2nd attempt: Isometric excercises
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Author:  Marscaleb [ Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

My thoughts are: what is intractable and collidable?
Certainly I can see a back wall that I expect to be solid, and there is a ledge I can see as well.
But the main floor looks like it is just design, and I ought to be able to walk everywhere. But can I? Or am I supposed to interact with some of those more complex-looking regions somehow?
And I stared at image for a minute before I realized there was a staircase there in the ground.

Artistically, it looks good. But for a game, I would want the edges to be better defined. I don't want to have to guess about where I can walk.

Also, you might try shifting the hues a bit. The highlights or the shadows or both; try shifting the hues. It usually looks really good, and you can sometimes use that other hue to add extra detail and definition if you put it in the right spot.

Author:  za909 [ Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

It looks wonderful as it is, but imagine the background tiles being bankswitched as you move to give a faux parallax scrolling effect... that would be costly (eight 1k banks), but even more spectacular looking!

Author:  M_Tee [ Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

Got a night's sleep in and have a little more time to comment now. First, I would totally play this. Makes me think of the GBA Baldur's Gate, which I played a lot of.

I see no problem with using the same palette for walls and ground. I would say, though, don't be afraid to let shadows be shadows and resist putting highlights in them.

Here is a quick paintover I did to illustrate this:
I simply removed the highlights from the southeast walls and darkened some of the immediate areas behind walls that jutted out to define them a bit more.

The other thing that stands out to me are the black lines on the ground. Assuming the light is coming from screen west (from the direction of most of your highlights), shadows should be cast on the southeast and north east sides. but some of your ground panels have shadows on all three sides, causing a bit of confusion.

I didn't touch the ground in my paintover, but I would likely include (dark, not black) shadows cast from the walls, and greatly reduce the amount of black in the ground, using it sparingly to imply crevasses or shadows cast from uneven panels.

As for marscaleb's comments:
This is how I read the walking plane. It seems pretty clear to me, but if what I highlighted isn't what's intended, then I would say it could use more clarity.

Also, he has a good point on hue shifts. You seem to already be doing so for your highlight. I don't know how many screenshots of his work are still up, but alp is really good at using three different hues within the same palette and getting a lot of variation out of them. It'd be worth searching to see what he has posted.
Looking forward to seeing more.

Author:  Myask [ Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

Looks good. It's true the walk-plane doesn't pop distinctively, but it is still obvious where it is.

Just don't make it so that the mid-right bit crumbles off to death.

Author:  Bregalad [ Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

All of the pics looks amazing!!

I do not think the walls needs to be a different colour than the floor. Because of how isometric graphics works, that basically means you could not use the whole palette for either, and that's a problem. However they definitely need to be a different shade of the same colour, and I think WheelInventer did that wonderfully.

What is however important is that the background is not the same colour as the wall of floors. In the very first pic this was a problem but then it has been fixed and looks wonderful.

Author:  FrankenGraphics [ Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

I tried to tone down the thicker lines in the walk plane as to not cause too much confusion and to be more clear on what it is supposed to convey. Regarding shadows and skyline, i took the advices about halfway for now. I really liked what it did. Also most noticable, i tried a main palette outside my comfort zone.


Regarding the floor plane: The intention here is *almost* purely aesthetic. This is the intro scene, but also camp/hub you'd come back to a few times, so it needs to avoid sameness. Dungeons may be a bit more sparingly/functionally decorated to give a fair chance to spot traps etc. No real dangers ever occur in this scene so you're free to explore the limited premises without hazard.

Hidden doors to shortcuts will appear after you'd defeat one of the three planned major bosses (well, after the third you'd beat the game, but i'd like to drop the player back into a hard mode with all shortcuts open). Palettes for sunset and castle would also change at these triggers. I have to admit that it is kind of weird that the sunset is back there and that the light source in the forground is the direction it is. But let's just assume that this castle foundation is built on bald mountain and unholy things are commonplace. Oh by the way, the baddies are no others than Ferenc the black knight, Erzs├ębet the blood countess, and if rumours are true, the dark lord they serve - rid the world of them, preferably before they engage in an unholy trinital wedlock. Of course, that's package fluff and historically incorrect. It takes a bit of influence from a certain E A Poe screen adaption.

Here's my notes on how i would like the on-screen interaction:

Walk into/press against something - close combat animation ensues or open chest/door if you have the key.

B (or A) - character's signature action. In the case of wart, that is putting a trap on the floor or, if standing on an untriggered dungeon trap, disarm it. Faith (possibly a paladin or an unresting spirit in search of redemption) gets a cursor to aim a smiting lightning strike from above or a heal a friend at the cost of a slight self sacrifice depending on target. Will can hold for a defensive stance or hold and release while d-pad is pressed for a bash/tackle. I'm not sure about the fourth class, but an idea is to have *Unnamed ranger* quick tap repeatedly for a couple of shots in the facing direction, or hold to get a crosshair and a stronger shot, a bit like the Faith. Or come up with some mid-range attackey character concept. Too bad there's already a whip-wielding hero on a holy mission. :roll:

A (or B) - use consumable item.

*if* i would incude a height variable walking plane (graphically doable with current tileset), you'd need to walk a stair step up on the platform as there's no planned jump.

All characters are planned to have a passive trait that makes them stand out slightly. Wart, for example, is planeed to trigger dungeon traps with a slight delay and a warning click, giving the player a split second more to counteract. Will is simply landing slightly harder hits in close combat. All of this will be tedious to balance, but worth it. Different 1 player choices or different 2 player combinations may warrant some replay value if the rest doesn't turn out crappy.

