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Messages - eliddell
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Pixel Art / Re: Sprites and tiles and UI bits, oh my!
« on: April 17, 2021, 07:40:17 pm »
Okay, iteration the next: 

Reduced the banding, reshaded several areas.  I think that unless you guys can spot something grossly wrong, I'm going to leave it at that, and move on to the back and side views.

I'm aware that I tend to introduce way too much banding and grain into my work (and then have trouble spotting it myself).  Not doing much in the way of art for a couple of years probably made it worse.

Minor details:  the gradients are hue shifted, just not by very much—if you look at HSV samples, the lightest green has a hue of around 80, and the darkest is around 100.  Too conservative, probably.

The image host seems to have recompressed the big screenshot at the end of my earlier post  :( .  Good to know before I post about this project elsewhere, I suppose—I'll need to use smaller screenshots, find a higher-bandwidth image host, or dig out my login info for the webspace I've had for the past ten years but never used.  (Some of it would have shown anti-aliasing anyway, since the most of the UI is built out of primitives drawn by the game framework, but nothing like that.)

Pixel Art / Re: Sprites and tiles and UI bits, oh my!
« on: April 15, 2021, 02:06:39 am »
I think cels has nailed just what was wrong with the side frames—they're too side-on.  That's what I get for using other people's sprite work as reference without checking that they got it right.  :blind:

Fresh attempt at the front frame, redone mostly from scratch:

Not quite sure about the legs, shorts, ears, or perspective, but we've gone from robotic-expressionless to, "Hey, I'm having a bad day, and if you get in my way, you're going to have a worse one."  That's probably an improvement.  He's also acquired a shadow, and some muscle definition.  Looking back at the original sprite, I'm not quite sure what I was thinking in some regards.

About the tiles—I was mostly just kvetching, truth be told.  The only terrain tiles that would be affected are what would have been shadowed wall corners under the old lighting scheme.  The item tiles that will need to be reworked are mostly 1. mushrooms or 2. armour, and some of the armour tiles are pretty terrible anyway.

The perspective is intended to sort of match the cabinet perspective typical of SNES-era Squaresoft games like Final Fantasy VI, but the sprites in those are so small it's difficult to figure out whether they're perfectly side-on or matching the terrain.  I'm not doing the weird Zelda perspective where you can see all four walls at once or anything like that.

I do have this broken down into chunks/small milestones, although I sometimes get a bit ahead of myself.  Next set of art assets required:  the goblin and his move, attack, and die animations, and one monster (giant rat) and its move, attack, and die animations.  Next coding milestone:  hook up certain bits of the UI so that they're displaying real information and not placeholders, and debug the minimap that's supposed to be appearing on the bottom right.  At that point, I can either work on basic combat or sidestep into dungeon feature placement for a bit.

Existing terrain tiles (I'm not thrilled with the floor tiles, but they don't look quite as bad in context as they do here): 

Existing item tiles (the mushrooms will not be grey in-game): 

Terrain tiles in context (procedurally generated level with old goblin sprite and unfinished UI bits): 

Pixel Art / Re: Sprites and tiles and UI bits, oh my!
« on: April 13, 2021, 02:01:43 pm »
(Text now, art probably this evening/tomorrow.)

I should perhaps give a little more background, because this is a comparatively mild-mannered goblin.

He's from a village at the bottom of a cave, where his ancestors have lived for generations.  Problem is, there's now lava encroaching into their living quarters, so they have to Get Out Of There ASAP.

None of the goblins have gone more than a couple of levels upward from their village in generations.  The village has collectively decided that the most useless person who still has a chance of clearing out the monsters on the floors above is the apprentice of the shaman/village elder.  So he's been sent out to fight not entirely willingly, and will probably spend half his time on the first couple of floors wondering how he got into this and why he was dumb enough to help finish off the supplies of mushroom moonshine they can't carry with them last night.  So grumpy and hung over, but not really vicious.  I should have given more thought to the facial detail and posture, though—currently, my version has a lot less personality than yours.

