AuthorTopic: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi  (Read 59826 times)

Offline ptoing

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Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

on: June 04, 2007, 11:55:00 pm
DODONPACHI by CAVE (1996) - Commercial Critique

This time the object of our CC will be the sequel to Donpachi, Dodonpachi, which in the history of its genre has a legendary status.
It was arguably the first properly balanced manic shump made by the same team, that at Toaplan a few years earlier invented that subgenre with Batsugun, before they split up (besides Cave also bringing forth Raizing and some other less productive developers regarding the shmup genre).

The graphical standard of this game is generally very high with a few slips (some of which are visible in the following shot).
Also the general buildup approach of levels is quite different to what we are used to from rpgs and platformers for example.

On to the screeshotsl (also check the enemies which I extracted in the CC Challenge Thread)

Titlescreen, Player Selection and Level Intermission


Level 1


Level 2




Level 3




Level 4




Level 5




Level 6




True Last Boss


Have fun examining it and post your thoughts :D
« Last Edit: June 07, 2007, 07:45:06 pm by ptoing »

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

Offline Xion

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #1 on: June 05, 2007, 02:20:53 am
You know, I've heard of Dodonpachizzle before, and I've seen a few screenshots, but I never really stopped to...see the screens, you know?
But now that you've forced my eyes, I must say, those are friggin amazing.

Hmm...

Really awesome.

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #2 on: June 05, 2007, 07:27:35 am
Wow. I looked at the shots on 2 different monitors, a super 2000:1 contrast ratio LCD, and an old as the hills CRT. On the LCD these shots were pretty much burning my eyes out, the saturation and contrast levels made the game pretty much 100% unreadable, I can't make out very much of whats going on easily. However, on the old CRT it becomes much more readable, and actually looks better, if a bit more blurry.

Still, I think the colours are bordering on neon. The saturation for alot of them is extreme, and I think readability is an issue with the marvellous work in this game.

Also, there doesn't seem to be very strong shadow on anything, it all looks like midtones and highlights to me, perhaps this is because theres so much saturation in the shadows yet there is no hue shift?

That's all I've really got for now, I'll have to pore over it more, its amazing work...

Offline Stickman

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #3 on: June 05, 2007, 08:04:04 am
Looking at this game on a LCD and CRT wont do it any justcice as you really do need an arcade setup. What I found amazing about this game (I've only got the saturn version) is that the sprites never gets lost in the background no matter how busy or how much detail there is. Enemy ships and bullets are easy to spot probably due to the furtherst/deeper backgrounds being quite monochromatic but detailed as seen on the screenshots, and then you have a second layer ontop which is far more brighter in colour, but actually less detailed. Then there are the pink bullets which is probably the most brightest feature of the game.

(It's quite a contrast to games like Battle Garegga, where certain things are a little hard to read)

Offline huZba

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #4 on: June 05, 2007, 08:48:52 am
Can't really find anything wrong with the graphics even though i try hard. In some of the shots it might look like things are getting too messy, but in-game there's never such problem. Also like eyecraft said, it looks better in arcade or CRT than it does on LCD.

It's extremely well controlled with the BG having mid to low-mid values while the units have high values on top and high-mid on the lower parts. So the tanks blend in since their bottoms have values closer to the bg. Also it seems that every flat surface facing up has a light outline all around, creating quite a unique style. Gotta take a closer look when i get home.

Offline Feron

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #5 on: June 05, 2007, 09:00:02 am
thanks to mr. Ptoing i have spent a bit of time playing this game, and my advice to anyone is that you don't see the full beauty of this game until your playing.  The screenshots are nice, but they don't show that much of a level or many of the enemies.  Seriously, play this game!!  (plus the gameplay is slightly insane  :D)

My favourite parts are the shipwrecks in level one, it must have taken a few hours to make that.  The game designers really cut no corners and did a great job.  The background art is just brilliant, the ammount of detail that many shmup background artist would have left out, is huge.

I like the clean enemy ship's too.  Such a classic style, and pulled of to its full extent.

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #6 on: June 05, 2007, 09:08:13 am
I've been playing DDP for many years.

It's interesting how they go against a lot of what we now consider common knowledge in pixel art, like they use selout, they don't have full ranges of color for the sprites, they don't have value shifts in their ramps, they have huge amounts of colors for some sprites, they don't tile effectively (for the most part) and so on, but end up with such a good art style in the end. As usual, game design supercedes any pixel art purism ideas, even though I personally believe that by applying any of the above 'staples' of 'pixel art as art' as we've formulated them in this forum for the past few years, the game would benefit. In fact, I intend to take a sprite from the other thread, and apply all the 'common wisdom' we have right now, and see if it can still work as well in-game (theoretically) as it does now, but also look prettier and more cohesive.

The explosions in this game are quite nice too, and the burst and are out of the way pretty fast, so as not to confuse gameplay too much.

If there's any negative critique I can level against this game is that the designs are too busy for their own good, there is literally no flat plane to be found anywhere in this game. Now, considering a lot of that ultra-tiny design is sorta blurred out on an arcade cab video output, one wouldn't probably mind, but as we see the game in ultra-sharp computer screens, and we can notice - and value - the single pixel, the game ends up looking a bit 'embossed' for lack of a better term. Every surface has shit on it, this isn't good for the eyes, regardless of art direction choices.

