AuthorTopic: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff  (Read 3267 times)

Offline Skaz

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[C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

on: March 25, 2017, 01:27:46 pm
Hi!

[EDIT] For the scroll-lazy, every most recent images are on the first post.

















[/EDIT]

Some of you might remember my first topic here, and this one won't be very different: underground caves, great halls and dwarves... minus the dinosaurs.

I'll post a lot of stuff here, characters animations, tiles, backgrounds, etc. All in the goal to get valuable criticism (which doesn't imply positive ones, harsh and constructive is even more valuable), so don't hesitate!

Now some textures! Basic rock blocks, small and large ones:

Designed to be used as tiles. I heavily used Metal Slug as a source for inspiration. Why not aiming for the stars?

The two full sets:



An assembly test with the tow basic rock sets, done while finalising them. I have anti-aliased some rock since.  The hanging blocks are a bit out of place, they are from a previous rock texture attempt.

That's all for now, again, every criticism and advice is highly welcome!

- Skaz
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 10:37:25 am by Skaz »

Offline llamacyst

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #1 on: March 25, 2017, 03:10:11 pm
Wow the characters really do look amazing. The hair flowing really seals the deal.
I assume this is work in process but the legs don't have any contour when running, and it's really noticeable in the transition from idle to running.

This is more of a thematic problem, but i think that the castle's colours make it seem more like a spooky place, but hey, if thats what you were going for, well done. In my opinion, it doesn't really seam dwarvish, maybe more red in the stones?

Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 09:31:25 pm
Thanks for the feedback llamacyst!

The leg stuff is a known issue, that I created while triing to fix a weird feeling that only one leg was thrown in the front of the character and not crossing, but I should really give some volume to the legs nevertheless.

The place will indeed be spooky, an old fortress abandoned for thousands of years, heavily damaged by violent earthquakes. The blocks so far are a base to expand upon, but ornate stones, statues, and more refined details will try to sell the dwarvish side of the place :)

Colours are not my forte, the palette is HIGHLY likely to be changed.

Thanks again!

- Skaz

Offline CFKaligula

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #3 on: March 26, 2017, 10:03:39 am
Can't say much about the impeccable characters and animation..

Though I feel like the stones really lack some colour. Grey is a fine colour, but when everything is grey it becomes dull.
Here is a little experimenting:


I feel like not only does a little colour make it more interesting it also much better shows of how well done the pixel art is.

BTW, I applaud you for making it all in 16x16 tiles.
You get in the bowl

Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #4 on: March 26, 2017, 11:04:24 am
Thanks CFKaligula!

Glad you liked the characters!

The problem I face right now with palette is, the fortress will be overgrown by some kind of weird organic mucus, kind of Zerg like. I have made no decision on the colour of this mucus, but it will have to contrast with the bare stone, a lot. It will be hazardous to touch for the player, it must be easy to notice. So if I go for a colour, I'll probably have to stick to a complementary one for the stone. But I like the violet heavy shadows, will consider that!

Something I must clarify: the tiles are indeed 16*16 but the detailed ones are not meant to be used as 16*16 tiles on a similar grid. The single stones getting out of the wall are 16*16 with alpha on the bottom, to be hand placed on the top of the clean ones, on a 8*8 grid. Same goes with the darker ones. It gives me way more flexibility and lesser tiles are required on the sheet.
It's the same thing with the big blocks, but detailed ones are 32*32 with alpha.

Offline eishiya

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #5 on: March 26, 2017, 12:32:13 pm
Two colours don't need to be complementary to have nice contrast. You also probably don't want too much contrast anyway - it's still the background, afterall! In addition, even complementary objects feel more like they belong together if the shadows and highlights on them hue-shift towards the same hues.
The mucus can stand out not only with its hue, but its value and saturation. On top of that, you can use texture to make it contrast! If the mucus is slick and shiny, it'll have highlights that make it stand out from the duller bricks, and since it's mucus, it'll probably have a lot of curvy shapes that'll contrast with the blocky bricks. It's easy to overlook shape as a method of creating contrast, but it's very important, and it's an important tool for limited palette art.

