Critique => Pixel Art => Pixel Art Feature Chest => Topic started by: HezaKey on September 20, 2013, 03:02:46 am

Title: GR#226 - Snake Curses - Gameart
Post by: HezaKey on September 20, 2013, 03:02:46 am
Current version:


EDIT: Hey, long time no see. Photobucket imploded, so I've tried my best to replace all the images. However, I've lost track of some of the WIP versions, so they may not all be the exact versions they were before.


Hey, I'm actually brand spankin new here, and to pixel art in general.  I see a lot of really talented people here, like holy moses, be still my beating heart.
It been pretty fun looking through all the threads, so I thought I'd post my own work here.

Anyway, my personal project is to create all the artwork for a game.  It's an adventure of sorts through an endless forest.  I have juust enough assets to create some basic scenes, but I'll be here awhile.

I'm using oversized tiles (64x64).  It might be a little strange, but I was shooting for something that'd look nice on my poor 10 inch screen and also my massive 19inch screen.
Anyway, through making these I'm starting to understand that pixel art has it's own unique challenges.

This is my demo image.  I haven't made tiles for dappled light yet, and the branches are sort of set in their approximate positions (I just spotted some runaway dither in the branche's shadow), but this otherwise shows how I hope all these tiles will work together.

Player character.  There's going to be so much regret when I go to animate her.

-Old version of tree tiles I can't find anymore were once here-

Water has been my latest attempt.  These are animated to look like a swiftly running stream.  I'm planning to make some different animations to go with still water, and a later a lake.
It's so hard to find examples of animated water tiles. 

Seeing how I could tile it.  Seems pretty versatile so far.  I do need to go back and make a couple new tiles.  This water still needs some work though.  Maybe I should draw the trees reflection on it?  In any case, the tree trunks are certainly glowing bright.

Then there was this stupid thing.  They almost work in small doses, but tiled it's a little bit eye watering.

This is still very much a work in progress.  I just may be a little bit too pleased with how that snake temple it turning out.  Going to try something later to make the curves look smoother.

I think that's it for now.  I'm working at them in a random fashion.  Maybe I'll do more trees next, or sprites, or who knows?

Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Decroded on September 20, 2013, 04:47:01 am
Hi and welcome  ;D

I like your leaves.
I don't have much time so some quick crits...

Your trees have too much highlight on them.
In a forest there would only be patches of light getting through.
Even so, highlights of that much contrast should be reserved for things you want to draw attention to.
Right now they are competing for attention with your sprite.
Roots on big tree are too small and obvious repeats, try going for bigger unique roots that connect to the ground better by having some lumps of dirt and grass etc.
Also let the structure of the roots blend up into the lower trunk.
Use light and shadow to achieve this.
You need a darker colour for shadow on trunk and make the shadow area larger.

Your sprite is pretty cool but try increasing its brightness a bit to help it pop out from the background.

Your leaves look pretty good but now you need a few transition tiles rather than such a hard edge between grass and leaf.
You also need some 2 or 3 tiles of grass with just a few leaves scattered around in random positions, and then scatter these tiles around the scene.
Dunno what software your using but in Photoshop for example you can cheat (just a shortcut really) to do this by placing the leaves on a layer above the grass tile, then press the Layer Mask (see screenshot below), then paint black to make rub out the leaves, or white to add leaves back on top.
Always use Pencil mode with no opacity etc so you don't ruin ur pixels.

Also with placement of your leaf tiles in your mockup, there's too many straight edges along the same angle that suggests some kind of oblique perspective.
So again, rough up the edges of your transition tiles and avoid so many straight lines.
If your going to have THAT much leaf tiles, you need some variations within the leaves too.
This could be some small piles of leaves and patches of grass, sticks etc.

The edges of your water are too thin and too straight.
Try varying the thickness to make it more natural.
If your not already, try starting by roughing things out more rather than jumping into detail level.

