AuthorTopic: Feature 11 - Pharaohs Return (C64)  (Read 35636 times)

Offline Lazycow

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Feature 11 - Pharaohs Return (C64)

on: May 26, 2012, 09:47:53 am




More about Pharaohs Return in the web:
- youtube teaser
- devlog homepage (lazycow)
- the gallery (pixeljoint)
- gameplay infos (tigsource)

Hi, this is a mockup for a game with C64 restrictions. Using a 320x192 multicolor charmode screen here, with raster interrupts every 32 lines, which splits the screen in six 320x32 zones with selectable background colors and multicolor colors. (scoredisplay is build out of sprites in the border) I tried to use C64 restrictions to make the pixeling easier, but these C64 color restrictions in multicolor charmode made some problems...

The main problem for me is that the freely selectable color for each 8x8 block has to be one of the first 8 colors. But the "good colors" (browns and greys) you want to use for backgrounds are in the second half of the palette.  >:(

Any suggestions? Or am I on the right path already?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 07:15:25 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline PypeBros

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 08:30:34 pm
neat ^_^

Some colours (or at least non-grey) on the sprites could be welcome, both for visuals and for readability. Iirc, the C64 had a "mixed" mode where some chars would be 4-colours while others are regular, monochrome (and hi-res) chars, too. That could be handy for e.g. your red bricks.

Oh, can't the background colour be brown and black be one of the 3 foreground colours, btw ?

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #2 on: May 27, 2012, 11:10:45 am
Is this an unofficial sequel to Pharaoh's Curse?  That was my very favourite game as a kid!

Pixel work looks good, but I'd sorely miss all the bright colours and interesting 1 screen maps (or at least slightly denser).


Don't know too much about C-64 restrictions I'm afraid, but it's this thread is pretty interesting to me!

Offline Lazycow

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #3 on: May 27, 2012, 09:40:47 pm

Sorry about writing so cryptic stuff...  :-[ short version of this screenmode:
- In multicolor charmode, each 8x8 block can only have one of the lower 8 colors. The background color is the same for all blocks. (for each 320x32 pixel zone)
- a 8x8 block can be a multicolor-block. Then the block has double-wide pixels and you have 2 additional colors that are the same for all blocks. (for each 320x32 pixel zone)

@rikfuzz: I wouldn't name it "sequel", but... well, ok, yes, there's this Pharaoh and he returns... sort of. Right now it's just a mockup. (Your screenshot looks like Atari, by the way)

@pypebos: yes, there's too much grey in there. Selecting the colors is actually my problem. But I have examined some C64 screenshots and they all have more or less the same strange color combinations. So maybe there's no optimal solution. (Yes, i could set the block colors to black and use that black for background, I have setup the 3rd zone in the 2nd pic like that. That works, but as you have observed, it looks very grey...)
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Offline Lazycow

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #4 on: June 02, 2012, 03:11:06 pm

old -> new

Update.. I tried to make the caves more colorful. Most C64 screenshots seem to utilize the block color for the hilight, so I tried the same here. (using yellow, cyan and green) I kind of love and hate these C64 color restrictions. Still too dark...  :-\


Sprites! Hero, Pharaoh, Mummy, Snake, Bat, Scorpion.

The three "humans" use two overlayed sprites. (a hires sprite on top of a multicolor sprite) This would eat up precious sprites and memory in a real C64 game, but well... I couldn't draw a reasonable figure without that. (there are some real C64 games which did that, too)

All multicolor sprites have to share 2 colors. (here, it's orange and dark grey)

Items: Whip, Dynamite, Gun, Magazine, Bullet, Keys, Potions. (multicolor sprites)
Additional keys and Potions. (this time hires sprites on top of chars, which effectively gives 2 colors)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 05:39:26 am by Lazycow »
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Offline PypeBros

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #5 on: June 02, 2012, 04:12:58 pm
Great new colours, although I'm undecided on the use of cyan in the pyramid.

I note that colours of your hero blend a lot into each other. Maybe a using blues (which I expect to be rare in the background) would be a wise move.

I also note that, compared to the original game, you made the environment rather large in regards to the hero's size. Maybe you could want to take advantage of that and do what some C64 developers did as well: enable the "tall" bit and have 24x42 sprites with multi-color square pixels (of 2x2 pixels each).

Offline BladeJunker

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #6 on: June 02, 2012, 10:47:36 pm

Update.. I tried to make the caves more colorful. Most C64 screenshots seem to utilize the block color for the hilight, so I tried the same here. (using yellow, cyan and green) I kind of love and hate these C64 color restrictions. Still too dark...  :-\


Sprites! Hero, Pharaoh, Mummy, Snake, Bat, Scorpion.

The three "humans" use two overlayed sprites. (a hires sprite on top of a multicolor sprite) This would eat up precious sprites and memory in a real C64 game, but well... I couldn't draw a reasonable figure without that. (there are some real C64 games which did that, too)

All multicolor sprites have to share 2 colors. (here, it's orange and dark grey)

Items: Whip, Dynamite, Gun, Magazine, Bullet, Keys, Potions. (multicolor sprites)
Additional keys and Potions. (this time hires sprites on top of chars, which effectively gives 2 colors)

Looking very good with the change in colors as most people who've done C64 art tend to say greys are better at bridging or shadow as a shared color than as the primary fill color of the sprite art. Me I hate too much grey despite many of my favorite classic computer games using an overabundance of it, a gamer can only look at so much stone & metal. :lol:

I don't think your layered sprite approach is too crazy for the C64 since a surprising number of games used that approach. I know how hard it is to get details into double wide sprites especially small ones. :sigh:
http://www.lemon64.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=33782&sid=e45ee77c7736ba34cc6bd4ea3304839a

I appreciate the great deal of space offered on screen as a lot of C64 games suffered from a lack of room to move/dodge in the pursuit of detailed pixel art. Also I like the map too, so easy to get lost in a Pharoah's tomb. ;D

Offline STE 86

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #7 on: June 03, 2012, 08:25:08 pm
I think what the chap was trying to tell you about c64 multicolor char mode was that if you do use character colours above 8, what you actually get is a character coloured in colours 0-7 once again but in hires 320x200 pixel mode. so all your red background stonework detail would in fact be in hires 1:1 pixels rather than 2:1.

for a current example of pretty much the look you want to achieve you should check out the newly released c64 game "Soulless" from psytronik

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=k2H7GrZNRcA

Steve

Offline PypeBros

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #8 on: June 04, 2012, 08:27:07 am
Aaaah ... yeah, right. It was possible to mix hi-res and lo-res tiles on the same screen. bit 3 of the "colour" in COLOR part of the screen no longer pick colours, but tells whether you use hi-res or lo-res. We've got 3 "global" colours (still with the full palette, right ?) and one "per-tile" colour (only palette indices 0..7).
For some reason, I messed up the C64 colour memory (only FG color is defined per-location) with the EGA text colour memory (with individual background/foreground combo per character).

Note that one could switch to "extended background mode", but then you only have 64 characters to draw your scene... that's unlikely to be worth it here.

Offline Grimsane

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 08:59:46 am
crap another edit i never got around to posting  ::)
you've improved it alot since anyway, but here's a colour edit i did, whilst also trying to wrap my head around the restrictions, doubt it's that helpful, but it's what I'd have gone for, and yeah I'm not too keen on the cyan either.

was pretty sure it was within restrictions, but I dunno.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #10 on: June 04, 2012, 11:46:29 am
Grimsane: some of that is not possible because of the colours you picked. You can not have a colour from 8-F (the greys, browns and the light rgb colours) as your extra colour on tiles. So no matter what you do, having orange, brown and grey or 2 greys and a brown on the same char does not work.

