AuthorTopic: GR#020 - 16-Color Strategy Game  (Read 24051 times)

Offline EyeCraft

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GR#020 - 16-Color Strategy Game

on: February 27, 2010, 03:54:49 pm
Current:






Previous:

I had a dream that I was playing this crazy old-school real time strategy game the other night. I woke up and knew I had to pixel it!

Using Arne's 16 colour palette for the fun of it. Was curious to see how well the palette could handle this kind of game. Cheated a little using semi-transparent shadows... but oh well  :) There's going to be semi-transparency used for the build-progress overlays in the HUD, anyway.



Interested to hear your thoughts. I'm mainly concerned with keeping everything distinct and readable.

Trying to keep the tiles using the darker colours and the sprites get the whole spectrum to enforce pop. It only gets so far, which pressed me to put the shadows in.

The game has 3 races; Mutants (green dudes), Humans (brown, pinky dudes), and Machines (blue grey guys (not pictured yet)). I'm trying to keep each race being recognisable by using consistent colours for them. There's already some of it going on with the human troops and buildings being mainly brown.

Then there's the matter of having sufficient team colour on each sprite. I've only been able to work out 4 decent team colours, blue, yellow, white and pink. The rest are either too dark or clash too much with the race colours.

The little buildings are bunkers, defensive structures; the big building is a Barracks, which allows the production of infantry; and the building half off-screen is the comm center, which increases the production rate of power tokens (the blue buttons). I won't bother to go into the details of the gameplay because I am so... so tired.  :)
« Last Edit: March 23, 2010, 03:09:48 am by EyeCraft »

Offline bengo

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #1 on: February 27, 2010, 04:08:28 pm
This is a fairly solid piece you have Eyecraft, hard to find any errors with it, hell the only critique I have is you should do a bit more with the water tiles, but it isn't needed since what you have is fairly effective. Whats the blank top-right corner for? You should put an avatar there or somethin, it'd be sick.

Offline Lizzrd

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #2 on: February 27, 2010, 10:41:39 pm
I bet it's for a minimap...
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Offline bengo

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #3 on: February 27, 2010, 11:08:47 pm
Hurm didn't cross my mind when I wrote that post, but that very well could be.

Offline Starscream

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #4 on: February 27, 2010, 11:17:17 pm
I think you should add a little to the dirt and grass, so it doesn't look too flat. (Kind of like you did with the water, which looks great in my opinion.)
Conquest is made of the ashes of one's enemies.

Offline Monochrome

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #5 on: February 28, 2010, 11:27:33 am
Looks like a cross between Chaos Engine and warcraft! Keep up the good work. Looks like something I'd definitively play.
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Offline EyeCraft

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #6 on: February 28, 2010, 02:29:34 pm
Update!



+ tree tiles (supposed to be like banana trees... just a tropical jungle sort of vibe).
+ human Cannon sprite
+ more directions for human Gunner sprite. Tricky to get perspective and maintain readability.
+ bunch more icons to the HUD (Spy-plane, Build Gunner, Build Cannon)
+ Minimap  ;)
* Moved Comm Center

Also just want to note that the texturing on the HUD fill is still WIP.

...only critique I have is you should do a bit more with the water tiles, but it isn't needed since what you have is fairly effective.

Thanks mate. I'm still pondering over that. I think the water at the moment strikes a nice balance between being identifiable ("hey, thats water!") and not being distracting or noisy, which is a constant threat with these 16x16 tiles. Still, I'm pondering... Oh and yes, I'm sure it's obvious now that the top right is the minimap.

I think you should add a little to the dirt and grass, so it doesn't look too flat. (Kind of like you did with the water, which looks great in my opinion.)

Believe me, I tried!  :)  The palette just doesn't like to play low-contrast around that value range. With the water it was possible because the darks are very forgiving. If I expand the palette later down the track, it will mostly be to add low contrast tones so I can do exactly this.

Looks like a cross between Chaos Engine and warcraft! Keep up the good work. Looks like something I'd definitively play.

Thanks  :). Yeah definitely has a strong WarCraft vibe, and I did get that feeling of Chaos Engine when I was doing the mutant Brute sprite. Definitely fun!

« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 03:59:59 pm by EyeCraft »

Offline Gil

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #7 on: February 28, 2010, 02:43:21 pm
Believe me, I tried!  :)  The palette just doesn't like to play low-contrast around that value range. With the water it was possible because the darks are very forgiving. If I expand the palette later down the track, it will mostly be to add low contrast tones so I can do exactly this.

Maybe try to stay away from texturing and go towards detail? A tile with some small rocks and one with flowers perhaps?

Offline Monochrome

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #8 on: February 28, 2010, 04:17:32 pm
The palm trees seem a bit too rubery methinks. Perhaps it's the green tone that gives it that appearance or perhaps it needs a bit more detail to look a bit better.

Now, take a look at this lovely screenshot from Cannon Fodder.




I admit as far as detail goes, Cannon Fodder is a bit too "noisy" since the environments were created to seem confusing in order to provide camouflage to traps and enemies, that is, to look a lot more like a real jungle. However, even though this level of detail would be harmful to a RTS, where environments and obstacles must be clearly discernible to facilitate unit management, I still think a bit of noise wouldn't harm static objects, such as trees. Perhaps you could try something like that ;)

« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 04:31:07 pm by Monochrome »
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Offline blumunkee

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #9 on: March 01, 2010, 01:19:11 am
I wonder how slavishly you intend on sticking to Arne's pallete. I feel on the whole this is far too warm and muddy.

Offline Heavy Stylus

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #10 on: March 01, 2010, 11:42:23 pm
Looks lovely.  This would make a great Atari STE game, if only it could actually handle that many sprites ;)

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #11 on: March 02, 2010, 02:07:52 am
Maybe try to stay away from texturing and go towards detail? A tile with some small rocks and one with flowers perhaps?

Good point. I think I vaguely had this idea earlier on in the piece thinking "do it like Link to the Past", but then I guess I forgot  :o

The palm trees seem a bit too rubery methinks. Perhaps it's the green tone that gives it that appearance or perhaps it needs a bit more detail to look a bit better.

Hmm. I can see what you mean about the rubbery appearance, and when compared to the more gritty surfaces if the buildings you have a valid point. Nice analysis on Cannon Fodder's art, I think its also because it was in the time of CRT screens, where a lot of that noise would be blurred together that that kind of stuff could be done.

I've got an idea for what I can do with the trees to give them a bit more texture; working on it now. Thanks.

I wonder how slavishly you intend on sticking to Arne's pallete. I feel on the whole this is far too warm and muddy.

You're not alone in those sentiments  :). Indigo mentioned it too, and I agree. I started this using Arne's palette mainly out of curiosity. I've found it's useful for roughing out things quickly, because normally I can get caught up in epic AA-fests where I spend a tonne of time on just a few tiles making them look really smooth, when I could be working on other stuff. So the idea I have is to basically do a first pass with this palette, get the vast majority of things drawn and defined, then on the second pass I'll start expanding the palette, getting the balance a lot more pleasing and adding detail.

Looks lovely.  This would make a great Atari STE game, if only it could actually handle that many sprites ;)

A shame. Out of curiosity, what kind of old machines could run something like this?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 02:12:23 am by EyeCraft »

Offline EvilEye

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #12 on: March 02, 2010, 03:31:05 am
Looks nice for such a low color count.

I don't understand why you dithered the shadows for the trees, it looks awful.

As someone else mentioned, the problem with running this on an old console is the processor speed required to draw that many sprites. The old 8 bit consoles just couldn't do it without major slowdown.

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #13 on: March 02, 2010, 05:06:57 pm
A shame. Out of curiosity, what kind of old machines could run something like this?

For RTS games, a framerate less then 60 FPS would be ok, so I think Atari ST and Amiga could handle it. (Atari would maybe need page flipping instead of scrolling) Examples for games with many small sprites on these computers are Megalomania, Lemmings, Settlers...