Edit: Thought I'd try adding some transparent slime to CFKaligula's edit, mostly for fun since I don't know what kind of mucus you're going for and what its purpose is, but maybe it'll help! It uses the same colours as the bricks, but uses the light ones more, and it's mostly long curvy strings of ick rather than blocks, so it reads even though it doesn't "pop".

If I wanted a slime-covered castle, I'd probably do it something like this so that it's there and legible but not distracting, and I'd have more contrasting slime when it's interactive in some way.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 01:46:51 pm by eishiya »

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #6 on: March 26, 2017, 08:06:14 pm
Luminescent yellows or oranges might work well for contrast, and as something easy to fade into the background as a light source.
Would give the slime a bonus otherworldly effect.
PSA: use imgur
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Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #7 on: March 28, 2017, 09:12:29 am
You are right eishiya, form will also be a huge factor, organic Vs artificial rectangular blocks. It's meant to be made of vessels, tubes, some kind of placenta. Pretty close to the War of the World stuff I guess.

Right now I face a dilemma: I'm really happy about the bricks ,specially the big ones, but the palette is to broad. I've lost a bit of the simplicity of my characters, only tow shades per colour, no AA. The same is true of the overall noise produce by so many lone bricks with individual shading, I should go back to a more simple aesthetics, with more freedom on abstraction.
Truth is, the current standard of quality will be detrimental to my project, assets will take to much time to produce, and be to complex to fit the mood I aim for. So it's time to tone it down a bit. It's the day's goal, I will post something soon.

@MysteryMeat
Yeah, I think overall the stone will remain in the blue/green area, and the organic stuff, monsters and mucus, should be in the red/orange.

[EDIT]

New:

Old for comparison:


I have heavy handedly edited my assembly test to make some adjustments on the palette and the fading of blocks. I limited the palette, removed a lot of pixel clusters, and made the shape of the blocks fade in the darkness. Overall it's much lighter, more contrasted, background tiles would be easily readable as background. It's also a lot more saturated. It's a dirty edit so a lot of stuff is to be perfected, I plan on having a lot more flat single coloured surfaces with fewer details, to have contrast in detail amount too. The squint test also show that walk-able path is easier to distinguish.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 10:26:29 am by Skaz »

Offline eishiya

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #8 on: March 28, 2017, 12:45:02 pm
I think the old bricks are better because the character stands out better against them. The redone bricks grab my attention better than the character does. I think simple characters in a more subtly-rendered world work better than if the two are done the same way precisely because it allows nice contrast. If you do want to reduce the colour count and detail amount, then at least try to keep the same dull-ish values and low contrast. In particular, the large bricks that have a gradient along their surface look pretty bad because the gradient isn't subtle like it was in the older version. If you want a simple look, it might be better to have those faces be solid-coloured and reserve colour changes just for major changes of form like along the rough edges (good example: what you have on the large bricks on the far right).

I do like having the bricks fade into darkness though. I think having a brighter colour along the playable surface is good, but as a highlight against dark colours elsewhere it's distracting and potentially confusing, since it makes those areas look playable too.

Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #9 on: March 29, 2017, 01:42:52 pm
I understand you point, I agreed that there was to much light part that catches the eye, so I tuned it down. I worked on the sprite sheets and remade all the stone to fit my limitations, then assembled the level from the screenshot in engine. Here is a screenshot from the game, it still lacks backgrounds tiles, it's next on my todo list. I could differentiate those tiles with the dark area by making a palette derived from the rock one, but going down a lot on the saturation.



As a base to expand upon, I'm pretty happy with the result. The multiple tiles and shade variations offers a lot of granularity on the level of detail I can achieve, even with two basic sheets. The new Game Maker 2 layer function is practically a miracle from heaven!

What do you think of the palette and general feeling?