This is due to its cartoon like style, colourful characters, and child friendly designs.

Sam Derboo. (2013). Penguin Land. Available: Last accessed 18th Mar 2015.

Work Plan:

work plan

I threw together a work plan so I can clearly see what I need to do and when it should be done. This will help me get everything done on time and stay motivated to doing it. For the first few weeks I can get together some ideas through mood boards and mind maps. Then begin sketching out some ideas. Then moving on some weeks I can start on my designs with digital sculpts, character sheets, and concept art. Finally in the last week I can collate everything and present it.

Graphics Specification:

I plan to design the graphics for a reboot of the retro game Penguin Land. The target audience for the rebooted game will be children and of course fans of the original penguin land game. The game will be made for game consoles such as the Xbox One and Playstation 4. The game is mainly aimed at children so the art style for this game will be a cartoon style to appeal to the audience.

All my final pieces of artwork will be saved out as a png file. This file type is lossless so I am getting the maximum quality out of my art possible. I plan to do a sculpt render and a concept art piece for the polar bear and the penguin. I shall make sure to name them appropriately. A folder will be created separately to hold all the sculpting scene and object files for each character to keep everything clean and easy to manage. I can organize my assets with a proper naming convention. I can name everything with a prefix of what the asset type is, like an image, sculpt, or document. Then a suffix with the name of the asset, such as penguin.

The final renders will feature multiple images of the same character at different angles. This will show off the final character render to it’s full potential. I will also make it look the best it possibaly can by using a 3 point lighting setup. I will render 3 times moving the light around the scene and blend them together in Photoshop. The final character sheets will be saved as a png image file. This is a lossless file type.

I must take into consideration the legal and ethical issues during this project. Because this is a game aimed for children I need to keep violence to a minimal level and to not include strong language. I also do not have the rights to any other cartoon penguin characters so I need to be careful during the creative process of my designs not to make them look like other existing designs.

Any art work created within software without a commercial licence cannot be sold or made profit from. If I was to make money from content I created, i would need to obtain a licence for the software that the content was created within. If no licence was obtained, legal action would occur and I could be sued by the company that produce the software. Some software grant student licences in where you are free to use the software at it’s full potential and create as much as you want. You cannot however make or produce anything commercially. You cannot make money from anything you create. This is why the student licence it free and the ordinary licence costs money.

I must make sure that I do not breach copyright within the creation of the characters. There are a lot of cartoon animal characters that have been used in films and TV. Research will need to be done before the creation process. Research into major Walt Disney company and animation studios alike. If content was generated that has similarities that exceed on average I could be faced with legal action and be sued for a lot of money.


Mind Map:


I made a mind map to generate ideas for computer game graphics. I came up with 5 different ideas for creating digital graphics. I then generated ideas further on them ideas on what specific items I could create.

Mood Board:


Here is the mood board for the original penguin land game. I have chosen a few images from the internet and put them all into one document. This helps me visualize how I want my version of thew game to look like. I can now apply innovative techniques to change up the look of the game to how I want it too look.

My reference:,d.ZGU&psig=AFQjCNHLp7s0aCgvjZsTQB5Jv5zzS14oxA&ust=1426974923606696&cad=rja


Thumbnail Sketches:



Here are the initial thumbnail sketches for the penguin. I was trying to come up with ideas just for the shape of the character before detailing it. Click the image to make it larger.


Here is my initial thumbnail sketch page for the polar bear design. I was focusing on the characters face through these designs. Click the image to make it larger.


I created some designs using pencil. I can now compare them and come up with a final design I like the most. I will ask around for some feedback from people so I can get opinions from others on what their favorite designs are. The original design is in pixel art however for my design I want to make it more vector like graphics with clean edges and block colours with simple shading.


I created design pencil sketches for the polar bear. I looked more into the pose of the character this time. With these six designs I can choose one to base a concept art piece from.


With the user interface designs, I wanted to keep it to the minimum. I really like these designs because they have a cartoon style. This fits with the whole art style of the game.

Digital Graphics for Computer Games






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I have gathered all my research and fully referenced it within my bibliography. I have made sure I have given credit when necessary and provided viewers with the right reference needed.

Justin Towell. (2015). Who needs photorealism? Gaming’s most amazing art styles exposed. Available: Last accessed 18th Mar 2015.

WebWise Team. (2012). What are file extensions?. Available: Last accessed 18th Mar 2015.

howtogeek. (Unknown). What Lossless File Formats Are & Why You Shouldn’t Convert Lossy to Lossless. Available: Last accessed 18th Mar 2015.

Serdar Yegulalp. (Unknown). What Is Anime?. Available: Last accessed 18th Mar 2015.

David Silverman. (2013). 3D Primer for Game Developers: An Overview of 3D Modeling in Games. Available:–gamedev-5704. Last accessed 18th Mar 2015.

Vangie Beal. (Unknown). vector graphics. Available: Last accessed 18th Mar 2015.

Suzanne Williams. (Unknown). What Is Photography?. Available: Last accessed 18th Mar 2015.