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Grimsane

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #11 on: June 04, 2012, 01:07:39 pm

that's what led me to believe you could...
as someone mentioned using black as your optional colour per tile for that region and making that the negative space, kinda like inverting the palette mask.

but as I said I had no real clue, was just going on what I've read in this and another thread here and there, kinda why i was reluctant to post it  ::)

Offline ptoing

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #12 on: June 04, 2012, 03:19:09 pm
That thing with the 3 greys would work if you would take one of the greys as BG colour for that big and then set the other 2 greys as fixed and use black as the free colour, yes. I guess you could do that as well in your examples. But to be honest I don't even know how economical it would be to have 6 rastersplits in a game like that. It would take up quite a few cpu cycles and probably make the gameplay slower. But I dunno.

All I can say is look at vierbits Metroid stuff which has no rastersplits (apart from perhaps the statbar at the top) and it looks very good. I think that would be a better approach, rather than relying on rastersplits, esp if this is a game Lazycow really wants to make.

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline PypeBros

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #13 on: June 04, 2012, 04:09:29 pm
imho, brown+darkbrown+black is what works the best for the current mock-up. I'd expect another palette to be picked for e.g. caves area. I can envision splits such as "blocks below, cave-looking above your head" or "blocks below, egyptian paintings as background", etc. (the original game had nice use of such "paintings" to make screens more interesting :)

Quote
It would take up quite a few cpu cycles and probably make the gameplay slower.
That would be 3 stores to the VIC per 32 raster lines. I'd have to dig the report of Mr Sid to know whether this is too much or not, but I think it should leave you enough time for your logic and animation rendering. I'd be more concerned about the fact that it imposes some annoying restrictions on level design, such as "no yellow top-of-platform here, we've got blue rocks 10 tiles on the left".

All this reallly makes me wonder how they realised Rick Dangerous on C64. I never figured out that gfx art on the C64 was so mixed with technology mastery.

But I guess the real question is "do you want to go for a real game or is this just a mock-up ...

Offline STE 86

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #14 on: June 04, 2012, 10:43:57 pm
being a graphic designer on any of the 8bits always meant knowing your machine at a technical level. They all require this.

the "reversed" character colour is a standard method of obtaining all your colours from any of the 16. it's also known as the "uridium" method because its what Andy Braybrook used to get his metallic bas relief fades for the game Uridium.

however this will restrict quite heavily the use of colour in the game and simply using horizontal bands of colour will more than likely resullt in something that looks like an atari vcs game. oh and you will also lose your background "lowlight" red tiles if you go this way.

These are shots from soulless which pretty well illustrate the effect you seem to want



Offline PypeBros

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #15 on: June 06, 2012, 08:59:15 am

Which I'd de-construct the following way into "3-color mask" over "per-character color page"

Offline Lazycow

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #16 on: June 07, 2012, 07:28:32 am
Thanks for the comments!

@BladeJunker: Didn't realize that there so many games that use overlay sprites. Interestingly, they all seem to use the overlay sprite for a black outline.

@Grimsane: Brown as dark color and to replace the red blocks? Clever, I like it.

@STE86: Yes, blocks can be hires. I just was too lazy to make the red bricks hires and used copy & paste.
The "soulless" screenshots are really great. So many details and very clever use of hires blocks. Sometimes too many colors maybe.

@ptoing: Programming and map design with raster interrupts would be a bit tricky. Yes, probably. But if you want to go the easy way, you wouldn't make a C64 game anyway, would you? ;-)

@PypeBros: A raster interrupt has more overhead than just poking the colors. You have to save registers and clear flags first and doing anything reverse after. So you cannot do tricks every line like on an Atari 2600 or on the Amiga, I guess.


Yes, the colors of the hero are blending a bit... Let's see... Blue is interesing, but what about red?

On the right side, there's an early version of the hero. (which would force white and orange as global sprite colors) Never liked sprites with 2x2 pixels on the C64. No way! ;-)


Update: Here's a new mockup which uses the Uridium-method ;D (thx, STE 86) for gettings some unusual color combinations.

I think the area of the hero with the "little brown squares" looks a bit odd. But I cannot figure out what's wrong. Do I have to fill the black area here like on the 1st floor? Any hints?

This is my 3rd try to make a game about collecting aegyptian treasures. (no, it doesnt pretend to be a Pharaoh's Curse sequel) I used the C64 graphics to make it easier for me to concentrate on my problems in creating maps and tiles. (that's why I stopped last time)
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Offline PypeBros

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #17 on: June 07, 2012, 09:29:22 pm

HEre's an edit for you.

1. tried to soften those squarish corners.
2. got rid of highlights on ceiling.
3. had fun with some arachne-inspired vines in the background, possible replacement of those curious squares.

I'd strongly suggest you don't mirror those "brown roots" as "climbing up" or "going left". it just doesn't make sense.

Offline Helm

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #18 on: June 08, 2012, 04:30:05 pm
Please consider this edit:



I'm not sure on functionality, but as far as bg/fg separation and usage of dithering for c64

edit: if it's not functional under real c64 limitations I'd like to know so as to present a more realistic edit btw
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 04:32:04 pm by Helm »

Offline STE 86

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #19 on: June 09, 2012, 01:08:13 am
warning: this is going to get pretty complicated.

No, what you have done isn't possible under the method which the chap has chosen to create the screen.

in order to have full control over his colour set he has used Black as the overall $d800 character colour ram.

This has the effect of "reversing" out the background colour so instead of black being in the background colour register, he can have any of the 16 colours and thereby bypass the 8 colour limit on character colours.

because of this, you cannot have black and colour which ISN'T green, lt green or brown in the same square. so your blue is out. it would have to be brown (or green or lt green)

the yellow colour top and bottom is being provided by a colour raster split and therefore the yellow colour must extend uniformly across the screen like it does in his initial screenshot. you cannot step it down the blocks only on one side like your screenshot.

The white and the cyan details are being provided for by changing the $d800 colour ram in those squares from black to the required colours. as can be seen from the full red squares dotted around.

not sure exactly which way round the the chap envisages the the colour registers being but at a guess they would be:

Background: Brown
MC1: green
MC2: lt green
character colour ram: predominantly black with spot details colours in white,cyan and red.

you might think this is unnecessary, because green is a character colour, but using this method he can, on another screen have access to the entire range of greys to do stone blocks instead of compromising on white or cyan for stone highlights.

It does however take some getting your head round and curtails your ability to add spot colours significantly.

Steve

Offline Helm

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #20 on: June 09, 2012, 07:45:00 am
Thanks for the very informative post.

So, from my edit, the blue is out. It can be replaced with the brown.

The yellow on the top not being available generally is unfortunate, but it can still be replaced with the light green with the same pixel composition.



the more significant part of my edit concerns pixel formations, not the hue shifts anyway.

Offline STE 86

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #21 on: June 09, 2012, 10:01:28 am
ok that's a much better grip on it. The only thing I notice that you won't be able to to is the orange highlight on the brown background.

in a square with black in it, only the colours Brown, Green and Lt. Green can be used.

in a square with no black in it, only the first 8 colours of the 16 colour palette can be used to replace the black

However to complicate things further :) in the squares that ARE just brown and black (character colour and background) the graphics can be in 1:1 pixel mode (hires chars), as the OP has done in his version.

This is however much more of a pain in the arse to draw outside of a real c64 because its a hardware thing.

Steve

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #22 on: June 09, 2012, 12:59:14 pm
too bad blue background can't be used... it worked pretty well. Does that mean I haven't de-constructed the screen shot and that it used black as the major background color anyway ?

Btw, I tried some alternate colors for the hero's jacket.



Imho, cyan could work pretty well... immediately seconded by lightgreen.
I managed to give him eyes, as well ... hope you like it.

Hmm ... and after posting, I just realised that changing the color jacket doesn't help alot. The brown of the trousers/hat is what definitely needs to be moved apart from background colors (imho)
« Last Edit: June 09, 2012, 01:16:34 pm by PypeBros »

Offline Helm

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #23 on: June 09, 2012, 01:01:54 pm
Quote
However to complicate things further  in the squares that ARE just brown and black (character colour and background) the graphics can be in 1:1 pixel mode (hires chars), as the OP has done in his version.