To use hardware-scrolling and a vertical status-display on Amiga, you would have to use sprites for it. (which means a maximum of 64 pixels wide status display with 15 colors or status-display with up to 128 pixels with 3 colors)
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 05:15:31 pm by Lazycow »
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Offline EyeCraft

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #14 on: March 03, 2010, 03:30:25 pm
Small update:



Not much to show since I've been focusing on filling out the sprite sheets so the programmer has something to work with. I've gotten all but 1 direction of the death animation for the soldier finished, and all but the death animations for the cannon finished, including the delicious shooting animation.

I'll add the animations to the thread as soon as I sort out an animation program that doesn't drive me crazy (trying to use gimp to animate makes me want to stab something). It'll probably just come down to me finally buying graphics gale, unless anyone has a suggestion?

Wondering if the selection boxes and health bars work well?

I don't understand why you dithered the shadows for the trees, it looks awful.

Yeah. I think I did it with the idea that it would go over the top of semi-transparent shadows. Will change, thanks.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 04:08:14 pm by EyeCraft »

Offline Lizzrd

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #15 on: March 03, 2010, 04:04:30 pm
For the selection, I think outlined in white/yellow/red would work better.
The health bars are ok, if not a bit big.
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Offline EyeCraft

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #16 on: March 08, 2010, 12:54:55 pm
For the selection, I think outlined in white/yellow/red would work better.
The health bars are ok, if not a bit big.
That's a neat idea. I plan to give it a test at some point, unfortunately it requires a lot of work because there needs to be a selection box for each frame of animation of each unit. Still, it might end up being the best way to keep it readable. Thanks.

Okay, so I finally got full version of GraphicsGale, so I can show some animations...

First the Soldier:



Love this guy.  :)



Basically I want to give the impression that these guys are reliable. They're trained, and they have the gusto to get the mission done. Either they trust each other completely... or they have no idea what awaits them in the jungle  ;)



All the animations for one direction combined together. The death is used for all down-facing directions. Will be making one for the up-facing directions later on.

And the cannon:



Found the down-facing diagonal really hard on this one.



These have been fun. Trying to get a real feeling of power to the shots by emphasising the recoil.



This is the explosion for wherever the cannon shot hits. I want it to look like a concentrated, armour-piercing explosion. Something that is bad news to vehicles, basically. But also reasonable splash damage against light units like infantry.



The "working" animation for the Barracks. Plays when the building is doing some work, like building a unit. Fans bothering me on this.


And finally just a very unexciting screenshot of the level editor I started putting together. You just paint the tile-types (water, dirt, grass, trees) and it calculates the transition tiles for you. So...much...faster...  :D

So that's these two sprites mostly done. All that's left is a general vehicle explosion for the Cannon death, and a "parachuting" animation for the Soldier, then they are completely functional. After these I'm going to be working on finishing up the existing building animations, and creating the 4th building; the Machine Shop. Fun times!  :yay:
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 12:57:13 pm by EyeCraft »

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #17 on: March 08, 2010, 01:46:15 pm
Very excellent.
The soldier walking north looks a bit like he's climbing - although I like what you're going for. Just needs a bit of shift on the emphasis, somehow.

As for the barrack's fans, I've found 5 frames makes for peculiarly smooth revolving animations.

Might seem like overkill at that size, but it's just one more frame than it has now.

Offline CrazyMLC

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #18 on: March 09, 2010, 01:59:40 am
I love how it all looks, very cartoony and stylistic.
Inspiring me, personally. Makes me want to make an RTS! :D

Reminds me of Warcraft or C&C.

(The water, though, is another story, its very, very dark. I had to look at it a few times to see that it wasn't just a hole in the map, or a pool of oil.)

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #19 on: March 09, 2010, 02:32:43 am
Thanks 7321551! Will apply that.

CrazyMLC: good point. I think I might start my palette tweaking earlier than I planned.  :)

Offline rustEdge

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #20 on: March 10, 2010, 08:44:27 am
I'm glad you're fulfilling a literal dream, hehe. It's looking pretty nice.

Little suggestion on the cannon. You could add some recoil along the barrel's axis. A purely vertical bounce almost suggests that it's mounted on an unstable mount.

I shifted the frame with the white flash backwards by one pixel. It's almost imperceptible but I think an extra motion like that would help imply the power of the cannon.

