I see nothing in GSB that I haven't done before, better in some cases, but it'd be a huge undertaking to re-skin AI War from top to bottom. That said there are still a number of things that can be done to what already exists to give the game something of a slight aesthetic make-over:-
- Fix the ugly grey border
effect when scaling bitmaps. Yes, this might take a while but it'll certainly be quicker than redrawing everything and it will have a significant quick-win impact on the visuals.
- Apply some efficient layering system for effects (overglow, subtle 'contrails' or engine particle effects/sparks &c.).
- Find a style and stick to it. Before the update AI War seemed to be pixel art in style. That seems to have crept somewhat into the render art style. (Personally I prefer the latter for the larger stuff as render art for tiny objects as a hugely ineffecient use of pixel-pushing time.)
- More variation of shot sprites. (I can churn out alt. shot gfx at a frightening rate if asked.)
Anyway, AI War has a full-time artist now so workload shouldn't be an issue. *cracks the whip*
Another thing that adds massively to a game is sound. IMHO the audio is perhaps the weakest element to AI War. (Except the music!) A lot could be done:-
- Cue sound effect volume by distance from the point of view.
- Give distinct shot effects to different ship types.
- Introduce distinct impact sound effects based on damage.
- Add ambient effects for some of the rarer elements (such as distant, eerie metal creaking sounds when there's a broken Golem at the planet) and maybe just for the planet itself (such as a subtle drone / 'galactic wind' effect). Realism aside, of course, otherwise you'd not hear anything at all!
I'm not entirely inexperienced when it comes to creating sound effects either. (The Orbital Mass Driver is one.) It has been a while since I've been out and about with my recorder and made wounderful things in my old and creaky installation of Soundforge. Ah, thems were the days!