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Messages - eliddell
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(Apologies for taking a little while to get back to this; I have limited time during the week.  Day jobs are a nuisance sometimes.)

Placing the light source so thoroughly to the left probably wasn't one of my better ideas, since it isn't specifically a late afternoon or dusk scenario.  Attempting to reshade part of one of the trunks as something close to a plain cylinder with the light more forward and less left, then trying to add some texture overtop, gets me (old -> untextured -> new):

I'm not sure how much of an improvement that is.  ???

As for that white flower . . .  I was trying for something like a daisy, but rather than tone it down so it pops out less, it might be easier to switch to something like a sunflower, since the colour doesn't really matter:

I think the middle one is visible enough without being quite so much in-your-face.  The rightmost is probably too dark.

As for the weird-nameless-leafy-plants which I assume are what you meant by "long grass", yes, now that you mention it, some of the leaves do look flat.  I should have looked for some reference instead of winging it.  Is this any better (old -> new)?

This is another "developer trying to do artwork" thread, I'm afraid.

So.  One of the first areas in the RPG that I'm trying to build is a spring forest "dungeon", and I decided to take a break from coding the engine for a bit to create some of the graphics:

I don't think the result is completely horrible (eheheh . . .), but there are some specific points I'm having a problem with.

First, tree bark.  I've spent quite a lot of time now staring at photos of trees and tree bark, but I'm not happy with my attempts to translate it into pixel art.  What you see in the image represents the best of multiple attempts, but the texture on the sakura trunk is making it difficult to shade it, and the bark on the green trees is just awful.

Second, cast shadows, specifically tree shadows.  I know approximately where they should go based on the implied light source, but I'm having trouble with what they should look like.  Currently, I have blobby translucent shadows drawn on a separate layer, and I don't like the effect at all.  I also tried the old standby of skewing the tree's outline, but that didn't look right either, and it made things complicated when there was more than one tree close together and the shadows started to overlap--I want to find some way of handling that without a combinatorial explosion of tiles.  Which is also why these are layered translucent shadows instead of drawing half a hundred shadowed grass tile variations (which I would have to do all over again if I wanted to use one of the trees inside a town where the shadow would fall across a flagstone path, frex).

I've probably made at least one other stupid mistake somewhere.  Please point it out if you spot it.

Brief notes:  Tiles are 32px square, but some trees are not properly positioned here.  I don't have any sprites for this yet, but the intended size of an average human in a neutral standing position is 1 tile wide and 2.5-ish tiles tall, so head about even with the crotch of one of the trees.  I know this is large-ish for pixel art and will take a long time to draw.  The palette currently stands at 37 (I think) colours if you ignore the effect of the transparency (40-odd if you don't), but the final colour count is not a major issue.  The style is 50% Suikoden 2 (which I'm not sure was technically done with pixel art) and 50% I-know-not-what.  And this exact map is not likely to be used in the game.

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