Your temple has no perpsective compared to what we'd expect from the rest of the tiles.
Read up on RPG standard 3/4 view.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Sohei on September 20, 2013, 01:02:41 pm
Pixel art is not for big resolutions. It won't look nice, even if you spend infinite amount of time on creation.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: YellowLime on September 22, 2013, 01:33:59 pm
Pixel art is not for big resolutions. It won't look nice, even if you spend infinite amount of time on creation.
:-\? I disagree. It will be a lot of work depending on how much he wants to do, but "It won't look nice even if you spend infinite amount of time" is not true.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: ptoing on September 22, 2013, 02:57:11 pm
Disagree with Sohei as well. Highres pixelart can certainly work well if done right. What I would suggest to you is using no antialias and no dithering alltogether. Go to the General Discussion forum and look for the Ramblethread by Helm. That thread has really good info on cluster usage.

What you should really do is try and keep things less noisy, make things read as what they are intended to be.
Also don't shy away from more contrast. Atm everything is pretty much in the middle of the value range, nothing really light, nothing really dark. Play with the contrast a bit.

Keep it up.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: HezaKey on September 23, 2013, 04:04:52 am
Well here's some progress.
There's a lot more I could do to it, but I didn't want to look like I showed up here and then dropped off the face of the planet.

I could have made more edits to the dead leaves, but got distracted by making tiny mushrooms instead of variant tiles.

The current tile set.  I haven't done anything with the second tree, cause it blends right into the background, but I might fiddle with it later.

The tree could likely use a few passes to smooth out things, and reduce a lot of needless noise.  The feel of it though is nice though.

Decroded, your critiques are awesome!  I'll be working through the rest of them too as soon as I can.

Sohoi, Challenge accepted.
But I did think about that for awhile.  Here's what the game would approximately look like if the tiles were 32x32.
So tiny.  It's kind of adorable, and games can look brilliant at this size, but it's not what I'm going for.
64x64 is really only twice as big anyway.
I have time. 

Ptoing, reducing noise would probably be fantastic.  Eventually I'll get that poor tree looking less like a pixelated mess, and more like a pixelated tree.

Looks like I have plenty to work on now.  I'll come back when I get everything polished up.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Decroded on September 23, 2013, 06:13:59 am
You got way too many colours, especially in your greeny yellows.
Some are grouped way too close together while some are too far apart for nice blending. You can get away with dithering but really why bother?
Because I kinda use the Magic Wand for loose painting, having SO many colours is a hindrance.
Look here at your leaves for example, on your image I can't see 2 different colours there but there is:

Just to give you a rough idea, here I started "painting" the forms rather than doing shitloads of pixel level detail:
Smoothed out trees and started building some form.
Added soft shadows from the trees with a short fall-off so you can put other stuff in the next tiles instead of worrying about big long shadows.
Randomly roughed up the edges of the leaf patches.
Removed noise around mushrooms and added some shadow so we can see them better.
Flatten the stone and add light and shade to define the planes of the form, with selective highlights disrupted to suggest texture.

Did this with your existing palette but would swap some of the colours around myself.
I'd rather live with flat grass than have all the single pixel noise texture so I'd flatten it to 1 colour.
If you want to imply grass you could rework the image, add some patches of longer grass vs shorter vs dirt, and then use edges between textures and edges of shadows to imply your grass texture rather than struggling to draw every blade across the screen.
Here's a quick example (done poorly):

Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: PixelPiledriver on September 23, 2013, 07:42:38 pm
Player character.
She's interesting but could be drawn much simpler.


I didn't mess with the colors much.
You may want to try tweaking them a bit.

There's going to be so much regret when I go to animate her.
Should be fine.
Just do it in passes.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: tim on September 24, 2013, 04:10:10 pm
Your character design is really way too close to Journey's one.

Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: rikfuzz on September 24, 2013, 04:43:52 pm
Just a cloaked character with a bit of a triangular silhouette, not that close IMO.

Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: HezaKey on December 01, 2013, 04:48:43 am
Wow, I started this in September... didn't feel that long.

