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Topics - dkh
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Hey there!

Long time no see, Pixelation! I wanted to share my new project "The Art of Dying". It's made with a software called "Adventure Game Studio" that I've been using and abusing for non-adventure game for ten years now. This is a solo project, meaning I'm programming the entire thing, I'm drawing all the art and animation and design the game. The music in the video is used with permission and is by the amazing Tom Woxom - found on the equally wonderful!

The way I want to present the game is with short video segments: each one focuses on one particular aspect of the game. This first installment talks about the most important game play mechanic in any platformer: movement! Please take a look:

In the video I demonstrate the way I implemented movement, acceleration/deceleration on different surfaces (solid and slippery), jumping, double-jumping and ducking.

Let me expand a little on two of the points made in the video:

- Featuring smooth movement (with acceleration and deceleration) as opposed to hard fixed-pixel movement is very important. The former gives a much more modern feel to your game, the latter is more precise and exact. I went for very subtle smooth movement and put a lot of effort into finding 'correct' values so that you would just barely notice that there is smooth movement in the game but still keep the controls as tight as possible.

- Jump systems are a second, fundamentally important aspect of platformers. There are several different styles that you can follow: There's the simple way. You hit the jump button and it results in the same exact jump every time no matter what. Then there's the Mario way: the jump starts when you push the jump button and gets an upward boost for a limited amount of time if you hold the jump button. That gives the gameplay much more complexity as you can now have jumps that players need to be careful not to overshoot (down-facing spikes over gaps anyone?) and you need to master the regulation of the jump. And then there's the double-jump system that I went for. It's like the first-mentioned primitive jumping system except that you can, well, double-jump. I went for this latter approach because it allows the player to regulate the jumps and makes the gameplay more complex and, at the same time, it looks really cool to double-jump all over the place. Don't ever underestimate how important it is for core gameplay mechanics to just be straight-up dumb fun (and complete unrealistic from a physics point of view)!

I will be releasing a second video very shortly from now which will focus on the various attacks in the game! Please let me know what you think of my project, the ideas I talked about in the video and in this post and ask any questions you might have!

Pixel Art / Remaking Flashback...
« on: November 16, 2008, 11:55:37 pm »
No, I'm not gonna try it, just kidding. :P

In fact I was referencing a piece by Helm that I found on pixeljoint. Take a look here.

I instantly liked the style and the - as he says - somewhat bland palette and tried to design some assets that would fit.

Ignore the black pixel...

This was only done as a practice and I hope I don't break any rules by doing this study of style or however you want to call it. Some of the pixels in the image above (namely, the blue pipes in the background, the fan block thingie on the celing and large parts of the general design of the big gray gates - the palette as well) are taken from Helm's work, I'm not trying to call them my own or anything - they are in there as to capture the style. If there are objections, I will delete the thread.

I do think there is enough own material in there to allow some general pointers as to where I should improve though, and that's exactly what I want.  :D

Also, here is a running animation for the player character, six frames (I realize eight would probably look smoother, working on it):

Also note that it's all designed to work at fullscreen!

Pixel Art / RTS - GUI @ 320x200
« on: September 07, 2008, 07:22:13 pm »
I'm working on a real-time strategy game with the working title "Troopers". I'd like some critique on my latest version of the GUI.

The numbers on the top of the screen represent resources (not happy with this yet, bad readability? - icons will be replaced once I figure out what kind of resource the game's gonna have in the end, btw), the buttons on the bottom-left are used for special orders/actions depending on what unit is selected (crosshair: attack, arrow pointing down: stop, shield: defend, construction tower: construct production structure, flask: construct research structure) - of course, a marine won't be able to construct anything, this is just a mock-up to show off the icons, bottom-right is reserved for the radar-map and the middle shows statistics for the currently selected unit (in this case a marine, which is a small ground unit [important to know for the player because of how damage is calculated] and two attack-upgrades for it and no armor ones have been upgraded, symbolized by the icons.