I purposefully avoided that because I'm not sure what mixing resolution for background tiles achieves. For sprites the added information is crucial, but for tiles? Meh.  The only exception I'd allow for myself is a solid 50% dither patter with square pixels to do some fades.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #24 on: June 09, 2012, 03:28:29 pm
You are coming along nicely. Also good point about "would you do it for C64..."

I made some edits on the sprite.



Because your sprite is quite small, you have detail in the bg and the colours of your sprites and bg are similar (you know this does not need to be the case at all), it is very important to keep it readable.

I felt that the grey is totally wasted so I went for light red and orange and and then used black as the hires overlay. This helps to make sure that the sprite pops out nicely. As far as shirt colour goes the cyan works well here because it pops nicely. Nudging the sprite down into the ground one pixel makes the connection feel a bit more solid as well.

You should perhaps study small NES sprites more than C64 stuff when you are making small sprites like this with hires outline.

Keep it up  :y::)

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline STE 86

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #25 on: June 09, 2012, 08:52:35 pm
PypeBros, if you are referring to your deconstruction of the Soulless screenshot, then no, it doesn't use black colour ram to do what it does.

but your deconstruction is also errored. In soulless, the Multicolours on the screen you de constructed would be brown and white. the character colour would be predominantly the yellow areas and the hires lowlight areas and the background as black.

if you look at the 3rd screenshot of soulless it becomes clearer because there are multiple character colours (yellow, green and cyan colour ram) in conjunction with the same white and brown MC registers.

white is an unusual choice from an MC because its part of the lower 8 set and MC are usually picked from the upper 8 by artists.

Helm: the advantage of using hires chars is that you get fine colourful background detail for free. It can give the impression of depth and because its at a different resolution and can be much finer detail, is much less prone to "merging" with the sprites as they move over it and obscuring them than MC pixels.

Steve

Offline Helm

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #26 on: June 10, 2012, 09:27:32 am
I agree in theory. In practice it looks like resolution mixing usually looks to me, weird and disconnecting. There must be examples in the c64 library where this is done successfully, but I think it's more probable that the hi-res mask is used for highlights than for the darkest colour in the ramp before black like above.

Offline Carnivac

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #27 on: June 10, 2012, 03:57:07 pm
I'm really not a fan of the mixed resolution appearance at all but I don't mind it here on the sprites so much as it draws them out a bit but I'm not sure I like it used on the backgrounds since to me the 1x1 pixels look sharper and more defined so my eyes are drawn to that on a piece like this and 2x1 looks a bit more unfocused which looks more suitable for backgrounds you aren't meant to pay too much attention too.
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Offline Helm

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #28 on: June 10, 2012, 05:52:51 pm
Yes! Exactly! Single pixel detail catches the eye and seems to be nearer and brighter than it should be. Which is why it works for Soulless, because it actually is nearer and brighter.

Offline BladeJunker

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #29 on: June 10, 2012, 07:36:33 pm
I tend to associate increased resolution with objects closer to my eyes which I guess most humans do (lol) which is why I was never a fan of Mode7 scaling where they blew out the pixels when scaling the sprites larger to make them appear as if they were going closer to the viewer.
Anyway I should ask STE 86 if there is any way to make the foreground tiles single pixel? Idk maybe a double wide layer for base color with a single pixel overlay of outline or shadow maybe.

I can't say I'm a fan of mixed resolution either but as far as my Atari research its something I've had to deal with out of necessity, still I think its applicable to the C64.
I think a hierarchy of resolution priority tends to be the logical approach to mixed resolutions which I think is akin to truncation of subdivision in polygonal meshes IE. more resolution in the head than the body, more resolution in the face than the head, and more resolution in the eyes than the ears.
As far as 2D I think character and item sprites benefit greatly from single pixels especially in visual separation and focus to the player. Although Half-Life was 3D I thought the increased texture resolution on charge stations and elevator buttons to that of the world was a positive example of visual focus for players.

Its interesting to discuss but I tend to lean towards what ptoing said about just using double wide pixel throughout instead of adding rastersplits, it just seems hard to add to a game when compared to an art slide. :-\
« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 07:39:17 pm by BladeJunker »

Offline STE 86

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #30 on: June 10, 2012, 10:01:52 pm
trust me on this.

hires does not draw the eye when used with dark luma values like red, brown, dk blue and dk grey. it provides "background detail" like lineart in the the background of a cartoon.

you also have to remember that you are by definition looking at these graphics in isolation on an 21st century display. probably an lcd. once you put dark "hires" graphics on a real c64 or an emu running any kind of PAL emulation, they blur dramatically, so much so you would have trouble seeing individual pixels through all the chroma noise being generated.

The double pixels in contrast are less prone to chroma noise, show up clearer and and bolder and therefore hold your eye.

it worked for us 30 years ago. it still will. :)

Steve

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #31 on: June 10, 2012, 10:34:26 pm
I totally have to agree with STE here. If you have something with hires bg detail, esp as he said dark colours, on black, and watch it on a real C64 monitor the black will eat into the colour and the blur does the rest (this is even more so the case on old TV sets).

It works very well in a lot of games, such as Rick Dangerous for example and there are lots of games on the C64 and in most of them it works well. In context of the real hardware I do not see any reason to deviate from this practise. Darkish colours on black just work well on the C64 for subtle detail which is unintrusive.

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #32 on: June 10, 2012, 11:27:38 pm
Sure, on a blurry crt a different result is to be expected. I'm just going by what I am seeing here. I do agree it's good to keep in mind variable critique if this actually makes it on a c64

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #33 on: June 11, 2012, 08:38:03 am
If you say so.  I guess I've never used a display quite that blurry as to not be able to see any sign of a 1x1 pixel's definition on certain background colors perhaps (on a home computer anyways where I usually had the relevant monitors.  My consoles of that era usually had to use the TV instead and that awful RF cable lead garbage for a long time.  Heck, my NES even had to use a now ancient 14inch black and white TV meaning my earliest memories of playing Super Mario Bros feel like they're from even decades before the 80's).

Certainly in this particular Soulless shot...

...I find the blue and red background 'hires' tiles extremely distracting because of their more clear and yet grainy appearance (and possibly due to their colour too which stands out from the rest) when compared to other graphics in the image.  But yeah I suppose it might look 'better' being all blurred through a PAL display/emulation.
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #34 on: June 11, 2012, 03:03:50 pm
Nice Progression, I kinda like this sprite version you did:
(albeit a c64 downgrade of your avatar)
but I am not sure if that'd work 3 colours is your sprite colour limit? 4 i guess if you include the alpha channel, unless you can do some sprite dividing wizardry like the NES? where you can potentially break it down into 8x8 chunks, (which is detrimental to the sprite quantity limitations, but allows for interesting colour combinations) no? haven't really researched C64 specs, and haven't read enough to be sure.

but I've noticed in the latest screen shots contain 4 colours on the sprite, 1:Grey 2:brown 3:Green 4:pink/flesh.
and I am guessing filling out the 16x24 space a bit more will make animations more difficult to do?
(featuring 70s afro jumpsuit man)

and Is your adventurer meant to be stereotypical  fedora wearing adventure machine/adventurer ala Indiana Jones? or atypical kid wandering into danger?
here's me messing around:

I agree with Ptoing's comment on pushing the sprites readability on different BGs, especially with the similar palette, he does blend into the BG quite alot as is.

interested to see where you keep pushing this.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #35 on: June 11, 2012, 05:40:31 pm



I like the design of the far right sprite those the pose is a bit uninteresting and the black boots may be hard to make out on this type of game's backgrounds.
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #36 on: June 12, 2012, 02:22:07 am
yeah I wasn't really thinking about that, I was just experimenting, figured I'd share in-case it would be helpful at all. and was more thinking if the predominant BG tone was brown or grey and not black.
quick palette change to accomodate the black just because it's easy:

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #37 on: June 12, 2012, 01:49:18 pm
Was also experimenting with the sprite a bit. I agree with the black outline separating the sprite from the background. With a bit of loss in colors you can probably do it without losing detail as in the previous examples:



By the way, why sticking to the classic Mario stance?
Nice. Now do the whole thing with the EGA palette!

