AuthorTopic: Orientation in top down pixel art?  (Read 125 times)

Offline Tureen

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Orientation in top down pixel art?

on: June 12, 2017, 11:14:26 pm
I’m somewhat new to pixel art, and would like some insight on designing sprites for a top down 2d game.

Originally what I planned was to create a sprite for each direction the character was facing. So, I’d have an idle, attack, movement, ect, animation for up, down, left, and right. But when I got to drawing the characters, it became clear that drawing 4 different orientations for everything is too much work.

When looking around at the style similar games used, I came across Hyper Light Drifter and noticed they simplified things by drawing enemies in a slanted way that works for 3 directions of movement, and simply flip it around for the other direction. (Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7Avr7OmRnw#t=24m28s) This allows a single animation to work in all directions.

But it seems you need to work around this style, designing attacks and animations that can work in all directions.
(Slashing attack example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjZeICRepyk#t=01m42s)
For ranged attacks, it seems they rotate limbs through the game engine to line up the attack.
(Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjZeICRepyk#t=04m49s)

What’s everyone’s opinion of this slanted orientation, and is there anything I need to look out for when using this style?
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 11:23:52 pm by Tureen »

Offline eishiya

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Re: Orientation in top down pixel art?

Reply #1 on: June 18, 2017, 12:22:47 am
By "top down", do you mean 3/4 view, like in many RPGs and Hyper Light Drifter? In true top down, there'd be no difference in sprites facing different directions, they'd just be rotations of the same sprite - we'd just see the top of the head, the shoulders, and maybe parts of the legs when the character walks.

Hyper Light Drifter seems to have at least 4-directional idle and movement sprites (with mirroring, that's 3 sets of sprites - facing north, south, and east/west):


The "slanted orientation" is just diagonally positioned sprites. Isometric games have these as their default or only sprite types, since they usually limit motion to northeast/northwest and southeast/southwest:


I'm not sure, but attacking in HLD might have only two sets of animations, like you said - northeast/northwest and southeast/southwest. I've seen a few games do this, I suspect it's because players are less likely to notice the attack animations being less flexible since they're focusing on not dying while they're in combat, and because it allows for more consistent attack hitboxes.

For non-attacking movement, if you're going to have 4-directional (or more) movement, I recommend having 4 directions (3 distinct animations) for your sprites because having just two would be pretty noticeable. It seems easier to get away with diagonal movement reusing north, south, and east/west animations than it is to get away with cardinal movement that uses diagonally-moving sprites.