My attitude approaching sixty second shooter was 180 degrees from my previous modes of operations in a lot of ways. I killed a lot of sacred cows.
One of the sacred cows? "I need a Real Artist(tm) to do the art." Dead.
So, yeah. I did and am still doing the art myself on sixty second shooter. And I'm a rank n00b when it comes to art.
When I was a lad, that's what my heroes, the Richard Garriots and Jordan Mechners, did - they did their own art. I was always a little sad that I missed that window, that I couldn't make a game all by myself, because by the time I entered the industry you needed real artists on your game and I'm not that. But Chris Delay and Jesse Schell's students showed me it could still be done even in these days, so I decided to bite the bullet and try it.
Also, since I wanted to keep load times to a minimum, I thought it would be great to make all of the art procedural, rather than load meshes and textures over the web. So various 3d primitives - almost all extruded polygons and spirals - became the bulk of the enemies. It's almost all procedural art. (I cheated with Deluxe and made a white circle in photoshop for bullet glows, but other than that...)
The little bird-like things that come after you was actually a mistake - I was trying to make something else, but there was a bug in my code - but I thought they looked pretty cool and scary, so I kept them.
And I'm really proud of the smoke in the background - I could watch it all day. Hopefully some day I'll write an article about how I did it. (But I'd want to put a WebGL sample in the article showing the smoke, and that'll take time, etcetera.)
But along with the in-game art there's also the layout of front ends and fonts and other graphic designy stuff. And again, I'm a rank n00b there. A book that's really helped - and I think you'll see the difference if you go from sixty second shooter on Chrome to sixty second shooter Deluxe is The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams. (Not that Robin Williams.) I was leery of the book at first, because flipping through the pages I thought "This design doesn't look that great" - but mostly that's because the book is filled with what-not-to-do examples.
So something I've started doing lately is the pinterest thing. Designers often have what they call a 'swap file', which is a folder filled with examples and clippings of cool design they like. So I'm using pinterest for that. Check out It's Atomic and Programmer Art for some of my inspiration.
With both the in-game art and the design I get tons of feedback - which is often, "Could use an artist," and when I get that kind of advice I say, "Well, that's not going to happen. Can you try and break down exactly what it is about the art that makes you say that?" - and then I fix what I can. I'm getting there!
So, the art is simple, but there's a clarity that comes from the simplicity. And it means this game more so than any one I've done before is my vision: it has this consistency and a unique style - a style I don't know if there's a name for, it's not really 'retro' or 'vector' or tapping into any particular nostalgic look. I just like mathy shapes and bright colors and glowy stuff. Do you know a name for it? Maybe we should just call it the 'programmer art' look. :P