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #38 on: June 12, 2012, 06:04:29 pm
Now that's a great sprite too! There's so much going on in this thread, it warms my heart. I think your last variation of the sprite but using a green shadow instead of the grey... does the first_eight_colors thing count for the mcolor parts of the sprite?

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #39 on: June 12, 2012, 07:44:23 pm
No, on sprites you can use any colour for the free colour, not just the first 8.

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #40 on: June 14, 2012, 05:59:36 pm
So many great pictures! What a motivation-boost. I am working at my limit here and it was so hard for me to push the pixels a bit further. At least I like the result now. I wanted to concentrate on the tiles, so no raster splits this time. (They do not help much in this pic, anyway)


@PypeBros: Rounded edges, changed top-hilights, no roots climbing up. (thx for that one) Although, I like everything about Arachne's mockups, I couldn't fit these vines in there.

@Helm: These dark dithered patches are excellent. Especially the brown version; the blue area looks a bit like an underwater scenario. I tried to implement such patches: Hires blocks in the inside area, and multi color wide pixels in the outside area. I am not sure about the green dither. Your green blocks look better, but they are also more noisy. I also have the same feeling about my green leaves in the outside area.

@Carnivac: Hey, the blocks inside are hires, but do not have single pixels. So what does your pixel-eye detector say here? ;) I didn't like single hires pixels on the C64, they always caused some color distortion on my TV. I guess that is why the C64 font has double pixels.


Here's a variation of the hero: Cyan shirt, brighter shoes and red outline. That works well in "the cave", but might cause some issues in other mockups.

@ptoing: I think the maps allow full height sprites up to 19-20 pixels. (reserving 1-2 pixels for the running bounce) With your big helmet, he looks even smaller. But I like the helmet. The hero could maybe start without hat and this could be a powerup.

@bladeJunker: The hires pixels are there with or without raster splits :) These splits just add 1 or 2 extra colors. I don't think this is a big deal, because the game would need splits anyway to show more than 8 sprites.

@Grimsane: I like the big-head-hero, too. But I shrunk his head because of the running animation. But this is a different story. Anyway, the head-size is not final... Cool overall outfit!

Adam: Wow, I also tried to darken his other side, but failed. This sprite is awesome!
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #41 on: June 14, 2012, 07:14:37 pm

Wow that is looking awesome, its improved greatly since the start. I like the idea of the Hat acting as a powerup, perhaps that's why Indy never leaves it behind? :)

Quote
@bladeJunker: The hires pixels are there with or without raster splits :) These splits just add 1 or 2 extra colors. I don't think this is a big deal, because the game would need splits anyway to show more than 8 sprites.
Right, the two scales of pixel coexist by default, duh on my part since the VIC-20 can do the same thing. The C64 is deeper technical well than I had thought, I should take a swing at it with some pixel so I can understand it better. ;)

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #42 on: June 15, 2012, 11:59:28 am
But I like the helmet. The hero could maybe start without hat and this could be a powerup.
*BUY*  b^_^

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #43 on: June 20, 2012, 06:06:03 am

Another mockup... No raster splits, no reverse mode, ... Kind of a sunken building, tried to draw sand and 2 levels of background. The blue rocks should be more in the back than the brown walls. Not sure about the color composition. The sand does like the yellow bricks very much, does it? Also, the sand has the same color as the scorpions, that's not good. Couldn't place it there.  :mean:

About the hat: Yes, this hat is very important in digging out treasures. So maybe it could be a powerup without any functionality. It drops down sometimes, and then some time later, the hat flies by again... Whatever...  ;D
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #44 on: June 20, 2012, 08:38:05 am
What? How does that work as far as colours goes?

At the top it says Black is BG, Brown is MC1 and light B. MC2.
How then can you have Yellow, light B., and Blue in the same blocks. Also in the sand bits you have orange, which is not a valid colour there either. Back to the drawing board :D

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #45 on: June 21, 2012, 05:36:07 am

Oops, yes... No orange as block color. Mehh... so there's red sand now, which does not make me very happy. Maybe I should sacrifice a global color for the sand. Yellow blocks should be fixed now, I used the block color for the hilight and the dark color. Saw that trick on some Turrican screenshots...

Also tried to use 2 layers of backgrounds in the 2nd mockup: dark grey and dark brown has background blocks and the red blocks for a 2nd layer behind. The red blocks could also be used for some parallax scrolling, if the game would have scrolling.
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #46 on: June 21, 2012, 10:27:19 am
Oops, yes... No orange as block color. Mehh... so there's red sand now, which does not make me very happy.
How about using orange as MC1 and have yellow+orange, orange+red and red+black sands, then ?

Quote
used the block color for the hilight and the dark color. Saw that trick on some Turrican screenshots...
Yep. That works well :)

Any inspiration for the nasty elevators and the randomly-triggering traps ?

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #47 on: June 27, 2012, 05:50:21 pm

loading screen in "petscii" (scnr)


This time, I tried to add more depth to the building. (not sure about the black shadow on the topleft)
Also, I included a split again to get the light brown for the sand.

Interestingly, most of the blocks in this picture only have two colors per block, so it could also use the "extended background color mode" instead of the multicolor mode, to get hires graphics. But I am to lazy to check it out now. Most of the times, multicolor looks better, doesn't it?

PypeBros: Hm... Yes, the screens could show some traps, indeed. Some spikes popping up out of the ground?

I am not sure if I like the elevators from Pharaoh's Curse that much. They work very well for the fast paced gameplay, but the logic behind them is a bit... well... Did the Pharaohs really have elevators that day? But how could you get up again? (There's no problem to go down) Some moving blocks maybe. Like the big block in the 2nd mockup and the blue block at the bottom in this picture here.
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #48 on: June 27, 2012, 06:17:41 pm
I was more thinking at those things that spit from the ground, like in this video


As for the elevators, their role in the gameplay is obvious. They could be some visible part of a sophisticated machinery. Afaik, egyptian people were fond of mechanisms/machinery that can be thought as the act of gods by their opponents.

(lol on the petscii screen -- reminds me of that animated oric screen by some moderator)

Quote
it could also use the "extended background color mode" instead of the multicolor mode, to get hires graphics
I'm absolutely not convinced you need hi-res graphics here. It's going pretty well right now and if you keep embracing the limits rather than fighting against them, I'm not afraid.

Quote
not sure about the black shadow on the topleft
darkblue instead ?
Anyway, it would look better if the top block was a bit wider on the left so that the shadow was horizontal all the way long.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 06:39:09 pm by PypeBros »

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #49 on: June 27, 2012, 07:58:01 pm
Interestingly, most of the blocks in this picture only have two colors per block, so it could also use the "extended background color mode" instead of the multicolor mode, to get hires graphics. But I am to lazy to check it out now. Most of the times, multicolor looks better, doesn't it?

Whether it looks better depends. The thing with ECM is that while you get 4 times more possible bg colours you get only a quarter or tiles in memory. 64 instead of 256.

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #50 on: June 27, 2012, 09:01:57 pm
I was more thinking at those things that spit from the ground, like in this video


As for the elevators, their role in the gameplay is obvious. They could be some visible part of a sophisticated machinery. Afaik, egyptian people were fond of mechanisms/machinery that can be thought as the act of gods by their opponents.

(lol on the petscii screen -- reminds me of that animated oric screen by some moderator)

Quote
it could also use the "extended background color mode" instead of the multicolor mode, to get hires graphics
I'm absolutely not convinced you need hi-res graphics here. It's going pretty well right now and if you keep embracing the limits rather than fighting against them, I'm not afraid.

Quote
not sure about the black shadow on the topleft
darkblue instead ?
Anyway, it would look better if the top block was a bit wider on the left so that the shadow was horizontal all the way long.