So I'm really slow, and I'm only really posting to show that I'm half done, with half the things I wanted to do.  (instead of, you know, falling off the face of the earth.)

The current state of things.
Haven't really touched the leaves or grass, pretty much just that tree.
Actually considering making the tallest tree one large object, cause it's getting hard to make the tiles disappear and also look natural.

Also new player sprite.  I actually used PixelPileDrivers critique a lot on this one.

That I then proceeded the animate.  No plan of attack, just... make it move.

Then a half finished walk cycle.  Needs the second step, multiple fixes, and clean up.

See you in the next two months. (my goodness, I hope not.  Ridiculous casual pixeling, what next.)
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: PypeBros on December 01, 2013, 09:13:53 am
Given the amount of cloth involved, I wonder to what extent it wouldn't be better for you to find similar outfit and shoot short movies of someone walking with them, and then use rotoscoping techniques to have the baseline for your animation...
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: HezaKey on December 05, 2013, 04:25:20 am
I thought I'd post tonights progress, mostly because I just don't know what to do with these dead leaves.

I really just want some rather flat mushy looking leaves, but I don't know how to attack this one next.

There's about 4 tiles there that I'm using.  I dunno, I might be making this tile too complicated for it's own good. 

I dunno, possible solutions:
Make flat color texture and then accent with complicated objects on top. (texture=flat/easy to tile, leaves=object)
pray to the pixel gods
keep trying until something good happens

Can anyone find some examples of this kind of tile?  That would be awesome.

I also pixeled a Faun, one of the forest inhabitants.

aaand still working on this one.  Mostly still need to make things move (hair, folds in clothing), not to move (shading, weird jumps), and cleaning up strays.
Also her left hand... it's killing me.  It drags so much.  Doesn't look natural at all.

PypeBros, if only I had some cloth and some space... that would probably help me a lot.  I'll see what I can do.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: wolfenoctis on December 06, 2013, 09:15:45 am
Your sprite is not in iso perspective, which from what I can see in your environments are what you are going for (correct me if I'm wrong). I find it useful to construct a grid in the background when drawing my sprites in iso, maybe it will work for you too. An edit of your sprite:

I broke up the monotony of your sprite's green attire by making some parts reddish. Also noticed that you have a lot of high saturated, dark and low contrast colors in your original, try to vary those a bit more. Additionally you could explain what type of gameplay you're going for, it will make things easier to critique  :y:
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: YellowLime on December 06, 2013, 02:16:50 pm
Those dead leaves look nice enough to me, especially since they're supposed to be a background element.

You could always add detail to both the leaves and the soil, but run the risk of over-saturating the scene visually...
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: HezaKey on December 07, 2013, 05:20:56 am
Buh, today was pretty much all leaves.  But I think they did turn out quite nice.  Maybe not perfect, but very nice.

I need to make a couple more tiles to smooth out some edges here and there, but overall I think it's much nicer than the last one.  (I may be a little too pleased as punch about that walk animation... even though it's still not done.  It also looks a lot smoother when I shoot it into Stencyl/flash based game editor, but I don't have any way of sharing that file)


I think I may have been just tired, and a little overwhelmed by the detail I had to do.  This pixeling stuff is pretty much all new to me. 

You're probably right that the perspective is a little bit off on the sprite.  I'm not sure if the current one really bothers me that much, but maybe with a tad more of a top down view would be more convincing. (like maybe more of the top of the head and shoulders)
I was mostly aiming for a 3/4 view though.  I'm trying for something that works much like the Legend of Zelda overworld, or even most of the Pokemon games, as far as how the environments are built.