Offline Panda

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #7 on: June 05, 2007, 10:16:56 am
I've played DDP, and while I kinda suck at it (heh, can't remember where I have to move and where whatever ship comes etc :P) but yeah it looks more impressive when playing than put as screenshots.

I do agree that everything is packed with details everywhere and stuff is a bit unreadable, but when playing you are put in a situation where you don't care much about it.
Something that bothers me is that most of the ships are just mirrored, and again while playing you don't notice at all, upon inspection you see all these weird perspectives and impossible angles (unless many of the parts are inclined and are shaped like \).
Also, I guess all those perfect angles (pixel wise) are to avoid jagginess without adding AA + keeping the made out of metal feeling, but at times the ships look too blocky.

Uhm yeah overall nice graphics, and nice animations. I mean, they could be better, but it works.
Looking forward to see how you edit the ship, Helm.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2007, 10:18:32 am by Panda »

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #8 on: June 05, 2007, 10:52:10 am

Offline djork

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #9 on: June 05, 2007, 02:43:37 pm
I know I'm a barely-double-digit-post-newb here but I think the edit above is downright sacrilege.  DoDonPachi is the pinnacle of hand-drawn pixel art in gaming, as far as I'm concerned.  I haven't seen a better collection of incredible unit designs, effects, animations, backgrounds, and overall "feel."  It's usually the first place I go to use as a reference on drawing rocks, grass, buildings, tanks, fire, and basically anything else that appears in the game.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #10 on: June 05, 2007, 02:49:26 pm
There are many games which do it just as well or some things even better. Ever played Metal Slug? (up to 3 all the newer ones are meh)

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

Offline djork

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #11 on: June 05, 2007, 03:22:27 pm
There are many games which do it just as well or some things even better. Ever played Metal Slug? (up to 3 all the newer ones are meh)

I shouldn't have been quite so broad in my statements :)  Metal Slug certainly does look as well done if not better than DoDonPachi, but among SHMUPS, this one is hard to top.  I think that's fair to say.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #12 on: June 05, 2007, 03:31:46 pm
I agree, very hard to top. Imo the Raizing games look very nice as well tho.

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

Offline huZba

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #13 on: June 05, 2007, 03:35:05 pm
While the edit is nice and i like it, you said that they're too busy, yet you add dithering to make it even more so. Gotta remember that in arcade the screen resolution is extremely low and they're usually behind a magnifying glass so the ingame picture what you see is much closer to 2X view than 1X on a high resolution monitor. Also the selout in the sprites is there for a reason. The backrounds are ~80% low value so the selout pixels hardly ever expose themselves in a bad (backround)light.

Selout is evil if you're not in control, but there are plenty of games that use it to a great advantage. So common knowledge shouldn't say that don't use selout, but use it only if you know what you're doing.

I still like the edit tho, saved it to my awesome-pixel-arts folder. Might want to try placing it against some of the game backrounds to see how it works.

Oh and the shadows are a bit harsh but that seems like a graphics engine trick since every sprite has a shadow like that, even the flying ones. Gotta play the game again. Never got past level 4.

Offline Krut

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #14 on: June 05, 2007, 05:38:15 pm
Actually, i dont think that edit works.

Its pretty much a washed out version, when you need to have a fair share of contrast; Like most have said before, and i say it again for those that havent played it; You dont lose vision of the action on the game, the background plane stays exactly where it should be, backed the fuck up.

I remember when Ndeal (someone who in my opinion really handles perfectly this style) and i studied it, when we were helping Jawsh with a gig he had.

Basically what we saw was the "isometric" shading aproach used on top down sprites.
The overcrawded details you guys are talking about are merely a few bolts, lines, lower levels, an engine here and there, with the "isometric" shading aproach applied to them aswell (wich keeps the design line of big ass ships-mecha style with lots of shit in there wich we have no idea what they are for).


On Helms edit, we see clearly and improvement pallette-eficiently-wise (wich works better if you present it as a standalone sprite maybe), and some "enchased" use of the highlights;

The "enchased" use of highlights loses the original point, wich was mainly to show the borders and different levels of height;

I think the more eficient / washed down palette would hurt the gameplay tremendously on movement, because the high amount of contrasting colours helps out the player distinguinshing enemies players and bullet at every moment, even though you are not "watching" an especific part of the screen at the moment.


Also, Helms edit of the "evil selout", makes the enemy ship blend more with the background, add the washed out pallette, and you got a gameplay killer right there.

From what we gathered back in the day, it was fairly simple to implement once you got the logic out of it...

I wish Ndeal could talk here, since hes better at explaining that i am; but i hope that at least some of what i said came trough.

Excuse the shitty english.

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #15 on: June 05, 2007, 06:01:35 pm
I like alot of what Helm did with the edit, the mix of tones I find to be far more appealing. However the contrast (primarily the shadow) seems to have taken a blow. This, in couple with the apparent reduction in saturation is probably why people are saying its "washed out". I think slightly stronger contrast, and it would be a great improvement.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #16 on: June 05, 2007, 06:03:20 pm
I agree that Helms edit would not be as good in game. Even tho there is evil selout in this case it actually is better than none, because it denotes a thickness of the wings and an underside which in Helms lacks on the wings and makes them look paperthin.