I take your point about the feet.  I've been holding off on cast shadows until I decide whether to go with a translucent version of the near-black brown already in the palette, or something else.  (They are going to have to be translucent shadows, because of the possibility the sprite could be standing on top of an item on the floor, which needs to be reasonably visible if he is.)

Altering the direction of the light is going to require changes to thirty-odd existing tiles . . . but I'm looking at on the order of 300 sprite frames (4-dir movement + 4-dir attack + a death animation per sprite, plus casting or throwing animations for some, plus single static sprite frames of 20 other goblin villagers).  So yeah, changing the lighting direction will probably be an improvement in the long run.

(Want to know what the really scary part is?  Thirty monster types is a really small inventory for this type of game.  Big roguelikes may have hundreds of monster types.  For some reason, they don't animate their tiles, if they even bother having any.)

Pixel Art / Sprites and tiles and UI bits, oh my!
« on: April 10, 2021, 08:00:24 pm »
Here beginneth my posting of the laughable assets for my game project, in the hope of improving them a bit.

This is my goblin.  You can call him A, because his placeholder name in the unfinished game UI is "A. Goblin".  A is the protagonist of my roguelike game project, currently known as "Goblin Mage".  He's presented here against a background colour that matches the main colour of the most-common in-game floor tile (we'll get to the tiles later).

I suspect his arms in the side views are too long, but I'm not sure by how much or whether there's a better way to position them (or is the perspective just playing tricks on me?).

I'm also not sure about the shading around his ear in the bottommost, right-facing view.  Hopefully it's at least clear that the light source is above-left.

I suck at drawing humanoids. :(  And I really need to do my best to fix this guy, because the player is going to be staring at him all the time.

A has a walk cycle.  The walk cycle is terrible.  This is partly on purpose (the idea is to use the smallest possible number of frames, because I have to do four-directional movement animations for ~30 different creatures, which will go much quicker if I use step-pause-step-pause 1-2-1-3 walk cycles out of the 8-bit era), but in this case, I know there should be some torso rotation on the two "step" frames but can't convey it without making things look worse, in addition to the problems from the static frames.

I've included the full game palette in the walk-frames pic.  The idea is to keep it under 64 colours.  Currently I believe it's at 51.  The game is grid-based, with a nominal grid-square size of 32px, but sprites can slop over a couple of additional pixels to the right and an indefinite distance upwards without causing significant breakage.  (The intention is to have some 64x64 boss monsters, but I haven't gotten to that part of the engine code yet.)

General Discussion / Re: Different colors on different screens
« on: April 06, 2021, 12:25:28 am »
The topics you want to look up here are color management, color profiles, color calibration, and color temperature.  The short version is:  setting a display up correctly requires a special device and is too much work and expense for most people not working professionally in a graphics-related field, so chances are good you'll never encounter one that's 100% properly adjusted.  In this case, it sounds like your laptop is set to a warmer colour temperature (sometimes called "white point") than your TV.

Personally, I just always use the same screen, whose quirks I know, and make peace with the fact that no one else is guaranteed to see exactly what I do.

(And if you want to insert an image into a post, upload it to a separate image hosting site like or and use the address the hosting site gives you.)

Pixel Art / Re: Clouds and purple
« on: April 05, 2021, 08:39:35 pm »
Seriously, muscle-powered propellers do have some history in the real world, but it's with early submarines rather than dirigibles.

The clouds in the photo could possibly be rolling surf, but not treetops.  I think fskn is right about them being more readable because of value contrast.

Anyway, the figure in the foreground looks better now than in the original version of the picture, including the mask reading more clearly as a mask.

(And if you think your skill level is low, wait until I actually get around to posting the state of my current (game) project.  I expect plenty of laughter will ensue.)

