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Designing Arcade Computer Game Graphics

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Graphics play a central role in the computer gaming experience, and arcade-style games are no exception. Designing Arcade Computer Game Graphics emphasizes the development of quality graphics for 2D arcade-style computer games, both online and offline, including such topics as game design and documentation, graphics tools, animation, proper color usage, and fonts. Graphic designer and animator Ari Feldman provides a step-by-step example of designing 2D graphics and animation for an arcade-style game.

* Understand the capabilities of various display modes and learn the nuances of designing for each of them.
* Follow the step-by-step Fish Dish example for designing 2D graphics and animation for an online game.
* Create detailed design plans that document every aspect of the creative-related issues associated with your games.
* Find out the most important features of graphics creation tools, including painting programs and screen capture utilities.
* Identify the essential graphic file formats used in arcade game graphics development and find out which image compression techniques are most suited to arcade game graphics.
* Implement file naming conventions, version control, and backup strategies to manage your graphic assets.
* Discover how the proper use of fonts can liven up your graphics in addition to displaying important game information.

Arcade games have been captivating game playing audiences of all ages for well over twenty-five years now. Their popularity practically built a multi-billion dollar industry and their colorful characters and terminology have become permanent fixtures in our everyday language and cultural landscape.

Over the years, arcade game development has become big business, attracting an extremely large and loyal following among programmers. To address that community’s interest in the subject, scores of books and hundreds of magazine articles have been written on the subjects of arcade game programming and design. Yet, inexplicably, next to nothing has appeared about a topic that is just as crucial to the successful implementation of an arcade game: graphics.

Simply put, without good graphics, an arcade game has no soul. Graphics play a central role in how people perceive and enjoy the arcade game experience. Just imagine how boring a game like Sonic the Hedgehog would be if the adorable Sonic was represented on-screen by blocky ASCII characters rather than a dynamic, blue hedgehog graphic. Or, consider how much fun Mortal Kombat would be if characters like Sub-Zero appeared as lifeless stick figures rather than as photo-realistic combatants. If arcade game graphics did indeed look like the ones in these examples, arcade games wouldn’t hold anyone’s interest for very long, would they?

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