Again, great job. I'd love to try this out when it comes out in beta.  ;D

Offline Trub

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #21 on: March 10, 2010, 08:59:04 am
I agree with rustEdge. The cannon seems really wobbly (especially at the barrel) which might be alright since theyre small sprites I think it should definitely shift horizontally some more if your going for this musch recoil, otherwise love how its looking. I especially like the death aninmation.

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #22 on: March 15, 2010, 12:33:02 pm
Thanks rustEdge, that makes quite a difference! I sort of constricted myself with the animation I could do by limitting the canvas size to 20x20, but really there's no reason why it couldn't be expanded to 24x24 to make comfortable room for whatever motion I need to do.

Small update. Started work on the 3rd human unit, the Grenadier:



I really want to make the Grenadier read clearly as a different unit type from the Rifleman. I figured having him hold a grenade out to the side with one hand would modify the silhouette enough, and (basically) inverting the position of team colour on him should make him stand out as significantly different. Making him wear a grenade-belt was the perfect excuse for shifting the team colour for this purpose :)

It looks odd how he changes hands as he rotates around, but I don't think it would be such a huge deal in-game.



The token for the Grenadier. I wanted to give him a real action pose, show he has power. Basically I want all the tokens to look really appealing, like you see it and go "oh cool, I want to use that!"


Refined the Cannon explosion animation some more with Jad's help. Has a better feeling of impact now, I think.

Oh and my programmer is MIA. I think it's about time I began hunting down another one  :(. If you happen know any solid programmers that we be up to the task, PM me ;)
« Last Edit: March 15, 2010, 12:58:14 pm by EyeCraft »

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #23 on: March 15, 2010, 05:43:19 pm
Aw man... I wish you did the 8way running earlier so I can reference that :(

It looked really sweet though, especially at such low res, yet so highly animated.
Not much to comment, but if I have to nitpick... probably the building... doesn't look too exciting in comparison.

PS : Why is everyone using Arne palette? and where can I get it?

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #24 on: March 16, 2010, 06:05:45 am
And now he runs!



Aw man... I wish you did the 8way running earlier so I can reference that :(

There's better references around for running animations than my butchered low-res one  :lol:

Quote
It looked really sweet though, especially at such low res, yet so highly animated.
Not much to comment, but if I have to nitpick... probably the building... doesn't look too exciting in comparison.

True. At the moment its mostly about keeping the buildings loaded up with race and team colours. But when I expand the palette I'll work on more detail. I suppose I could do a redesign, they were pretty quickly sketched up off the top of my head.

Quote
PS : Why is everyone using Arne palette? and where can I get it?

Well I can't say exactly why other people are using it, but I decided to use it because its a very versatile palette, its a fun restriction, and working with less colours generally leads to a faster work flow for me. Arne's palette can be found in the feature chest.

EDIT:

Little bit of an update. Started working on the Grenadier attack animation:



I didn't want it to be too many frames, but I ended up with 12 frames and just couldn't figure out a way to cut it.  :blind:



Added this tall grass tile type. Units that remain still while standing in it become hidden, allowing for ambushes, desperate escapes, or stealthy infiltration. Will probably give the grass a cast shadow like the rocks.

Certain abilities like Spy Plane as well as walking right next to a unit hiding like this will reveal them to that player.

Also did a quick rock to see what was possible with the palette.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2010, 10:23:38 am by EyeCraft »

Offline BwdYeti

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #25 on: March 22, 2010, 02:35:05 pm
The grenadier throw is very cool looking, but I think the long delay before throwing due to the exaggerated pin removal could impact their usability. Compare with the Soldier and Cannon, who both appear to shoot immediately. The Grenadier could potentially be killed off before even attacking :O

I'd try out having him remove the pin simultaneous to winding up for the throw, you could probably cut the pre-throw frame count to 3 or 4 that way. Another idea could be having the throw immediately, and then he pulls out a new grenade and removes the pin on that at the end of the animation (implying that when running around the pin is always removed :D ) since the pin is just a safety for the lever; gives you a good reason to make them explode on death, too!

Offline varis

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #26 on: March 22, 2010, 03:02:18 pm
So let me get this strait! You have three teams: humans robots and mutants, right?

