Pixelation

Critique => Pixel Art => Topic started by: fskn on April 19, 2021, 03:05:17 pm

Title: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on April 19, 2021, 03:05:17 pm
So, I'm beginning a new project, inspired/influenced by Castlevania. So far I'm not too concerned on making it super optimized, more if the animation and overall look feel right.

I'm not too keen on that "idle" part, with him flexing his knees... I may cut it out.

(https://i.imgur.com/MAB3ydD.gif)

Any comments or suggestions?
Thanks in advance.

Quick edit: Slightly different colors (different NES palette).
Also modified the face a little bit, making it look like he's facing a bit more toward the camera.

(https://i.imgur.com/ENtqX1A.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on April 20, 2021, 09:38:14 am
I think the sprite is quite good! I also like the animation but the main issue for me is that the punching technique is all wrong. And while that may seem like a trivial detail, I think the success of animation in games like Street Fighter 2 is that those animators really understood proper martial arts technique.

I would suggest looking at some YouTube boxing tutorials for how to throw a good right cross. Ideally, you don't want to lean forward at all. You want him to generate power by rotating his hips. Even for people who don't box, I think this will read as being more powerful. When someone is rotating their hips to throw a ball or a punch, it looks more powerful because it is.

I also wonder if the boots look a bit cartoonish relative to the rest of the sprite, as they only have two colors and appear to have dark outlines (except for the top of one foot).

Great work though, I like it.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on April 20, 2021, 01:16:36 pm
Yeah, my main concern there was reach, but I took a BIG guess. xD
And now that I think of it, if he punched with his left arm he would've had a longer reach than with his right... But I'll probably give him a weapon and that would be the "stab" animation. Still, your critique makes a lot of sense. I'll look into some reference. Thanks!
I really should have done that to start with...

The boots do look a bit cartoonish, don't they? I think it's the upper part. I'll look into that too.
Right now I'm considering using two different palettes for the upper and lower body, but being that he's not wearing pants that would only affect his boots (if I don't tie it to something else, like a health meter and/or his weapons)... and the lower part of his shorts/loincloth, if I choose 8x16 hardware sprites instead of 8x8.

By optimizing what I have there so far I can make that use 20 sprites (out of 256) if I use 8x8... 16 if I remove the flex. But with the right mapper apparently I could bank swap for many animations and the swap itself could be super quick, so ... maybe I shouldn't be too concerned on using the fewest tiles as possible.
The challenge of trying to fit everything there does make it more fun, though...

So... yeah, decisions, decisions.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on April 20, 2021, 01:40:45 pm
I can't help you with the low spec decisions, I have zero experience with that. I don't know much about animation either but years of kickboxing and other martial arts tend to make me persnickety about kicking and punching in games. So I am obliged to inform you that rotating the hips means that both punches have equal reach. It makes sense if you consider the symmetry of the body and the fact that one is simply rotating the hips. If one has more reach, it means you're moving your feet, hips or (hopefully not) shoulders closer to your target. In both video games and in real life, the cross (i.e. rear hand) often has more reach even though it starts further from the opponent because of the way people move their feet and/or hips. I can go into detail about that if you want but I expect you're not making a game about the Barbarian Boxing championship.  ;D
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on April 20, 2021, 02:12:54 pm
I can go into detail about that if you want but I expect you're not making a game about the Barbarian Boxing championship.  ;D

Haha! I'm not... But I'm curious!

I'm not sure I could make him rotate his hips here. Maybe (and that's a big maybe) I'll have to keep the lower body static, but if not, then that sort of information will come in very handy.

---

EDIT: While looking for tutorials for eliddell, I found this one by slynyrd (https://www.slynyrd.com/blog/2018/9/8/pixelblog-9-melee-attacks) that could be useful for me. Like you said, he isn't supposed to be boxing, but maybe some of it could be adapted to make the attacks more interesting.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on April 20, 2021, 03:12:02 pm
I don't have time to do an edit right now, but maybe you can look at sprite sheets from other fight games in order to learn from the masters?

https://www.spriters-resource.com/fullview/118266/

The gold standard is Makato from Street Fighter 3, in my opinion. But she is obviously heavily exaggerated in her animations. Which is cool.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on April 20, 2021, 03:19:58 pm
I don't have time to do an edit right now, but maybe you can look at sprite sheets from other fight games in order to learn from the masters?
I was thinking of doing exactly that. xD

Street Fighter was my first thought, anyway, but... I may need a different type of reference. More brawling, less martial arts.
But don't worry, I'll do some research.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on April 22, 2021, 03:00:14 pm
Slow progress. I redid some of the punch animation. And did an alternative "hook" (-like) punch.
I'm thinking if a smear/speed line/arc thingie could be used to make the reach a little longer...

(https://i.imgur.com/ed5KGT6.gif) (https://i.imgur.com/6J3N3fe.gif)

It feels a little choppy right now.

---

Maybe if I just keep the head in profile the whole time...

(https://i.imgur.com/uIt7wPZ.gif) (https://i.imgur.com/y0kund3.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: SeinRuhe on April 22, 2021, 05:50:02 pm
Hey! Look, more time for the forums  ;D

I totally love the character design, reads so clear that is scary, I may have to put you down to eliminate the competition :mean:

First of all I have to say I've never worked with restrictions in mind so my advice may not be as useful for this specific case but here I go:

- As it is, well, the punch feels weak and the reason is exactly what Cels told you, It's all about those hips baby, my advice when animating anything is to picture yourself as the subject, in this case, throw some punches and try to feel what every part of your body is doing.

- More specific, I think there are two principles of animation that can be applied here without hindering playability: Anticipation and Overshoot. Since this is for a game anticipation can't be actual frames, instead of that use the smear to convey that anticipation, simply draw the smear from his back to the front, this gives the impression of anticipation. As for overshoot, well, in this case is better to add another frame for it and push everything a pixel further, the feel a single frame can provide is out of this world.

- Again, not sure of the palette or the restrictions, but for the idle you may want to try sub pixel animation like in Metroid for the SNES, so, some movement of the outline, followed by movement on the shading only (Pretty much an after image, like Megaman dash)

(https://i.imgur.com/m0uD1Ks.gif)

I'm sure my edit has many improvements that can be implemented to give it a better feeling so if you guys have any ideas I will be really happy to read them! I hope the edit helps with your project!
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on April 22, 2021, 06:02:23 pm
Nice! I definitely prefer the version with the head turning. I don't have a gif editor but I wonder if it would be possible to rotate his rear foot as he's rotating his hips.  If this is meant to be seen at 4x or 8x, I can understand if you're worried that it'll be too choppy. Maybe more frames can fix that.

(https://i.imgur.com/olrD02W.png)
(The highlights on the boots look weird but I included them in case you didn't want the boots to flicker as he punched)

In terms of making the hook reach a little longer, I guess you could do that. It's not realistic but it looks good and it makes it easy for the player to understand and read.

PS: Really great edit by SeinRuhe and I note that he's twisting his rear leg as he's punching as I was going to suggest. This is a natural consequence of turning the hips and helps reinforce the feeling of power like it's not just upper body.  :y: ;D
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on April 23, 2021, 07:31:28 am
Hey! Look, more time for the forums  ;D
Yay!

