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Topics - Ryumaru
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Job offers / MOVED: Contract Template
« on: May 02, 2020, 12:31:16 am »

« on: May 02, 2020, 12:29:15 am »

Pixel Art / MOVED: Question about hiring an artist.
« on: March 07, 2020, 12:20:20 am »

Job offers / MOVED: [UNPAID] Pixel artist for a background image
« on: January 17, 2020, 05:56:42 am »

Job offers / MOVED: [PAID] Pixel Artist Looking For Work
« on: September 24, 2017, 07:52:12 pm »

General Discussion / Hidden Gem: Kakurenbo Monster Battle Tactics
« on: November 25, 2016, 12:53:27 pm »
Hey pix,
As some of you may know, I'm a little obsessed with GBC restriction stuff. Well in one of my random searches a while back, I stumbled upon a gem I had never seen before and would like to share with you guys: Kakurenbo Monster Battle Tactics. The Japan only nature of the game is probably the reason for this, but I'm still surprised at the lack of exposure this game has.

I was immediately captured by the extremely well done portraits, brought to mind Justin Cyr; not many games do low color, 32x32 portraits as well as this one. The variety of characters and powerful instant reads breath a lot of life into this game. Beyond that, the shadow based mechanic of the game is really impressive to be done on a GBC cartridge.

The environment work is more standard rpg, but is very servicable, and the bright colors and crisp shapes definitely lend to a highly polished look. This game being released near the end of the GBC lifespan makes sense, as it often feels more like an early GBA title.

I doubt anything will ever dethrone Star Ocean: Blue sphere in terms of superior GBC graphics, but it's nice to have a new title to oogle at! Below are some screenshots, and at the end, a collection of some of the portraits I put together. I don't have the time to go through the game with it being all japanese, but if some brave or knowledgeable soul wants to take a stab at getting some rips of the later characters, that would be awesome :D

The purpose of this challenge is to give the environments of Castlevania a little love. While they do have a lot of that old school grid-like charm, there's lots of room for improvement! with a focus on design, eliminating the grid, and more organic feel, there are lessons to be learned here that can apply to modern pixel art, and even hi res 2D games.

Here is the NES palette, as well as a link to Kasumi's post on some of it's restrictions:

The most important restrictions being: 4 available 4 color palettes that all share one universal color (usually black), and that each 16x16 area must share the same palette. Keep in mind that the HUD needs a palette, so if you have 4 on screen, one of them needs to be shared with the hud!

However, as if things weren't hard enough with just those colors to choose from, we also have a tile limit due to how this game handled graphics, says the great Kasumi ( I pleaded with him, but he didn't budge) here is your blank canvas of 128 tiles.

Choose one of these screenshots to give a makeover to ( or find your own!). It can be a near 1:1 translation, or you can go nuts and do your own thing! That goes for placement, design, everything. As long as it fits the restrictions.

Here is an example I put together to get the ball rolling. Mine is perhaps a bit busy, so I challenge you to show me up! Note the extra tiles left over that could be used for stairs and other things further into the level.

Commercial Critique / Commercial Critique - Castlevania
« on: March 18, 2016, 08:04:46 am »
( Let's pretend this activity started remotely near any sort of Bloodstained announcement so I can seem clever and coordinated.)
Game: Castlevania
Platform: NES
Developer: Konami

Welcome back to CC guys! This quarter we are tackling Castlevania, a title dear to many. It's creation planted the seeds for the later PSX title: Symphony of the night (with many installments in between), whose RPG elements, when mixed with Metroid's shortcut centric, interlaced maps,  would go on to create the  "Metroidvania" style of games that are so popular in indie development today. But let's not get too ahead of ourselves, as we are here to go back to the basics and reflect on not only what made this game great, but what could perhaps be improved graphically with a modern critical eye.

The purpose of this CC is to analyze what does and doesn't work about this game from a visual standpoint. Once the discussion get's going, take this information over to the activity where you are given the task of revamping a map for a more interesting, organic look!

Feel free to add more screenshots in the thread if you like. I'm a pleb that got too frustrated with Medusa heads to capture much of any later levels.

For those looking for some more in-depth information about the game, here's some analysis from our resident NES expert, Kasumi:

Castlevania 1 is UNROM.  It does not have CHR ROM. This means the PPU (NES' video card basically) is reading from RAM, not ROM when it displays Castlevania's sprite tiles and background tiles. The game must copy tile data from its PRG ROM (a separate eprom tied to the CPU not the PPU) to the CHR RAM. Graphics can be compressed in CHR RAM games (since the CPU can transform the data to what the PPU expects before it copies it to RAM), but Castlevania does not appear to do this. CHR ROM on the other hand must be stored in the right format, because it's ROM and can't be modified.

NES has two sets of 256 eight by eight tiles in memory at any given time. Usually one set is used for the background, and the other is used for sprites. NES can display 64 sprites at any given time. Castlevania takes advantage of an 8x16 sprite mode. This lets one cover more of the screen with sprites than 8x8 mode (there is always a limit of 64 sprites, but 8x16 sprites are bigger). It also allows one to use both of the 256 tile sets to display sprites, but there's a caveat. Two adjacent tiles MUST be used, even for a sprite that is meant to be 8x8.

Here are the two sets in memory during the first gameplay scene of Castlevania:

On the left is the "sprite" set. On the right is the "background" set. But you'll notice a very common sprite on the background side: The heart pickup. You'll also see it has a blank tile immediately to its right. This is because the bottom half of an 8x16 sprite MUST use the tile to the right of the top half. If that tile were not blank, the heart would have those not blank pixels drawn below it. You'll see some other things that are clearly sprites on the background side.

In fact, Castlevania only changes half of its background tile set for each "level" during gameplay. The other 128 tiles don't change. Some are reserved for sprites, some are for the HUD, some are ??? (I'm not familiar enough with Castlevania.)

Here are some "gameplay" tilesets to demonstrate this:

The bottom 7 rows of 16 tiles do not change. The 8 tiles in the middle of the 2 rows above the bottom 7 rows also do not change. This means to create a proper Castlevania level, you must use only 128 unique background tiles in it!

Here are all the graphics from Castlevania. (Maybe. Being a CHR RAM game, some might be compressed, but it seems like they didn't bother.)

Job offers / MOVED: Need help making 2D pixel characters!
« on: December 30, 2015, 04:10:26 am »

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