Argh. fail. darkblue can't be mixed with yellow on the same tile, since yellow is the char color already.


Grey seems to work a bit better than plain black, and could be mixed with darkblue in the "border" tile on the right.
That may require some adjustment on the palette swaps, however.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #51 on: July 08, 2012, 11:28:03 am
@ptoing: Ok, it depends... Still to lazy to check it out if ECM would look better.  ;) Maybe I should keep the multicolor mode.

@pypeBros: You could see the lifts as part of an egyptian machinery, well... ok. I think I would prefer moving blocks instead of moving plattforms. The longer top-plattform is nice. Like this the shadow looks ok. Haven't started on drawing traps, yet. I am so slow in pixeling.

"Embrace the limits, don't fight them" - that sounds like a sentence from Spock...  ;D

Unfortunately, I am still fighting against them in this post. On my notebook, I can zoom the graphics to 3x. (On other computers even more)  These are very big pixels and dithering looks odd somehow. To come around this, I made a little converter to display the graphics in a C64 emulator. Maybe the game should have some CRT-monitor emulation? (or am I getting crazy now?)


Here's a part of the 3rd mockup in reverse mode, using the C64 emulator "vice" with enabled CRT emulation. (On the bottom are Helm's pixel clusters)
- I have spotted 2 things in the CRT emulation: a) dark scanlines, b) blurs the colors to the next pixel
- dithering looks better (?)
- seems like I can mix some colors on the C64? (I made some tests on the right side)

blue and brown / yellow and light green - do these colors mix to a new color or what? Should I use these effects? I have the feeling, at least the C64 game "mayhem in monsterland" does color mixing this way. It's hard to say, because I could only find screenshots without monitor-emulation. But the stripes in the screenshots are very omnious.


Here's a test with single blue hires pixel (top half) and wide pixels (bottom half).
- single pixels have less brightness (?)

If someone wants to check it out on a C64: compare1.prg compare2.prg


Some test rocks... In reverse mode, I can use 4 colors for the rocks, but then I cannot use blue background like in the picture above and I would have to use 3 colors. Except I utilize the color mixing from above for a 4th color. What do you think?
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #52 on: July 08, 2012, 01:47:21 pm
Yes, you can blend certain colours on the C64. This has to do with both how the PAL signal works and some peculiarities of the C64. It does matter which of the colours comes first. But this effect differs slightly from C64 to C64 actually, because it has to do with some analogue hardware which is not calibrated super exactly.



As you can see there are 7 real luma pairs (the pair colours will be the same grey value if you would turn down the saturation on a c64 monitor or tv down all the way)

The light blue, mid grey / light red, green luma pairs have the peculiarity to be closer in luma than other pairs. So you can kinda mix all those 4 colours with each other, tho you do not get a 100% mix you get some nice stuff as well.

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #53 on: July 12, 2012, 11:56:10 am
@ptoing: That's... that's really thrilling! And if I switch the emulator to NTSC, the effect vanishes.  :( (a pity!)
"Mayhem in Monsterland" does indeed use some of these color combinations with near lumina-pairs. But it's hard to use mixed colors... Moving on without mixing. (at least for now)


Update-time! Let's include some elevators of the egyptian machinery...  ;) I used moving blocks instead of platforms. Like this, the blocks could be used as elevators and as doors.

To move the blocks on the C64, I need a lot of the 256 characters of the C64 charset. But like this, I can build rooms that have lots and lots of elevators and doors. That's an important gameplay element. Either they move in a certain rhythm, or the blocks are controlled by switches. In the end, all the graphics may not fit into one single charset.


BOSSFIGHT!

I need a split in the bottom half to switch to reverse-mode. (I can only use 4 colors for the rocks in reverse-mode) In the top half, I used black as background color. (Otherwise I cannot use blue background blocks)
The two layers of background do not show that much depth. I am a bit disappointed.  :(

Some calculations for the ROCK GOLEM:
- The C64 has 8 sprites. The hero needs 3 of them. (2 sprites, because of the overlay and a 3rd sprite for the whip, the dynamite or the gun bullet)
- So we have 5 sprites left for the boss: Sprite 4 and 5 for the body will be duplicated with 2 raster interrupts to build two 24x63 sized supersprites. (Like this, they cannot overlap) Finally, we have sprites 6/7/8 for the hands, which can be moved freely. (handy for the attack animations)

And yes, every Lazycow game needs a guardian:
- "I am the guardian!"
- "What are you doing here?"
- "Make an educated guess!"
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 11:58:07 am by Lazycow »
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #54 on: July 12, 2012, 02:19:44 pm
I love how it's coming along. As for your elevator block, I guess if you need more tiles in some room that have little/no elevator, you could still use sprite elevator there and block elevator in the special "up and down" screen.

Although I love the design of golem guardian Guile, I think he lacks contrasts right now. He might prefer a (mostly) non-black background and use black as a sprite color instead.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #55 on: July 12, 2012, 08:51:19 pm
I hope you are aware that sprites are ALWAYS 21 pixels high, no matter what is in them, even just one visible pixel.
Also you can x/y stretch sprites. Hewson did that a lot in their Creatures games and a bit in Mayhem too.

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #56 on: July 14, 2012, 06:58:52 pm


whoa that looks pretty epic, especially at first glance, even if you have difficulty with the c64 restrictions and decide to abandon making a game specifically for c64, I hope you stick relatively close to spec along these lines =D and even with screen filters as an option, because they look quite authentic and inspire a warm fuzzy feeling  :D

and tile based animation methods like that are quite alot of work huh compared to simply sliding the contiguous block with code  :blind: I like how you've thought of doubling them as doors, looks effective.

btw how do you manage the bats and other character sprite if you are only allowed 8 sprites? making them tiles? strictly working within those restrictions would wrack my mind

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #57 on: July 15, 2012, 10:37:39 am
Thanks for the support! I am not sure if I still would working on this without all your feedback. It's a bit strange to follow the C64 restrictions 100% for a potential PC game. The restrictions help me to focus, but they do not really help me much to create the graphics. Well, let's see...


The C64 can have up to 8 sprites... in one zone. We can build multiple horizontal zones, divided by raster splits.

- Split "A": in this split we reset all 8 sprite positions, so the 8 sprites can be reused (the score display and stuff are build out of sprites)
- Split "B": this split just changes one multicolor color. (pretty much obsolete)
- Split "C"/"D"/"E": resets sprite positions again. (Split "D" and "E" do only reset positions of sprite 4 and 5, see graphic below)
- Split "F": changes background colors and at least one sprite position (for the scorpion)
- Split "G": changes all sprite positions again for the map and the map name. (the map is build out of 3 stretched sprites)

Since we do not have a complaining C64 programmer here who has to program this, no one stops me here.
The sprites have a fixed size of 24x21 and cannot be smaller, yes. Do I miss something? The only problem I could see here is, if a sprite moves close to the top or bottom area. Then it will overlap the status display. I am not sure, but I think a sprite cannot overlap itself vertically over a raster split.


Hm... yes, the golem could be build out of streched sprites, not using any raster splits at all. Interesting, but the streched sprites would have superwide 4x1 pixels. Uhhh...


Yes, I don't like the contrast in the boss mockup very much, too. Has Yeti be seen in Egypt, yet? One thing to consider: 2 of the 3 sprite colors are shared between all sprites. But the 2 colors are not set in stone, yet.
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #58 on: July 15, 2012, 01:50:50 pm
--

(please ignore super-sketchy background replacement, I just wanted to see which colours could be used for background details over a mostly-grey scene: brown and grey doesn't work so well in that case.).
Imho, introducing black as shared sprite color for this scene could work.

Quote
"Embrace the limits, don't fight them" - that sounds like a sentence from Spock...
I have some pretty Spocky sides, but not near the ears. Using horizontal dithering (on the right of your golem) is limit-embracing. Those "black spikes" at the bottom of the stones that make the golem is clearly "limit-fight" in my eyes (unless you wanted them to have a skull-shape, somehow). The rightmost variant of my edit tried to fix that by embracing more, with some AA.