I totally love the character design, reads so clear that is scary, I may have to put you down to eliminate the competition :mean:
Haha, thank you so mu-- Wait, maybe I shouldn't be thanking y-

First of all I have to say I've never worked with restrictions in mind so my advice may not be as useful for this specific case but here I go:

- As it is, well, the punch feels weak and the reason is exactly what Cels told you, It's all about those hips baby, my advice when animating anything is to picture yourself as the subject, in this case, throw some punches and try to feel what every part of your body is doing.

- More specific, I think there are two principles of animation that can be applied here without hindering playability: Anticipation and Overshoot. Since this is for a game anticipation can't be actual frames, instead of that use the smear to convey that anticipation, simply draw the smear from his back to the front, this gives the impression of anticipation. As for overshoot, well, in this case is better to add another frame for it and push everything a pixel further, the feel a single frame can provide is out of this world.

- Again, not sure of the palette or the restrictions, but for the idle you may want to try sub pixel animation like in Metroid for the SNES, so, some movement of the outline, followed by movement on the shading only (Pretty much an after image, like Megaman dash)

(https://i.imgur.com/m0uD1Ks.gif)

I'm sure my edit has many improvements that can be implemented to give it a better feeling so if you guys have any ideas I will be really happy to read them! I hope the edit helps with your project!

Dude. Dude!
Let me start by saying that that animation blew my mind so fricking hard I had to take some time to recover. xD
That's awesome, I love it, and will be studying the heck out of it.

That's a beautiful lunge (if that's the right word..?). I tried something like that in my first attempt, but then I thought it would look wrong making the body go forward too much. Also I'm trying kinda sort of to be somewhat frugal with how many (8x8) sprites I use So I may reuse some parts here and there to accomodate as many move sets as I can (attacking, jumping, rolling, etc.) and because of that I maaay not be able to add as many frames of animation as I wanted. But your animation is making me reconsider that. xD

I need to start planning things. Write down some stuff and define most of what I want the project to be...

Anyways, for an NES game (which is what I intend this to be, and not just a modern game that would just look like one) I have a limited amount of space for sprites (though not sure how much yet), a limited amount of sprites on screen at the same time, a limited amount of sprites per scanline (8, or 64 pixels) and can only use 3 colors per sprite, from 4 sets of 3 colors each.
Thus I don't know if I could use subpixel animation, at least not without stacking sprites on top of one another, but I want to avoid that as it would limit what I could put in front of the character without making the game turn into a flicker fest.

I mean, I know there will be some flicker, that's practically unavoidable if my main character is 4 sprites wide and there are two 3 sprite wide enemies in front of him. But... we'll see.

Still, it was so great to see your animation and it has definitely made me see things in a different way. Thank you so, so much.

@cels Thank you. The edit on the foot looks great. I was afraid it could make the stance look a bit weak, but you're absolutely right with that. And with the body/hip twist too, of course.
The twist on mine was a bit of a last minute thing before posting, because like I said I'm trying to be economical and reuse stuff, but I can most definitely work with that.

Next I think I'm going to do a walk cycle. Or a weapon attack.

Again, thanks to the both of you. I was super happy when I saw the replies. Cheers!

---

EDIT: Oh, if you guys are curious, there's a bunch of talk about the NES limitations on the pinned Castlevania Pixel Quest thread.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: SeinRuhe on April 23, 2021, 05:07:10 pm

Anyways, for an NES game (which is what I intend this to be, and not just a modern game that would just look like one) I have a limited amount of space for sprites (though not sure how much yet), a limited amount of sprites on screen at the same time, a limited amount of sprites per scanline (8, or 64 pixels) and can only use 3 colors per sprite, from 4 sets of 3 colors each.
Thus I don't know if I could use subpixel animation, at least not without stacking sprites on top of one another, but I want to avoid that as it would limit what I could put in front of the character without making the game turn into a flicker fest.

I mean, I know there will be some flicker, that's practically unavoidable if my main character is 4 sprites wide and there are two 3 sprite wide enemies in front of him. But... we'll see.

That's interesting, an actual NES game, I'll read about the hardware limitations from the NES in my free time, may be really useful to have those in mind for a future critique!
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on April 29, 2021, 10:42:14 pm
Sword slash.
I'm thinking if I should add another frame. Kinda thinking about the constraints still... trying to figure out the best approach. As in: if I should add more frames to make it smooove, or if I should just do the main keyframes, then IF I have room to spare, I'll add more frames. :thinking emoji:

(https://i.imgur.com/PyTWuXB.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: SeinRuhe on April 30, 2021, 05:33:58 pm
Look at that! It makes me feel proud in an odd manner :-[

It looks really, really good, attention paid to the muscles when moving is just perfect. And that smear? *Orgasm noise*

As it is works really well, if you want to add a little more extra smoothness to it just exaggerate a bit more the overshoot (Make the sword a little more diagonal, and a little bit closer to the floor, not much) and add another recovery frame, believe me, it will look smooth as butter.

Something like this: (I didn't add the extra frame because I'm afraid of restrictions but I highly recommend to add it)

(https://i.imgur.com/yauBgxc.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on April 30, 2021, 06:03:23 pm
Mmm... That looks nice.

Well, first of all, YOINK. XD
Also, thanks a bunch for your critiques and compliments.

I changed the initial frame because that arm while clear wasn't...looking...very nice. I mean, I have just 3 colors to work with, but still I wasn't very happy with it (I'll post the most recent version below, but it still won't have any of your suggestions added to it as I was just working on it when I saw your reply).

That frame with the sword extended forward, yeah, I was struggling with it a bit. On the one hand, it was pretty clear. Straight pixels. But on the other hand... It was almost too clear. So I had done some attempts at bending it downwards a bit and wasn't really sure... But I'll give it another go. Thanks, SeinRuhe!

Here's what I have so far (again, without the latest suggestions):

(https://i.imgur.com/OnnQ6jr.gif)

By the way I had your punch animation open in Photoshop and used it as reference for the sword slash anim. I really love your overshoot frame, and how simple it is yet how much it adds to the overall movement.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on April 30, 2021, 07:51:46 pm
Alright, so... I didn't add a new frame. Instead, I redrew the recovery (?) frame to make a better transition between frame 1 and 3.
And instead of making the sword on frame 3 go down a little further, I made the "hit" (frame 2) go down a little more, and frame 3 is now a bit of a bounce back (?), going back up slightly.

(https://i.imgur.com/b4ILuCp.gif)

I'm not sure if I should be using smears, though, because they may take too many hardware sprites and probably can't be reused for, say, a crouching slash. I gotta test that next...

---

EDIT: Quick test with the sword going down on frame 3 from a previous attempt:

(https://i.imgur.com/d2YZW6v.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: SeinRuhe on May 01, 2021, 12:23:40 am
I really dig the last edit, I have one question though: Why not spend a bit more tiles on graphics while making the game shorter? Something like what Arcades used to do, they looked way better than consoles because of this, less content means more room for existing content.