Why do you not make a red team? the ailiens!!! That could spruce up the look a pit! And You could make the screen a little bigger so that it is not a phone game(i hate phone games). I live the explosion, the blast wave is totaly awsome, but, it is a little funny. why not make a bombardment explosion that was made by a falling bomb.

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game mockup

Reply #27 on: March 22, 2010, 03:54:25 pm


I admit as far as detail goes, Cannon Fodder is a bit too "noisy" ...


You have to take into account that this was developed to be looked at on either TV sets or CRT monitors, which blend dither, esp 50% dither a LOT more than any LCD ever could, because of the way they work. So really it would not look that noisy, more like patches of different colours in most cases.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #28 on: March 23, 2010, 03:08:15 am


Procrastinating on the Grenadier animations... so that means tileset work  :D

I've thrown in some extra colours. 1 for the grass and 2 for the dirt. They're most likely place holders until I get to a more encompassing palette expansion that puts the colours to their full utility. I just needed some colours for now so I could do the cliff ramps, basically.  :)

During my playing around with the tilesets, I figured out that snow and desert tilesets are probably possible, though they'd both be quite bright, so I'd have to do a bit of playing around with the sprites on them to see how readable they'd be. The other issue is that the long grass that units can hide in offers a game mechanic that would have to be mirrored in the other tilesets for each tileset to be equal, gameplay-wise. How do you justify patches of tall grass in a desert? In a snow-covered landscape?

The only thing I could think of was having an alternate visual representation for the same mechanic. So in a desert you might have a dust cloud. Units can pass through it and hide in it just like the tall grass, but it fits the idea of a desert a lot more. Snow could even just be like a snowy-cloud. Would probably be hard to draw though...  :yell:

The grenadier throw is very cool looking, but I think the long delay before throwing due to the exaggerated pin removal could impact their usability. Compare with the Soldier and Cannon, who both appear to shoot immediately. The Grenadier could potentially be killed off before even attacking :O

I'd try out having him remove the pin simultaneous to winding up for the throw, you could probably cut the pre-throw frame count to 3 or 4 that way. Another idea could be having the throw immediately, and then he pulls out a new grenade and removes the pin on that at the end of the animation (implying that when running around the pin is always removed :D ) since the pin is just a safety for the lever; gives you a good reason to make them explode on death, too!

Some cool ideas, thanks I'll keep them in mind. My reasoning for the delayed attack is that the Grenadier can be massed pretty easily, being an early, cheap unit, and it has AoE damage and a powerful kamikaze ability. So in an attempt to keep them balanced, they needed a disadvantage, which at the moment is their delayed attack. This gives enemies a small chance to scatter their units to minimise splash effect. But against slow or static targets, or against very large crowds of enemies that get in eachother's way, the Grenadier will be a powerful unit still. That's the plan, anyway. If play testing shows it doesn't really work that way and it's too much of a disadvantage I'll definitely try out your suggestions.

Oh and they only explode on death if you order them to use their Sacrifice ability.

So let me get this strait! You have three teams: humans robots and mutants, right?

Why do you not make a red team? the ailiens!!! That could spruce up the look a pit! And You could make the screen a little bigger so that it is not a phone game(i hate phone games). I live the explosion, the blast wave is totaly awsome, but, it is a little funny. why not make a bombardment explosion that was made by a falling bomb.

A few problems with that idea. First, there's not enough reds in the palette (as far as I can figure) to base an entire team style off. But that could be remedied in the palette expansion, I guess. The main issue is that I want this to be a story about Earth and the kinds of forces that have grown out of it. The idea of aliens coming throws the subtext out the window. This might sound ridiculous, considering the very cartoony graphics, but I do want the story to stand on its own merits as having something to say. Third reason I don't really want to divulge because it would be a bit of a spoiler.  :)

As for falling bomb explosions... don't worry, I'll get to the Napalm Strike animations as soon as the Grenadier is done. ;)

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #29 on: March 23, 2010, 10:58:49 am
Nice rock!

The grass/dirt transitions seem very noticeable now & appear a bit messy, I think the gray you removed was helping the transition a lot.