If I were a bat/scorpio here, I'd run/fly for my life possibly even before the golem comes to life. Your sprite splicing could work, but that start looking like a lot of data to transfer every frame. Iirc, you don't have a "palette" of sprites available: if you want to switch Spr2 from hearts to bat, you need to copy that from RAM to VRAM on the "A" barrier.

Having no (vertical) room between the D and E areas, for instance, means that you'll have to ensure the first lines of your golem sprites have *already* been replaced during D, but not too early (so that you're still slightly behind rastering). I think that's feasible for someone who mastered the hardware, but that's for sure a challenge of its own. Essentially, C-F becomes a busy-loop of sprite data updating more than a "h-blank interrupt".

Personnally, If I were to program this, I'd urge you to save me some tiles room so that status, map and level name could use tiles rather than sprites, but that's completely off-topic at this point.

Offline mrsid

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #59 on: July 18, 2012, 05:03:20 am
Apparently it's not ok to just say nice things here about the art if it's less than 2 lines of text... ;)
Way to go, making sure the coders just stay lurkers here! :)

So I'll just add that I don't just like the visuals here a lot, but that I also think that from a programming point of view, I don't see a problem with the restrictions. I think this is totally doable.
I'm just wondering how the golem would look animated, i.e. how much his hands can move away from the body with the whole thing still looking nice.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #60 on: July 18, 2012, 12:58:17 pm
Way to go, making sure the coders just stay lurkers here! :)
So I'll just add that I don't just like the visuals here a lot, but that I also think that from a programming point of view, I don't see a problem with the restrictions. I think this is totally doable.
Hey, Mr. Sid.
Welcome aboard.

After your take on Prince of Persia, I'm pretty sure *you* would be able to find a way to do it... and I'm pretty sure you'd love doing it... the exact definition of "a challenge" ;)

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #61 on: July 18, 2012, 06:45:14 pm
Well, considering some of the ideas I'm currently pursuing, this would be a rather simple challenge... But if there would be a full set of graphics and sprite animations and maybe some gameplay concept, I might actually consider it.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #62 on: July 21, 2012, 08:45:07 pm
I had a few minutes, so I made a quick POC to show that the limitations work. A few pixels had to be fixed, e.g. the hires tiles in the background are not possible that way, because they're against black (or brown), which are not available in those chars. Also the two black corner pixels at the bottom of the purple block had to be filled in, as there's no black in those chars (foreground color is purple). It's hardly noticeable though.
Check it out: http://galway.c64.org/~sid/pharao.zip

Screenshot, for the emulator-starved:
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 08:47:51 pm by mrsid »

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #63 on: July 22, 2012, 02:11:45 pm
->
(disclaimer: only the left picture is certified, the right one is ignoring the C64 restrictions here - just a color test)

A solid gray background looks interesting... But I think this contrasts to the style of all the mockups I made so far (with a black background). I had to test it, but I couldn't make it significantly better. I think a need a little break from drawing backgrounds, maybe some ideas will fly by then.
   
I understand now what you meant with embracing and I like the new dithering on the rock golem. (in fact, this was the 3rd or 4th try to draw a golem) I also tried to "camouflage" the wide pixels in the green mockup by drawing some edgy plants, but in the end Helm's dithering looks better although you see the wide pixels clearly.
   
By the way, the C64 has no "vram" for sprites. It just gets the sprite data from the standard memory. So you do not have to copy sprite data if all your sprites fit in a 16k memory bank.
   
mrsid! Just great, man! "in a few minutes", eh?  :P Thanks for the pixel-hints at the elevator. I guess there are even more nasty blocks with some "forbitten" pixels. It's hard to see without a check program. Thanks for attesting these restrictions, I was actually getting anxious and about to remove some bats. The hires sprites look supercool in the emulator, ha! Too much brown in the background, maybe.


Update! Had a few minutes... yada yada yada... animations and stuff, here we go:
 

Here's an update of the hero, using Adam's excellent pose. Like this, the global sprite colors are orange and yellow. (dark grey might not be the best color for sprites if the background isn't black)
A) medium grey outlines do not blend with background (but blends to skin color a bit)
B) dark grey works nice with black background (but blends with brown and blue backgrounds a bit) Yes, I know... black outlines do solve these problems... I just don't like them, haven't decided, yet.
C) test with taller legs (better?)
D) ptoings safari-hat
E) no hat
F) alternate head - I like the big head in the idle pose, but I do not like it animated. Maybe because he has to look more to the right, but then the head looks worse.


running: not half bad, a bit stiff maybe. Looks a bit like he has swallowed a broom. Couldn't get it better, though. Also tested accelleration an friction here.
   

jumping: jumps immediately, but pauses a bit after landing...


crouching: 2 versions, which is better? What is crouching good for, anyway? In some games you can avoid bullets. Ridiculous... It doesn't have any planned purpose for now. But I have the animation frame anyway.


attacking: the 3 attacks... whipping and throwing are using the same animation. Shooting looks a bit stiff again. All animations do not change the legs, couldn't find a good way to do it. Any of the attack animations utilize 1 additional sprite. (which has to be reserved for the player) The 2nd animation is for being hit by an enemy.
   

digging: An archaeologist has to dig somewhere, right? Since we have this reserved sprite, I could add some dust while digging.
   

elevators: I mad a mistake in the previous elevator animation, the rack rail in the background vanishes if the elevator is halfway on the block. I could fix that by reserving another 32 blocks, then it would be smooth again. But is this necessary? (Yes, Mummies like to ride the elevator) The 2nd animation is a test for an elevator in "slam-mode"! (so I can use the blocks as elevators, doors and traps)


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Offline mrsid

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #64 on: July 22, 2012, 02:36:53 pm
I really like the jump animation and the way the character reacts to the slamming lift block. There's a lot of detail in those little sprites, thanks to the hires overlays.
Btw, the screen I've used had 151 unique characters. So you have 105 left, unless you want to split that too.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #65 on: July 22, 2012, 03:28:16 pm
Quote
Just great, man! "in a few minutes", eh? 
Yeah, I was impressed, too. Pure respect, Mr. Sid ;)

Those animations are imho a pure marvel. yet, I'm afraid you're heading towards difficult-to-control character, given the speed at which it runs vs. the size of the hazard/platform in the game. The duration of the slide may also get in the way in a non-desirable way...

Quote
I mad a mistake in the previous elevator animation, the rack rail in the background vanishes if the elevator is halfway on the block
Is that rack rail useful/helping, after all ?

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #66 on: August 02, 2012, 10:39:10 am
Yes, these are only "animation-mockups"... So it might be necesarry to cut of the slide or the friction. It's hard to say without actually playtesting it. But I would prefer to keep them. Some guy from tigsource made the suggestion, that you are actually controlling the hat in the game, instead of the guy.  :o

The sliding and slithering might be a problem when you slide towards an edge. Then you will fall down. There are 2 possible solutions to this problem:
- the hero falls over the edge, but manages to grab the edge with his hands.
- the hero rows with his arms for a second at the edge and finally manages to stop. (oh no, more animations!)

Good to know that there're over 100 blocks left. There's no absolute need that one single tilemap covers every room. Each room might get its own tilemap with 256 blocks. That would just eat up more memory, but the rooms could be loaded from disk or cartridge, so I don't want to restrict the graphics here. My converter actually works this way, it reads the PNG of the mockup and builds a tilemap and the tiles.

Anyway, I was tinkering with more animations...


rope climbing...


old - new

runnig: tried to make the running more dynamic (does not really look better)
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #67 on: August 02, 2012, 10:44:35 am
Good to know that there're over 100 blocks left. There's no absolute need that one single tilemap covers every room. Each room might get its own tilemap with 256 blocks. That would just eat up more memory, but the rooms could be loaded from disk or cartridge, so I don't want to restrict the graphics here. My converter actually works this way, it reads the PNG of the mockup and builds a tilemap and the tiles.