BTW, this video gave me lots of insights on technicalities if anyone wants to see it before doing critiques.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWQ0591PAxM

@Fskn if you haven't you should really watch it too
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 01, 2021, 01:47:00 pm
I really dig the last edit, I have one question though: Why not spend a bit more tiles on graphics while making the game shorter? Something like what Arcades used to do, they looked way better than consoles because of this, less content means more room for existing content.
Thanks.
I don't really know how long the game will be in the end. So far I have a very rough and vague idea of what I want and a few sprites. xD

@Fskn if you haven't you should really watch it too
I had seen that before, yes. The kinds of optimizations Morphcat did to fit their game are pretty incredible and inspirational.
Now, I don't want to follow exactly the same route as them despite loving extreme optimizations and wanting to do some of that too... But I'll need to talk to a programmer to actually build the game later on. After I have much of the planning and graphics done.

I don't think I will be able to fit everything into just two graphics tables (one for background and another for sprite tiles), so "something" will need to be done.
Some games use bank switching (? I guess that's what's called anyway) not just for different stages, but for different character moves. Games such as Ninja Gaiden 3 and Moon Crystal come to mind (the latter is ridiculously well animated for an NES game), but I'm sure there are many more. I don't want to use that in excess, but something like that is gonna happen.

Looking at the Ninja Gaiden 3 sprite table, they seem to have reserved half of that for enemies, items and power-ups. So if I follow that, it wouldn't leave me much room for my main character animations, but we'll see. I'll do the most basic stuff, see how I could fit that, then see if I can have more, etc. going step by step.

But the challenge of fitting a whole game into such a limited space is one of the reasons why I want to make an NES game and not, say, a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive game.
(for now. xD)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 01, 2021, 10:46:51 pm
Quick and dirty walk test. Background is temporary, UI is temporary, name is temporary... Everything is temporary!

(https://i.imgur.com/YZ9R6Xm.gif)

I'll probably add another frame before the "spread".
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: SeDiceBisonte on May 02, 2021, 08:29:52 am
I know that's heavily WIP, and this is coming from a position of not understanding the limitations you're working with, but I think having two frames with the legs so close together doesn't work very well with a constant moving speed. It's currently creating the impression that he's gliding–the leg movement doesn't look like it's actually powering him.

I think that could either be solved by having him move in bursts, if it's a sidestepping effect that you're after, or by "averaging" the leg positions across the three frames, so that they move a similar amount in each frame. I'm no animator, either, so that might be terrible advice, but my instinct is that with only three frames, you won't want any two to be so similar.

That aside, it really is a great sprite–really readable, and there's a great atmosphere already from the combination of it with the sketched background.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 02, 2021, 11:45:37 am
Thanks, SeDiceBisonte.

Yeah, he's definitely gliding and to some extent he will anyway because I (probably?) can't devote too many frames to that animation. But maybe that effect can be mitigated. For this animation in particular I had the characters from the first Mortal Kombat in mind, but did it completely without checking any references, and I should have. Seeing it now, even Johnny Cage (https://www.spriters-resource.com/fullview/40753/) moves his feet a little more than what I did there.

But I'll look into that. Maybe this guy should have a heavier walk... He probably should be going up and down 1 pixel when his legs are closer together.

I think I want to make him move at a regular speed because it could be a bit of a pain to implement if he doesn't.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on May 02, 2021, 11:58:14 am
The way he's walking now really gives the impression that he's trying to keep his balance to strike at any minute, like a kendo competitor or a samurai. I think that's really cool as a walking animation if (a) this is more of a slow paced game with blocks, parries and counters or (b) there is an option to run when walking is too slow. I agree that it looks great already (if Bisonte's point is addressed), I'm not sure I'd prefer a bounce. Will be interesting to see, depending on the pace and style of the game. I would assume that it's probably not total mayhem with dozens of enemies at the time. Otherwise, he's going to need a really powerful left hook.  ;D
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 02, 2021, 06:39:54 pm
Added a new frame (yeah, I know, I'm going slooowly...), changed some things here and there:

(https://i.imgur.com/KiwcmjP.gif)


Old > New (in red, hand animated)
https://i.imgur.com/mkcQ05A.gif
(https://i.imgur.com/18bNbL5.gif)

The pacing is somewhat consistent...

I'm thinking his boot... things, sleeves, fur(??) are making it a bit hard to follow the movement of the feet. But I'm not sure if that's that problematic.

---

Perhaps if I darkened the left leg when it gets behind the right one...

https://i.imgur.com/jy64qmu.gif

(https://i.imgur.com/UxeFS14.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on May 06, 2021, 01:10:47 pm
Since SeinRuhe is apparently putting his career before pixel art, I'll offer my thoughts:

- The new animation looks great. Much better than before.
- I think it's a good idea to darken the leg that is behind the other. Maybe you can even go further and make it dark brown?
- Now that I've bought Aseprite, I can actually test different animations myself. And I'm pretty sure I prefer him not bouncing up and down as he walks.  I seem to have given him a limp. ;D
- I also tried to make his right leg (our left side) move a bit evenly because I felt your version doesn't move the right leg too much between frame 2 and 3. And I tried to darken his boot as he puts one foot in front of the other, including the fur.


(https://i.imgur.com/iDQruPt.gif)
Don't know if this helps but an attempt was made.  :lol:

EDIT:

Those shoe laces are not easy to get right.

(https://i.imgur.com/NmyshXD.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 06, 2021, 09:59:17 pm
Haha, yeah, I had tried doing exactly that with making him go up a pixel and ehh... No. Too weird. So I kept him steady. It does look like a Harvey Toons walk, though.
But OTOH it will help me keep the tile count down.

Also I was undecided to paint his leg dark brown (and I had tried doing that too), but upon seeing your edit now I think it looks better...

I like your frame 2 better. It's clearer, doesn't make everything look like confusing blob.

Thanks for the edit, cels.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 13, 2021, 12:57:25 am
Character portrait (WIP)

(https://i.imgur.com/wKycWdE.gif)

Not sure yet if it's going to stay at the top of the screen at all times, like:

(https://i.imgur.com/Haq2xPL.gif)

...or if it's going to be used for dialogues... Maybe it's too big to stay up there and I need to make a 16x16px version...

---

Darker hair...
(https://i.imgur.com/Q6wGWE7.gif)

16px version:
(https://i.imgur.com/uRmmuYI.gif)

It kinda looks like he has a beard, though.

EDIT: 24px...

(https://i.imgur.com/hHpZyDr.gif)

Lighter skintone, mebbe?
(https://i.imgur.com/EjxFYWu.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: SeinRuhe on May 13, 2021, 02:55:04 am
My pixel goodness Fskn, he looks really dangerous, why would he need a sword if he has that face to scare enemies? I would cross the street and change sidewalks just to avoid passing near him. If that's the idea you nailed it, otherwise maybe tone down a bit some expression lines? Besides personal preferences I would work a bit on the readability of the bangs, he looks kinda bald on the middle of the head.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 13, 2021, 03:27:44 am
My pixel goodness Fskn, he looks really dangerous, why would he need a sword if he has that face to scare enemies? I would cross the street and change sidewalks just to avoid passing near him. If that's the idea you nailed it, otherwise maybe tone down a bit some expression lines? Besides personal preferences I would work a bit on the readability of the bangs, he looks kinda bald on the middle of the head.

