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Frankenship Art Devlog

Frankenship is a top-down, two player, space battle showdown made in Unity3D by a team of students at Indiana University Bloomington. This is the first blog we've written, on the topic of our art.

Guinevere Dunlap

December 11, 2015

6 Min Read

This is the first developement blog I've ever written, ever. It was posted for our team, Salty Hamster, on our Tumblr. This week I wrote about the art development. Enjoy!


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Since we are a student based development team, that means our semester is winding down for the holidays. This also means the Salty Hamster team is hankering down and crunching on our last push before we all go off for break. In the meantime, I thought a visit through Frankenship’s art would be a good first development log!

To start, Frankenship was a summer project for a couple members of the team. It began as something close to a bullet hell/horde survival/arcade twitch game where, as the longer the player progressed, the ship would randomly gain more and more parts and guns. Once the Fall Semester started, Frankenship’s new team decided to keep its core mechanics, but expand it into a 3-part, multiplayer battle game.

I, along with the two other artists, did not join the Frankencrew until after the summer. None of us played any part in the original art. When we were shown what art was being used at the time, it was……lack luster, to say the least.

As we began developing, the art team was given a lot of freedom, (trust?), to do what we wanted with the art. We originally played with the idea of making our Frankenship an organic amoeba-like creature floating through space absorbing space debris and weapons…..but decided to go with something more simple. The whole team decided that a military, beat-up, “Terran” style would feel more appropriate.

These would become our “core” pieces. We tried to keep in mind an organicy-Frankenstien-but-still-square-ship feel, but it wasn’t coming through yet.

After we establish a rough idea of a style we were going for, we went full speed ahead into weapons to match. 

Our first round of weapons all ended up being too long to fit properly on the core pieces in-engine, so they were shortened a bit to make them fit.

We decided to revisit the idea of a FRANKENship, and make the player’s ship as if it was a sentient creature in space. We decide to make the original core pieces as “hulls” and give Frankenship a core piece with a face.

Finally, Frankenship comes to life!!

During this part of the process, we took the time to update some art into higher-quality images and let them be re-worked a bit as well as giving the pieces a 2nd color to differentiate player 1 from player 2.

These ship pieces and weapons made up a generous amount of the art that needed to be done. A lot of work for the art team after this point was adding in assets that became needed as we expanded the game and updating old art. Here’s a few of the transformations!:

With 1/3 of the Salty Hamster crew being artists, we got a significant amount of work done in a short amount of time. The semester is drawing to a close, but Salty Hamster presses on!

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