AuthorTopic: [WIP] Men at War (atari Falcon)  (Read 5545 times)

Offline deadlock

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[WIP] Men at War (atari Falcon)

on: March 16, 2010, 07:46:21 pm
This is my first topic (and almost first article here), new member since today  ;D

Small intro of what to expect and to see.

I have been pixeling for a long while in the past but due to other thing and changes things got dusty
in the corner for years, about 10 atleast. But I refound my old love for Atari's and started using it
again. I started a game once but it never came out of the pre-release state. It for the Atari Falcon
(the biggest brother of the Atari serie) an 68030 Motorola machine.

The game I am working at is made in a standard Basic language (so no assembler or C++) which works fine
on the Falcon. Runs very smooth in one screen refresh and has a rather high pace. It's a simple game,
a men to men shooter for 2 players. There are also moving parts to shoot at like bomb's or dangers pins
sticking out of the wall and so on...

Althought the Atari can use a standard 256 colors picture, I use 2 x 16 colors. 1 x 16 for everything
that's scenery and 1 x 16 for the players / bonus items and bombs. Why, because this way I can works
faster this way moving my sprites. I use the lower 4 bits for the scenery and the upper 4 bits for the
players. This way I don't have to use masking for the sprites at all and also the restore of my
background is skipped. Hope I don't get to technical now  ???

Anyway, here are the pictures I made sofar...





The first picture is a screenshot of the game in action. In total 32 colors are used.

The little men I didn't created them all by myself, they are a re-modeled version of the
robotz game. I liked them but the original were not as detailed plus movement was almost
non existing. They now walk (I play them from up to down (4 steps) and then start again).
Walking can be done in 8 directions. The bomb is just animated at the "flame" end which
isn't that good, still has some fixing ahead (tips ?)

The parts screen is how the several elements are made to make a playfield. Because I
can't use real sprite I do use an other technic. I look at colors, yeah I know sounds
strange, but let me explain:

Colors 0          (Black background) Can't really use it
colors 1,2,3      (Purple, ground, every thing you can walk on)
colors 4 till 12  (Colors used for tree's wall item's, they will stop you
                    or in other words you can't walk over)
colors 13,14,15   (Killers, if my routine detects you walking against an item
                   with that color you get killed)

Still following me ? So you can't use all the colors everywhere, like
the orange color to dither the floor isn't working because it would kill.
Pallet colors can be changed though, so the green can be bleu or what ever but
even it you changed the orage color to green that color would still be a killer.

I'm working on a scenery which is made of snow and ice but thats difficult because
I can't get it right. As soon as I have a reasonable first try I will post it.
Hope you all understand it all, I know it's a bit odd way to program but it works
great and the pre-release was a succes. But after 15 years I wan tot finish it :)
So a little help esp. on the gfx department is welcome...


C+C 


Some additional information (This forum editor is not okay to work with if the text is too long, bounces up and down like crazy btw)

Pictures are 320 x 200 (official they are .PI1 format but rebuild them to gif with Grafx2)
A playfield is 320 x 240 (standard VGA)
Blocks used are 16 x 16 pixels

Site work also in progress, www.xs4all.nl/~bonus

(Edit by Eyecraft: please avoid unnecessary double-posts)
« Last Edit: March 17, 2010, 01:24:17 am by EyeCraft »

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: [WIP] Men at War (atari Falcon)

Reply #1 on: March 17, 2010, 03:29:54 am
Cool! Has a very old-school vibe to it. The sprites reminded me a lot of Cannon Fodder.

Biggest issue I see at the moment is readability. All the important gameplay elements are largely lost in the level:



Really push both the brightness and the colour of the players, so at a glance its easy to see where they are and which player they are. Following from this, I recommend going with a blue character rather than green for a couple of reasons:

- Blue is a cool colour, which places it opposing to Red, which is warm. Stronger differentiation between the players that way (to me).
- Green blends with the plants. Blue blends with the ice, but I think greenery would probably be more present in the game than ice... though I might be wrong. I would recommend going with Red and Blue for the players, and then not using those colours much anywhere else in the level.
- Moving the player colour away from green will let you tone the greens down a lot so they won't take so much attention.

Mostly your sprites are just very dark, and their silhouette is lost on the dark background (which has too much contrast). Use every trick available to maintain the silhouettes of the objects (such as the reflection on the bomb in my edit).

Make the walls a very definite visual barrier. Having them hollow like that makes it more time consuming for the player to work out the layout of the level. It should be absolutely clear at a glance. To this end I recommend capping the walls with something... I chose a black void because it doesn't make any noise, and the eye is lead away from it back to the brighter play area.

The player sprites are very squashed into their small canvas. It's particularly noticeable on the diagonal directions. If possible I would expand the canvas to at least 16x24, or even 24x24 so you have the room you need to fit the directions in nicely.

Looking forward to seeing more!

Oh, and welcome to Pixelation :)

Offline deadlock

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Re: [WIP] Men at War (atari Falcon)

Reply #2 on: March 17, 2010, 05:52:42 am
Thanx EyeCraft,

Finaly something to work with :) Yeah old school it is, esp. working on old machines is fun.
4 channel mod files, chip tunes the lot !

