This guide is for people who have already made their program, but want to improve it in various ways.
Let's get started.
(For lazy people, there's a TL;DR at the end of the guide.)
1. USE YOUR OWN TEXTURES!
Of course, it's not necessary to make your own textures in SmileBASIC: the game already gives you plenty of resources.
However, if you're willing to make your program look even better, an interesting solution is to make additional textures and graphics.
Here's a few things you could do to make your game look unique.
Make a custom font!
You could edit the font and make your own! It's a relatively easy way to add originality to your project.
Another thing you could do is a custom 16x16 font with sprites. Afterwards, you would need a command that translates the text you want to display into sprites.
Make your own sprites and backgrounds!
If your program is a tool, you will likely need custom textures at some point. Of course, most of the sprites and backgrounds are totally fine if they're used correctly. What I mean is, you should keep some sprites and make new ones depending on your needs!
Make sure the background of your program is never empty!
That's very important. Unless your program absolutely needs the background to consist of one color, make sure to give life to your program by adding a colorful background!
You can make awesome-looking textures on your computer, and import them using Homebrew or Petit Modem. That's the best way to give your game the looks you want.
2. MAKE SURE EVERYTHING GOES SMOOTHLY!
Nobody likes laggy games, right?
And you might think it's only a small detail, but making smooth transitions between "scenes" can give your program a cool touch.
Here's what I recommend you could do.
Before publishing your program, run it and use every feature you programmed!
You might still find a few laggy things and maybe even bugs. Look at the code, and attempt to fix these. In case you have no idea how to make your feature work properly, ask us! The forums were created just for that. Just remember that even the smallest bugs can make your game less enjoyable.
Add fading and shading!
Fading is simple to do: use the command "FADE Color, Time(in frames)". For example, in a RPG, once you start a new game from the main menu, you could make the screen fade, then let the game initiate everything, then make the screen unfade once everything's ready.
Shading can also be useful: it consists of fading the screen just enough so it doesn't disappear entirely. You can use that, for example, when you want the player to focus on the other screen. Believe me, you could use shading to make really cool visual effects. You just need some creativity.
3. ADD COOL DETAILS!
You don't really have to do this, but programs usually are more enjoyable when it contains more content than necessary.
Honestly, if you're human, you enjoy video game easter eggs.
Add easter eggs or very small details that are susceptible to make the player smile!
As I just said, people generally love easter eggs. If your program is actually meant to be serious, adding references from your favorite games can be a possibility. Be creative with how the player should encounter these!
Add tutorials and/or samples!
Sometimes, programs can be difficult to understand, and users get frustrated and have no choice but to ask the author how to play. People probably will understand better how your game works if there's a tutorial. Or, if your program is a tool, making a few samples is a very good idea.
If you follow the tips I talked about in this guide, your program will certainly look better.
But do keep in mind that it's not because you followed all of my advice that your program will necessarily be a popular game.
Even the smallest details can make your program more enjoyable.
Even the smallest issues can make your program less enjoyable.