The dither also does not help, it actually does make stuff look fuzzy, which does not go well with the rest of the clean cut style.

As for the desaturation, atm the sprite looks almost like something you would see in a background, if it was a actual enemy the bg itself would have to be either superlow detail or desaturated like fuck.

Sorry Helm, I quite like it as a standalone, but in a game like ddp it would not gel at all imo.

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

Offline Krut

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #17 on: June 05, 2007, 06:14:40 pm
Also AA is barely (only on VERY VERY specific ocations, and not with the purpose that we commonly give it, but instead make the colour flow more calmed) used, i dont say unexistant, because there are examples, but like i said, its not with the common purpose of AA, of making softer/rounder shapes; DDPachi, uses hard edges, and it takes advantage of them, highlighting them even.

I saw for example on Helms edit, that he AAed some of the wings white stripes, on the original that pure white on purpose.

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #18 on: June 05, 2007, 07:36:37 pm
Heh I'm happy that at least my edit is grounds for technical discussion. I'll try to adress a few points, and agree with others.

Quote
I know I'm a barely-double-digit-post-newb here but I think the edit above is downright sacrilege.

Check your holy cows at the door. This is commercial critique.

Quote
yet you add dithering to make it even more so

Hm, yes. It's a bit of a give-and-take. I decided to try it in a few places, in order to have on one hand a bit more texture - which is not good given that the detail on this piece is overkill to begin with - but also have a bit more hue-variation, which this sprite sorely needs. There's a general art credo that applies strongly in here: you can't have everything. You have to sacrifice one potentially good thing to get some of another thing. As far as clarity goes for example, an 1bit sprite with no dithering and very strong planes would read better than anything else in the universe. Yet you don't see DDP being in 1bit, right? So they sacrifice some clarity to have color in there, then they sacrifice some color variation too for clarity, so on, so forth. A game designer prioritizes what he needs and creates a hierarchy which he gives to his art team. I bet the DDP hierarchy was:

1: THIS IS A MANIC SHOOTER. CLARITY MOST OF ALL
2: colorful design, not 'gritty realism'
3: technobabblish machinery

or some-such. My edit puts chromatic cohesion a bit higher than clarity, and obviously that would hurt the gameplay. But would it hurt it to the degree where you wouldn't be able to identify the ship against a -similarly Helm-fixed background? - probably not. I wouldn't edit a single ship and put it in the game, I'd have to edit all the art in there to make it work in unison.

Quote
Selout is evil if you're not in control, but there are plenty of games that use it to a great advantage. So common knowledge shouldn't say that don't use selout, but use it only if you know what you're doing.

There is nothing that selout does that you can't do with light-weighted outlines and controlled breakage of such. All-around-paper-cutout-selout is the devil and you won't be able to change my mind, nor will anyone else. I will concede ptoing's point about the extra darkness under the small wings, and I could go back and edit another line under there but it's a simple edit one can imagine just as well without me actually doing it.

Quote
Actually, i dont think that edit works.

I am not extremely enthusiastic about it because my eyes rebelled against what I was doing as I was doing it. I have played DDP for so long, it's so difficult for me to see the art in any other way than how I've seen it up to now, but it was actually good psychologically for me to say 'forget what you've known, what would you do?'.

Quote
Its pretty much a washed out version

Comparatively to the original. That's the thing, any sort of edit would look odd to a DDP player because of the effect I described above. Try to look at both of these side-by-side and pretend it's the first time you see both, and tell the artist which you think would work better stand-alone (as I said, in-game in a game you already know is unfair since I'd have to edit all the bg art as well to have a fair comparison).

Quote
when you need to have a fair share of contrast

My edit actually doesn't mess with the contrast almost at all. It messes with hues, and saturation. As far as how the eye would read the levels (lighest, light, dark, darkest) the edit is pretty much the same as the original. There's less warmth, and that does push back the sprite as far as priority goes a bit, but would it do so to a game-breaking degree? I think probably not. Would it do so if I theoretically had my way with every piece of art in the game? Nope.

Quote
Like most have said before, and i say it again for those that havent played it; You dont lose vision of the action on the game, the background plane stays exactly where it should be, backed the fuck up.

Actually that's not exactly true on level 5. The enemies and the background do bleed over each other there. What ALWAYS remains on top however, is projectiles. You can see all the BRIGHT, PINK, RETINA-BURNING BULLETS very well at all times. But let's not pretend we can see the ships here:



as well as we should.

Quote
Also, Helms edit of the "evil selout", makes the enemy ship blend more with the background, add the washed out pallette, and you got a gameplay killer right there.

exaggerations! :P

Quote
Sorry Helm, I quite like it as a standalone

It wasn't supposed to go inside the original game, all the art would have to be readjusted to degrees, as I said. Oh man, don't make me edit the colors in a whole screenshot!