Yeah, mine too. Btw, there were some minor pixels wrong, fixing those I got it down to 141 chars.
But in any case, I think loading a charset and a screen (+color RAM) for each room is a bit prohibitive, especially if the screens are not made up of bigger "meta blocks". I think using two or maybe three charsets and keeping them in memory might be more practical.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #68 on: August 05, 2012, 10:45:55 am
Ok, I think I have enough graphics now to start programming. Feel free to take a look at the "Pharaohs Return devlog" on tigsource. (linked in the 1st post)

@mrsid: yes, using 2-3 charsets for all rooms sounds reasonable

the guardian...


idle - walk - attack (wip)

idle: tried to "embrace" the limitations a bit more
walking: stomp stomp stomp... There's not very much space for the guardian to walk around, so the game would have to scroll around for a chase. Haven't decided, yet.
attack: Should the fist show some motion blur? I have one sprite left: either for displaying the arm, or for some motion blur.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #69 on: August 06, 2012, 11:43:27 pm
Quote
I am not sure if I like the elevators from Pharaoh's Curse that much. They work very well for the fast paced gameplay, but the logic behind them is a bit... well... Did the Pharaohs really have elevators that day? But how could you get up again? (There's no problem to go down) Some moving blocks maybe. Like the big block in the 2nd mockup and the blue block at the bottom in this picture here.
Don't worry. It's been awhile since I studied the ancient Egyptions, but I'm pretty sure they didn't have reanimated mummies or golems guarding their tombs, either. ;P
I'm loving your green cave tileset. Awesome use of the palette, and the animations have a lot of character. I'd play this, heheh. =)
If you only have one frame left for the golem animation, I'd probably display the arm instead of going for the motion blur.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 11:46:58 pm by jams0988 »

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #70 on: August 09, 2012, 07:40:22 am
the guardian...


walking: stomp stomp stomp... There's not very much space for the guardian to walk around
Well, you'll need to think about how the player's going to dodge the golem and ultimately defeat him to figure out. Boss encounters need to be engaging in addition to scary.

Quote
idle: tried to "embrace" the limitations a bit more
somehow seeing a golem breath heavily looks weird, but I don't have anything more "golemish" to suggest right now, unfortunately...

Quote
attack: Should the fist show some motion blur? I have one sprite left: either for displaying the arm, or for some motion blur.
I think the attacking fist is close enough from the golem's body so that you can skip the arm here. It also allows you to decide that the golem can punch quite far away from his head, if needed. So I'd go for a (hires) motion blur/dust cloud sprite here. I'm unsure about the golem standing on only one foot when aiming/striking, though: that doesn't fit the "super-heavy" feel it gives.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #71 on: August 10, 2012, 01:33:40 pm
I would like to see the golem bringing both his arms into the sky then doing a large swing onto the ground infron of him with both fists into the ground flattening the player. that way you'll know: oh he's about do to the ultra flatten fists of fury and you've got a brief 0.5 secs to dodge. :)
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #72 on: August 25, 2012, 07:44:48 pm
Don't worry. It's been awhile since I studied the ancient Egyptions, but I'm pretty sure they didn't have reanimated mummies or golems guarding their tombs, either. ;P
Wah wah wah wah wah... The fact that no one hasn't seen them, yet is no proof that they are not there.  ;)

Needed a break from animating golems. The animations are indeed not very Golem-like. Not that we saw a real Golem doing better, but yes... He should probably move slowly, but with force.


More tests of inertia and friction of the hero... (a small dust animation on breaking?) On the right side, the hero stops when he slithers towards a gap. (using the fall animation frame for that)


Some egyptian backgrounds, like statues and columns... (reference on the right side)

Because both columns and statues are in the background, I only used 2 dark colors. Don't like the columns very much, but this is my very best try. I can do columns build out of small bricks, but the egyptian columns are pretty much solid, right?
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #73 on: September 21, 2012, 07:36:15 pm
Finally, it looks like I've finished all background graphics! Yeah!


I have placed some hires sprites over the multicolor blocks in the title logo. Initionally, I wanted to avoid that, but it looks so much better, doesn't it? A pity, there're only 8 sprites available in a row so that I cannot use these overlays in the standard playfield blocks. Also, I need all the sprites for the action of course.


Added some details like hieroglyphics and new blue background blocks. Also, there's the hidden treasure in there, finally. Don't try to translate the hieroglyphics, I have placed them randomly. (There're a kind of phonetic alphabet, aren't they?)
   
The treasures: All treasures are build out of 4 hires background blocks with a hires sprite overlay. Also, because of the hires blocks, this means that the treasures have to be placed in an area with black background.


New colors and new rocks... (tehwexxl0rz's rocks as reference - they cleverly use black as a 4th color and like this I do neither need any raster interrupts for the background, nor the pesky reverse mode for 4 color-rocks) The background is now black on blue (instead of blue on back). Does this even make any sense? (using PypeBros's edit as reference)


The 6th and last mockup. This needs raster interrupts again for changing multicolor colors. Looks a bit boring, but there are statues in there!
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 07:40:29 pm by Lazycow »
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Offline PypeBros

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #74 on: September 21, 2012, 08:01:49 pm
I like it very much. You did something really great with that guardian scene. I'd just try and avoid excessive horizontal alignment of the smaller (darker) stones, personnally. I'd dispatch them more randomly, I guess.

some ideas:
- how about a copperbar-like sunset (moving the individual colours up and down by a few pixels, or so)
- how about using blue as the colour for the most upper lines in the skyline of the title screen (instead of grey) ?
- how about some overlay-sprite-sparkles on top of the treasures so that one can immediately identify them as the target to reach when entering a room ?

The title is imho excellent, but I'm unsure about that blue tone... It looks somewhat futuristic. Is it possible to move it into shades of yellow/orange/brown instead and still have a nice look ?

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #75 on: October 21, 2012, 12:33:30 pm
Yeah, thanks for the comments, PypeBros!

- did you mean the blue stones in the background? I dispachted them a bit, good idea!
- the sunset: Yes, I think C64 can handle "copper-like" stripes, even in the borders, but this needs evil tricks to get them stable, so I might skip this one. But some flickering stars would pimp up the title, too. Maybe.
- highlighting treasures... Sparcles would be possible, because there's some room in the overlay-sprite. Nice idea, indeed. But it would be difficult to program, because the sprite data would have to be modified. And I am not doing this somewhere else, yet - I am just switching sprite data. So what about hilighting the treasures like this:


- the color of the title: Hm... I tried some variations... Selecting a color scheme here is kind of personal preference, I guess. The C64 palette is really nice for such things!


Some Updates:

- -
Rope actions: The rope itself is build out of background blocks. The climbing animation is not very realistic - I think you cannot use legs and arms simultanously. Also, when hanging on the rope and looking to the other side, he suddenly uses his other arm. But... probably... noone will ever notice that...
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #76 on: November 04, 2012, 09:10:45 pm
The enemy animations are still missing:


bat (2 versions), scorpion... (maybe too twitchy), snake, rat

edit: sinuous snake added
edit: running rat added
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 03:43:08 pm by Lazycow »
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #77 on: November 09, 2012, 11:52:38 pm
Maybe you've made the decision already but the blue/cyan titles text has my vote too  :y:, It has the nicest contrast and feels more contiguous with the moonlit scene. The high-res detail does look miles better, really nice. I guess like a lot of folk, although I haven't actually commented thus far, I have been following the thread with much interest. Awesome project :-*.

I know you said you'd finished the backgrounds already but... the Golem/cave area doesn't measure up to some of the niceness elsewhere imo; that blue in the background is really bright and swamps the sprites. I thought perhaps (because it is so bright) you could use it as 'distant moonlight' outside the cave; you could also gain a lot of depth/drama that way. Tried a bit of a vignette in the corner there 'cos there was so much of the similarly bright brown that it was pulling focus a bit, it's probably overstated. 