He has the face of someone that would want to crush his enemies. :lala:

Hmm... I know I pushed on the comic-bookiness of it in the 32px version (in regards to expression lines). But I'm not seeing the baldness right now. I'll have to give another look at him tomorrow.

I might need to make his nose thicker...

---

...yeah, maybe something like this:

(https://i.imgur.com/sawDwsk.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: SeinRuhe on May 13, 2021, 04:35:26 am
I think I'm going crazy, I did some small edits here and there on the 32px version and while working on it I just stopped seeing him bald, went to take a leak, and again, baldness in the center of the head for a couple mins, and puff, gone again. ???

Anyway, I did some small edits on his hair, also gave him the perky little butt that we ended up covering on the fairy, faces that chiseled tend to have that kind of chin in my opinion.

Take what you think it works and discard the rest, you got way more skill with this kind of NES graphics than I do!

(https://i.imgur.com/YBpq70e.gif)

Edit: I think the baldness I'm perceiving is a mix between color and the lack of hair volume on the upper part of his head, it matches the silhouette of the skull perfectly hence my brain deceiving me. Almost sure nobody will perceive this the way I do so no worries there fskn ;D
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on May 13, 2021, 09:02:33 am
This looks great! Love the 80's barbarian bangs! I bet he loves to hear the lamentation of women.

I can't really fault it, so it's more about personal preferences. I made some changes and I also accidentally ended up with the same chin butt as SeinRuhe and similar changes to the strands of hair. Tiny edit, I think I changed a total of 8 pixels or something. I felt like those cheeks were a bit too gaunt.  :lol:

(https://i.imgur.com/BDJJRkQ.png)

I really like SeinRuhe's edit of the smaller 16x16 portrait because I feel that his version looks more healthy and fearsome, whereas the original looks more skeletal by comparison.

I did not perceive any baldness but I do like the readability on SeinRuhe's hair. Depends how raven haired you want this Cimmerian to be, I suppose.

Great to see some progress for this project! Can't wait to see this guy punch warlocks and dragons in the face.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 13, 2021, 05:19:46 pm
Thanks for the edits, guys.

One thing I'm trying to avoid with the hair, especially (and failing so far), is to have things that are too regular. Repetition, basically. So later today (hopefully) I'll rework the hair to see if I can keep the overall silhouette yet make the locks of hair more uneven... Maybe two on one side, and three on the other...

I *think* I'm going to try to keep it dark, though, with just a bit of a sheen as to better match those few pixels on the Player sprite yet still trying to give it some illusion of volume.

On that super sexy and smooth chin butt, I think I could even do the, um, cut shaped like a "T" such as:
(https://i.imgur.com/tbDBZKu.png)

Dunno if I'm going to keep it. But it's cool, I'm considering it. I'll let that idea ferment some more.

@cels, I think I could even remove those few reddish-brown pixels on his cheeks... Maybe keep a couple near the eyes... Decisions, decisions.
But that looks cleaner.

Yeah, the ... how am I going to call those? The black shadow lines underneath his cheeks on the 16px version look too deep, and he's looking too old. I'll try to make his face smoother. I did that super frickin' quick as I realized games such as Castlevania 3 use 16px wide (actually 16x24px, just checked) portraits, though there they do serve a very specific purpose there, that I don't have here. Mine so far is just for decoration.

Though I could use the bigger one for the Start screen if not for dialogue... Hmm...

Anyways, thanks again for the edits and words of encouragement!
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 13, 2021, 08:37:11 pm
Phew! OK, so for the 16x16 version, this is what I ended up with. For now, anyways.
Man, doing these small portraits is TOUGH. I had to change the position of the light, otherwise it simply wouldn't work.

(https://i.imgur.com/8AgfaGY.gif)

Yeah, I know he looks old. But I'm sorta happy it bears a certain Frazetta-ish resemblance.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on May 13, 2021, 10:38:41 pm
Cool, cool! And yeah, you've certainly set the bar high at this size with so few colors! I'm starting to see why you sometimes indulge in spending time working on my larger characters with no color limit. 4 colors can be rough. But you're doing great and I really love the combination of 80's NES graphics with 80's fantasy aesthetic.

(https://i.imgur.com/eNz6eoO.png)

Personally, I would not go for a bright single pixel cheek. As you say it makes him look old, reinforcing that skeletal look. However, I totally get what you mean by Frazetta-ish resemblance. The guy loved dramatic lighting with sunken eyes and raised cheekbones. It gives characters more of that predator look. So I get it, even though I would personally dial it down a bit.

The new 32x32 portrait looks fabulous!  :y:
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 14, 2021, 12:58:31 am
What the-- I tried that and wasn't happy, but now you did it and I *am* happy with the result! Haha!

Yeah, stray pixels... I still use them sometimes but they can look completely disconnected from everything else and just seem to be floating there. Good edit, I'll incorporate that. Thanks, cels!

The 32px portrait is actually Seinruhe's, I just added like 5 pixels to it to change the chin from a butt to... a different kind of butt. xD
I still have to work on that hair.

---

EDIT:

Eh, I think this is going to be it for portraits.
I tried a bunch of configurations for his hair, but ultimately I think that having a single dark color works better than adding brighter "strands" or highlights. Though that first one I did looked nice..... Gah, I don't know. I'll leave at that for now.

(https://i.imgur.com/MiiWOCa.gif)

Do they look like completely different characters? Yes.
Why? Yes.

Sh*t, maybe I need to work more on the 24x24. Damn my OCD!

---

Okay, now we're done. :P

(https://i.imgur.com/A3p7PX4.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on May 14, 2021, 08:51:10 am
Hmmm! On a positive note, totally removing the highlights from his hair actually improves readability when viewed at 1X. With only 4 colors, the brighter hair made it a bit more challenging to process the difference between face and hair. Now it's very obvious and you can see it at a glance. Although the smallest portrait now stands out from the others on account of hair brightness.  :lala:

And really, I have to say that removing the deep dark brown wrinkles from the eyes to the cheeks makes him look younger and more healthy to me.

When you have time, I'd love to hear more about what you're planning for the game. Unless it's kind of secret and will be revealed in dramatic fashion. Is there a particular type of game you're emulating, like Golden Axe, or is this something different?
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 14, 2021, 10:43:48 am
Although the smallest portrait now stands out from the others on account of hair brightness.  :lala:
Yeah, that has been bothering me. :lol:

When you have time, I'd love to hear more about what you're planning for the game. Unless it's kind of secret and will be revealed in dramatic fashion. Is there a particular type of game you're emulating, like Golden Axe, or is this something different?
It's nothing big or earth-shattering. I intend it to be a simple combat focused side scrolling platformer, kind of like Zelda 2 (just without the overworld stuff), or Castlevania, or Rastan. So you'd go around different places fighting different types of enemies and then bosses. Enemies that would throw/hurl/shoot stuff at you, and some that would fight you on melee, warlocks and maybe evil spirits as well. But I'm not sure on the scope yet. I don't think our barbarian guy will get items that would help him traverse the environment, or any spells, but he may get some power-ups and ranged weapons.