Quote
Also AA is barely (only on VERY VERY specific ocations, and not with the purpose that we commonly give it

actually I think this isn't so much an artistic choice, but a choice of necessity to keep pixelling fast. All the 45 degrees to avoid AA. It's just faster work to not have to buffer curves and such. I do feel however that highlighting around every hard edge from every angle is overkill and leads to a bit of the 'embossed' feeling I mentioned. Only the edges that catch highlights from a supposed topwards lightsource should be brightened. Then again, DDP has a lot of rotaty sprites, so again this is a good choice from necessity. You trade some volumetric clarity by making everything embossy, but then you can rotate the piece and it won't have any irregular shadows.

edit:

newest version with adressed points

« Last Edit: June 05, 2007, 07:49:57 pm by Helm »

Offline Krut

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #19 on: June 05, 2007, 09:54:00 pm
The latest attempt i think is a improvement, you dealt with the inner contrast issue on the engines/arms/whatever area...i would still add a darker shade to the "outline" of the bottom wings though.

Offline Gil

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #20 on: June 06, 2007, 12:48:43 am
That last one looks better than the original, though it also changed the style considerably by going multi-chromatic. The selout replacement is just plain better on Helm's edit.

Offline Froli

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #21 on: June 06, 2007, 03:20:10 am
Note: original piece is the upper one.

I noticed that helms piece on some areas needs a little adjustment. I don't know if I'm making sense here or my english is good enough to explain it, but would you helm, adjust the pallete on that area with the box and make it a little darker so that it has more emphasis that those areas are in a lower level?


Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #22 on: June 06, 2007, 07:44:39 am
wow that really really does not show on the original one, so I was working without keeping the shadow of the above part on the below part in mind. I don't think the edit, or even the original suffers much from this anyway, given the reflected lights and all. I look at it and it still looks halfway-illusionary. Good eye for you, but not sure what to do about it. Disregarding it is closer to the style than actually weightening that shadow. I might edit later.

Offline huZba

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #23 on: June 06, 2007, 09:09:07 am
Notice how helm's edit has jaggies against a black backround and the original doesn't. That's the reason the selout is there. The backrounds are considerably darker than the sprites, so the antialiasing-to-a-darker-bg aka selout works.

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #24 on: June 06, 2007, 10:36:32 am


Considerably darker? I beg to differ, sir. I am noticing jaggies along the side of the red ship there. A few levels are pretty much same-value between ships and backgrounds. What you say is right in theory, but it doesn't hold up in reality. ALL selout looks wonderful against a pure-black background, but it turns out, unless you're doing a starfield game, there is really not many shmups where you work against a black background through the whole game.

Selout = evil

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #25 on: June 06, 2007, 10:49:50 am
this is awesome, I would have never personally proposed this but it IS pretty damn interesting.

dodon pachi's shading basically seems to be surface angle coded to me.

meaning if it's vertical it's dark and the more horizontal it gets, the lighter it gets. that is the basic premise, a very simple premise.

Therefore to make it more eye catching, they use rimming and an astounding amount of bevels and extra detail on all surfaces, with some diferent colored lines and rims to top it off.

this is the reason height is so hard to tell within a single sprite, it is so marked in fact that they use projected shadows to show higher planes.

I must accept I say all this whitout having ever played the game  :D

I am far more interested in the way they did the organic surfaces, I think the dirt textures are very convincing, and the ruinscapes I see in these screenshots are very well pulled off. HELM, what did you mean when you said they are not "efficiently tiled"?
« Last Edit: June 06, 2007, 12:26:27 pm by Conceit »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #26 on: June 06, 2007, 11:20:04 am
Note: original piece is the upper one.

I noticed that helms piece on some areas needs a little adjustment. I don't know if I'm making sense here or my english is good enough to explain it, but would you helm, adjust the pallete on that area with the box and make it a little darker so that it has more emphasis that those areas are in a lower level?



I think you are reading the ship wrong, Froli. I am very sure that the 2 parts are on the same level, the one with the guns is in the back, so the frontal wings are sloped down not to be shot by the bullets. The middle part is mainly a horizontal rectangular affair.

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

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #27 on: June 06, 2007, 11:22:41 am
Is it that he's reading it wrong or that it has a propensity to be read wrong. One is his fault, the other is of the art. I'm torn, it looks like an optical illusion.

Camus:



efficient tiling. Do you see any tiling here? This, as many 1996-era video-games uses absurdly large 'chunks' of graphics, repeated as needed on multilayers, to dress up the backgrounds. We're not looking at 32x32 tiles or anything. It's okay because they had the memory and the speed to show these graphics in the PCB at the time, but from a tiling standpoint there's not much interest.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #28 on: June 06, 2007, 12:06:34 pm
I have to say I on a whole like this approach more. Tiles are overrated :D

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

Offline Krut

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #29 on: June 06, 2007, 01:12:40 pm
I have to say I on a whole like this approach more. Tiles are overrated :D

Well, tiles are a technical limitation.
Its fun to use them tough...

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #30 on: June 06, 2007, 02:02:27 pm

(don't mind the awkward ratio resizing)

great things can be done by wrapping one's brain around a technical limitation. Isn't that what pixel art is all about?

