I recently uploaded a mockup on Pixeljoint, which you can see here: http://pixeljoint.com/pixelart/37752.htm
(Favorite it and give it the highest rating you can, thanks.)
The community there had a lot of comments and good criticism, so I decided to open up a "WIP" thread here to refine the piece. Hopefully, the end result will be a fully-realized mockup Pixelation can be proud of as well as some artistic growth for me (and perhaps others). But I'm the important factor in the equation; don't mistake this for altruism. Me me me me ME!History
In conversations with my awesome buddy Andrew, we talked about remaking a Pysgnosis classic, Barbarian. If you don't know this game, you can't be my friend. It helped shape me into the badass I am today. Here are some links, visit them often:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbarian_(Psygnosis
This was my first take on the remake, specifically the swamp scene in the beginning. As you can see, it showcases green water, bubbles, mud, and bones. Lots of bones. The statue versions of famous reclining nudes in art along the bottom of the screen were supposed to represent lives. With every death, a statue would shatter, starting with Ingres, then Boucher, and finally Titian. You don't want to try what I was apparently smoking. I stole the mossy wood arches from Roger Dean (http://www.imageraptor.com/1/rdean/pages/mh_rdean_Cal2004_08_ArchesMist_SFF.htm
) and the sky and mountains from Frazetta (http://frankfrazetta.org/viewimage.php?loc=QMan_FF_Legacy_552_Night_Winds.jpg
). That last painting is particularly awesome because it also features one barbarian, one breast, and if you kinda squint you can see some vagina. Edgy!
Here's the ladies separated out from the crappy tiles so you can save them to your hard drive without all that other clutter. Oh baby.
Andrew pretty much told me it sucked and to get the hell off his driveway, stalker. I went back to the drawing board because I wanted to not because he told me to. At this time, I felt less enthusiastic about working on a simple remake of Barbarian. I really wanted to make a classic platformer. You know, the games that have the points floating in mid-air, like Commander Keen. If you don't know that game either, you can't be my friend. It helped shape me into the badass I am today. Here's a link for the Philistines:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commander_Keen
After some sweat and tears, I came up with this:
I abandoned the swamp location for now, since there are some tricky issues making water tiles that overlap the sprite's feet. I added a skull wearing a Viking helmet and sporting an armored tail, so it picks up a few points in the awesome department. I replaced the classical art with pin-up girls, since the former belongs in galleries and stuff where people can pay to ogle. The little space under the weapon selector was going to be a power meter so you can charge your weapon, or to show upgrade progress or something. I put ink-spill elements behind the HUD because ink-spills are awesome, just watch a SF4 trailer.
Since I was having trouble tracking down Andrew again (seriously, who moves without telling their closest friend), I asked my artsy, movie industry roommate for feedback. He suggested that I add some black into the tiles so they look like they're on the same plane as the sprite. I also asked one of my coworkers at the time for feedback and he suggested I make the left pinup girl's butt bigger. I told him to get the hell out of my driveway, stalker.
Which leads me to:The Current Version
I have to admit this iteration pleased me greatly. Surely it would join PixelJoint's Hall of Fame and become my highest rated work yet! However, as comments trickled in, it became clear that few people saw the awesomeness I saw when I looked at the piece. My initial thought was that it must have been a coincidence; PJ members are all a bunch of Pokemon-loving, hippie metalheads.
While it's easy to dismiss the opinion of that demographic, it would take more work on my part for the piece to achieve the Hall of Fame status it deserved.
This lead me to put the piece up for critique here.HUD
The progressive HUD gathered lots of criticism on PJ. Some said it was unwieldy and didn't match the rest of the mockups. The general agreement seemed to indicate it was too sexy for this world. My philosophy with the HUD was, if it's worth drawing, it's worth drawing big. Few shared this view.
I sketched up two alternatives for a smaller HUD that could float in a corner of the screen.
I'm leaning towards the top one -- it seems more concise and less phallic. I'm planning on rendering it in the same style as the sprites for consistency. Tiles
There were several complaints about the tiles being too rectangular. That's an issue easily solved -- I can add more edge tiles for an organic flair to the platforms. Adarias brought up the issue of the similarities in color value between the top of the platform and the background. Would a black stroke be a satisfactory solution? It would definitely separate the two, and it would tie the tiles closer to the sprite style. Sprite
The barbarian is awesome and I am closed-minded. He will stay the way he is. For the giant eagle, I'm planning on adding additional detail so it matches the detail level of the player sprite.Background
This is the one aspect that didn't receive too much criticism. Adarias mentioned demanding temperature shifts. I feel like the background will stay receded as long as the colors remain unsaturated.
My apologies if I didn't address your PJ crit in this post. All the writing is giving this barbarian a powerful appetite.