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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:03 pm 
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They're both pretty good, it just comes down to which style you prefer.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:42 pm 
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Espozo wrote:
I don't get that picure, is th rock wall a separate plane in front of the waterfall, or is it like an extension of the cliff side the waterfall is going down? If so, then water should be splashing up and poring down in places.

The rocks are in front of the waterfall. It was the best example of what I meant by "rocky waterfall tileset" that I had on hand, sorry.

Espozo wrote:
Just thinking though, why do you want it to be NROM? It's just that I'm wondering if it's for stylistic choices, because it's very limiting.

It's to stop me getting carried away. If it won't fit, needs a scanline interrupt or involves 2 MiB of bankswitched PRG-RAM then it gets the chop. I've found I need to set hard limits on these things or I'll never get any actual work done.

Drag wrote:
It starts with the negative space, and you draw the rock-shaped blobs onto it. It'll usually look ugly when you tile it, so go through and tweak it until it looks more uniform. From there, you can go straight to the shading, or you can expand your blobs so they touch, tweaking the shape where necessary, and add the shading to that. To convey the idea of rocks, keep your edges angular, rather than circular. A little rounding is ok, because rocks get weathered in real life which smoothes them out a bit.

Another excellent explanation; thank you very much. Have you considered writing a tutorial (or have you written one already)?

Marscaleb wrote:
I think the problem is that all you have that isn't something the player can touch are those two bushes. If you had more background elements it could work a lot better. If you had more foliage in the background, maybe some little houses or something... Altogether if there was more background then it would work well to use the black outlines only on player-collidable objects.

I want to add more background elements - many more background elements - but I'm having a hard time learning to draw them all. Hopefully the bushes won't be so out-of-place when I have trees, mountains and buildings all over the place.

Marscaleb wrote:
Mario 3 uses a couple things.
[...]

So visually I was on the right track: simple blocky shapes are interactive, complex curvy shapes are in the background. That's still not quite perfect though; look at the airships. It's a lot more complex than "black outline means solid". I think the player can be trusted to infer that my two bushes are purely decorative, provided they're introduced in the right way.

As far as teaching the player through gameplay goes, I read an entire essay on the design of the first two levels of SMB3 alone. They covered pretty much the same things you just did, plus stuff like animation cues and the sound the P-meter makes. If only modern games were so subtle...

Espozo wrote:
I'm used to having more colors to work with to where the dark sides of the rocks could be a different color than the gaps in between.

I could arrange for a three-shade palette. I was hoping to try some sprite-based parallax tricks, which would require the sky as the background color, but that might be a bit much for a first try. And I could change the background color anyway if the two areas didn't share tiles to begin with, which might actually be practical for a cave tileset.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:01 pm 
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Rahsennor wrote:
I was hoping to try some sprite-based parallax tricks

On a solid waterfall background? :lol:

Rahsennor wrote:
The rocks are in front of the waterfall.

So how I'm imagining it is that there's a body of water between the waterfall and the foreground? (and you could possibly draw water in front of the foreground) The platforms really should be made of much larger rocks then, even if it takes up more tiles. I respect your opinion on using NROM, but I don't agree. However, this isn't my project.

Rahsennor wrote:
I could arrange for a three-shade palette.

The main problem is how many colors there are total, but I suppose you could use brown as the shade between dark gray and black.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:01 am 
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Espozo wrote:
On a solid waterfall background? :lol:

No, in a different area. But if one tile uses the background color as the sky and another uses it for black, they can't appear together. EIther the three-shade rock palette must only appear in areas with no sky, or a seperate set of sky tiles must be created, which could be numerous if rounded corners and slopes are involved. If I want to fit in NROM, I need to recycle tiles, doubly so if I want to budget extra tiles for extra-nice rocks. :P

Espozo wrote:
So how I'm imagining it is that there's a body of water between the waterfall and the foreground? (and you could possibly draw water in front of the foreground)

Yes. The gameplay layer is in and over a body of water, be it a lake, river or the sea, into which the waterfall flows. There are rock platforms jutting out of the water or 'hanging' off the background, and possibly wooden bridges between them.

I'll see if I can post a mockup of the layout in another day or two, with flat gray for rocks if need be.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:27 am 
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Rahsennor wrote:
Another excellent explanation; thank you very much. Have you considered writing a tutorial (or have you written one already)?

You're welcome. :D I haven't written any tutorials because I'm not a professional and usually just figure stuff out as I go. Pixel art is almost identical to traditional art, and lots of techniques from there (such as painting, perspective, lighting, composition, palette selection) carry over to pixel art. When starting out, pixel art is often treated like sketching stuff on paper with a pencil, and then coloring it in with a marker later, and although that's a good technique, it's not the only technique available to you. The rock example is actually more like a painterly way to do rocks, rather than a sketch-and-color way.
Attachment:
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tree_help3.png [ 2.4 KiB | Viewed 1377 times ]
For another example, this tree was done similarly to the rocks, it started with a tree-shaped blob of the darkest green color, and on top of that went the medium green, drawn like brush strokes with the center of the tree mostly filled in, and then the lightest green went last using the same brush stroke idea as the medium green. In between each step was pixel-tweaking to break up large regions of color, refine the shape of the branches, etc. Grass can be done the exact same way, just all the lines point upwards. This is just one of thousands of ways you can draw this.