The long grass is too spraycan-tool-y, I think - the appeal from the beginning was the very clean, uncluttered approach you'd taken. I think you could approach it more like the short grass & dirt (ie. expanses of flat rendering with texture variation tiles) & still have it read as long grass. I was actually working on an edit, but I couldn't do any better so I ditched it. Easy it ain't.

edit: Oh, about the different environments: You could take that approach, but it might be more interesting if you gave each environment some unique gameplay mechanic that the others lacked. For instance, no hiding in the snow snow environment, but enemy troops leave lasting footprints & so can be tracked, or something.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2010, 11:13:59 am by 7321551 »

Offline McClaneGames

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #30 on: March 23, 2010, 07:36:08 pm
I agree with 7321551, replacing the gray with a light green creates too much contrast between the grass and dirt.  I think that gray-area is necessary (no pun intended).

And having different gameplay mechanics for each climate is a great idea - you could have mirages in the desert to confuse troops and, like Jarrad said, footprints in the snow.  The tall grass looks fine to me, but I guess we all have different tastes. ;)

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #31 on: March 24, 2010, 03:23:32 am
Thanks for the feedback.  :)

I'll give the simplistic style on the long grass an attempt, could turn out looking cool, I agree.

edit: Oh, about the different environments: You could take that approach, but it might be more interesting if you gave each environment some unique gameplay mechanic that the others lacked. For instance, no hiding in the snow snow environment, but enemy troops leave lasting footprints & so can be tracked, or something.
And having different gameplay mechanics for each climate is a great idea - you could have mirages in the desert to confuse troops and, like Jarrad said, footprints in the snow.  The tall grass looks fine to me, but I guess we all have different tastes. ;)

Yeah this is something I considered, but the problem is, as soon as you introduce unique gameplay mechanics to each environment, you unbalance the play styles each environment favours. With the example of removing grass (stealth/ambush/evasion) and adding footprints (tracking), you've completely inverted the strength of stealth play, making any player who likes stealth avoid snow maps like the plague. This leads to all kinds of things, like people blaming the map for their losses (discouraging mappers from working with that environment), or the player-base becoming split up based on what environments they prefer (or an entire environment eventually not being played at all), reducing the multiplayer variety. I'd rather have it that each environment offers the same potential for each strategy/play style, so it's an even playing field every time.

I'm avoiding environment mechanics like mirages. Environment mechanics should be things that the player can control and predict. It's difficult to formulate strategies around random events like mirages popping up.

Tracking mechanics like footprints grossly disadvantages stealth units and flanking maneuvers, which will make camping in your base until you mass a tidal-wave army to storm across the map in one big clump the dominant strategy. Also the Machines have hover units which wouldn't leave any tracks, giving them a huge advantage over the other races.

I seem to be shooting down ideas quite a lot. Don't take this to mean I don't appreciate them.  :-*

Worse comes to worst I don't think its too unreasonable to have dead, twiggy grass in the desert and frosty plants in the snow.

Offline Lizzrd

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #32 on: March 24, 2010, 06:16:41 am
In snow you could have huge piles of snow and in the desert huge sandbanks.
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Offline happymonster

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #33 on: March 25, 2010, 06:42:19 pm
The background colours are just a little too vivid for me. I'd be tempted to see what it looks like with a more muted 16 colour version for the foreground and use the vivid 16 colours just for the sprites.

Incidentally if you were going to change the 16 colour palette, but keep to 16 colours, what would you change? :)

Offline CrazyMLC

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #34 on: March 26, 2010, 02:07:21 am
I liked the idea of weather changing the gameplay. It would be boring if all the environments were exactly the same other than appearance. There should be some sort of balance, like maybe stealthy units leave smaller trails that fade away faster, etc, but some variety would be nice.

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #35 on: March 26, 2010, 02:50:21 am
In snow you could have huge piles of snow and in the desert huge sandbanks.

Those seem like terrain types that you have to dig into to be hidden, and would impede movement too greatly in comparison to tall grass.

The background colours are just a little too vivid for me. I'd be tempted to see what it looks like with a more muted 16 colour version for the foreground and use the vivid 16 colours just for the sprites.