As far as gameplay, I'm sort of borrowing a lot of elements that made me fall in love with games.  I love the exploratory nature of LoZ: Ocarina of Time and all the little side quests that enrich that world, and the same goes for Okami and Journey as well.  I also like games that combine unusual elements, like the 3D transitions in Abe's Oddysee or the live actions endings in the first Twisted Metal and live-action cut-scenes in Omega Boost as well.  I don't think i'll do anything as extravagant as those examples, but I may break out of the mold to tell this story I want to tell.
I really wanted to make a game as a kid, but kind of gave that up when I realized that they're not the type of thing that one person can make (least that's how I felt about it in the late 90's).  Anyway, a game just felt right for this idea.
And really this game is to explore and discover things, as well as being on the defensive of dangers that might be present.  This is an endless forest of sorcerers and mythic gods, and I want to encourage the player to find creative ways of getting around them, since the player character is not a fighter. (eventually I want to give the player sprite a staff to wield, but it's a defensive weapon that only pushes back enemies to give some room to flee and escape.)

I also want to thank any and all who have looked at this so far and offered their advice.  This is fast becoming a fun pet project of mine, and it wouldn't be the same without you.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: HezaKey on December 27, 2013, 04:27:11 am
More tree shenanigans.  I can see pretty plainly now, that my player sprite is not in perspective.  Yay, more work!

All the current tiles for the trees.  Making everything tile flawlessly is probably going to be my last step.  Just because... so much work, and I really want to make some more plants and foliage.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: tim on December 27, 2013, 05:05:44 am
Wow, what an incredible improvement over your first post.
Your tree textures & the pixel clusters are looking much better, the leaves are good.

I feel annoyed by the very harsh difference between your tiles. We're going from "full leaves" to "no leaves at all". You could add a tile with just a few leaves instead of none. Also, leaves should packed under the trees where they fall, instead of being randomly placed on the ground.

Also, even if your trees are incredibly better than before, I think that somehow, you could make your trunks less straight and twist them more. It would make them more interesting. Why being stuck on a grid ? Some trees could have way bigger roots. Some patch of grass, flowers, and mushrooms would be nice too. I don't know how you plan to finish your trees if the player goes up the screen, because the foliage would cover the whole area. It seems almost impossible to me to make a dense forest with such a view, especially with high trees.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: HezaKey on January 17, 2014, 11:24:21 pm
Ahh, those are all such good points.  I hadn't even thought of how upward movement was going to be a problem with those trees.  I suppose I'll have to be careful with that when designing different screens, but I think I can handle it by either covering up sections or terminate the trees into stumps.

You're right on the dead leaves, they're going on the two fix list. (and gosh, such a list it is)

So I tried to make some bushes.  These were a no, but I'm showing them for the sake of process.

And then, I really like the texture on these, but somehow they ended up so flat looking.  Only a couple or so seem to have volume, and I'm still trying to figure out how to fix it will still keeping it tileable.

So I gave up and kind of used them as a flat texture on here.  My ultimate goal is to make some bushes run along the top to indicate that area is impassible.

mo trees.

Then I got tired of all that and went back to making this snake temple.  Still needs x10 more snakes, but I was really trying to get the overall structure down first.

This are some thoughts for myself, but I may be reaching a point where I need to plan a little bit more.
Since besides more trees, vegetation, and ground cover, things that need to be made now will more likely rely more on the needs of the game itself.
It'll also help me decide which objects should ultimately be tile-able (more usability, less uniqueness), and which ones should be just be giant objects.

and then I have no idea how layers work in a game that pulls all the stops, but some of the trees might be annoying to layer since the sprite is taller than the tile.  The sprite needs to walk in front of, and then behind some individual tiles depending on how high or low the sprite is on the screen.

But yeah, I really don't know all that much about how tiles work, all said.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Crow on January 18, 2014, 09:25:26 am
Damn, this is coming along nicely. I love it. Two things regarding the latest post: the "small", leafless trees should cast shadows. They look a bit out of place/glued on right now. The bushes look really nice, but I believe the thin tiles (bottom left for example, right above that cut off (?) tree) don't work very well. Besides that.. <3
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: cels on January 18, 2014, 11:40:00 am
I've been lurking in this thread for a long time now, with nothing helpful to say. But just as a bit of encouragement, I really love what you're doing here. I've dreamed of a game like this since we started seeing games in 800x600 resolution and pixel artists simply couldn't keep up. I really want to see more pixel art games that can be played in 1:1 scale with a 1920x1080p resolution. I would pay mucho dineros for a game like this, and on top of the artistic style, I think your whole concept for the game is just... perfect. Please don't stop working on this, ever.

