AuthorTopic: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff  (Read 3820 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.
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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.
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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?

Offline llamacyst

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #10 on: March 29, 2017, 08:34:51 pm
Imo the new one is magnitudes better than the last, bbut in the end, i feel as though it comes down to personal taste.

Plus the dwarf looks like part of the castle instead of a different image just pasted in.
Contradicting what the other guy said, the new one draws the attention more to the dwarf due to the loss of detail(which is probably good).

Offline Atnas

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #11 on: March 30, 2017, 04:25:01 am
New:

Old for comparison:


imo the old is miles better. the lower contrast and wider gamut of colors reads more like lighting on stone and less like what might be differences in texture/color on the new ones. it's just easier on the eyes. but eishiya and CFKaligula are on the nose with their edits.

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #12 on: March 30, 2017, 06:47:18 am
I disagree with above, new is way easier to read. It's clear what you're supposed to stand on, the colors work well with each other, and it's still recognizably stone. I'd play around with the colors for teh shadow though, I think they're a bit too saturated right now and it makes it look a bit faded.
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #13 on: March 31, 2017, 12:03:06 pm
Thanks for the feedbacks!

I'm afraid some of you replied based on the previous comparison, but I've made a toned down version of my previous barbaric edit, an actual game screen-shot, which is somewhere in the middle, less saturated and darker, but still more contrasted than the first image and based on a limited palette.

I was a bit tired of stone blocks and went back a bit on the character animations, right now the animation in the pipeline is the climbing on blocks one. Not the easiest of all! Sor far I'm pretty happy with the motion, but I'm eager to know what you think. The major constraint is speed, it must be done fast to make sure gameplay wise, it's pleasant to climb around.


Will be displayed at 300% zoom ingame, btw.

I want her to feel pretty swift an agile, despite having such short legs  :)

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #14 on: March 31, 2017, 09:24:40 pm
He needs one more frame before standing or one less to make the rest of the motion quick enough to match!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline CFKaligula

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #15 on: April 02, 2017, 12:30:53 pm
I think adding an anticipation frame helps the animation a lot. It makes sense that before such a high jump you need to collect some energy.
I tried it here:
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Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #16 on: April 02, 2017, 03:57:04 pm
I think adding an anticipation frame helps the animation a lot. It makes sense that before such a high jump you need to collect some energy.
I tried it here:

Ooh, great suggestion here. Fixes the problem I was seeing elegantly!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #17 on: April 02, 2017, 06:21:29 pm
Thanks for the feedbacks! I've made some progress on the animation, not yet finished but pretty close.



I included a subtle anticipatory motion, I can't really overdo it, it has to happen fast in-game, and be fluid. The hair are my favorite part, I exaggerated the motion to give the character more energy. Animation is a bit longer than the previous wip version, but still compatible with what actually happens with the game object. For those interested, I separated the hitbox of the object when climbing and the animated sprite, which is displayed at fixed coordinates during the climbing. It's clean, always in the grid, and I just have to make sure that the hitbox is where I display the sprite.

Any feedback welcome!

- Skaz


[EDIT]



Just finished this animation, this is visual feedback for the players, letting them know they can also jump directly on the opposite direction when holding on to a ledge. It's not a mandatory step to perform the jump, as I said, only visual indication. The end is a bit hard with the braid, I might rework it a bit, but I don't want to add several more frames.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 12:27:17 pm by Skaz »

Offline Petrichor

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #18 on: April 06, 2017, 04:34:12 pm
First, I just want to say that this is great.  Beautiful animation, shapes, colours, everything!

New:

Old for comparison:


The new one is more appealing in my opinion.  The only issue I see is that the player is hard to distinguish from the background bricks.

Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #19 on: April 09, 2017, 11:26:04 am
Thanks Petrichor!

Made progress on the jumping animation, it's still a wip, final landing phase is not completed at all. The hair motion is also not fluid and dynamic yet. Any opinion so far?



