Critique => Pixel Art => Pixel Art Feature Chest => Topic started by: looaks on July 04, 2014, 04:17:46 pm

Title: GR#200 - Factory - Background Lighting
Post by: looaks on July 04, 2014, 04:17:46 pm
This is a mockup for a level of my game:
I would love some feedback from you guys.
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: astraldata on July 05, 2014, 01:55:30 am
The character, hanging lights, and pipe system looks nice, and the containers on the shelves look believable too.

Comparatively however, the barrels/oil-drums look too flat imo. Also, I really think the boxes and lockers could use some slight rotation or hints at perspective or at least shadowing on the walls to give it some sense of depth. Atm it looks much too flat compared to the depth of the character and the other aforementioned good stuff.

Keep at it though -- it has a lot of potential. :)
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: Manupix on July 05, 2014, 11:07:10 am
This is very well pixelled and convincingly detailed. I think however you lost sight of the forest for the trees  :S

You don't leave much to the viewer's imagination, there's no patch of darkness where evil could lurk, not much visual exploring to do since you see everything quite clearly in a blink. This also means composition lacks in driving lines, as detail variation can help with that, along with shadows.
Classic examples: Adarias (http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/43377.htm), Winged Doom (http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/78347.htm).

The brick wall has a visible repetitive pattern. You don't need to draw every single brick anyway (that's part of the above issue) to make a convincing brick wall.

Stuff near or leaning on the walls should cast shadows, esp the pipes where they enter the wall. They need supports too.

Palette: color ramps vs organic palette! So far the wall, metal, pipes, drums and wood all have separate single-hue color ramps.

Is the light coded in the game? That would explain the 1200+ colors ;) I'd like it to be harsher anyway.

Keep at it though -- it has a lot of potential. :)

Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: jahasaja on July 05, 2014, 03:55:17 pm
I like it. It would be interesting to know what kind of game it is.

My biggest problem is lack of depth (As seen in my thread I am kind of crazy about depth). Because of the viewpoint it is hard to get a sense of the depth of the image.

One easy way of negating this problem to a degree would be to add shadow. Even darker areas where you cannot see the light source you could add some shadows.

I did a very quick and dirty edit, I just added shadow on one of the stairs, parts of the railing and the person.

Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: looaks on July 05, 2014, 04:40:56 pm
@Everybody: Thanks for the constructive feedback! I'm working on this alone It really helps to listen other people opinions.
Regards the shadows I have still to decide to implement them via the engine or hand draw them. Both approach have their pros and cons. Still figuring out.

@astraldata: Somethings like the barrels and the wooden crates are thing I made very rapidly as filler I plan to implement them further.

@Manupix: The truth is I didn't spent much time in the composition this is not going to be an actual level of the game, I just put it together in order to use this (early) tileset. Almost everything on screen is 32x32 tile (except for the larger sprites).
I will work on the bricks, anyway in real life it is quite rare to an uninterrupted wall of several square meters I plan to add more variation on the brick as well as columns, niches, openings etc.  I will add supports for the pipes, it's a nice touch.
Thanks for the links! (for you to have a better view of the color counting I added the same scene without illumination)

@jahasaja My main concern is depth as well. At this stage the scene feel quite flat because i didn't decided yet how to implement the shadows yet. This can be a problem for the gameplay too since the lack of depth affects readability too (you should know at a glance if the player can pass through things or jump over them)

Here the unlit version of the scene more updates will follow, stay tuned! :)
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: tim on July 07, 2014, 02:44:30 am
Hello looaks !
I really like the character. A bit less the environment. It feels really 2D, flat, and dull for a lot of reasons.
I tried some things very quickly, as usual it's not production quality, but food for thoughts. Tell me what you think.

1 • Add some "floor". It gives some perspective, a better sense of 3D, and a much more readable scene.

2 • Add more lighting. Make the room physically exists, with windows, lighting, exits, etc... Try to make zones & paths more unique using colored lighting & different lighting sources. It also helps with player orientation, it's much easier to remember a room this way.

Final shot :

Bonus comparison shot :

According to me, it has better atmosphere, is easier to read and easier to remember.
You don't need to make things as drastic & dramatic as I did. Subtlety recommended ;)
Hope it can helps !

If you want to see how it is setup, the (messy) PSD is here : http://www.timsoret.com/out/wayofthepixel/factory.psd
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: Delicious on July 07, 2014, 04:30:32 am
Wow... That's a pretty damm good edit. Definitely taking notes. :D
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: RAV on July 07, 2014, 05:18:13 am
Tim sends pixels to Hollywood. What do ya know, there's flexibility to the art: a low contrast base palette for highly detailed realism without noise, can be made to look interesting depending on the final scene's dynamic lighting setup overlaying back in a sense of contrast. Though it is the path of parting ways with classic pixel art in the end result.

Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: looaks on July 07, 2014, 10:17:06 am
Wow! That's a good edit, I'm impressed. Thank you a lot!
I was reluctant to add a 3d profundity to the game because I had some artworks from a precedent incarnation of this project which were 'flat'. Maybe I'll spend extra try to convert the old stuff.
(I'm very cautious with my time schedule since I can't afford to waste time and I am very determined to finish this game)
As I stated before I'm yet to decide how to implement lights and shadows. Hand made them like in your edit give me more control over the composition but since I plan to have extensive level (exploration is part of the gameplay) It could be both too time consuming for a lone developer like me to implement and memory intensive. The other option is to code the lights and shadows in the engine which could solve the above problems but it make harder to implement cool effects like the colored dynamic highlights and complex shadows.
The approach I am considering is a mix of both worlds: hand made lights/shadows shapes with coded color/intensity/size.
Also, for my personal taste, I'd prefer to have hard contrast/clean lines but let's see how this goes
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: tim on July 08, 2014, 01:06:13 pm
Yes I think you should use some black & white textures as masks for your lights, and power/ color / scale them in your engine.
If you search for "IES" you will find a lot of real light profiles used in 3D usually. Good references actually, a lot more realistic & interesting
than the dull linear sphere lighting.

Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: looaks on July 08, 2014, 09:13:34 pm
You read my mind! I was busy coding the lights system in the game and that is an actual (crude) screenshot:
(the lights profiles are hand made and your link really comes in help)

btw thank for tweet about this post, i appreciated :)
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: looaks on July 12, 2014, 01:33:53 pm
here's an actual screenshot from the game, thank you guys
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: astraldata on July 12, 2014, 08:12:50 pm
It's really really dark -- you can barely see where you're walking. D:

Even with the lights, you really need to brighten the floor a bit like in Tim's edit to account for perspective and this would give you a chance to brighten the floors a little.

The pipes also need to cast some shadows on the wall now.
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: looaks on July 12, 2014, 09:03:56 pm
This an actual screenshot I can easily increase the ambient light of the scene. I should see it on different monitors.
I added some shadows on the pipes but maybe it's too dark to see  them :) I also think I'm going to reduce the size of the pipes they feel enormous in game.
I will address readability, even though playing full screen It's a different feel.
Luckily it's a WIP!
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: Blobber on July 21, 2014, 06:59:43 pm
It looks really good - very impressive stuff. I'd just suggest you take another look at Tim's edit, and contrast with this latest version that you did - Tim's edit is far superior. In fact, his edit looks gorgeous - I'd probably buy that game :) As was said above, the floors look too dark and washed out.
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: Mathias on July 22, 2014, 01:01:54 pm
. . .
Bonus comparison shot :
. . .

Impressive result.

I fully inspected your PSD. Clever technique with the combination curves adjustments.
Do you think your Photoshop end-result is 100% possible in his game? I'm curious how feasible you really consider that to be.

Thanks for the tip on IES lighting. I was unfamiliar with the term, before.
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: tim on July 22, 2014, 04:24:20 pm
It is 100% possible ingame, and the proof is that we're actually doing it ourself for our game. And guess what, it's even far better than that.
I mean neon reflections on the puddles, cars lighting the buildings when passing by, huge ads screens that actually light the surrounding correctly, etc… I agree it requires a fair bit of care, effort, & attention, but the end result is totally worth it to me, it can really make people go from "cool" to "AWESOME TAKE MY MONEY". And this is what we want, as game developers, I guess ? A better quality and a great selling point ?

However for a true dynamic solution, and not just static lights, you need some kind of normal mapping specially tailored for a pixel art render. The only public solution right now, if you don't code your own, is to use SpriteLamp.


Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: Mathias on July 22, 2014, 06:13:17 pm
I was hoping you'd say yes.
Sounds great. I agree - the setup is worth it.

And oh yeah, I'm very familiar with Spritelamp. Great program. Though, I have yet to use it.

Are there any public gameplay videos or screenshots of your WIP game thus far? I'd like to see your working examples, if possible.
Title: Re: [WIP] Factory
Post by: tim on July 22, 2014, 08:45:03 pm
I don't want to steal the topic  :-[
I will show things in the appropriate topic of the secret section. Not yet though, because we're still figuring out a lot and many aspects of the graphics are not working yet (parallax, crowd, aerial car traffic simulation, rain simulation, etc), and I want maximum impact of everything I show. What will be interesting is not the individual particular technologies but the overall picture. The combined result should be a lot greater than sum of its parts, just like I learned while directing videos & visual effects.