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Messages - Ashbad
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Holy hell it's been a long time since I've updated this.  Or worked on it really

Picked it back up again yesterday, made good progress:

time lapse of the sprite over the past few hours.  I made it at like 2 AM and was hoping that I wouldn't wake up and realize it was shit but it turns out I actually like it more now than last night.  Made his colors saturated to stand out against the background, and because I think it has a nice, fresh look to it that way.  Tried to make it readable and use some good cluster techniques (didn't completely achieve this but I think it looks readable at least.)  His perspective against the rest of the objects and the room is questionable, but I don't think the average player would mind, and I don't want him looking like a fat dwarf like Link in ALTTP.  Made a lot of door and window variations, but only one variation of each is shown.  Tweaked colors in existing tiles here and there.  Scrapped that old title splash screen thing, going to reimagine it later once I have some more important assets (like actually animating the sprite, for one) finished.

Music department is going slowly, but I've been doing a lot of music theory study lately so hopefully when I do get an idea I'll execute it better.

Programming / shader effects department still completely nonexistent, still working out the best way to simulate 3D objects from the 2D tiles, pretty much leaning towards a normal map, just figuring out how I'm going to go about actually making the normalmap tiles efficiently (and hopefully without lots of manual number crunching.)  Might model some things out (like pots and blocks, etc.) out in blender and derive their normalmaps from that.  Still a lot of work to do.

Still going over all of your ideas Facet, thanks for all the feedback thus far!  ;D

Thanks for the advice on the story!  I'm going to try and fill in the gaps / cut out the crap tonight if possible.

> Title

Damn, that looks awesome.  Probably more windwakery than I was intending, but I think I understand what you mean by the looser, thicker style.  I can probably keep the general shape of the font, but I'm going to try and redo it from scratch tonight as well.

Hmm, yeah I'm going to try that with the blocks.  Probably as soon as I get home, since that should be a much quicker job than the other two.  And then after that I might try to translate the character to pixels, at last.

> Music

Thanks!  Yeah, LttP used between 4-6 channels with most of its songs, I'm generally using around 8, and using less harsh sounding instruments, just because LttP songs sound kind of abrupt on a PC with headphones on (but if you play it through the main laptop speaker instead they sound as intended.)  And since I'm going for a PC game it's only smart to cater to sounding good on PC, I suppose :)  Tried to still keep it a bit abrupt sounding though, so the feeling isn't entirely lost.

Sorry I haven't replied sooner, I've been working furiously on another song for the game and I'm almost finished:

(Not pixel art, but since this is the only other "overworld" theme other than that town theme, I think it's also important to post in order to give an idea of the game's atmosphere/tone -- which I still need to work better on portraying correctly.)

I'll edit in my updates tonight :)

Rupees and pots are a slightly unusual place to start! What's the player character(s) like, what's the scenario in a nutshell?

 ;D Started with the first object I though of, more of a self assurance that I could make something of high enough caliber to keep going.  Plus, rupees ("resins" in this case) are always cool looking so I literally got distracted by the shiny objects first. 

As for the character, I'm apprehensive to post anything quite yet because I'm still sketching things in my notepad (almost finalized a design); I have the idea in my head, but I don't want him to be either too cute, too badass, or poorly drawn -- he's supposed to be a mix between the former two -- and so far I haven't found the mix I like.  Main character is the game's namesake, Trio, who wakes up from a dream to realize he's in an high-high-fantasy setting.  Stumbles across village, joins local band of thieves, runs from antagonist who apparently wants something Trio has, Trio needs to escape back home to survive.  Rough 2 synopsis, I could go on further but I'd probs get too descriptive really fast :y:

Setting: really, while I love dragons and castles and all, I'm going for something that's really as far from traditional medieval as possible.  Instead of dropping things like the generic magic stuff, I'm dropping the generic dragons and castles and stuff.  Hard to explain, hoping it will make better sense once I get a main story draft/outdoor tiles/overworld theme song kicking.  For now, again, hard to put in words, unfortunately.

Main Character: I don't want to say naive, quiet, etc., since those are pretty vague, but I'm trying to get him to portray the opposite of a stereotypical rude dipshit 8-10 year old boy.  "cute" in a non-creepy, relatable way.  It's surprisingly hard to make him look like a fighter at the same time.  Perhaps I can post the best sketch I can get tomorrow and ask for C+C to see if I'm going in a good direction.

