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The Swindle’s New Look

Oct 82012

As an indie developer, I’m kind of fascinated by the concept of “necessity is the mother of invention”. We don’t have infinite time, money or resources, so you have to work with what you’ve got and find clever ways of crafting brilliance out of nothing. Where this works really well is when cutting corners really enhances the game. Necessity shoved you one way, which was heartbreaking, but it turned out it was for the best. In your FACE, necessity.

When The Swindle got ported to Unity, I was facing a big problem – whichever way you look at it, it was costing me money and time and I need to get the game finished before I run out of cash. One of the things I looked at, rather than scale back the gameplay side of things, was how I could save myself time banging out art assets.

^^ How The Swindle used to look

The old Swindle needed hundreds of tiles making, and I hadn’t even really started. I’ve joked in the past that silhouetted tiles are an over-used indie aesthetic, so I was hesitant, but I was aware it was a route that would drastically reduce my workload and allow me to focus on other arguably more-important things. So I did a mockup, just to see how it’d look. You know, just on the off cha

^^ The Original BuildingTest_04a Mockup; click for a proper look

Oh hey, that looks pretty ace. To my delight, it really worked. I went for a dark brown silhouette rather than pitch black, so there’s scope for detail (and technically innovation due to being a different colour from black). As a bonus, the dark brown really helped make the whole thing feel much more Steampunk. I then put a bright yellow layer of highlighting over the top, which really sealed it.

Since development began I’d been struggling with finding a defining ‘look’ for The Swindle. Something unique and vibrant and eye-catching. Suddenly, thanks to necessity, it had fallen into place. It’s Steampunk-y, it’s Cyberpunk-y and most importantly the game finally has a really cohesive, unique look.


  1. Oct 92012
    Fin C,

    The new look is really good. Reminds me of ’60s Warner Bros. cartoon backgrounds mixed with Day of the Tentacle mixed with brown.

  2. Oct 132012
    Igor Hardy,

    Really dig the new look. To me it feels like a mix of Batman TAS and Thief II: The Metal Age.

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