Thursday, 7 April 2011

Sheepoid - The making of the artwork

I've been following the progress of the latest Richard Bayliss C64 production Sheepoid since it began and as the project took shape my Psytronik senses started tingling. The game is an homage to the classic Jeff Minter game Laser Zone which was released on the VIC-20 and C64 in 1983 and later on the C16 and Plus/4 in 1986.

Laser Zone on the Commodore Plus/4

For Sheepoid, Richard has taken the basic concept of Laser Zone (control a horizontal and vertical gun turret, blast weirdy meanies, avoid blasting goodies) and has improved the graphics, presentation and music for his C64 remake / tribute "Sheepoid".

Sheepoid on the C64

As Richard was planning on releasing Sheepoid at the 2011 Retrovision event I asked him if he would be interested in doing a Psytronik release so we could present the game at the event as a fully packaged Psytronik release. Richard gave this idea the thumbs-up so my next thoughts turned to the game artwork. Seeing as the game featured a level called The Mutant Camels Are Back this suddenly reminded me of a picture that Alf Yngve drew many years ago for a Jeff Minter issue of my Commodore Zone mag that never materialised:-

Llamas Attack! Previously unseen artwork for an
issue of Commodore Zone that was never made.

I always liked this image of Llamas attacking from space and thought this would make a cool cover for Sheepoid. I sent Alfs pic to my chum Mat 'Preferred Image' Recardo to see if a 3D rendered version was possible - and as luck would have it, Mat had a Llama object that he could use! So some swift rendering work later and Mat sent over the splendid design you see below:-

Llamas attack - in 3D rendered-o-vision!

The next thing needed was a logo for the game. I initially dabbled with a B-Movie style logo (similar to the "LLamas Attack!") logo in the Alf pic but in the end decided to use the Sheepoid logo from the front-end of the actual game - which I recreated in hi-res, tilted at a jaunty angle and then coloured in retro-arcade logo stylee.

The nice colours in the logo made me decide to go one step further and give the artwork more Yak-appeal by continuing the colours around the edges. After the the addition of game screenshots and extra text blurb the official Sheepoid Retrovision poster was born!

The yaktastic Sheepoid promo poster!

Now that all the artwork elements had been produced the next step was to the adapt the design for the Psytronik packaging. Using the premium disk edition artwork template I tweaked the artwork to fit on the packaging and you can see the end result below:-

Ta-daaa! The finished Sheepoid disk packaging.

And there you have it! That's how you go about creating the box artwork for a Psytronik release (for techno-buffs who are listening). The game was officially released at Retrovision in May 2011 and is now available on tape and disk for the Commodore 64 exclusively from the Binary Zone Interactive Retro Store.

Thanks for reading!

Kenz /

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