I don't think the colours are that bad but some of the rupees are oddly desaturated for gems and the lamps aren't lighting themselves up even :P, could do with a bit more oomph overall I reckon. I usually slop big areas of flat colour over the prospective scene to get a feel for the scheme before actually getting down to working up individual elements.

Ah, the lamps  ::)  Yeah, was just testing out a darker-colored variation of the lamp (the purple one), to see how it would look.  I've tested the normal orange-yellow one before, was moderately happy with results:

What doesn't show up is that I'm going to program in a sort of circular purple filter that surrounds the lamp and lights up the area around it, leaving a "glow" without looking like a cheesy 32-bit RGBA transparency overlay.  Still tossing around ideas, might do a bit of a bump-map for all of the indoor tiles and do it with shader, and with areas exposed to light, shift the color towards the next purpler/bluer/greener/etc. (Depending on the torch's color) on a set palette so it still looks like untainted retro even though I'm cheating.  Might be a lot of work, but it would be a very fun thing to add, so I'd be willing to spend a week or more on such a feature.

As for the resins (name for the rupees in-game), yeah, I got so carried away with doing cool hue-shifting that I forgot to really play with the value contrast.  :P  Yeah, I think I should do a revision on them, thanks for mentioning.

Not sure about the dither shadows or 1pix outlines on the titles, LttP had a lot of nice fat black lines and shadows. I might have a fiddle later but it's too late for me here atm.

Great point, now that you mention it I really want to go back and play with some nice thicker, slightly cartoony lines.  As for the dither shadows, in hindsight I agree with you, I think I'm going to go for a deep desaturated purple shadow, which I can try to put together tomorrow morning.

Music sounds authentic, are you using an old Zelda soundtrack soundfont?

Actually, a good number of the samples/instruments were either hand-made or heavily edited :)  For the flute I studied a couple of completely royalty free flute samples and spliced together some of the waveforms, edited them a bit by hand, added a lot of effects, and exported 16-bit 32kHz audio -- pretty similar with the violin.  (of course, I'm keeping track of the royalty free authors, because even though they sound different from the original, and the four or so specific samples didn't require acknowledgement, I think it's only fair.)  The Contrabass is a far less edited version of a royalty free soundfont, and the spirit-like droning is the (kind of corny) angel-voice sample from the same soundfont, heavily edited, and transposed down 4 octaves.

Also I've been studying the actual scores from LttP/some other SNES games, and I've been seeing what makes them so memorable/dramatic/mood-heavy.  The Frontier Village theme started off sounding like a slightly happier version of the kakariko village theme in mixolydian mode, but shifted more towards what I wanted it to be -- more childish and with more charisma to it.  I'm finding myself writing melodies now and zelda-fying them rather than the other way around, which I hope will add more of my own touch to them.

Anyways I'm tired as all hell, it's super late here as well, but I greatly appreciated the feedback and I'm hoping to have some improvements tomorrow.  Sorry for wall of text, I'm tired and when I'm tired I just tend to spew more.  And, thanks again!

Anyways, nighto

Got some more tiles done

I'm mostly happy with the pixel placement but I think the colors need a lot more work.  They all looked great until I put them all together, and some things contrast wildly with others and it's an eyesore.  (It does look better at 2x zoom tho, since that's the magnification I pixel'd the thing at, only posting 1x since that's the rules) I'm done for the night though, so I'll try to post any updates to the color tomorrow.

General Discussion / Re: Why do we still use pixel art nowadays ?
« on: January 13, 2014, 01:35:59 am »
Well, your "Classical Music" example is exactly on-mark with my opinion as well.  What you deem "Classical" refers to mostly European Music that was most prominent from the late 15th century to the early 20th century.  Over time it advanced from simple tonal music to more involved romantic-era music.  But we still had composers in the mid-to-late 20th century like Reich and Cage, and 21st century composers, who took/take ideas from centuries earlier and either emulated them accordingly, or added modern techniques to the style.  Similar to pixel art today, with the new theories on things like pixel clusters being added to an otherwise old style

But also the nostalgia of course.  That's why I make/use pixel art.  It's my number one reason

other than that, it's a good way to fit more detail into a smaller space with more precision at times than uncontrolled digital art, I suppose

Pixel Art / Trio [Zelda-like retro art, music, etc.]
« on: January 12, 2014, 03:35:50 am »
Hey, I'm not dead

Finally got over a long slump of non-motivation, and started working on a game project.  Similar to looks with post-NES zelda games.  Gameplay is a bit more complex.  Music/etc. is similar in style but a bit more orchestrated.