Offline Feron

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #31 on: June 06, 2007, 02:18:25 pm
helm: lovely screenshot, i vote lionheart for the next CC...
I am torn between your edit and the original, i think i'm tending towards the original though.  Yours have nicer colors, but the straight ramps just seem to look better stylistically.

I am now very perplexed by that ship.  Personally i agree with ptoing, and i think it isn't above it.

I think i am addicted tothis game now, thanks to a certain german  ::) ....

Offline huZba

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #32 on: June 06, 2007, 02:39:52 pm


Considerably darker? I beg to differ, sir. I am noticing jaggies along the side of the red ship there. A few levels are pretty much same-value between ships and backgrounds. What you say is right in theory, but it doesn't hold up in reality. ALL selout looks wonderful against a pure-black background, but it turns out, unless you're doing a starfield game, there is really not many shmups where you work against a black background through the whole game.

Selout = evil

You see the tanks in that very same screenshot use selout to a great advantage once more. The red ship is only the worst case scenario and doesn't happen that often and still doesn't look that bad. I don't mean that all selout should be against a black backround, as you see the tanks that are very likely to be on a mid-level road also have selout appropriate for that particular place.



In this screenshot the outline has antialiasing and it works great. Makes it all smooth against that particular backround. Of course it's going to look weird if you take it off context, since it's not supposed to be a standalone sprite with no bg at all. They use values that are between the sprites and the bg for selout, so saying considerably darker was bad wording on my part so there you go. In fact, those rotating turrets on the tanks would look very harsh if they didn't have antialiasing.

I don't think that many artists would use selout in games if it was bad. It works for me in ddp and it works good in a lot of other games. I don't think you should go on a crusade to tell the world it's evil, since it has it's uses. If exhibit a is always on bg color X you can freely use antialiasing on that. Like if you have tanks in a shmup that are always on roads.

Onto the lionheart picture. It's kinda cool how they have things in reverse compared to ddp. Bright colors on backround and darker/less saturated on the foreground. I think that for a long time tiles have been for effective production rather than technical limitations. It's a lot of work to make a whole shmup level without tiles and without recycling too much.

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #33 on: June 06, 2007, 02:50:42 pm
Quote
You see the tanks in that very same screenshot use selout to a great advantage once more

I don't see any selout there.

Also the original ship, of course it looks great, as it appears only once in the whole game, on a scripted sequence. It was obviously tested very much. However the problem with selout is that after they made the tanks and ships for the level they belonged on and the selout didn't hurt, they took them and later on in development put them over brighter levels, therefore, problems.

Quote
If exhibit a is always on bg color X you can freely use antialiasing on that. Like if you have tanks in a shmup that are always on roads.

Then that's just plain-ol' AA. Selout is darker jaggies to imply separation. We've had this discussion so many times. GOOD SELOUT is just plain ol' AA.

Quote
I don't think that many artists would use selout in games if it was bad.

That's bankrupt. Either you defend selout on its practical applications in specific examples, or you don't and renounce it. You can't play the "theoretical third-party artist that uses it well" card. There's lots of bad habits in my opinion in Capcom art for example. They make games for 20 years, but still they have these bad habits. This is commercial critique, and we are critical of everything that goes on, we shouldn't say 'well... they probably know what they're doing'.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2007, 02:56:33 pm by Helm »

Offline huZba

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #34 on: June 06, 2007, 03:39:01 pm
I can shell out examples from other games if it's "illegal" just to say other games(or companies), but i'd rather not cause it's a DDP thread. So basically you're saying that DDP does not have selout after all, cause it's good most of the time and therefore not selout. I think the term needs rethinking cause it's stupid.

The tanks have AA on their backs when the turret is turned. Just a few pixels, but it's there.

Anyway, seems like we agree on it so that's it then...

Trying to figure out something other to say about DDP not to make such a useless post, but that's kinda hard cause everything in the game seems to be working to it's full potential (not like 100%, since everything can always be made better and yada yada yada). First thought that maybe the flashing hit counter was a bit too flashing, but that's actually a pretty good way to show a really big font (and to cheat in a transparency effect) without being in the way too much. It's hard to catch with a screenshot since it's flashing with different colors all the time, but here's the brightest frame:


The craters, explosions, halfway destroyed enemies and such are great for giving them substance and making them more fun to destroy. The blocky appearance tingles the destruction nerve as well.

One thing i haven't seen in a shmup game is a directional explosion blast. Like if you hit some turret with a heavy weapon it would explode "forward" and the pieces would fly in one direction instead of just blowing up in place. Kinda hard to explain.....   anyway, great game, gotta try and make some ship for the other thread.

« Last Edit: June 06, 2007, 03:41:02 pm by huZba »

Offline Feron

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #35 on: June 06, 2007, 03:49:41 pm
lol this is all you get at the end...



the last boss is a biatch to destroy.

Offline huZba

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #36 on: June 06, 2007, 04:05:23 pm
Hehe, i think that was pretty much the most you could expect from games back then. Actually i would've been really happy with that kind of an ending screen. I think it was super r-type that states "you are a super player" in the end and starts over from the beginning. R-type 3 was a bit better having an ending animation of the ship returning to earth. I guess sometimes you didn't even notice the ending due to running around the room going "YEAAAAH I BEAT IT WHOOOO TAKE THAT MUFUKKAAAAA".... well at least i did when i beat Super Contra on the hardest difficulty.