How does the game work though? If you've explained this, I've missed it. Do you wander from each scene to a new scene, like King's Quest or Fallout? So it's not really a seemless scrolling iso view, like Diablo? Because since we're only seeing tree trunks and no canopy, I imagine that having a scrolling view would mess up the beautiful idea of seemingly infinitely tall trees.

Anyway, best of luck. This is currently my favourite indie game prospect.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Facet on January 22, 2014, 01:36:06 am
You could just do a cutoff on the trunks if you wanted free scrolling, like a blacked out cross-section.

Bush texture does look good, volume on repetitive organic stuff like that is always hard but flattening out interiors more lets you define the mass of the bush rather than of so many leaves; that's pretty much my boilerplate advice but it's always helped when I find myself getting lost in the details.   

I'd try something a bit more distinctive/decorative for the fallen leaves, maybe like a maple. Could look atmospheric falling around about as well. Example here with scene colours, you could probably define drifts/piles more too. Tiling wise I'd go for a gradient transition rather than a full set of border/edging tiles; it's a bit more versatile, can look pretty organic.

Looking ace overall!

Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: HezaKey on January 24, 2014, 04:21:43 am



I just lightened the top and a few clusters of leaves on the bushes and I think they look much better.

As per Facet's suggestion, I redid the leaves... which is going to get another stab I think.
I'm noticing a problem with the 64x64 tiles is that I have add more tiles to make smoother curves.  If I knock them back to 32x32 tiles, I can get the same kinds of curves with less tiles overall.  Also having less tiles will probably help in making smoother tile transitions (dies a little inside).
Also I'm saving maple leaves for a different tile set.  This set is just the basic forest.  Very green, very alive.

aaand flowers.  Some of them I'm still working on.  I can't seem to find a way to make tiny ground flowers (like clover), that are in scale to the player character, and yet are still readable as flowers.  Make really tiny things, on really tiny canvases.  yes.

Gosh though, all your encouragement is daunting.  I keep submitting for critique to keep me on task and on my toes.

Hmm, as for how the game works... I keep thinking on that.  Part of my initial ideas was to make it work like the original Legend of Zelda, with a fixed camera that flipped across different areas/screens.  I think though, in retrospect, that would really slow down the flow of the game.  Now I'm thinking something similar to A link between worlds (I think a link to the past does this too, but it's been awhile) where areas are divided into larger pockets of explorable area before hitting the edge and fading into the next area.

Other than that, just some general ideas about gameplay.  I don't want it to be combat based since I want to forest to be rather unwelcoming.  The player will have a staff to knock back enemies if they need a little running room/breathing room, but can't deliver any fatal blows.  So "defeating" enemies relies more on avoidance or some clever puzzle solving with the environment.
But mostly the game is just exploring the world and finding all the optional secret things that are in it.  Lots of world building to do, lots of hours to lose.

Well anyway, my goal is really to just do all the art, writing, and level design.  I don't have any programming knowledge, so this is more of a pet project until the ~*mysterious future*~
I'm also kind of building as I go (I know, going in without a plan. bad), so if it seems I am completely lost, it's probably true.

Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: NaCl on January 24, 2014, 12:52:19 pm
Hey, this is looking really nice. Love the look and feel of it. My only suggestion, is that the colors are all a little hazy, they look washed out. This could be due to a difference in the calibration of our monitors. Here is what I mean:


If the left side looks too murky, then it's probably the monitors.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: API-Beast on January 24, 2014, 02:15:29 pm
This graph shows how the brightness of the pixels is distributed:
There is a lot on the lower half and almost nothing on the upper half. You don't want that for the sake of contrast. You should increase the brightness of the bright and middle color but keep the dark ones.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Probo on January 24, 2014, 02:29:57 pm
i quite like the dark look of the forest, makes it look atmospheric like theres bad weather overhead and little light getting through the leaves. I guess the character will look strange if you move it to a brighter scene though.

