Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

A place for your artistic side. Discuss techniques and tools for pixel art on the NES, GBC, or similar platforms.

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Drew Sebastino
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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Drew Sebastino » Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:40 pm

Sorry to side track this discussion even further, but while the graphics were definitely meant to be the main selling point, the gameplay is actually really solid. Nothing is innovative about it, but it does feel really polished, from the level design to the controls especially (roll jumping just feels really good).

I'm glad you see the technical merit of the game though; it's not too uncommon to find people saying the graphics are only differentiated from your average SNES game by being prerendered, which is obviously false.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by tokumaru » Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:41 pm

Macbee wrote:It's perfectly possible and - if you have the skills - they can look very good on 8-bit NES.
I know you're a talented artist, so I'd honestly love to see a mock-up!

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NeoTorpor
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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by NeoTorpor » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:35 pm

tepples wrote:Goro from Mortal Kombat was sculpted as a "clay" model. Do the pirate NES ports of Mortal Kombat games include Goro, Kintaro, or Sheeva?

In any case, if you're skilled at working with stop-motion sculpting, then you can model your character's animation in stop-motion and then trace over that with pixels. It'll at least help you get the angles right if you're trying to do (say) 30-some degrees up for an isometric game.
In the pirate Mortal Kombat games, there is Goro and Kintaro, but made as crappy pixel art. No claymation used in those bootlegs.
Harvest moon with swords is a terrific idea.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by tokumaru » Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:13 pm

The graphics in the pirate Mortal Kombat games look like they've been pixeled over the digitized originals or something. To be honest, those still look way better than the official Mortal Kombat 4 on the GBC! Graphics weren't what broke the multitude of pirate fighting games on the NES, as a lot of them had decent graphics (Street Fighter III looks awesome, for example)... crappy physics and controls is what made them terrible.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Bregalad » Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:18 pm

Any graphics automatically or semi-automatically downgraded to NES graphics (3 colours + transparent) will look like shit. However the exeption might not be clay motion, but cell shading, which intentionally reduces the # of colours in a render. It probably still requires more colours, as I think it needs black outlines + 2 shades per colour so this effectively makes cell shading possible only with a single cell colour, or requires overlay to get more cell colours.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by WhiteHat94 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:16 am

Donkey Kong Country on the GB was mentioned but not the NES pirate. Seems like something to look at if you are going for a particular look on the NES.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj4Qaem44HE

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by M_Tee » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:35 am

It could look very good if done by a skilled hand, using a clay model as a base and touching it up—but it would be an advanced progress, not a challenge I'd suggest one to take on as a shortcut.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Sumez » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:27 am

You could use clay to build the basic look of your character, but after digitizing your artwork you'd still have to do some pixel pushing to make it look good with the NES's resolution and palette limitations.

Though I don't think they used clay, I think The Immortal is a good example of you could utilize clay models in an NES game, given a high enough resolution dedicated to the characters:

Image

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Sumez
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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Sumez » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:32 am

(On DKC)
Bananmos wrote: Pretty much. I have picked up a controller attached to it on the odd occasion, but never found the gameplay exciting enough to gives it more time.

Perhaps I should give it a second chance, but I guess I'm was too biased against ugly-looking-games where the graphics were supposed to be a main selling point. Now, if it were marketed to me as a "yeah, the graphics may be sh*te, but it's actually quite a fun game if you can disregard that!", then I might have been more forgiving with it... ;)
Do yourself a favour and play DKC2, skipping the first game.

DKC1 is a really rough game. It's well made, but the gameplay is quite repetitive, and the challenges, though generally quite an easy game, do come across as super unfair due to the way the camera works in relation to the huge sprites.
DKC2 manages to fix all that. It has way more secrets to go for, and super fun and creative level design, and they even managed to fix the camera, and design the stages around their limitations, so it is never really an issue. DKC2 is a truly great game, and one of the best platformers of its generation.

And if you go for all the "lost world" stages, some of them are insanely challenging, too.

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tokumaru
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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by tokumaru » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:27 am

Sumez wrote:Image
That does indeed look very good for NES standards, but it's important to note that the characters are drawn against a black background, and there are many tricks that can be used in this case to increase the color count.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Sumez » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:04 am

Absolutely. I would employ similar methods for making clay graphics work.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Macbee » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:19 am

tokumaru wrote:I know you're a talented artist,
Thanks! You're very talented as well.
tokumaru wrote:so I'd honestly love to see a mock-up!
I think that claymotion can work if you design your characters thinking on NES limitations.
If someone design characters first and then try to adapt them to Nintendo it may be a disaster. I also believe this is not suited to any type of game - I would never make a platformer like Super Mario or Megaman on NES using prerendered stuff, for instance (I would prefer a slow paced game with few stuff on screen and characters as big as possible).

My NES work is unconventional - almost profane to some people - but I converted a Klaymen sprite using a more traditional approach (not too much sprite layering, optimized to 4:3 displays):

Image

I also did some tests with prerendered gfx/photographs conversions in the past -- with all the nesdev-taboo-techniques (abuse of flickering, many image banks at once and sprite layering everywhere). I'll post here just to show what can be achieved if you're disposed to make a game with zillions of megabits:
Image
http://www.mediafire.com/file/uiw88ehv3 ... e.zip/file

Image
http://www.mediafire.com/file/easve11pp ... 0.zip/file

Image
http://www.mediafire.com/?vb20h7p3vay050d

Image
http://www.mediafire.com/?9qqakbaczjz1jh9

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tokumaru
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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by tokumaru » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:43 am

Those look pretty good, so lets reflect on this a bit: cutscenes and other non-game screens can look pretty good if you use a multitude of tricks to get more colors out of the NES, tricks such as layering, flickering and raster effects. Free-roaming in-game characters/objects on the other hand are limited to using regular sprites, so the most you can do to improve them is a little bit of layering so as to not compromise the number of objects that can appear side by side.

This means that, regardless of the approach you take, using pre-rendered/digitized material will require way too much effort to adapt in a way that gives passable results, and will likely be harder and more time consuming than traditional pixel art, effectively invalidating the use of digitized material as a kind of "shortcut" to getting graphics in your games.
WHAT THE ACTUAL F**K?

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by NeoTorpor » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:00 pm

Thank you for your replies. @Macbee your work is impressive; i want that my homebrew game runs inside a real NES console, maybe some clone consoles too but mostly in the real hardware, but again i have zero skills messing around with pixel art and that kind of edition you are mentioning, i am just skilled with clay and that's all.
Harvest moon with swords is a terrific idea.

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Re: Using claymation instead of pixel art for a NES game.

Post by Macbee » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:11 pm

Thanks!

It's important to point that I don't know which kind of game NeoTorpor wants to make.
If he's interested on a visual novel or a "game show" (like Hollywood squares or Jeopardy) *maybe* these graphics full of effects could be an interesting approach.

And i did 2 more sprite conversions (this time from Clayfighters from N64). Once again I'm just using sprite layering (no super over the top tricks). They need to be resized (and definitely retouched!!) since they're way too big. Hope it helps NeoTorpor to evaluate if this technique is able to generate the results he wants.

Even if you can't deal with pixel art if you hire an artist to convert your photos his job will probably will be much easier/faster than drawing everything from scratch - so I think that claymotion on NES can be a very interesting experiment.

Image

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