Incidentally if you were going to change the 16 colour palette, but keep to 16 colours, what would you change? :)

Yeah actually I thought the same thing. Have a terrain palette and a sprite palette. Seems very sensible. Will probably be the way that I go with it.

Alternatively, if it remained at 16 colours, it's hard to go past the balance of hue and contrast variety that Arne's palette affords. The specific needs of this game are thus:

- 3 unique race colour schemes (high contrast)
- 4+ strongly identifiable team colour schemes (ideally high contrast, but perhaps not as necessary as the race colours)
- As many low-to-moderate contrast terrain colours as possible. Must be able to render ground, water, cliffs, trees and tall grass at a minimum.

The approach I took with trying to keep low value colours for the terrain and high value colours for the units was an attempt to keep myself free for being able to do things like mute the terrain colours without affecting the identity and pop of the units. It may be possible to simply mute that brown and green being used for the dirt and grass to clear up a lot of the problems.

I liked the idea of weather changing the gameplay. It would be boring if all the environments were exactly the same other than appearance. There should be some sort of balance, like maybe stealthy units leave smaller trails that fade away faster, etc, but some variety would be nice.

This is interesting, because after I made my statement about the environments needing equality, I read a book on game design, which had some pretty solid arguments for having something like game mechanics unique to each environment.

The emphasis on process intensity (meaningful choices and "verbs" available to the player) over data intensity (lots of graphics/environments/levels/sounds/story) is paramount, since the former adds to the actual interactivity of the game, whereas the latter is just kind of frills.

So considering the idea of map equality from that perspective, keeping all the mechanics the same across all terrain types essentially puts the role of maps in the data intensity zone. So to make each environment have different tactics, that would be good, as it makes the game more interactive. The question thus becomes, would the benefit of the increased interactivity outweigh the negative effects of unequal maps?

This assumes, of course, that really cool environment mechanics can be thought of for each environment type. I've already stated some of the big issues I see with the snow tracks idea (mainly the massive advantage the Machines have over the other races with it). I thought something like what was in Tiberian Sun could be cool, where you could shoot the ice an enemy was standing on to make them plummet into the water. I get a feeling this would make AoE units and abilities massively overpowered though, since they have the potential to insta-kill entire groups of enemies, and since 3/4 of Human's units have AoE, it might potentially give Humans too much of an advantage.

But I do still like the idea of say, a map with ice bridges in the middle. Wait for the enemy to cross, then destroy the bridge behind them, cutting them off from retreat, then para-drop troops into their base. Pretty cool.

Also, as I think of it, the bread-and-butter Machine units aren't hover, only the more specialised units. So it's possible there isn't TOO much of an advantage to Machines with snow/sand tracks. CrazyMLC's idea for different length tracks could work, too. The large, heavy units like Hulks and tanks could leave long trails, but light units like infantry could leave shorter ones. Thus stealth units are still less effective than on other terrain types, but they still pose advantageous use in the snow. Also this creates a choice for the player: do I take my tanks across the snow and risk being intercepted, or do I take them across the ice and risk possible losses or being stranded? Very cool.

It's possible this is just the kind of thing that has to be play tested to really see how un/balanced it is. Given that, I'll write a list of plausible environment mechanics and at some point they will be implemented and play tested. If they are good, they will stay.  :)

This is exciting!  ;D
« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 02:55:34 am by EyeCraft »

Offline CrazyMLC

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #36 on: March 26, 2010, 03:25:24 am
Sounds fun already! :D

I'm glad you like my general idea, and yeah, I'd imagine a tank would leave a much larger trail than a some infantry.

I always thought the main feature of hover tanks was being able to go over any terrain. That doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't leave tracks of some kind...

Differing palettes for terrain and units sounds like a good idea, since it would separate the units from the terrain, and make them stand out a bit more, like they should.


Perhaps each faction could have their strengths for each weather condition?
« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 03:34:43 am by CrazyMLC »

Offline Lizzrd

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Re: [WIP] 16 colour strategy game

Reply #37 on: March 26, 2010, 09:40:57 am
Maybe some weather changiy machine thingie for last thing you research/get?
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