Wednesday, January 4, 2012


When writing this post I often wrote "iCon" instead of "icon"... Damn you Apple.
Anyway I got a folder full of different icons for PewPew, and I thought it would be cool to look at the evolution.

The first icon shows the classic ship shooting at an enemy, but when resized to 47x47 pixels (the original iPhone's icon size) it didn't look great. I shipped the first version of PewPew with it back in 2009, but quickly iterated on it.

I simplified it and ended up with this.
[Update from 2016: I still like its purified appearance a lot!]
I was pretty happy with it and shipped quite a few versions of PewPew with it, but at some point I decided I need to make it more eye-catching: after all, I want people to download and play the game!

Up to now I was using Adobe Flash (!) to create the graphics. I decided to learn a bit about Photoshop and was able to add a glowing outline and some gradients.
It's interesting to note that the glowing outline is done the same way in Photoshop and in-game: blur the original image and compose the result with the original using additive blending. 

I later found a Photoshop iOS icon template with which I obtained this icon. However it attracted a lot of (deserved) criticism on the Android market, because the iOS glossy look negatively stood out on Android devices.

So I removed the gloss (but kept the roundness), played with the color balance, and obtained the current PP1 icon.

In parallel I was working on PP2 (and its icon). I considered putting 2 ships on the icon, but it would have suggested multiplayer and I did not want to mislead the customers.

It seems that I attempted to unify the icons of PP1 and PP2, and ended up with this. It was a failure and was never used.

After a while I realized that the PP2's icon actually looked very plain compared to other game's icons and realized the power of adding textures. This is the current (and likely final) PP2 icon.

During my last round of experimentations I tried different color scheme and liked this one very much. I ended up not using it, but it inspired me for the Android Market banner.

Edit (23/01/2012): a reddit post complaining about the lack of coherence with the icons on Android made me discover the Android Guidelines for the application's icons.

These are the two new (and hopefully final) icons.