The police will be the main enemy in Guerrilla Gardening and outwitting them through distraction and stealth is going to be a key part of the game play. It's important to me that they are also a visual representation of the military dictatorship you're fighting against so I wanted them to feel imposing and anonymous (or at least as imposing as little pixel art police men can be). My initial design was a rush job, used to illustrate an early design doc I was preparing as part of a grant application. I hid the eyes to add that touch of imposing anonymity and borrowed a lot of design elements from military dress uniforms since dictatorships will often blur the line between the police and military.
Because it was a rush job I've never been completely happy with this design, so I decided to go back to the drawing board before animating him. To begin redesigning the police I started with a few pencil sketches.
I didn't bother doing any large detailed sketches, since it's easy to get carried away and add details that will never make it into a small sprite. I just wanted to get a good feel for the build and general style. I also decided that I wanted to experiment with elements from riot police and swat teams in addition to the military dress style since you often see those sorts of uniforms worn by police in modern clashes with protesters.
I then took my original sprite and started editing it. I found the original stance kind of cramped so the first thing I did was make it more broad and open. I then tried a bunch of variations based on the styles I'd chosen.
I liked the way these were looking, but decided I should increase the sense of danger by bulking them up. This also had the advantage of giving them a unique silhouette so they'd be easier to distinguish from Molly and the civilians.
When Andrew and I met to work over the weekend I showed him what I had and we decided to go with the swat style design. We still like some of the other designs and may use them for higher rank enemies in the future. Before going forward I did some subtle colour edits based on Andrew's feedback.
At this point I felt he was ready for the 'full revolve' and drew him in five directions flipping the sprite where I could to make the full eight needed.
He's looking pretty good. There may be some small perspective errors but it's easier to spot them after the sprite is in the game, so from here I take each of the angles and create a simple walk cycles for them.