@ncl the left side does look a bit too murky to me.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Cyangmou on January 24, 2014, 02:49:48 pm
the saturation of the flowers, esp. that of the blue ones kills the complete palette impression (at least for me)
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: HezaKey on February 07, 2014, 01:58:13 am
Well, still working away.  I feel likes it's become a little bit of a mess right now, but progress waits for no one.
The dappled light was more of seeing if I could get a decent effect using only opacity.  I think if I draw it a bit more organically it could look really nice.
And everything got brightened up too, by a lot.  I left the color on the leaves alone this time (since I darkened it so much last time)... but the more I stare at them, the more I want to knock them back a bit.
For the sake of comparison, the unbrightend version (also keep in mind, it wouldn't be surrounded by a field of white in actual gameplay):

I also knocked all the tiles back to 32x32 pixels.  Just makes it easier to draw out tighter turns and such versus the 64x64 tiles.  Though, to keep things complicated, the trees and such are still 64x64.

I made some cliffs, but lord help me if I can ever figure out a texture for dirt. 
I also forgot to flip tiles for the opposite sides of the cliff. easy fix, but opps.


I also finally came back to that water, with an idea I had ages ago.  Might be neat to reflect the canopy above on it's surface.  Other than that, the current colors are not very good, but I don't know how it will look with all the other elements.


I also updated the player sprite to match the perspective of the environment.
And took a crack at the human sprite for the Wolf King, in which I love the head, but not finding any ground for his body. :/

Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: cels on February 10, 2014, 10:59:12 am
My amateur opinion:

- I really love the non-player characters. They remind me of this musical (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JafhTiCy95k) (full version here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uztGw4tXf0U).) Fond childhood memories. But perhaps a slightly bulkier torso (shoulders) would help identify the wolf king as an apex predator. Right now, I'm more inclined to think fox than wolf. Especially since his fur is almost white, with touches of red.

- Giving the player character red/orange eyes gives her a dangerous look which I feel is at odds with the idea of her being rather defenseless in a dangerous forest. If you're determined to give her glowing eyes, how about blue, green or yellow?

- I think the latest version of the forest is far too bright. I don't really think you need to worry too much about making the forest too dark. There are games and movies that use a lot of darkness to great effect, to create a scary atmosphere. I would look more at the use of high saturation rather than bright colours, in response to the criticism about colours being too washed out. One great example of a game with lots of darkness is Diablo 1 (http://www.diablowiki.net/images/thumb/c/c7/Diablo_I_screenshot.jpg/350px-Diablo_I_screenshot.jpg), of course.

In your earlier descriptions, I was really excited by the prospect of moving in an infinite, dark forest, with only occassional open areas where the sunlight shines through.

- The cliffs don't read like cliffs at all. First of all, I think it's very hard to find examples of solids walls of mud in nature, except if there's been some kind of rockslide / earthquake, or perhaps in very moist climates like tropical jungles. But more importantly, the cliff doesn't read like a vertical wall, it reads like a flat surface, like a tar pit or muddy river. I don't have time to do an edit right now, but I do think that some rocky cliffs would make it easier to convey a vertical plane, because of the way rocks can be shaded. Or perhaps a combination of rocks and very prominent roots from the surrounding trees, with dirt and moss in the recesses. And I think it would suit the surrounding bleak forest better. Since you can't really use lighting to show a difference in height between the lower and higher parts of a sloping surface, you can at least use some rocky steps to illustrate the angle of the slope, where the player moves from the bottom of the cliffs to the top.

- Very much looking forward to seeing the water. I agree that a reflective surface would be great. Completely still waters would add to the lifeless, desolate feel of the forest.

Just my 5 cents.

Quick edit here:

Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: HezaKey on February 11, 2014, 03:12:15 am
I'm glad you like the non-players so far.  I've mostly been doing them to take a break from the frustration of tiling, but it's good to get their concepts rolling.