Simple-ish stuff.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 15, 2021, 10:44:36 pm
Working on a font.
Technically I could use 2 more colors and do some AA like in the font I was using... And if I end up *not* having any dialogues, it could be better to just that other one. But.

(https://i.imgur.com/h0tIyrl.png)

---

So, um... Yeah.

(https://i.imgur.com/myRgNcR.gif)

(7 frames, not 8. Didn't follow any method, just started inbetweening until it felt alright.)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on May 16, 2021, 09:11:12 am
Nice, so it's just a simple and modern take on a classic genre, with retro restrictions. I like that.  :y:

The new animation looks good but a bit choppy in the transition between frame 5 and 6. His left leg suddenly leaps forward while his right leg keeps the same stable speed.

The new font looks great, very in keeping with that 80's sword and sworcery vibe.

Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 16, 2021, 12:46:14 pm
Nice, so it's just a simple and modern take on a classic genre, with retro restrictions. I like that.  :y:
Well, I intend it to actually run on the NES...

The new animation looks good but a bit choppy in the transition between frame 5 and 6. His left leg suddenly leaps forward while his right leg keeps the same stable speed.
Hm, you're absolutely right.

Thanks, cels.

---

There.

(https://i.imgur.com/3KgTxCf.gif)

Also gave him a bigger belt...armor...protection thing.
(hopefully it reads as that and not as his belly.)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 16, 2021, 09:44:59 pm
Thinking about how I'm going to approach jumps and falls.

(https://i.imgur.com/knPkIyU.png)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on May 16, 2021, 10:08:19 pm
You mean this is going to run on a NES emulator? Or will you find a way to make actual cartridges? Sorry, I'm not familiar with the NES scene.  :)

- The new animation looks heaps better.
- The belt armor protection thingy (BAPT) does read as his belly for me, I'm sorry to say. If I stare at it, I might conclude that it's probably not his belly. But I might also conclude that since the dark line above the belt is the shadow of his arm, the bright spot is probably his belly. So it looks like he's wearing a weird wrestling suit, like André the Giant, exposing his belly. It'd be a different matter if you had more colors to work with.
- Jumps and falls look great, really nice sketches!  :y:
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 16, 2021, 11:54:38 pm
I would love it if I could put it on a cartridge, and I haven't yet looked at how that could actually be done, although I have seen some people release cartridge games (Brad Smith's Lizard and toggleSwitch's Project Blue come to mind)... But it has to at least run on an emulator, and on an NES via an Everdrive (basically a cartridge with an SD card in it, in which you can load NES ROMs).

That's what I'm aiming for, anyway. But it's going to take a while until we get to that point...

I may be shooting myself in the foot by making so many animation frames that may need to be discarded judging by how few frames characters in NES games usually have, but at least that's good for practice. It's been a loooong while since I've done anything similar to that, and when it works it's really satisfying.

For the BAPT (:lol: abdominal armor? I don't know) I'm thinking I *could* alternatively do like a Mega Man thing and overlap the main sprite with another 8x8px one (well, actually more than just a single one if we account for animations) with 3 more colors, but that has its drawbacks. I'll have to use those 3 extra colors somewhere else at all times (which isn't necessarily a bad thing...), and that would count towards the 8 8x8 sprite per scanline limit, which like I said before I'm trying to avoid... But it's really tempting! ;D

I'm having a bit of trouble drawing the jumping frames straight into pixel art, thus why I'm resorting to sketching them on the side...

Thanks for the feedback, cels!
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 17, 2021, 06:34:54 pm
Initial jump test.

(https://i.imgur.com/euPrvKJ.gif)

Not satisfied yet, and I think I'm using too many sprites.
(ignore the poof.)

Oh yeah: I changed his belt. :P

---

EDIT: And just because this is so damn fun...

(https://i.imgur.com/ccFZ2Vn.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [C+C]
Post by: cels on May 17, 2021, 08:44:53 pm
That looks surprisingly good to me, given the genre. It actually looks like a muscular jump rather than the usual ping pong bounce. I didn't think the sketches would translate so well. I'm guessing it depends on how much stuff you want in your game, but it seems like a good idea to invest some extra frames in the most important feature of the game.

If you get a kickstarter going for a cartridge release, I'll definitely be investing.  ;D

New belt is better!  :y:
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 17, 2021, 11:54:00 pm
Thanks.
I think I'll have to cut a lot of that to make it fit on an NES cartridge, though... Which is going to be painful.
But the process is being fun so far. :P

If someone who knows this stuff has been reading, they're probably thinking "Eeeehhhh.... That ain't gonna work." :lol:
As soon as I have something more substantial I'll go to nesdev to get my ass kicked.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: SeinRuhe on May 18, 2021, 12:14:19 am
Long time without reading this thread!

The jump looks stunning Fskn! I think the only improvement for it would be to have a landing frame but again we hit the sprite number wall (Aaaand I see you already did lol). So far the only viable way to make your project fit the restrictions of a NES is to cut down the fun of those extra little frames  :'(

I do agree with cels, if you do a cartridge kickstarter, I'll invest too!

I'm trying to find some spare time to edit the walk animation, up to this point is the only one that could use some extra tweaking
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 18, 2021, 12:40:19 am
Thank you, Sein.
I know I could (sort of) make the upper body of that walk-with-sword-in-hand animation move up and down a little bit, which I think would improve it, but I'm holding back on adding more frames. Doing that with the jump is paradoxical, especially because so little could be reused from one frame to the next... But I'm playing around, and learning more about animation as I do it. That *may* (I guess......) help me when doing the next animations.

Reusing stuff will be key, by the way. Which I'll analyze in the future when I'm optimizing everything and pulling my hair off.
So far I've been analyzing some well animated NES games, and boy, would they reuse their tiles...

By the way, I may have to cut that smear from the first attack animation because of that. I don't think it could be reused anywhere else.
But I'll do more tries, see what works.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 18, 2021, 09:25:26 pm
Do you guys think this is readable?

(https://i.imgur.com/nOFcT1P.gif)

---

Maybe he's a tad too small...

(https://i.imgur.com/Pf5h15u.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: cels on May 18, 2021, 10:38:39 pm
Sure. Crouching / picking up the sword to save the princess.  ;D

(https://i.imgur.com/p9IEhEj.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 18, 2021, 10:45:26 pm
Sure. Crouching / picking up the sword to save the princess.  ;D

https://i.imgur.com/p9IEhEj.gif

Crap. Of course I should use that as a reference! Dumb me...

---

Princess though, huh? Hmm...

(http://www.midnightonly.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/conan10.jpg)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 19, 2021, 11:36:48 pm
(https://i.imgur.com/WqYZ1CY.gif)

Perhaps I should remove his left arm and make it so that he's using both arms when grabbing and pulling himself up...

---

While I don't do that, though:

(https://i.imgur.com/pDFuBoj.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 20, 2021, 05:30:18 pm
Run, rough 1st pass:

(https://i.imgur.com/IcbMZGl.gif)

It's very cartoony. I may have to take a better look at Williams and Muybridge...