I'm trying to enhance this GUI as much as possible, both visually and functionally. The battlefield itself is not a priority right now although it IS an ingame-show so you can, if you want to, drop a few lines on it as well, it's just not nearly as final as the GUI yet.

Any feedback is appreciated.

Pixel Art / Box in 12/16 angles OR RTS-units in DDP-style
« on: October 28, 2007, 10:39:58 am »

I'm trying to work on sprites for a real-time strategy game. Since I'm not yet a very accomplished pixel-guy, I stick to the stuff I think I know. So, I recently made that enemy for Dodonpachi and now I think this style might look really good in a strategy-game as well.

The only problem: while Dodonpachi sprites only have to be one-directional (most enemies face down), I need 12 or 16 angles (north, east, south, west and either 2 or 3 directions in between). Now, that sounded pretty impossible at first, but then I realized that the Dodonpachi-style is geometrically very easy, so if I am able to draw a box correctly in all those directions, I should only have to apply the same method to the boxes and shapes on my sprite and, all of the sudden, it all seems pretty doable.

So, I started studying the box in 16 directions, but I can't get it to look right and I start to wonder whether there might be any tricks or anything I don't know about. Here's my current attempt (which I know, sucks - shifting volume, shifting position):

Can anybody give me any tips or quick sketches etc. to help my here. Or, has anybody any experience in drawing the directions for RTS-units? I know that it's common technique to use pre-rendered graphics in those game (mostly because of all the directions, I guess), but I'd really like to stick to pixel art, here.

Oh, and here (shameless self-promotion) is the Dodonpachi-styled enemy that I posted before and now want to turn into a RTS-unit:

Any help is appreciated.

Pixel Art / Yet another platformer-mockup...
« on: October 07, 2007, 11:15:43 pm »
Hey guys,

I've worked on this, my second more serious mock-up, for quite a while now and think I'm finally ready to post it here. It was done with the rules from the MF3 in mind, but since it's an original "game idea" and not a title-demake, it doesn't qualify. Anyways, here it is:

original - 160x144 - 4 colors - made to be viewed in x2 (left-click)

Please ignore the player-part in the UI (bottom-left corner of the screen).

I'd like to know what you guys think, suggestions and paint-overs are very welcome, as always, so don't hesitate. But keep in mind that the palette is fixed (so: no palette-edits) and that the original Gameboy tile-dimensions (8x8) and sprite-dimensions (8x8 or 8x16) apply.

Problem areas are the wooden crates, the spikes and the kinda empty top-part of the screen as far as I can tell, please help me there. Also, do you think it reads well? Readability was my main goal, but I have looked at it for a too long time to still be able to tell how it does, I need a fresh pair of eyes to be the judge there. :)

Pixel Art / [newb] Platformer-Mockup
« on: September 01, 2007, 12:20:57 pm »
Hey guys,

I'm new here, so I hope I'm doing everything right. As the title says, I'm still quite the newbie when it comes to pixel-art. Here's a little mockup for a platformer-game, which I made for a small contest on a different forum. The restrictions where 128x128 and 32 colors.

128x128 with 32 colors...

I just noticed with the board-color in the background, it looks very dark - with a more neutral color it seemed brighter.

Anyways, what I'm looking for is criticism of all kind (as long as it stays constructive, of course) - I'd really like to hear how or what I could improve, in order for it to look more professional and... well... better. By the way, I admire a lot of work I've seen around here!

I'm especially curios when it comes to the colors I selected (spent a rather long time on it to create that sunset-atmosphere in the level) and the shading.

I look forward to including your suggestions (paint-overs are very welcomed as well, if you have the time) and posting other pieces of my work over time (and thus maybe documenting my way from a little pixel-pusher to a true pixel-artist)... ;)

EDIT: As you can probably see, I spent a lot of time watching Helm's mockup-video. It's not copied or anything though!

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