Offline CFKaligula

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #20 on: April 09, 2017, 01:50:55 pm
1 anticipation frame wouldn't hurt ;D
I know you hear a lot of game devs talking about how actions need to be responsive and that there is no time for anticipations, actions need to happen immediately, but that just isn't true. You will always have enough time for anticipation and recovery frames.
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Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #21 on: April 09, 2017, 02:14:28 pm
There is already one frame of anticipation, thing is if I add more, the motion will begin really late after the character is already in the air. I'll try to address the issue anyway, might require so cheating :p

Offline eishiya

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #22 on: April 09, 2017, 06:47:13 pm
One way to "cheat" is to have the character automatically get down a bit whenever they're near a ledge and not moving, since you can usually expect the player to climb/jump there.
That'll also give the player a hint that they can jump up in that location, since chances are if the player is standing still near a ledge, they're not sure where to go. If the player is constantly moving, they won't see that little alternate-idle pose, but if they're in constant motion, they probably won't notice a lack of anticipation anyway.

Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #23 on: April 09, 2017, 07:37:55 pm
Automatic anticipation is not a possibility, the character will jump, a lot, and not always where I can predict it. It would also be quite complicated, not sure I can afford it. I was mostly thinking of a trick, to shift the sprite a little under the real hitbox, so it looks like the character is still on the ground, when he's not :p

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #24 on: April 09, 2017, 10:17:23 pm
Personally? I'd try it without the anticipation frames. It's very much a real problem to gameplay if the jumps take longer than immediately to start unless you're working a VERY specific formula.

Splice together the run and jump over a longer canvas to see how it flows!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline eishiya

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #25 on: April 09, 2017, 10:22:47 pm
That'll make the game feel unresponsive just the same as not starting to jump until some frames after the input, even if it catches up within a couple of frames. I think an animation with poor/no wind-up is the better alternative in most cases. That said, if you have the time for it, try it and see what playtesters think!

Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #26 on: April 10, 2017, 05:26:18 pm
Yeah you were right, I stuck with the single anticipation to give the feeling of brutal extension, and I'll stick to it. Here is a gif of the in game implementation of most of the animations so far.



The idle breathing animation is very much a placeholder, I did it quickly to test the code more than anything.

Here is the isolated jump and land animation:


Keeping the arms extended may look a little odd, I didn't do it this way at first, but I realised the top corner of the player hitbox had to be easily distinguishable, since the character can grab ledges. I lost time on this, should have figured it out before doing the work. Also, I didn't made a skeletal animation first and lost time, again. Stick to your rules man!

What do you think? Next animation is going to be the garbing ledges reception, must feel pretty hard and brutal, a little desperate.

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #27 on: April 10, 2017, 06:40:32 pm
If you're going for desperate or brutal, I'd reccomend checking some of the animations in the tomb raider series for that. I remember them being pretty scrambly!
Alternatively have one of her hands slip before she can get up!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline eishiya

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #28 on: April 10, 2017, 06:57:52 pm
Having the arms extended doesn't look weird to me at all, at least in context.
I quite like the climbing-up animation and camera movement, I'll have to figure out how to do that in my own code soon.

Seconding MM's suggestion of having one of the arms slip. Even the arm that doesn't slip could have a bit of a downward slide until the other arm gets back on the ledge (if the resolution allows such subtle motion, anyway).

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #29 on: April 10, 2017, 07:28:52 pm
If you have troubles with that kind of subtle motion there's always subpixeling techniques, but note that it might increase colorcount if you're going for any particular palette goals.
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #30 on: April 11, 2017, 09:22:54 am
Thanks eishiya, glad you don't find the pose out of place. Are you talking specifically about the camera movement or the climbing? Because right now, the camera is non-existent, it only follows the character all the time, and it's pretty bad. I'm going to implement a super Mario type camera, it's a lot more complicated than it seems when you play it, stimulating business!

What do you code your game with? If it's game maker, I'll happily share my own code with you. Not a fan of making big secret about small algorithms.

I'm working on the animation of ledges grabbing right now, I'll make a try with the right arm slipping and grabbing the ledge back. But I'm afraid this animation might become stale over time. If I have the time, it might be an optional version, triggered every now and then...