---

Cleanup, 2nd pass:

(https://i.imgur.com/U4jqTsP.gif)
(still rough and cartoony, though.)

---

Too much noise on his abdomen... cleaning that up too:

(https://i.imgur.com/wGjJPkK.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: cels on May 20, 2021, 08:39:01 pm
Nice! Of course, it's still rough and the arms need to move more between frame 6 and 7, but it looks good!

Would it be too distracting to have the golden studs on his barbarian boxer move to indicate that he's twisting his hips while running? Otherwise it kind of looks like a He-Man doll where the legs are disconnected from the hip joints. It's really hard to do this detailed animation with 4 colors and I notice my eyes are struggling a bit to understand which arm is going back and forth at any given moment, because they're exactly the same color.

(https://i.imgur.com/CVGpzqo.gif)

(https://i.imgur.com/h6gAsFT.gif)

I'm absolutely inexperienced at this kind of stuff, so don't feel any reservations about outright rejecting my suggestions :lol:

PS: Climbing looks good, I think? I don't know. I can't really tell. I can be of more use if you're animating a spinning wheel kick or something.  :)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 20, 2021, 08:49:35 pm
Would it be too distracting to have the golden studs on his barbarian boxer move to indicate that he's twisting his hips while running? Otherwise it kind of looks like a He-Man doll where the legs are disconnected from the hip joints. It's really hard to do this detailed animation with 4 colors and I notice my eyes are struggling a bit to understand which arm is going back and forth at any given moment, because they're exactly the same color.
Thanks, cels.

Yeah, I'm thinking about doing just that... And the buckle thing should show up too when he's showing more of his chest..? Hmm, I don't know. But I'll try that and we'll see. :P
(edit: It was the opposite of that. :P)

I still have to do more adjustments as I feel it looks too different from the other animations. I might simplify that even more.
And maybe not make him move his arms and legs as much. And also I'm considering removing those boot straps (?), they're giving me a lot of trouble.

---

I'll add in your changes! Thank you!

PS: Climbing looks good, I think? I don't know. I can't really tell. I can be of more use if you're animating a spinning wheel kick or something.  :)
A Kick is going to happen, just not a spinning one. xD
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 20, 2021, 09:42:23 pm
(https://i.imgur.com/kN63VnK.gif)

It looks cool, but very funny! :lol:

I guess I'll keep his head looking straight ahead...

---

https://i.imgur.com/q8nIpZK.gif

(https://i.imgur.com/aeOCYP4.gif)

Made his elbows not go up as much when swinging back... I guess it looks more normal now. Slightly more realistic.
*and cleaned up some more.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: cels on May 21, 2021, 06:15:17 am
Looks fantastic. Love the bounce of the hair, the run feels like it has weight and dynamicism from the heavy twisting of the torso. Love it.

Tiny suggestion: The boot straps might be better if you just simplify them to a single smear of light whenever he's moving fast. Just to avoid the noise of those 2-3 diagonal high contrast pixels moving around the screen. Would be less distracting, for me at least.

(https://i.imgur.com/Z1Ijzms.gif)

No spinning kick? At least let him do an axe kick. He's a barbarian ffs. Totally fits his background. :lol:
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 21, 2021, 08:43:51 pm
Working on a run and jump (and flip and land) animation:

(https://i.imgur.com/TtNzsae.png)

---

1st pass:

(https://i.imgur.com/nV6ik9g.gif)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: cels on May 21, 2021, 11:08:28 pm
Looks amazing! I'm super jelly. Out of curiosity, are you planning to add some kind of warping or smearing to compensate for the few frames?
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 22, 2021, 03:13:15 am
Looks amazing! I'm super jelly. Out of curiosity, are you planning to add some kind of warping or smearing to compensate for the few frames?
Thank you.

With the NES hardware in mind, I could only do a few things. (as far as I'm aware, so prepare your grains of salt.)
First, movement in general is handled by the game code, so positioning things on screen on a frame-by-frame basis and how smooth that transition between frames looks is basically a matter of having high(-ish) framerate and positioning the sprite(s) in small increments.
I could've tried to simulate that in Photoshop (and I might) but I was trying to be quick and "git it dun" so I could have an idea if those frames of animation were working, if I would have to change anything, adding more frames or what. I'm thinking those are plenty, though... Dunno how things are going to look like in the morning. :lol:

In terms of adding smears like what I did with the sword slash animation (which btw desperately needs a revision...), I think I can do that to some extent (obviously drawing those smears by hand), but then it could be hard to reuse bits of those sprites in other frames.

Let me try to define a few things here in order to try and make things less confusing (?!?)

This is Ninja Gaiden III running on the FCEUX emulator:
(https://i.imgur.com/IYH4aYI.png)

The smaller window is the PPU viewer, which shows all the tiles used on that screen. Each of them is 8x8 in size.
On the left, the background tiles, and on the right the sprite tiles. Underneath that some options that don't matter much to the discussion here, and at the bottom all the color palettes used in that frame. In the first row those reserved for the background tiles and in the second those for sprites.

Those sprite tiles are arranged in a way and stored in memory (somehow, dunno exactly how those things work) to form "meta tiles" which in this case are the frames of animation for the respective sprites.
Here are some I arranged inside of Photoshop:
(https://i.imgur.com/UEa75b2.png)

There you can see how a lot of those are reused to make different frames and be efficient in order to use the least amount of space in a cartridge as possible.

Now, those are not all of the tiles that game uses for Ryu's animations (and there are no enemy sprites there either), so those graphics are swapped for a different "page", unlike Super Mario Bros, which (again, as far as I'm aware) has all of its graphics assets in two of those pages... And I don't know how many of those I will, eventually, have available for me...

So, yeah, I want to do the best I can while still being reasonable, trying to make a shippable game, but I don't know yet how much I could fit in a cartridge.

And the NES hardware is really limited by today's standards, I can only flip those sprite tiles horizontally or vertically, not rotate them, so anything that should indicate rotation would be limited by that and me drawing new graphics to accomodate it.
Thus why in the "flip" animation I had to make a 45° frame, otherwise it would be very choppy.

I've taken a look at the NES sprites for the original Prince of Persia after you mentioned it, and that uses a lot of tile pages for the Prince (not to be confused with The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. :P)... but that may be a very special case.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: cels on May 22, 2021, 06:51:29 pm
Ah, that's interesting! Thanks for the detailed explanation. It'll probably make it easier to understand where you're coming from.

I'm not sure I'll ever want to work with such extreme (by modern standards) restrictions, but I suppose it will be very rewarding when you finish this. Did you already find the basic gameplay parameters that you're happy with? Movement speed, attacks, jumping height, etc? Are you playing the game already in a 'white box' stage? Might be difficult to adjust certain things if you've already done the animations.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 22, 2021, 07:15:09 pm
Did you already find the basic gameplay parameters that you're happy with? Movement speed, attacks, jumping height, etc? Are you playing the game already in a 'white box' stage? Might be difficult to adjust certain things if you've already done the animations.
Nope, still just a very vague idea of what I would like it to be. I'm not a programmer so I can't really do that part, but I think I could try implementing something in a friendlier engine, say, on Godot or Stencyl or something. Just so that I can prototype stuff and show it to whoever ends up programming it for the actual thing.