But yeah, that's a good ending. Praise from the lips of a very manly man. Awesome.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #37 on: June 06, 2007, 04:15:38 pm
lol this is all you get at the end...



the last boss is a biatch to destroy.

That is not the real ending tho. You have to know that there is a second loop which has requirements to enter.
You have to play it on one credit for one and there are others, not fully sure. Something about that you have to get all the bees in 3 levels or not die at all, something like that. ANYWAY, when you get there you have to play all levels again with more bullets and in the end you get a true last boss (which is the case in most games by CAVE)
which is really really hard and not meant to be beating without dieing a couple of times, so you should get there with as many lives and bombs as possible.

I personally never got to the 2nd loop, still way too cack for that. I think you get a slightly different ending if you beat it.

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

Offline fil_razorback

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #38 on: June 07, 2007, 01:27:29 pm
The exact way to reach the true last boss (giant wasp) is :

-Finish the game without losing a single life
-Finish the second run (you can lose lives now)
-There it is !


(sorry, there's no pixel perfect screenshot of it)

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #39 on: June 07, 2007, 01:29:33 pm
Still not TLB, Feron cheated his way to it yesterday and made shots, will upload them later.

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

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #40 on: June 07, 2007, 01:43:11 pm
I've cheated my way there once as well. I literally had to savestate every single second from second loop, level 5 and onwards.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #41 on: June 07, 2007, 01:57:31 pm
Well feron cheated properly with CHEATS! As in invincibility :D

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

Offline huZba

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #42 on: June 07, 2007, 03:26:24 pm
You do know that cheating in a shmup is a mortal sin? I do want to see the last boss though, you know, for science.. hmm. maybe it's okay if i confess after seeing it.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #43 on: June 07, 2007, 03:45:56 pm
You do know that cheating in a shmup is a mortal sin? I do want to see the last boss though, you know, for science.. hmm. maybe it's okay if i confess after seeing it.
nope, you have sacrifice your first born to get forgiveness for that. OH, and swear eternal slavery to me, that's the most important part

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #44 on: June 07, 2007, 04:53:43 pm
Enough offtopicness tho :P Keep on discussing about the game, there is more stuff to talk about for sure.

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

Offline Feron

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #45 on: June 07, 2007, 07:10:24 pm
I only used cheating for the purpose of this thread though..

I put on invicibility, infinite bombs and other things.  It maxed out my score to 999999999 then froze  :D (luckily i got through the True last 3 bosses before.

Oh, another useful cheat is turn enemy fire off so you can capture great screens of the sprites without millions of bullets infront of them.

Quote
-Finish the game without losing a single life
-Finish the second run (you can lose lives now)
-There it is !

You can also reach it by:
Don't lose more than two fighters (lives).
Depending on the fighter used, have a maximum hit count of at least the following:
Type A: 270 hits
Type B: 300 hits
Type C: 330 hits
Score at least 50 million points.
Collect all thirteen bees in four of the six areas.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2007, 07:33:24 pm by Feron »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #46 on: June 07, 2007, 07:46:19 pm
Posted 3 new screenshots above of the true last boss (thanks again Feron).

Now please everyone go back to discussing the graphical elements of the game and not the gameplay (unless it's graphical stuff which directly relates to gameplay).

Thanks.

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

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #47 on: June 07, 2007, 09:06:48 pm


The more I look at this coldly, not in the heat of the fray, the more I feel all this talk about perfect priorities in DDP and everything being visible at all times is a bit silly. This screenshot I'll give you, is the worst it gets, but holy shit, besides bullets and main ship, the rest is a priority mess. Just because it's manic and you don't have to check when you're firing every single splitsecond, and just because bullets are supersat pink and purple doesn't mean what's underneath them reads well at all. I think it's a case of us believing our own hype.

Of course some levels work much much better than the mess above. But we have to take the mess above into account though, right?

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #48 on: June 07, 2007, 09:16:58 pm
I see what you mean, tho it is not that bad really, imo. Look at Battle Garegga, there when you first play it you don't see anything. You are like "what??? why am dead now???" But after a while you actually get used to the more realistic, non glowy bullets in that as well, quite fast actually. Same here plus the background never animates which helps. In stills stuff really looks way worse than it is.

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

Offline Stickman

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #49 on: June 08, 2007, 02:56:03 pm
I do agree with ptoing on the matter. Having bullets that look like "real" bullets together with a slightly larger hitbox on a background of similar contrast can make gameplay tricky (Although Battle Garegga is a fantastic game). It's interesting seeing the comments and views on the artwork, selout, AA etc on the actual enemies. When playing a shooter for the first time, I usually checkout the backgrounds in some detail but not the ships (I don't know why that is). As long as I can see the ships and the bullets on the background, I've never really care for the ship details. This thread however has made me appreciate the ship designs alot more.

Still though...Gameplay first, ships sprite later...and if it needs a fat peice of AA, selout, odd colour mix to do that then it's cool with me. Now....let me checkout those Ketsui sprites.... ;D
« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 03:02:29 pm by Stickman »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #50 on: June 08, 2007, 02:59:12 pm
Having bullets that look like "real" bullets together with a slightly larger hitbox on a background of similar contrats doesn't bode well for gameplay.

