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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:56 am 
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Wow, they were very harsh in their critiques, in my opinion. I do no see this red outline as any problem, if it is a single pixel wide it will be butchered by the NTSC encoding in a way that doesn't even create a clear colour, so I really wouldn't mind.

I guess it's pretty much standard to have a visible underground in 2D games, even if it is not realistic. Just look at Contra, or WoodMan's stage from Mega Man 2 for example. I don't see how haivng this "feature" can even be considered a flaw.

The forest from Zelda II is much, much worse than yours for example, the trunks looks simply horrible. Nintendo sucked at graphics before the release of SMB3, in my opinion, 3rd party games have overall better graphics.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:16 am 
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Marscaleb wrote:
Guess I'll have to start over from scratch.

No don't scrap it! You've got some decent stuff to work with. We'll help you fix it. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:54 am 
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Marscaleb wrote:
But I simply failed to draw something that looked acceptable. I kept drawing again and again until I got the pattern seen above. And everyone keeps saying its repetitive, but I used four tiles plus an offset pattern. Is repetitive really the right word? I honestly do NOT see a repeating pattern in those leaves.

It doesn't exactly look "repetitive" to me, but maybe "shapeless" is a better description. The detail is so uniform, that it's just a big flat wall of leaves. A tree's leaves are arranged in a large round volume, and the interaction of this volume with light gives it the appearance of shape.

The Mega Man example is partially successful, using dark tiles for the edges, and then roughening up the shape of the filled leaf area with patches of light and dark. It's very coarse, which helps hide the "flat" feeling of the trees.

Attachment:
File comment: Gimmick! Level 3 tree.
gimmick_tree.png
gimmick_tree.png [ 4.23 KiB | Viewed 2292 times ]

I like the trees in Gimmick! quite a lot. (See Level 3 Map). There's no leaf texture on the main part of the tree, which is kind of the opposite approach to roughening; by being completely undefined the flatness of a single colour kinda gets ignored, with no points of detail it doesn't even register to me as flat. Similar to with the Mega Man example, a lot of love went into lighting on the edges, giving it the appearance of shape. That's the most important part here, shadow and detail on the edges. The black hanging background suggests shadow under the canopy of the tree, which helps too, while giving a nice contrast and differentiating the underside from the topside of the tree.

Like, if you look at it from a realism perspective, it fails in a number of ways, but I don't think realism is the best goal. It gives a great impression a tree, and works well to the imposed limitations, and that's what counts.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:09 am 
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IMO, the trees in that Mega Man screenshot are the best looking trees I've ever seen on the NES. The ones you made turned out more like the ones is Mega Man 2, which aren't nearly as good. The problem, IMO, is not that they're repetitive, but that they lack volume. The canopy looks flat, like it's been cut the same way the ground was, and nothing extends towards the camera.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:03 pm 
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Marscaleb wrote:
http://eightballgaming.com/img/Sample2x002.png

I'll be blunt: I don't like those trees at all. Honestly they don't look like trees, and where they overlap it just looks like there's a sudden edge rather than actually overlapping. (for the record though, block-shaped trees do exist in real life, I've seen a few of those)

As for the ground, dunno I like the rocks =/ The only issue is the black outline being too strong. Since I doubt you can fix that (as that's the background color), maybe you should increase the contrast of the rock gradient instead so the darkest shade is closer to black. (or make the rocks darker, but probably increased contrast is better for visibility)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:10 pm 
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I decided to break from the environment tiles this week to work on some sprites.

I'm got three variations for a possible main character, and three enemies I cobbled up today. Also a coin and a sample HUD that I made a month ago.

Image
Image

None of the palettes are set in stone; I need to develop the rest of the game more firmly so that I know what colors will be needed at all times. But I definitely don't want black in the player's palette, or else he's melt away into most of my backgrounds.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:01 am 
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Not bad, but the character's stance looks really weird and his left arm looks stubby.

I wanted to edit his stance and then I ended up doing a bunch of other stuff too. Please feel free to do with it what you like but let me know what you think.

Attachment:
Sample003.png
Sample003.png [ 6.36 KiB | Viewed 2162 times ]


All I wonder is... Why you no use new trees? :)

Do you use a tile mapping program? Something like Tiled perhaps?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:08 am 
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Wow, you turned the trenchcoat into a cape!
It looks awesome, but I also keep thinking... I thought I was gonna slay Dracula, not become Dracula! :)
(Actually not developing the story yet, but Castlevania inspired and all, so final boss is likely to either be Dracula or some original demon lord.)

You think he looks better without the hat?

darryl.revok wrote:
All I wonder is... Why you no use new trees?


Well two things.
One, I just haven't touched up on those old tiles yet. I'm trying to get a sense of how quickly I can produce this pixel art, so right now I'm budgeting my time with just first attempts. (Because you can spend forever doing revisions and touch-ups.) And I wanted to pose the characters in a scene so I just grabbed the image I already have.
Two, if I go through with this project, it is my intent to actually sell the final game. As such, I'm really not sure about directly using the touch-ups you folks have provided. Using as a guide, sure, but using the exact pixels? Seems like I ought to negotiate some kind of reimbursement first.

darryl.revok wrote:
Do you use a tile mapping program? Something like Tiled perhaps?