There's a bunch of stuff that I can still do, though, I think. Which is the basic graphic stuff. Characters, enemies, items and backgrounds.
And I feel like I need that to then find a person that would be willing to collaborate, so I can, hopefully, whet their appetite. :P
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: SeDiceBisonte on May 23, 2021, 01:53:43 pm
I've been busy the last few weeks and haven't had a chance to drop by. You've done so much amazing work in that time! I particularly like the running jump/flip. The font is also great, although I wonder if the 'M' could be reworked because it appears more squat than the other letters. I had a go but couldn't quite figure it out. I think the issue comes from the curves at the bottom of the stems, although it's hard to do anything about it without making them look too chunky.

I don't really have any other comments yet because this looks so good!
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 23, 2021, 02:05:08 pm
I've been busy the last few weeks and haven't had a chance to drop by. You've done so much amazing work in that time! I particularly like the running jump/flip. The font is also great, although I wonder if the 'M' could be reworked because it appears more squat than the other letters. I had a go but couldn't quite figure it out. I think the issue comes from the curves at the bottom of the stems, although it's hard to do anything about it without making them look too chunky.

I don't really have any other comments yet because this looks so good!

Oh, wow, thanks Bisonte.  :-[

Um... Yeah, the font has some problems. I have to fit each character into a 8x8 square so the M and the W end up looking too compressed horizontally. I'm thinking of a way to make it look like a lowercase "m" but having it just be the last "leg" of the m, and combining it with the "n". So 2 characters for the letter m.
Some other game has done that and I thought it was so clever I may end up stealing that for me. :P (maybe, I don't know yet.)

As I have 2 other colors to "spare" there (sorta) I might also try and redo every letter in a higher resolution, then use the posterize trick to handle the anti-aliasing, then give it some manual touch-ups.
*mythbuster's announcer voice* At least that's the theory!
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 24, 2021, 12:00:14 am
Crouch > roll 1st pass:

(https://i.imgur.com/8OI2mWT.gif)

I think I made him bigger in the inbetween frames...
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: cels on May 24, 2021, 12:29:05 am
In my opinion, this animation lacks the fluidity, energy and realism of your other animations.

Obviously this comes down to preference and what kind of gameplay you have in mind, but I think I would do one of two things.

A: If the point is to make the character move underneath objects or incoming attacks while moving forward, I would do a slide instead of a roll. Yeah, it's kind of Titanfall / Mirror's Edge and was super cool 10 years ago, but I just think it's more fun and dynamic. Crouching down and then rolling in a tight ball on the ground like a kid at gymnastics class or like a slow Sonic the Hedgehog would not be my first choice. You can do a sprint straight into a slide and get some really good 'flow' for the player. Something like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9_17IULPlw&t=234s&ab_channel=SuperDukes666SuperDukes666

B: If you can afford the tiles and you want a more realistic and dynamic roll, I would do something like Unworthy (EXAMPLE (https://youtu.be/SoijxZA2yYE?t=334)) or like a judo forward roll (LINK (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CLBeDR6kcM&ab_channel=JudoLifeJudoLife)), where the character isn't first crouching down and then tucked into a tiny 8x8 cannonball, but rather hurtling forward in a huge arc, rolling over his shoulders while legs are relaxed and slightly extended, instead of tucking the knees under his chin. Looks more appealing and feels better in terms of gameplay, I think.

Sorry if my feedback comes across as unhelpful or harsh, I guess this is a pet peeve I didn't realize I had. Crouching and rolling in 80's games. But at least you're not doing the crouching bunny hops of Prince of Persia. God help you if you do that.  :yell:

PS: I'm not doing an edit because I'm a bit pressed for time and it may be pointless if your reaction is simply: "Yeah, no, I prefer the way I envisioned it". Which is entirely your prerogative, needless to say.  :)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 24, 2021, 12:57:10 am
Hmm, yeah... I don't think a slide fits, and I really didn't want to do that because I want to do something that looks more weighty (although, yeah, that jump is quite unlike someone that's heavy), but the judo roll fits it p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y. Thanks for the reference and for the lengthy reply!

I'll look into Unworthy a little better throughout the week!
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: SeDiceBisonte on May 31, 2021, 08:46:39 am
Um... Yeah, the font has some problems. I have to fit each character into a 8x8 square so the M and the W end up looking too compressed horizontally. I'm thinking of a way to make it look like a lowercase "m" but having it just be the last "leg" of the m, and combining it with the "n". So 2 characters for the letter m.
Some other game has done that and I thought it was so clever I may end up stealing that for me. :P (maybe, I don't know yet.)

Interesting! Would that also apply to the "w", except with it starting with the "v"? I actually like the shape of the "w" a lot at the moment, but I imagine having both it and the "m" as double-width characters would look consistent.

Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on May 31, 2021, 09:47:55 am
Interesting! Would that also apply to the "w", except with it starting with the "v"? I actually like the shape of the "w" a lot at the moment, but I imagine having both it and the "m" as double-width characters would look consistent.
Yeah, I think so. I'm not sure if I'm going to do that because that last part of both M and W would have to be pretty wide otherwise the space between letters would be really bothersome to look at, like the uppercase "I" and lowercase "l" and "i" usually are... And both N and V would have to touch the boundaries of an 8x8 tile.

The W, for instance, would have to look something like this: (https://i.imgur.com/U8ZbWZw.png)

I guess it works better for squarish letters. Or 8x16 characters, as the gap between "N" and "\", and "V" and the other "V" could be small enough to sort of disappear.

But I'm undecided right now for what kind of a typeface would look more inline with this game. It could be something more 70s looking, more whimsical, or just heavier and more solid looking...

I did this other font face one these days which I could use instead:
(https://i.imgur.com/3JcC1w6.png)



Playing around a little bit with the 4-palette, 16x16px area per palette limit of the NES... Still got 1 palette to "spare"...

(https://i.imgur.com/9huZVnK.gif)

I don't think I'm going to use this anywhere, I'm using it more for practice.
I wasn't thinking about doing that when I started, so that's why there's too much color clash... Some optimization would be required (moving things around, changing some shapes to conform, etc.)

This is how those areas are divided:
(https://i.imgur.com/zQuEoP8.png)



Could use something like this if I were to use all 4 palettes (not counting those for sprites, just using bg tiles):

(https://i.imgur.com/ZABg2HR.png)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on June 08, 2021, 06:56:19 pm
(https://i.imgur.com/nsuZUM6.png)

I'll start roughing out enemies now. About time I gave this guy someone to fight against.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on June 12, 2021, 11:07:33 pm
Working on our "love interest" (possibly?)

(https://i.imgur.com/NDIu3jm.png)

---

(https://i.imgur.com/Lf3mE9E.png)
(not sure about that decorative thingie.)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: cels on June 13, 2021, 06:44:49 am
The enemies all look great, very characterful. I can't be of much help here, unfortunately:

- Do you plan to have different light sources for different characters? It's reversed on the enemies, who will usually be facing the opposite way, right? I guess you can't afford to have different light sources depending on which way they're facing.