I totally didn't see the eyes until you mentioned it.  They were supposed to be her checkbones, haha.  So I just removed the pixels there entirely.  Also, for some reason, my mind did some mental loops, and thought that all red was bad.  So I did some alternate coloration of the red stripes on her costume.  Which I now realize were entirely unwarranted, but oh well.  Kind of partial to 4 (warm gold) a bit though.


hah, and I have been a bit cruelly vague about my intentions with this whole project.  I suppose when I said infinite forest, I really meant that the entire world and story takes place in a forest.  A forest you can't leave, because there's nowhere that it doesn't end.  Things like sea's and oceans would be words of myth there.

I have a certain story that I want to tell through this game too, and I have a way that I want it to feel.  I may or may not have enough knowledge of game mechanics to actually explain how that's all going to happen. XD
I guess a quick story synopsis is in order though, since it seems I have yet to post one here.

There is an old forest that creaks under the weight of spells from centuries past.  Hidden beneath this canopy of ragged moss and dead wood are many spell casters known as mancers.  Some are young, and some are old, but all of them have a specific mastery of some element.  It is in this never-ending forest that you find yourself, with no recollection of your past and a terrible snake curse brewing in your throat.  Will you find answers in these woods, or be consumed by it?

A lot of the world is explored by finding other inhabitants and talking to them.  Some of them will reveal gossip and history, others will tell you to go away, and sometimes you have to find things or solve puzzles along the way.  I also want to make a lot of optional (won't be necessary to complete the game/main storyline) things to find and interact with.
I know I haven't shown much of the world yet (one scene wow), but I'm really trying to nail down these assets solid before I go making more specific places. 

I've also been thinking of adding spells that the player can use, since the forest itself is steeped in them.  There wouldn't be any offensive ones, but spells could have specific effects on the environment.  I've been meaning to draw some runes and things to go along with this, but one thing at a time I suppose.

I'm kind of slow as molasses at this, since all this pixeling and tiling is entirely new for me.  Eventually more of the above stuff will be happening, and I'm sure it will be awesome and what not.

And those cliffs... fffffffff
I would have never though to make them layered like that.  I will try something new along those lines when I have a chance to work on it again.

I can not express enough the gratitude for the critique I've been receiving.  You are all good people.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: HezaKey on August 20, 2014, 12:43:16 am
*Rises from the crypt*
I picked the project back up for a bit and tried to tackle that cliff problem.

I keep having the hardest time balancing out the geometric nature of tiling and also trying to make this look organic.  Might try for some unique object (large roots and trees) to try and break it up some more.

Finally settled on a design for the Wolf King.

The Firemancer, who appears later.

I started planning and making notes, so the game now has a basic outline.  It's also a nice way to keep track of all the things I have to draw since some of the areas are going to be very visually different from each other. 

   •   Wolf King and the wolf shrine
   •   Introducing the nature of your curse and meeting the dangers of the woods.

   •   Snake Ruins
   •   Search for clues to the Snakemancer’s spells.

   •   Burning Forest and the troubles of the Firemancer
   •   The Firemancer is burning the forest in an attempt to remove the cursed sigels.

   •   Phantom Lake Cliff
   •   Crossing the uncrossable

   •   Reflections of the Crystal Forest
   •   The Mirror Mancer, and just who is behind the cursed sigels?

   •   Ancient Forest of the Fauns
   •   Discover more in the oldest lands of the endless forest.

   •   Mountain of the Bear people
   •   The land of forever winter and the child of songs

   •   Necromancer/Dead Forest
   •   A glimpse of the end, and the finality of the truth.

The Wolf King and the Snake Ruins are basically the same area, so there's about seven different areas to go through.  So many drawings to do. :P
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Daimoth on August 20, 2014, 01:26:29 pm
It's clear you can draw, but your coloration needs some work. Your colors are almost all either very dark or saturated low-mid tones. It gives everything this strange painterly, almost pastel-ey aesthetic.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Drazelic on August 20, 2014, 02:50:14 pm
Eh, the coloration's fine, if the intended mood is a dreary, dead forest with little life. Given the title is about curses, I think it's fitting.