@MysteryMeat

I use this technique, but only with tow shade for each colour. It doesn't pose a problem, but the motion is quite noticeable since the shades are well contrasted.

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #31 on: April 11, 2017, 10:17:30 am
It's a pretty funky method, yeah. I've pretty much resigned it's use to imply line movement where there'd otherwise be none, which is what I was suggesting for the hands. Helps me designate where fingertips are to lighten/shadow them.
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #32 on: April 11, 2017, 04:32:14 pm
@MysteryMeat Not sure to get what you mean with the fingertips stuff, you mean the dark back hand when jumping? If so you're right, I must highlight it!

Progress so far, transitions from jumping to running, which is always nice, and grabbing animation.



« Last Edit: April 11, 2017, 07:49:29 pm by Skaz »

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #33 on: April 22, 2017, 07:15:13 pm
Made some progress, mainly in the code department, but also a few sprites.



Offline eishiya

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #34 on: April 22, 2017, 09:18:51 pm
I feel like the hair movement in the shooting-to-the-side animation is too much, it doesn't seem to follow the momentum imparted by the gun. I don't think it should move up quite so much.

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #35 on: April 22, 2017, 09:21:25 pm
Agreed. Honestly, I'd add the shoot-up hair animation to it, it looks like a better animation for that kind of recoil and wouldn't require as much effort as redrawing it entirely.
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http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #36 on: April 23, 2017, 10:36:40 am
Yeah, I had a similar feeling. Fixed!



Is it better?

I'm a bit tired of character animations, I still need an up and down axe attack, and that's going to be over for the time being. More level related stuff will come, rocks, blocks, statues, backgrounds and the like.

Thanks guys!

- Skaz
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 10:39:16 am by Skaz »

Offline eishiya

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #37 on: April 23, 2017, 03:03:28 pm
Much better! Maybe add some more motion to the tuft of hair on the front of her head? It feels rather stiff compared to her braid.

I hear you on getting tired of character animations xP I'm amazed you have the patience to make them as good as these are at all! I feel like I just go "it moves somehow! back to rocks and trees."

Offline BatElite

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #38 on: April 23, 2017, 04:49:56 pm
It looks more to scale, but the hair looks tethered to her leg now.
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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #39 on: April 23, 2017, 06:00:30 pm
wow im digging your work! good stuff

one suggestion though about the hair in the front in the running animation:

you can make it bounce like the hair in the back, here is my try:

« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 06:03:02 pm by hsn2555 »
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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #40 on: April 23, 2017, 10:23:08 pm
Thanks all!

I could try to animate the front hair a little bit, but it'll have to wait, my focus is finishing this set and move on. I have to call the work done at some point  :blind:

The braid end does look a bit too static, I will  move the point a little bit to avoid this effect. Tomorrow, I'll try to finish the attack move, and the next steps are tiles and level related stuff.

Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #41 on: June 22, 2017, 03:40:49 pm
I"m not dead, not yet!

I've been busy, but ther is not a lot of stuff to show. First, a screenshot from a cave made using my rock texture. Any edit/feedback welcome!



I've also made a basic monster, some kind of slug with dinosaur legs, I refer to them as "Slugosaurs". They will be modular, with no legs crawl motion, 2 legs, 4 legs, or wings. Then I'll add feature on top of it to specialise them in predetermined roles.


The base one with bipedal motion.


Added feature: a front protection, inspired by protoceratops. The dinosaur theme will be heavily represented when possible.

I've also given a costume to the character, after much thougts i went for an unarmored, adventurer style.

An extended run cycle with jump and break animation.

As usual, I highly value any feedback!

- Skaz
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 05:00:25 pm by Skaz »

Offline Sersch

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #42 on: June 22, 2017, 06:30:15 pm
The rock tileset looks great!

Offline Skaz

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #43 on: June 23, 2017, 08:33:38 am
The rock tileset looks great!

Thanks!

Offline hexcode

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Re: [C+C] Dwarven Fortress and Stuff

Reply #44 on: June 23, 2017, 12:30:02 pm
Wow! Amazing - Very aspiring. Great technique and modern interpretation of pixel art.
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