Of course, looking for critique as I complete more and more tiles/sprites.  Right now they are sparse, but I'm starting to pump them out fast.

Also, sorry in advance that almost everything is 2x magnification; in future posts they won't be (not on a device that can cleanly make them 1x size again.)  They were 2x since the actual game will have everything scaled 2x nearest-neighbor.

WIP of the main title screen (just text at the point; still working on improving the clouds, they're just rough at this point)

Some tiles / sprites

Also, not art related, but my soundcloud, has some music for the game on it (first two near the top are completed songs):

(I feel it's important to also post music, since without music+art together, you can't get an actual idea of the intended atmosphere)

Anyways, would love some pointers where they could be given; for now, probably mostly on that main title screen with the clouds.  I'm planning on making less flat cloud forms, and maybe slightly anti-aliasing the main title text (so far I've messed up AA pretty bad in my attempts.)  Could specifically use any resources anyone might have on cloud formations, and how they're composed in 3D space; right now I'm going on the assumption of spheres of varying sizes that are meshed together at different distances from the main viewing plane.


Pixel Art Feature Chest / Re: THE CLUSTER STUDY THREAD!
« on: October 23, 2013, 10:23:35 pm »

Mainly tried to trim Ryu down a shade without robbing him of his original doughiness, as well as to sort out the fabric a bit (although not totally successfully).

EDIT: Those pants were really bugging me and demanded another pass.

I don't have anything technical to say, but I like your edit, overall it's a lot cleaner!  Only thing I really dislike is the new face, the old one had much more personality.  Perhaps try accentuating his old features to be a bit stronger/ more visible?  Might just be me, though.

Thanks for being helpful like always, Ai!  I'll try some sketches tonight (most likely just cubes to start) and maybe post here to keep track of progress, and ask further questions if needed.

I've been working things out, I just have nothing interesting to post; just a bunch of value-painted cubes in different perspectives.  I have worked out some things I've had issues with before, though; for example, I always wondered how to decide the "strength" of perspective on an object.  Now I realize that if the edges of an object are relatively close to both vanishing points (in a simple 2-point, no-tilt perspective) are technically "closer" to you in the Z-position, and hence seem to pop out at you.  I suppose that, by extension, I now know how to decide how far away things are based by their top and bottom edge angles.

Going to continue with 3 point perspective (which is starting off well so far), and hopefully draw some simple objects from life (pots, vases, etc.) tonight if I'm not too busy, maybe post some of the life drawings for quick improvement tips.

General Discussion / Would like to get back into art of any sort... help?
« on: October 20, 2013, 11:03:09 pm »
Most of you have forgotten about me, but I'm back from hiatus!  I'm most of the way through college applications and once they're all in, senior year should be a breeze.  I've done some heavy Music Theory studying, but I would love to get back into visual artistry, perhaps with a good amount of fun pixeling on the side, now that I have nearly a year before I have to worry about classes in college.

That being said, I was a shitty artist before (not the worst in the world, but among the bottom quartile here), and I'm pretty sure that I've lost most of the skill I had gained so quickly before.  I don't have much time to study or practice these days, but I would like to spend some time getting back up to speed, and hopefully gain some completely new skills.  What's the best way to ease back into things?  Should I just ignore pixeling at first and just get back the basics on traditional media?  Should I have a regimented schedule, or just cram in time whenever possible/when I feel like it?  What are the best things to study first (given that I used to have some problems with things like perspective and human anatomy)?  TIA!

EDIT: It might be worth saying that I can spend only an hour a day practicing; I'm just asking to see what things I should make sure to fit into that time period and what things are a little less essential.

General Discussion / Re: Happy Birthday to Helm!
« on: May 08, 2013, 11:23:25 pm »
Have a (belated) GOAT-tier* birthday!

* Assuming we're talking about urban dictionary entry one, and not two

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