Art Inspiration for Startup Freak


Over the past 9 months, as I have been working on the game, I have always had the eventual art style in the back of my mind, trying to decide on a look and feel that might be appropriate. I have looked around many different sites like DeviantArt, and GameArtisans but ultimately found Behance to be the best source of inspiration for the type of art that I think would look good in the game. For better or worse a good portion of indie game developers and artists, at least those doing 2D PC games, are focused on pixel art which is something I have tried to stay away from.

Anyway in this post I’m going to share a few of the images and artists I have been inspired by. But before that, here is a quick update of what I have been working on as of late:


  • Added a new screen to show the expenditure and revenue detailed breakdown, e.g. salaries, rent, etc.
  • Add a cost to moving offices, associated with the number of items and employees that need to be moved.
  • Lots of small UI tweaks and improvements.
  • In the data center UI, each region now shows the percentage of traffic that is coming from that region. I still need to figure out a better way to communicate this information to the player. Essentially the player needs to optimize their spending by putting servers closer to where the source of the traffic is.
  • Implemented the logic for when the player changes the pricing tiers. I now correctly calculate (again based on a normal distribution), which new tiers the users would move to, and how many would drop out.
  • Fixed a big class of bugs related to how signups to pricing tiers are calculated. The problems stemmed from the fact that I essentially keep 2 versions of all user-base numbers: one broken down by region, and another broken down by the pricing tier the user is signed up for. As it turns out, due to rounding errors you can end up with these numbers going out of sync. So not only did I add lots of extra checks to make sure I find out about discrepancies early, I also implemented Largest Remainder Method to deal with rounding issues.


I have found myself playing longer and longer games to reach certain points for testing and debugging purposes. At this point I have to bite the bullet and implement game saving/loading because not having it is just wasting a lot of time. I know for a fact this is going to be tricky, despite my best effort to separate game state and presentation state.

And Now Some Art

Alright here are a handful of artists I have been following on Behance. Based on some early conversations with a few of them I realize that they are clearly professional I can’t quite afford for this game. Nevertheless their art styles provide a good place to start for art direction.

You’ll also note that the styles are quite different, but there are certain common(ish) traits. For example they generally have an “illustration” style, are more flat and have less details (than fine art). I’m also gravitating more towards images that either have muted colors and/or a more restricted color palette (i.e. fewer colors overall).



Thomas Ryder – Crisp, flat images, excellent use of colors to convey depth.



Giulia Lombardo – The use of angles give this so much character. Also note how restrained the color palette is.


James Gilleard – A lot more abstract, almost has a sci-fi feel about it. Colors are lot more muted.



Romain Trystram – Yeah, probably not the most appropriate for the game, but wow. This guy knows a thing or two about colors. I can’t stop staring at his work.


Riccardo Zema – A lot of his work consists of low-poly environments turned into 2D images. The results are very moody and full of character.


Guillaume Kurkdjian – Probably more typical of this genre (alas it’s 3D and isometric).


Karolis Strautniekas – I love the minimalist feel of this. Not sure how this would translate to a broader building view, but it would sure be… different.


Steve Scott – Just looks fun!


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