- The anatomy of the guys with swords and maces on the bottom is a bit strange to me. I guess they're not human? One of them has that Cyberdemon goat leg thing going on. But even if they're non-human, I wonder about the anatomy of that goat leg.

- I guess you don't want any characters to be totally side-facing, but more like a three quarter portrait. But for the wolf, I wonder if that will be difficult to pull off. I do feel like your version has a bit of a problem with readability but maybe it's not an issue. Maybe it's better for the viewer to get a sense of a snarling wolf and then interpret the pixels on their own. I'm undecided.

- Liking the ghostly types with robes and helmets. Quite jacksonesque!

- The shields are super challenging. On the one hand, I feel like yours look like they're facing the viewer too much, rather than their attacker. It feels like we're almost seeing them full on. On the other hand, I really struggled to show their shape if they're angled more away from the viewer. And on top of that, there's the issue of shadow, since they'd probably be casting strong shadows on the body behind them. Tricky stuff.

- The love interest is well pixelled but I would try to de-khaleesify her a bit unless you're adding dragons to her shoulders.  :)

(https://i.imgur.com/glnTu6S.png)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on June 13, 2021, 02:54:25 pm
Hey, man! Thanks for the feedback!

The characters so far are meant to fill a certain role, gameplay wise. Though I was mainly putting ideas down (so stuff likely will change), but I'm thinking I need characters that do ranged attacks, characters that do up close attacks, it has to have your light melee characters, your heavy melee, as well as light ranged and heavy ranged. Faster characters, slower characters, that sort of thing. Also projectiles that come in a straight horizontal line, others that come in an arc... Things you can defend against, things you can't and need to dodge...

I still have to go look for actual references of the type of setting/look/style that I want, that would be like those comic books from the 70s, maybe early 80s, which is important not just for the characters, but the environments as well... (and that's gonna be a headache, I'm not used to drawing environments).
But I hope I'll pick something up from that, and that it'll help me come up with more types of characters, which I feel I need. Although there's still a few that I need to draw. Maybe groups of characters... Hmm. I may need to sketch up some environments, and think about the areas our protagonist will go through to see what kinds of characters there could be in those places.
(the good thing about coming here is that while I talk about the game, ideas pop up in my head, and that does not happen when I'm not trying to explain it to someone else! xD)

Alright, enough of that, let's get to the crits.

The thing with a main light source is that the enemies will not be always facing left or right. So lighting will not look consistent if I don't do either like it's right above every character, or go for the cartoon look and just don't do any shading (at least I think those are the only options). I think I could light them from the top, although I like having them lit from the front... If the environment seems to be lit in such a way so that the center of the screen is brighter and edges are darker, then it would make more sense.
But yeah, good point.
If I keep the lighting as it is now, then I might need to change the shading on that wolf.

The big guard types look a bit stocky, don't they? I wanted to make them wider and had those construction worker guys from Megaman in my mind the whole time while I was drawing them (although now another character comes to mind, those big burly shield guys from Shinobi *takes note of that reference*).
Oh, right, his leg looks like it's broken! :lol:
I drew that pose thinking he would be bracing for an attack (while also preparing to deliver one of his), so one foot needed to go back... But I guess I didn't fix (or didn't think of fixing) his hip... armor... plate... thing.

I'm unsure about the wolf too. I'm thinking I'm going to just make him shake his back and head a bit (?!), maybe lower his head some more to indicate that he's going to attack, rather than trying to make him snarl (also because I tried to do that and failed! :lol:), but he may have to be in profile for the actual attack animation. I don't know.
(the dog from the other Shinobi game, Shadow Dancer, came to mind now, I'll have to check that out too.)

The bright blue guys are some characters I had in mind for a while now. I wanted something that would look magical, so having at least one of them have a helmet with a hole in it and no eyes seemed to fit that bill. I'm not sure if they'll make the cut, though, because they may be too weird (?!) for that type of setting. Or maybe that's a good thing, I don't know. Things are in movement, still, changing all the time.

The 3/4 angle comes a bit from Street Fighter, where your characters are not in profile the whole time (or ever!) and I think it helps in describing the character better, whichever it may be. You're right about the shield, and I was conscious about the lack of shadow behind it in one of those, which is why I introduced a fourth color... yet I didn't remove the blue highlight, which I should. Probably. If I don't have any palettes and sprites to spare.
Drawing with just three colors is much tougher than I thought it would be.
I like the way you did the shield in the middle there, a bit more rotated towards the attacker, and the shadow in the third guy too... I think I'm going to incorporate at least one of those two things.

And yeah, the girl does look like that girl from Game of Thrones! :lol:
That absolutely wasn't intentional. But like with the barbarian, I think that that portrait will have different areas of color, so I could change her hair color, at least. Or maybe I could make her skin paler and have the hair be darker... I'll experiment a bit with that.

Again, thanks for the feedback, help, opinions, pixel-overs, all that stuff! And helping me make the gears on my head turn some more!
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on June 16, 2021, 11:52:13 pm
So I started changing things on our "princess" character and ended up changing her so much... Now I think I'm gonna keep both. :P

(https://i.imgur.com/Z2cQTtD.png)
(still WIP...)


Didn't do much progress on the enemies, only changed a few things here and there.

(https://i.imgur.com/LBuO8mu.png)
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: cels on June 19, 2021, 05:36:02 pm
Cool! I consider all the changes to be improvements. The princess went from Khaleesi to Ripley 8 (kidding) and I like what you did with the shield and the shadows.This is nitpicking but I would probably try to make sure that the distance from the ground to the crotch is similar for the shield guy as for other characters. Otherwise, it seems like his hips are too low and the proportions are off, at least to my eye. Take with pinch of salt.
Title: Re: Barbarian sprite with NES specs [WIP][C+C]
Post by: fskn on June 19, 2021, 07:10:45 pm
This is nitpicking but I would probably try to make sure that the distance from the ground to the crotch is similar for the shield guy as for other characters. Otherwise, it seems like his hips are too low and the proportions are off, at least to my eye. Take with pinch of salt.
Gawsh darn it, I knew something was bothering me but for some reason I could not tell what it was, yet the thing was right fuggin' there! I lifted the hips/waist 1 pixel and they look much better now.
Thank you!

Now, did I compare it to the other characters? No, because I'm a bastard. But I like them better now, so there's that.

(https://i.imgur.com/LHj9bD0.gif)
(that animation looks a bit sexual now, though...)

I still have to do another pass, and make some more enemy types... Including bosses. Some of which could (will?) be bigger.

---

Sketching a few more, seeing what sticks:

(https://i.imgur.com/ZaDgveC.png)



A few more tests, all still very rough.

(https://i.imgur.com/ETFXOwf.png)

That dragon would probably need to be twice that size... And now that I've sketched it I'm thinking I should make a snake instead. Dragons are for knights what giant snakes are for shirtless barbarians.



(https://i.imgur.com/LtEFq47.png)

Yeah, that would be better, I think.