It still works in Battle Garegga, you get used to it after playing it for a while.

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

Offline Stickman

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #51 on: June 08, 2007, 03:04:48 pm
I had just edited my post when I had read that back when you sent that ;D

I've got the game and you do get used to it

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #52 on: June 13, 2007, 03:57:48 am


The more I look at this coldly, not in the heat of the fray, the more I feel all this talk about perfect priorities in DDP and everything being visible at all times is a bit silly. This screenshot I'll give you, is the worst it gets, but holy shit, besides bullets and main ship, the rest is a priority mess. Just because it's manic and you don't have to check when you're firing every single splitsecond, and just because bullets are supersat pink and purple doesn't mean what's underneath them reads well at all. I think it's a case of us believing our own hype.

Of course some levels work much much better than the mess above. But we have to take the mess above into account though, right?

I see what you mean, tho it is not that bad really, imo. Look at Battle Garegga, there when you first play it you don't see anything. You are like "what??? why am dead now???" But after a while you actually get used to the more realistic, non glowy bullets in that as well, quite fast actually. Same here plus the background never animates which helps. In stills stuff really looks way worse than it is.

I haven't played the game AT ALL. So all I have to work off is the screenshots, and really, that shot Helm shows really is pretty aweful. Even just some basic principles are foregone here, imo. The shading of the glass looks very shoddy, lacking any proper light behaviour. The orange section between the glass sections has a very bland texture, and tiles quite poorly. Simply put, the background in this shot is garish, and actually looks like the work of an amateur.

The giant red ship's palette is totally whack, too. It's very neon and lacks any decent contrast. It looks almost unshaded.

Maybe you guys need to take off the rosy glasses and inspect discerningly. Btw I do not intend to come across as a dick.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #53 on: June 13, 2007, 05:30:55 am
haha yeh i know what you mean. That screen DOES look horrible. It's pretty much worst case scenario. And that ship is a singularity in the game. It only appears a few times in the last level, it's completely out of style. Very odd. Still I stand by what I say. When you play the game it's readable enough. This does not mean it could look nicer in places :)

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

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #54 on: June 14, 2007, 12:33:06 am
for all the "in movement" controversy

check 2:19 to 2:37

in This DoDonPachi Youtube Video

 
« Last Edit: June 14, 2007, 02:58:44 am by Conceit »

Offline Ben2theEdge

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #55 on: June 14, 2007, 01:23:16 pm
After playing the game, I am going to take the controversial stance and say that for the *most* part, these artists knew exactly what they were doing. When you see the game in motion it really does read better than these still screens would have you believe. These graphics were not designed to be viewed stationary, but in motion. If we compare this to the holy grail known as Metal Slug (granted, it's slightly unfair since they're different genres) This game tries to stress detail but at the service of the gameplay, whereas Metal Slug with its dull colors, while beautiful, is not the most functional game it possibly could have been, with characters constantly being lost in all the crazy but earth-toned animation. It's a balancing act and we see examples that fall on either side, and I think in this case there was a compromise between the artists and the game designers: the artists got to make their sickly detailed crazy designs, but had to keep them readable when moving at high speeds. And it's quite impressive that they accomplished that goal. I really recommend everyone see the game in motion in a clearer form than Youtube before casting their stones.

If anything this game is a lesson that designing pixel art for the sake of art differs, sometimes dramatically, from the functionality of putting it into a working game. But I believe that tension sometimes produces our best work, and this game is a very interesting anomaly.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2007, 01:30:19 pm by Ben2theEdge »
I mild from suffer dislexia.

Offline AdamAtomic

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #56 on: June 14, 2007, 05:24:56 pm
I think the screenshots are very misleading, because in-game the enemies are constantly flashing or covered in explosions, making them VERY easy to see, and the enemy bullets are usually drawn on top of the players own enormous range and rate of fire.  One could probably argue that making the enemies base sprite stand out any more would make them almost distracting once you add flashing, movement, origin of enemy fire, and explosion/fire sprites.

Now, that doesn't excuse the occasional just plain ugly background of course :P  and I really have no idea what they were thinking by just slapping the fire sprites on the bosses.  It communicates the idea of them having low health nicely, but they really look like bad decals!

Offline miscdude

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #57 on: July 10, 2007, 10:14:38 pm
hmm....The wasp boss is very well drawn and colored, but something about the abdomin bothers me....
here

i made a crappy lil diagram to show my point
if it reads to be pointing outward like the arms are, you would thing the shading to get light if it gets closer to she source of light, so the tip of the abdomin would be brighter...unless im mis-percepting the angle in some way. really these are beautiful, and that is only one of the few problems i saw :)

Offline Skull

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #58 on: July 11, 2007, 02:51:18 pm
I see your point, but consider gameplay and how much would be going on, I think we can let it slide. :D
Even alone, it looks incredibly impressive.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #59 on: July 11, 2007, 07:47:48 pm
hm, I think it is a matter of layering and playability.

if you check the wasp's pallete, you'll see that the torso's pallete is like a million times brighter than the butt (yea screw technical names)

looking at the butt's pallete, the sting pretty much IS as bright as it can be within the pallete.

they could steal a color or 2 from the torso, BUT I'm asuming in-game the butt is in a lower layer, and you can hover over it, since it seems almost as dark as the bg...