Pixel tweaking is really the only thing unique to pixel art which distinguishes it from more traditional art. All stardard art lessons apply to pixel art otherwise, including how to draw trees and rocks. :P


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:30 pm 
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This was the tree that I made and then was tweaked by darryl.revok to use less tiles:

Attachment:
Tree.png
Tree.png [ 1.83 KiB | Viewed 1359 times ]

It probably still takes up way too many tiles though. Just comparing it to Drag's, I have to say I think mine is to bright for a black background. I could always fix it up if you want to actually use it. As for trying to learn to draw, I don't know how you do it, you just kind of do it. I don't really have any method to my drawing, which could be why it takes forever.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:11 pm 
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Yeah, like Drag said, there's a million and one stylized and tile-friendly ways to make trees. Surt's OGA Gallery has a ton of examples. You could even use them in your game since they're creative commons.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:52 pm 
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I just always feel like people seem to think there's some sort of formula to drawing. There may be, but I couldn't tell you it because I don't know it, or at least not consciously.

The games I generally look at to try and get an idea of how to draw something from are usually Metal Slug. I'm not super enthusiastic about the "cartoonier" looking things in the game, but the other stuff looks awesome:

Image

Of course, another good looking game is GunForce 2. It might not be quite as clean looking, but I like the art direction better (especially the sprites. I don't think a lot of the sprites in Metal Slug really match the background artistically, as they're much more ridiculous looking and have greater outlines. I don't know if this was done to make them stand out or what though.)

Image

One thing I really want to see though is an NES game that has highly varying backgrounds, (kind of more like a picture than what you'd expect from a tiled system) like Metal Slug. This isn't really suited for something like a platformer though that has a ton of levels.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:34 pm 
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Espozo wrote:
One thing I really want to see though is an NES game that has highly varying backgrounds, (kind of more like a picture than what you'd expect from a tiled system)

You sound like David Crane. Try Haunted: Halloween '85.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:47 pm 
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I'm aware of the fact that the NES uses tiled graphics. :roll: I'm just saying that you could make artwork that varied looking if you used something like the MMC5. The largest problem is palette limitations (even if you were using the MMC5 with 8x8 attributes).

tepples wrote:
Try Haunted: Halloween '85.

From what I've seen of the game, it definitely looks better than most.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:37 pm 
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It's funny you'd mention that, Espozo, because the Pixelation forums recently began a Commercial Critique of Castlevania. And so far the results have been stunning. Since Castlevania had 16x16 attributes, it seems a lot of artists have been keeping black the dominant color to "break the grid". The topic might be worth a read since you seem to like that aesthetic.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:22 am 
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Drag wrote:
Pixel art is almost identical to traditional art, and lots of techniques from there (such as painting, perspective, lighting, composition, palette selection) carry over to pixel art.

So everyone keeps telling me. In fact, every tutorial on pixel art I've found so far assumes the reader is already an artist, which makes them more or less useless to me. The fact that you're not a professional is a good thing, in my book - you explain things in terms anyone can understand.

Back on topic, my first attempt at rocks and waterfalls came out pretty awful. The waterfall is eyeblasting, the rocks are way too regular and I can't shade worth crap. Have at it.
Attachment:
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mockup-4a.gif [ 10 KiB | Viewed 1267 times ]

I also threw this together.
Attachment:
mockup-3.png
mockup-3.png [ 1.16 KiB | Viewed 1267 times ]
I'm not happy with that mountain, but I can't figure out how to make it look better without using more tiles. I should probably just go for normal mountains.

The foliage could use some shading, too.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 9:11 am 
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Rahsennor wrote:
I can't figure out how to make it look better without using more tiles.

Grr... :evil:

Rahsennor wrote:
the rocks are way too regular

Why not just use Drag's or my rocks?

Anyway, I was bored, so I made some water that's more abstract. This isn't useful for your game, but I feel like making a sort of mockup to see how more abstract graphics would look on the NES (in that if the MMC5 was used correctly, although I'll try and avoid 8x8 color attributes unless I absolutely have to.)

Attachment:
Water.png
Water.png [ 1.23 KiB | Viewed 1253 times ]

How much fun you'd have trying to animate that... :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:44 am 
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Rahsennor wrote:
The waterfall is eyeblasting

Reducing the contrast would help a lot.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:41 pm 
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Spreading out the vertical details so it doesn't appear to repeat so soon should help too.


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