Should this thread move to the homebrew section? Or should i do a new post there in case this takes off and keep this for graphics discussion? I have a far, far way to go when it comes to 6502 programming, but i strongly feel something like this would complement the nes library. I just need to take it in slow increments.

Author:  Espozo [ Sun Apr 24, 2016 8:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

Definitely your best yet. (I like the purple color.) The compromise with the clouds is really good, as it makes sense they wouldn't be that color latter on because of the size of the sunset.

Author:  Marscaleb [ Mon Apr 25, 2016 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

It looks MUCH better with those shadows, and using the dark blue with the purple really works out well! (Though honestly I think the purple overall isn't as good as the blue; lavender bricks seem a little unusual. I think the 1C looked best, but that would be hard to get a color that works as well for the shadows as you have with the purple and blue. I guess there's no perfect solution.)

I also notice you increased some highlights around the edges, and they pop a lot more making the edges much more defined. Great work!

That being said, my eye is still being drawn to that spot in the lower-left corner. (This spot has always stood out the most to me.) If I were playing, I would want to walk over to it to see if there is something special about it, because it is noticeably darker that the rest of the floor. It looks like there a shallow hole there, and I would want to investigate it. Even with the other edges better-defined, I would still wonder if I can walk on it or not, because it might be a hole, or it might be a dark spot. Unless you plan to actually have something special there, I would suggest you alter that so it just looks like the other floor patterns.

If it is actually a hole and the player can't walk on it, i would add more highlights on the bottom edges. If it is supposed to be flat and the player can walk on it, I would add some dithering in the dark spot, or remove the dark spot completely. If you deliberately want the player to investigate the spot (like maybe there is a key hidden there or a touchplate the player triggers by walking on or something) then i wouldn't change a thing.

Author:  FrankenGraphics [ Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

Thanks! I'm also leaning, if only by a little, towards 1c in terms of palette choices. Though, if i stick to the idea of having the castle/sunset palette shift from dusk to after dark throughout the game progression, i can eat the cake and have it too, and get a nice feature out of it. ^^

It's good you mention the bottom left structure. It's a slight design choice problem i have right there, and you taking notice of it is a sure sign that i need to think it over properly. It is indeed intented to be a hidden stash, though you would need to break/move a stone slab (animation issue) to uncover it. I'm probably not going to have a 'secret' stash in this scene, but there it is just to have it laid out and tested.

The stone slab with an O-ring attached to it was my first design on such a lid. But i also want _that particular lid_ in this scene to be a hidden stairway passage to lower levels, which would open only after you've defeated a certain boss or pulled a lever in the room after the boss, or whatever the mechanic i come up with. But i feel sloppy for using the same graphics for two quite different functions. Why would you be able to open/break the ones in the dungeon below, but not this one in the camp scene? Or if i can't interact with the camp scene slab, why would i try later on?

Since i don't plan for enemy sprites in this scene, though, i can use sprites more liberally. I'm thinking of vines/bugleweed/poison ivy or something right now to cover it, and it could add a nice colour splash... back to the drawing board!

@za909, that'd be nice indeed, but as you said, costy. I haven't figured the whole scope out yet, in regards to resources, but i'm suspecting i will be wasting bytes on LUTs quite a bit, and some more on countless rookie mistakes. :P

Author:  Marscaleb [ Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

Well I guess you already thought of it, but as I was reading you talking about having the pull-ring, my first thought was that it would probably be best drawn as a sprite. That way you could use a slightly different color for it. Help it stick out a bit so the player knows to investigate it.


Author:  M_Tee [ Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

As a big fan of 60s and 70s era animation, that cartoon hits home pretty hard. haha

As for palette transitions for time of day, don't forget that emphasis bits can be toggled for more subtle transitions or effects.

Author:  FrankenGraphics [ Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

:lol: Very illustrative!

Not only _does_ something stand out, you'd also know from experience with games and cartoons, if somehow not from your guts. Much better. A sprite would be convenient in several ways. I'm also having at least one background palette to spare in dungeons, if using sprites for nonmoving objects turns out to be limiting.

It's just beginning to dawn on me how much effort will go into animating enemies, and how much ROM it will eat up - at least for humanoids.

@M_Tee Good reminder! It's easy to forget about. Am i correct to say the emphasis bits can be switched at any time, not just vblanks?

Author:  lidnariq [ Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

Yup, emphasis (like CHR banking) is an anytime thing (within the precision you can get the CPU to play along.)

Author:  FrankenGraphics [ Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

Not iso, but a thematically concistent excercise in ending/credits/intro screens. Redrawn work layered over a dithered bw photo in photoshop. Had an extra layer highlighting the first pixel in every 8x8 which helped a lot when deciding how to redraw and what to remove, shift around, and simplify. Then removed the original dither layer and imported in nesst for attributing and tile reuse where needed. The source photo is over 100 years old. It took a few passes before i got it distinct without loosing the horror / old school black metal album cover feel. I thought i might aswell share it and see what you think of it. It is using up a full $FF bytes but could be simplified if needed.

filtered.bmp [ 847.55 KiB | Viewed 1481 times ]

Author:  vilxdryad [ Mon May 09, 2016 7:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2nd attempt: Isometric excercises

that last one have the castlevania's ending feel all over. i am all impressed that the nes can actually handle those beautiful pixel-detailed backgrounds, your art is actually the best one i have ever saw on the system; you are really talented!

I am looking forward to this game so hard, i really congratulate you for what you have done so far, i really appreciate your art.

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