Pixel Art / Re: Clouds and purple
« on: April 05, 2021, 04:06:53 pm »
Actually, propellers aren't impossible with medieval tech—you just have to make them muscle-powered.  So inside the dirigible, there are a bunch of sweaty slaves (or dogs or goats) running on a treadmill to get the propellers to turn fast enough to give the thing steering way, and a power train made from pulleys, leather belts, and the big wooden peg-gears you see in windmills to transmit the energy along.  Another possibility is that it's effectively on rails, guided by a rope or wire strung between two high points.  The hydrogen to inflate the gas bag is slightly more of a stretch, but not too much of one:  oil of vitriol (AKA sulfuric acid, known at least from the 13th century) + salt + a metal spoon + some bright young alchemist willing to investigate the results.

I do think that if the dirigible is important enough to be in the picture, it's important enough that you don't want people to mistake it for a floating rock, as I initially did. ;)

As for the clouds . . .  I think you said in the thread with the wisent caravan pic that these were illustrations for some larger, combined work?  It's possible that the clouds won't ever be unambiguously interpretable without the context the larger work would provide unless you compromise your vision a bit.  It all depends on what you think is most important, I guess.

The diamond pattern could work, but not in that colour, I think.  It needs to fall in line better with the rest of the palette.

Pixel Art / Re: Beginner Tree
« on: April 04, 2021, 04:34:28 pm »
Here are the things that jump out at me:

1. The lighting's inconsistent.  The leaves appear to be lit from almost directly above (maybe just a hair to the right), but the trunks are lit from our right (and not from above at all).  Keep in mind that the trunks will be in the shadow of the branches and leaves.

2. The bottom edge of the highlight on the foliage of the narrower tree needs to be more curved.  Currently it looks messy.

3. The cutoff between the different shades of brown on the trunks is so abrupt it looks like you'd get hexagonal logs if you cut these trees down.  Break up those straight lines with bark texture or dithering.

4.  This is partly due to the stylized look you've chosen, but the transition from highlight to mid to shadow on the foliage are a little tidier than I'd like.  There should be occasional patches of shadow in the brightly-lit areas where a gap in the leaves lets you see further back into the tree, and occasional brighter patches among the midtone leaves near the highlight where some branch sticks out a bit further.  Experiment.

Just my $0.02 worth.

Pixel Art / Re: Clouds and purple
« on: March 30, 2021, 08:57:39 pm »
Quick, crappy paintover that attempts to make the clouds more clearly cloud-like:

If it isn't immediately clear, what I mostly did was lower the level of the clouds relative to the buildings, especially that one tower on the third hill back, and make the dropoffs sharper in spots.  I . . . think it worked at least a little bit?  Although the dirigible now looks like it's about to have a Controlled Flight Into Terrain-type accident. ;)

I also give the dirigible itself some (dim) running lights and punched up the contrast around the gondola to try to make it read more clearly without drawing attention away from the main figure.

Pixel Art / Re: My pixel art for my baby game
« on: March 30, 2021, 02:27:52 am »
Hmm.  The yellow sprites do stand out pretty well against the (rather dark and unsaturated) terrain tiles.  I do wonder how easy it is to quickly tell one sprite from another, though—they all have the same limited, low-contrast palette, and it's often distributed rather similarly.  The life/energy/whatever-they-are bars hovering over the individual sprites' heads are difficult to pick out where they happen to overlap with another sprite, so I hope it isn't necessary to the game to be able to figure out the readings on them quickly.

The dark sprites (enemies, I presume) aren't going to stand out nearly as well as the yellow ones.  That's a potential problem from a gameplay perspective.

The animation looks smooth, and I think it's telegraphing the movements clearly.  Realism isn't that much of a concern when the sprites are already this stylized.  (Take that with a grain of salt, though—like cels, I'm not exactly a master animator.)

From a purely artistic perspective, cels is right:  you could do with more contrast.  On just about everything.

From a *game art* perspective, making the enemies stand out more (and making it clear which sprites are enemies) is probably the most important thing.  My suggestion would be to never use yellow on the enemies, only the blues and grays (and make sure each enemy has at least some blue on it, so that it doesn't vanish into the shadows).  Pick a third accent colour for neutral units or objects, if there are any.

(I also wouldn't cover such a large chunk of the top-right corner with the UI, or at least experiment with it being in a clearly delineated area at the top or bottom, but I do realize that may not have been your idea.)

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