Also noticed some little tiling weirdness in places; in the first, verdant stage, the thinner platform's 'furry' edges abut the regular hard borders. I'd be tempted to keep the hard border on all sides if possible; perhaps punctuated on the undersides with the occasional soft edge, to evoke moss or whatnot for variety.

Quote
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 01:50:05 am by Facet »

Offline mrsid

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #78 on: November 15, 2012, 10:24:51 pm
- the sunset: Yes, I think C64 can handle "copper-like" stripes, even in the borders, but this needs evil tricks to get them stable, so I might skip this one. But some flickering stars would pimp up the title, too. Maybe.
No, that's quite simple.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #79 on: November 30, 2012, 09:43:13 am
The enemy animations are still missing:


bat (2 versions), scorpion... (maybe too twitchy), snake, rat
Although these are all interesting sprites, they will be hard to aim with the weapons you mentioned (iirc). At least, I expect the bullets to miss them a lot.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #80 on: December 02, 2012, 02:07:36 pm

@facet: Great, I like it! Your background adds a kind of mysterious mood to the picture. It's somewhat difficult for me to reproduce it, your structures feel more "organic". Still working on it... Will transplant the background over to the boss-picture at the end...

Yes, I also think that the color composition of sprites and backgrounds is not harmonic in every aspect. I will try to adjust the color combinations again when all animations are done. One thing to consider here: Single blue pixels are much dimmer on the C64 than concatenated clusters of blue pixels. (see screenshots of the C64 emulator in some previous post) I have failed to utilize that until now, though.

About the "green cave": I see what you mean here. Might have to address that, too. Not so easy.

@mrsid: Well ok, I only can remember that *I* had problems creating stable color splits back in the end of the 1980ies... (But I was very jung and refused using "useless" nop instructions, etc...)  :o

@PypeBros: Aww, that's right. Hmm... Ok, I might have to add whip- and gun-attack while in crouched stance. (That works in Castlevania) Still, the snake is too small, yup.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2012, 04:35:15 pm by Lazycow »
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Offline Lazycow

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #81 on: February 07, 2013, 06:59:17 am
Hi again... Yes, the project is still alive. I stumbled over some problems in the background again while creating the map with the tilemap editor.

---
old mockup / new screenshot
I have changed the brown background tiles, the bottom of the platforms and the fading area. But is it really better? Looks "fuzzier". Hm...

---
old mockup & Facet edit / new screenshot
The tiles are limited to 256 for one room, so I had to build the background with reusing tiles.

> Any inspiration for the nasty elevators and the randomly-triggering traps ?


Yup, came up with this...
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #82 on: February 07, 2013, 12:49:09 pm
small edit: (standalone green pixels not intended)

I really like the new background rocks. The green things in the bacground, with unique stripes, feel a bit awkward (Maybe they'll work better on a CRT display). To be hoset, I'd keep those "background vines" in their previous brown shade. If they're non-interactive, that will even make sense that they're "old and all dry now", so not safe for climbing action.

How about making those mushroom-things either brown as well, and using a sprite for the one on the level that you really want to stand out ?

As for the new blue background, it's imho a great idea, working better than the former one on the colossus scene. The "rays of light" work fine, too, but I keep thinking that they need something else than regular dithering pattern. The "painted over" version almost looks better (it'd definitely look better imho if you had use horizontal stripes to gradient the light)

PS: can't wait to see those vines jiggle as the hat-man climbs them, btw ^_^
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 12:56:14 pm by PypeBros »

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #83 on: February 08, 2013, 12:12:12 am
The modular rock formations look pretty ace! very crisp though; you could mess 'em up a bit for texture, perhaps re-using dither blocks? I'm with Pype that the chunkier, more stylised beams (like on the right in the previous iteration) are nicer.

The green platforms look a lot more solid :y: To the fuzziness: maybe you could go the black for more substance, the bits of red are getting lost a bit. The wide pixel dither/faux scanline stuff I think are pretty sweet, toothsome unifying textures, and communicate non/interactive rather well imo; I like the vines there.

The new organic bark-y bg texture is great, but perhaps some of the chunkiness of the previous could be brought back for variety? I'm not keeping up well with the restrictions though :P.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #84 on: February 21, 2014, 01:24:28 pm
Hi again! Finally I have time to continue with this project! (sorry for the delay) Let's see if I can finish it this time...

Meanwhile I have created some PNG converters for testing the graphics on a real C64. While doing this, I have stumbled over some problems in my old mockups:

-
old mockup - new screenshot

If each 2x2 area has the same block color, then I can use a more efficient scrolling code. (I need all CPU time I can get for the game mechanics) Seems like I can rearrange most of the graphics without major loss of detail. In the title pictures, this means that the pyramids in the background lost a color and they had to be moved a bit. And some red blocks in the bottom have to be grey. Not that bad.

If you want to take a look at it on a C64 emulator, here's the converted picture: compare3.prg


In the green cave rooms, the vines cannot be build out of hires blocks, because the green cave uses a reverse mode.  (the background color is brown here, so all hires blocks have to be brown in reverse mode) So I have to build the vines out of wide pixels.


It's difficult to cut off sprites in the playfield if they move to the borders, because the status display uses 8 sprites and there can only be 8 sprites in a row. What about building a new status display that only uses 6 sprites? (Then there are 2 sprites left for game objects in that area, which works fine)
A: old status display (8 sprites)
B: new status display (6 sprites)... boring
C: new status display (3 x-zoomed sprites + 3 normal sprites on top)... meh... I don't know... Any hits for a status display?

All these workarounds could be avoided by tricky programming. (And some C64 games are avoiding these) But sometimes, you have to be a lazy cow to save some time, otherwise you will never finish a project!

to be continued...
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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #85 on: February 21, 2014, 08:07:56 pm
Nothing much to say really except that I just noticed this, I love it, and now I'm looking forward to when it's done :) About the HUD, I like the third design. The thing that might be a problem is readability in terms of the gun, whip, and whatever the third item is (dynamite?). Very good stuff anyhows!

Offline Mr. Fahrenheit

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #86 on: February 22, 2014, 01:51:34 am
Yay! I've been super excited for this for a long time. I do agree with the readability issues but there arent many ways you can get around some issues with the c64 palette. Just keep on trying I guess.

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #87 on: February 22, 2014, 08:04:44 pm
It's difficult to cut off sprites in the playfield if they move to the borders, because the status display uses 8 sprites and there can only be 8 sprites in a row. What about building a new status display that only uses 6 sprites? (Then there are 2 sprites left for game objects in that area, which works fine)
A: old status display (8 sprites)
B: new status display (6 sprites)... boring
C: new status display (3 x-zoomed sprites + 3 normal sprites on top)... meh... I don't know... Any hits for a status display?
I've seen games where the status moves away as the player approach this region.That could be an option ?

keep it up ^_^
All these workarounds could be avoided by tricky programming. (And some C64 games are avoiding these) But sometimes, you have to be a lazy cow to save some time, otherwise you will never finish a project!

to be continued...
[/quote]

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Re: Pharaohs Return (C64)

Reply #88 on: March 01, 2014, 08:47:29 pm
@PypeBros: The status display moves away when sprites touch the border?  ::) Funny idea, that could work. But the 6-sprite-in-border works too. (already tested)
@ErekT: yes, right... status display "C" is not very readable, ok lets see:


(D) Tried something different. (that's a hat and a whip)
(E) 6 sprites, all multicolor. leftmost and rightmost sprite are horizontally streched.
(E2) variation of "E": using additional raster split to show the top half of the center sprites in hires. (that's why I had to remove the grey background there) Also, this uses a different color scheme. (brown looks better, but I think grey and yellow fit better to the different color schemes in the game map)

Finally... Intruducing: The sarcophagus, Prof. Schwefel, Sarah the Bellydancer. (draft)
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. Yes we can!