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A very simple method to add an unique look and feel to an area without spending a lot of development effort on asset creation is to use a different color palette for each area of the game. In a 2d game, you can achieve that effect by doing a palette swap of your graphic assets. Just slightly change the colors in your preferred image editor. Or if you want ...


21

Aside from Philipp's suggestions, you can also push your environments in different conceptual directions, and maybe imply a bit of history too. Lifeless, Rocky Landscape/Caves: Dusty rocks can make one area, sure, but you can also have crystal caves, areas with lots of geysers and islands floating precariously on alkaline lakes, areas that have already been ...


16

The game takes place on a barren, lifeless planet that's being harvested for resources by a sprawling autonomous mining/factory complex. Every building has a background and a history that should be reflected in the design of your environment. Think about castles in video games. Good castles don't look like a generic video game castle and stick in players' ...


2

Foxwarrior had a good idea about history of the place. Unfortunately they didn't go where I thought they would with it. One thing that people like are "quirks" that come up unexpectedly, in a good way. Not enemies, but mysterious (and sometimes completely unexplained in game) ruins, artwork, geological formations, and things that seem out of place, but not ...


1

Doing a quick search for "hammer null texture" yields this thread as the very first result. There, user KliPPy says: You can find null (and other special textures) in zhlt.wad, by downloading Zoner's Half-Life Tools. Please remember to search for your keywords when you have a game dev question - you might be surprised how many great answers are already ...


1

Some variations to distinguish different areas (some of these have been listed in other answers): Clear skies / Dust storm / Night time / Strong winds Underground / High up on some cliffs or crags / plains Natural Rock formations / Abandoned tech buildings / The inside of a fallen spaceship or large robot Horizontally laid out / vertical (like Phillip said) ...


1

A textured background might do it. Think desert, ocean, and forest backgrounds from Afterburner. Of course, you're not dealing with deserts or oceans, but you should be able to design unique backgrounds for each level. And because of the repeated nature of background images, it shouldn't take an unreasonable amount of work.


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