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #60 on: July 13, 2007, 01:21:25 am
Quote
BUT I'm asuming in-game the butt is in a lower layer, and you can hover over it, since it seems almost as dark as the bg...

Your assumption is correct.

Offline Rox

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #61 on: July 18, 2007, 05:20:11 pm
Wow, I'm so late with this, but that video really showed something I didn't know about this game. It does the massive horizontal parallax thing. Something I've never really enjoyed in games, but it does a LOT to make the foreground pop out, especially in a game where you never want to stay in the same spot for more than half a second.

The orange thing background is still pretty ugly, though...

Offline inkspot

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #62 on: July 20, 2007, 12:51:52 pm
Ok, I am new to these kinds of threads and I really haven't got the time to read al the posts right now. I haven't played the game also, but nayway here is my opinion.
Yes, the graphics are very good, but what amazes me the most is that the structure and technique itself is quite simple. Its just lots of geometrical shapes. Colouring is fairly good, I've seen better and a lot worse. But I cut some slack to the colour detail in effects, if its pure pixel of course..., its amazing! Ofcourse I haven't seen the animation, but screens show at least 50%. However, the thing that bothers me the most, is the fact that so much detail is cramped up into such a small screen, which means I have to use some sharp glasses to distinguish my ship from others. It seems to lack a focal point of some sorts - -similar/same contrast and values all over the place. Of course I haven't played it so I really don't know what it feels like, but anyway, here is my opinion.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #63 on: July 20, 2007, 05:29:03 pm
Wow, I'm so late with this, but that video really showed something I didn't know about this game. It does the massive horizontal parallax thing.

Massive horizontal paralax? ok you lost me there Rox, what are you talking about? I think horizontal paralax I think....Castlevania:Symphony of the Night intro=horizontal scrolling, not a vertical scrolling shooter......?

Has anybody heard/know anything about dai-ou-jou? I read a comment about it being HARDER than dodonpachi regular in youtube...so I looked up some vid
http://youtube.com/watch?v=UgZVdRyNmNI
Seems it was released for Arcade AND PS2! from what I can see just on that vid, they changed their tactiques and the background now has a lot more contrast, nearing black at some areas....I wonder if they went with prerendered?
anybody who has this game, can confirm, deny, whine? :p

EDIT: I defintively think they took care of the contrast issue in the Sequel...is that hero ship pre-rendered?

The following screen puts the enemy in the background quite effectively, and also confirms they did employ some pre-rendering on the sequel
« Last Edit: July 20, 2007, 07:17:21 pm by Conceit »

Offline grendel

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #64 on: July 21, 2007, 12:14:57 am
All newer Cave games (after DDPactually) are mostly prerendered.

I have alll the availableCave shmups on PS2. The arika ports (DDPDOJ and EspGaluda) are VERY solid. Mushihime Sama and Ibara are OK.
The backgrounds are quite desat actually, I do not think there is any black there.

About hardness. When you play DOJ for the first time it will rape you and it will keep on raping you for ages.
Basically it's made for people that clocked DDP both loops.

(ptoing here on grendels)
« Last Edit: July 21, 2007, 12:20:17 am by grendel »
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Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #65 on: July 25, 2007, 01:10:51 pm
Quote
Seems it was released for Arcade AND PS2! from what I can see just on that vid, they changed their tactiques and the background now has a lot more contrast, nearing black at some areas....I wonder if they went with prerendered?

Yeah everything is prerendered besides the things that are painted (some background elements). No pixel art.

And DOJ is very evil. I played it for a few hours with ptoing at a meet and I couldn't get over level 2 I think, was it?

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #66 on: July 25, 2007, 01:25:49 pm
I think you actually managed to beat the 2nd boss once, but you bombed the shit out of him. :D

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

Offline leroy

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #67 on: August 13, 2007, 03:24:19 pm
Those screenies are truly amazing, countless details.

Reading all you talk about it makes me want to try it out too, gief gief now.

Offline Rox

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #68 on: August 25, 2007, 05:06:45 pm
Massive horizontal paralax? ok you lost me there Rox, what are you talking about? I think horizontal paralax I think....Castlevania:Symphony of the Night intro=horizontal scrolling, not a vertical scrolling shooter......?

I mean when vertical shooters have horiziontal scrolling. The play area is a little bigger than the screen is, so you have about half a screen (or more depending on the game) that you can't see if you stay in the middle. When you move sideways, the "camera" follows slightly. And in some games, but not this apparently, the enemies scroll a bit lower than the background, giving a very noticable parallax effect.

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #69 on: August 25, 2007, 05:41:29 pm
DDP is 320x320 on a 240x320 screen.

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

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #70 on: September 24, 2007, 10:39:32 am
When exactly will there be a new Comercial Critique? This one is quite a few months old already, and pretty much dead.

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #71 on: September 24, 2007, 11:01:32 am
There will be one soon enough.

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