For these mock-ups I'm just working strait inside GIMP. They're just mock-ups, and half the designs are more about using all the tile combinations I might need rather than something I would want in the final game.
For the actual game development I'd be working in Unity, and I do have a tile map extension that I bought to work with Unity. (Which can import maps from Tiled.) If I make this NES-styled game, I have a palette-swapping extension I've been looking at that I think will fulfill my needs.

The long story is:
I was working on a video game called Solius. I poured a lot of effort into it and tried to run a kickstarter campaign, but ultimately I didn't get any funding. After some thought, I decided to instead build a different game with a smaller scope using many of the assets I had produced for Solius. I've been working on this other game for a while now, but just at the end of last year I had another idea. What if I instead used the assets I've been building into an NES game? (The code assets, that is, obviously not the art assets.) In theory, I could produce the art assets much quicker as there would be fewer assets, nearly all of the core game mechanics are already built, and the final scope of the game is pretty much smaller-still than the game I have been working on. So I decided to spend a month conducting an experiment to see if it would really be worth it to switch to this NES game. I've laid out a schedule and some deadlines, and so now I'm just trying to find out if I could really do this well enough and fast enough for it to be worth it to switch projects.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:49 am 
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The lack of black outline makes those sprites look a little weird when they're not on a solid black background. However, if they had a black outline then they'd look odd against a solid black background.

Personally I avoid using solid black background, but if you do use them, then I'd recommand outlining the sprites in a non-black dark colour, but not a colour of the same hue as the one you're using for the light palette.

For example if you have those red enemies, use a dark blue or brown outline for them, instead of a dark red outline.

The main character is obviously Castlevania-inspired. But I can't say I dislike that... With the hat it is less obvious. Don't forget that hands naturally comes down until the thighs when leaning downwards, if it stops before then you have to make them in a "v" shape, or else it'll look like this character has tiny arms (this is hard to do on 8-bit sprites, I agree).


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:10 am 
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I know a tree like this may not fit the style you're going for, but it may help with the composition. Instead of lots of tiny pixels that vary wildly in brightness, you've got larger areas of color where the change in brightness is a bit more gradual. It's still a detailed tree with the same colors (or close, heh), but the main character's fine details don't get lost in the tree's much more broad detailing.

It's a little on the short side, I know, my bad, I did this really quickly. :P


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 6:03 am 
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Marscaleb wrote:
I thought I was gonna slay Dracula, not become Dracula! :)


Haha good point. Really, the black on the upper portion of his arm kind of looked like some sort of cloak so I went with that. At first it was actually a Star Wars robe with a hood.

Quote:
You think he looks better without the hat?

Not necessarily. The hat makes me think of Indiana Jones and I like some Indiana Jones. I honestly picked the one that had the least on it to work with because I initially just planned to change the body and not his costume.

Quote:
Seems like I ought to negotiate some kind of reimbursement first.

I can't speak for Espozo, but as far as I'm concerned, if I take somebody else's character or tiles and edit them and post it, it's theirs. My characters for my game are pretty much the only ones that I wouldn't want somebody to use.

To pose a question for others, how do you guys feel about people using graphics you post for them?

But, of course it also probably goes without saying that you'll learn more from more practice.
Quote:
...experiment to see if it would really be worth it to switch to this NES game.

When you say switch to an NES game, do you mean an NES-inspired Unity game like you said, or an actual NES game for the console?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 2:00 pm 
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Marscaleb wrote:
I'm really not sure about directly using the touch-ups you folks have provided. Using as a guide, sure, but using the exact pixels? Seems like I ought to negotiate some kind of reimbursement first.

If I were worried, why would I have even uploaded the picture in the first place? I could care less. Not everything is about money.

Also, one of the monsters is a blatant Pinky Demon rip off.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:39 pm 
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Yeah, it does look better when I use the dark/outline color from a different hue. Thanks for that pointer!

I've tweaked the leg for the main character, plus the neck in Darryl's version. I also tried a different version wearing a trenchcoat that uses two palettes. And made some more monsters.

Image

darryl.revok wrote:
When you say switch to an NES game, do you mean an NES-inspired Unity game like you said, or an actual NES game for the console?


Distributing an actual NES ROM would be hard. (Well, hard to make money off of.) Plus it would require knowing assembly and whatnot. So strictly speaking it is NES inspired and not a literal NES game, but since I'm trying to match the limitations 100%, it is all but literally an NES game.

Espozo wrote:
Also, one of the monsters is a blatant Pinky Demon rip off.

More of a cross between Pinky and those red things from Gauntlet.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:58 pm 
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Marscaleb wrote:
I also tried a different version wearing a trenchcoat that uses two palettes.

I don't think that there are two reds that close together on the NES.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:00 pm 
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Espozo wrote:
I don't think that there are two reds that close together on the NES.


It's 06 and 07.
And 05 and 06 look even more alike.


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