(I'm kinda new at this forum stuff, so if this is posted in the wrong place please correct me)
I really love the saturated modern/ultramodern look that the game has going. Not a lot of games are going with that, so it really makes Arms of Telos stand out. There is no mistaking this game if I see it on a screen out of the corner of my eye.
The overall style is great, but I think the color scheme that has been chosen for the environment could use a little balancing. Now I am not a color theory expert, so this is going to be pretty speculative, but here is my observation and suggestion.
Something was bugging me about the colors right off the bat. Not real bad--like I said, I liked the look. It just felt like it wasn't drawing the attention to the environment that it should be demanding. Maybe. Those are just the best words I could find for the feels. But I also noticed that it felt very refreshing when my eye caught a bit of bright orange or yellow in the background. And my eyes fixated on it.
So I analyzed the color scheme a little more closely, and I think a few things are happening.
1) You're going for a purple-centric analagous scheme (blue-violet-magenta), but:
a) you may not have enough contrast within that analagous (blue-violet-magenta) space
- This is nearly impossible with a blue-violet-magenta scheme because the saturated versions
of these colors are naturally dark.
b) green is thrown in there just enough to mess up that scheme and require you to balance it
with some orange/yellow like an afterthought, creating a sort of incomplete version of an
accented analogic color scheme.
- the problem with this is that it draws unintentional focal points out of the orange yellow areas
2) I don't think you have enough contrast within the colors of the scheme, and in order to make any of these schemes work with this style, I think you may need some really bold areas of black and other bold areas of white.
3) The choice of some color placement is drawing attention to things and places that have nothing to do with the gameplay objectives and important stuff during the game. Especially in terms of foreground and background.
- The best example of this is how that orange/yellow stands out so much, but it's mostly coming from the background--areas outside the playing field that you don't really want to look at in the middle of a match. There's one or two big green planets in the background that have a similar distracting effect.
- Another example is how the purple asteroids blend in with the background when they should probably stand out against it. The asteroids are in the "closest" foreground, but they are the same purple as the texture in the furthest parts of the background.
Firstly, I think you've gotta have some big well-placed blacks and whites.
For colors, I think the easiest solution would either be a split compliment color scheme, or a proper accented analogic scheme.
a) split compliment would mean blue/cyan and orange plus magenta and green (bomg); or blue/cyan and orange plus purple and yellow (bopy)
- I would go with the second (bopy), and whatever color you pick for the background, choose an opposing color for the biggest foreground things
- if you pick purple, make the asteroids orange or yellow or white
- if you pick orange, make the asteroids purple, blue, or black, etc
- btw, with space and sky, you can get away with ANY color
b) Accented anologic would mean blue-purple-magenta accented by yellow. It means no orange, no green. You could have a little spillover, but the most important thing with this scheme would be the proper use of yellow. You either put it on your biggest and most important focal points or you make it the main color of your background and let the blue-purple-magenta do all the work.
You could still have your other default colors outside that color scheme, but primarily just for functional gameplay things, like player models, flags, signs, etc.
Sorry for the length, but color theory is one of those things that is so powerful that if it's done right, it turns the stankest crap into the brightest gold. So with this game and this style you have a really great opportunity to make that color theory sing like a fat lady. I think it's worth it to spend the time and pour over such a major part of the experience of the game.
Let me know if I should make some visual color comps of some of these ideas. What do you guys think? Let me know if I'm wrong or completely missing something and maybe I can learn something.