As for the cliffs, you don't have to stick to the super-geometrized forms! Take a look at some RPG tilesets for ideas. I'd link some, but I don't know where to find them offhand.

You might even consider something like this- a simple two-tone organic tileset which works by overlapping tiles to imply form by using the tiles themselves as macro-scale pixels.

Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Daimoth on August 20, 2014, 11:18:57 pm
My concern is not the tone of the piece, it's that it reads oddly.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: YellowLime on August 24, 2014, 09:56:18 pm
The 'landslide' looks very odd... The volume of the landmass appears inconsistent, since there is no clear depth difference between the dirt slope and the surrounding walls. Or am I reading it wrong? ???
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: PsylentKnight on August 24, 2014, 10:33:13 pm
Yea, I'm going to echo what the others said. As the ramp's current length, its basically a cliff facing. You need to extend some away from the player in the screenshot in order for it to be a walkable slope.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Decroded on August 25, 2014, 02:15:11 am
I thought it was a river bed with fjord crossing first glance
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: cels on August 30, 2014, 12:32:40 am
Glad to see this resurrected :)

I think one issue is the lighting on the pathway. From the shadow below the main character, the light is coming from directly above. And the cliffs look completely vertical, otherwise, it's hard to make sense of the geometry. If they're meant to be sloping hills, then the structure doesn't make sense.

Since the cliffs are completely vertical, and the light source is directly above, the rocks should be shaded differently. The rocks on either side of the pathway would necessarily be on a straight vertical line, but the way the light hits them, the rocks all look like they're on a horizontal line, or near horizontal. There are no shadows from one rock, hitting the rocks below. Every rock sticking out from the vertical surface would cast a shadow on the surface below it (I mean both the vertical surface below and the horizontal surface below). Of course, there's no strong sunlight, so it wouldn't be a very sharp shadow. But shadows are important visual cues, even on a cloudy day.

I would also say that it's probably a good idea to stick with vertical cliffs, and then use multiple levels, instead of experimenting with sloping hills in this kind of perspective. Just because people are so used to seeing vertical cliffs in this sort of perspective, that it could be hard for them to wrap their heads around the geometry, unless you have some very clear visual cues.

My humble opinion, I'm no expert.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: HezaKey on November 03, 2014, 02:34:02 am
Very work in progress, but I haven't checked in for awhile.  Still pretty messy since I didn't want to polish off anything until I felt good about it.
This time I have tiles for the cliffs and grass edges, another layer for tiling the shadows on the cliff side, and then the stairs and bridge sit on top of that.

Not much to say about it.  Still trying to decide if I should have a third go at it or not.  Most examples of cliffs from other games seem to either be extremely geometric, or extremely stylized, neither of which is what I want to go for stylistically. 

I think these are almost working, but somehow I feel it could be better.
Title: Re: Snake Curses [C+C]
Post by: Decroded on November 10, 2014, 06:28:01 am
i still think your forms are confusing.
im squinting on my work monitor (24") trying to work out where your vertial and horizontal planes are.
i think i know what im looking at but i dread to think how this would look to the lamen's eye.

i think you need to establish a light source (draw an arrow and leave it there) first.
i suggest directly overhead and forward a bit so shadows fall behind objects.
this is to reduce the number of shadow tiles u need to render while also highlighting the rim between horizontal and vertical planes.

currently you have a massive lack of rendering and shadows, and the ones you have done seem to work against your forms instead of accentuating them.
once this is done i would trash the minute detail on the cliffs and go for some more structural rock face.
i would be less inclinced to make so many tiles that share the green hue of the main character.
i also think the difference in vibrancy between things like the stairs and stump compared to surrounding tiles is more typical of some interacting objects like enemy sprites rather than inanimate scenery.