-Green to blue, I like that will try that for sure.
- 16 x 16 because of the speed, once I make the sprites bigger I "lose" more time
  to print them and it will be out of sync (so no more smooth walking but jerky movement)
  They are placed like that for fast read-out, going right is joystick code 8, so 16 x 8 is right on a bit boundary.
  Sometimes is a hazzard to be a programmer and a gfx man in one  ::)
- To much contrast in de background I agree, it's a struggle because I have limited options.
  The color can go from 0 till max 7 in shades so 000 black 777 pure white and al the steps in between.

- Also you can only use the 16 colors from the 1 picture in that picture, so no mixing the 2 palets like in
  the  playfield screen shot. I will make a picture to explain what I mean soon...
- I already tried once to make the playfield somewhat more grey-isch too let the characters pop out a little more
  but then it all felt a litlle bit boring. But will have a go...
- The walls look indeed better, but the black is so dark. Will try to find something in the middle like a roof pattern or so.

Mny thx sofar !
« Last Edit: March 20, 2010, 02:02:29 pm by deadlock »

Offline deadlock

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Re: [WIP] Men at War (atari Falcon)

Reply #3 on: March 19, 2010, 11:18:42 am
So I have been working on my men during the last 2 days.
What did I do:

- I changed one of the grey colors in for a brown version, and re-AA the letters so it wouldn't show ;)
- I used the brownish color to give some what more facial expression and on the hands.
- Changed the green colors for blue colors, brightend the red to a more orange.
- Made so more small touch-ups...
- Bombs adjusted, might do even more



Thing I'm thinking of:
- More animation during the walk only the feet and eyes move. I want to move the shoulders
  a bit during walking. Tried it already but then the little guy seemed over active and about
  to drop at any step :(

For the scenery I have tried adjusting the pallet, esp. the purple. Still at work so no picture yet.
Also tried to do something EyeCraft made black, workig on a mesh-kind of pattern to fill it up...

So, busy...
« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 11:27:54 am by deadlock »

Offline deadlock

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Re: [WIP] Men at War (atari Falcon)

Reply #4 on: March 21, 2010, 11:00:44 am
Another 2 days have past and I managed to spend even more time on the gfx.

As promised the parts department has also been upgraded since yesterday:
What did I do:

- I changed on of the purple colors in for a green/greyisch version.
- I replaced the dither shadows with solid color once which I think is a hugh improvment (correct me if I'm wrong)
- Changed some walls (esp. on the bottem)
- Made a mesh / fence look in the wooden jail



I could use some idea's of what to place more in the maze, items wise. Like plants, trees, small things like barrels, wooden block's.
Just to make it a bit more atractive :)

Thing is that I am thinking of re-building the whole sheet since it is a mess but okay I will focus on the gfx and afterwards on the layout...

C+C and other idea's are welcome too...
« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 11:05:21 am by deadlock »

Offline deadlock

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Re: [WIP] Men at War (atari Falcon)

Reply #5 on: March 30, 2010, 07:25:00 pm
A whole week has past but I have been working on an idea that came to me
at night (couldn't  sleep). I wanted to try a diffenrent scenery. So today
during my off-time at work I made the first set-up... Just for fun, but I think it
really worked out... The pieces are big so playfield will be limited, but for 5 different
fields with this look it would be okay.



A bit cartoon like, like the little men. I might even color their
face yellow like the real lego figurs for fun in this setup...

To be honest I had hoped for somewhat more response, after almost 1100 views
it a deafening silence  :mean:

Still haven't got that snow-look-alike thing going.

C+C and other idea's are welcome too...

Offline PypeBros

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Re: [WIP] Men at War (atari Falcon)

Reply #6 on: March 31, 2010, 09:35:53 am
Quote
To be honest I had hoped for somewhat more response, after almost 1100 views
And yet, you've quite got the average number of response for that amount of views. Not everyone here feels comfortable with everyone's style to provide valuable edits/comments.


Colour edit: I've got the feeling that #1 readability problem comes from the darkness of the ground tiles. "Light" areas have lower saturation and higher value, which imho helps sprites and bonuses to stand out. Your new "greyish" tileset is likely to address that already, but unless we see elements put together in a mockup, we can't help much.

Regarding your lego blocks, you might want to avoid value-only-shading for yellow and opt for a yellow-to-brown shading instead.
I note, too, that your shadows do not affect "plots" the way it should, giving the feeling that bricks "hover" above the ground, rather than being "stuck to" the ground ... or is that a perspective issue ?

Offline deadlock

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Re: [WIP] Men at War (atari Falcon)

Reply #7 on: April 08, 2010, 07:22:44 pm
Colour edit: I've got the feeling that #1 readability problem comes from the darkness of the ground tiles. "Light" areas have lower saturation and higher value, which imho helps sprites and bonuses to stand out. Your new "greyish" tileset is likely to address that already, but unless we see elements put together in a mockup, we can't help much.

Regarding your lego blocks, you might want to avoid value-only-shading for yellow and opt for a yellow-to-brown shading instead.
I note, too, that your shadows do not affect "plots" the way it should, giving the feeling that bricks "hover" above the ground, rather than being "stuck to" the ground ... or is that a perspective issue ?

Okay thanks, I will make a mock-up with the new blue guys and the new set... Time is my biggest enemy here ;)

The hover thing is probably indeed the chosen perspective, but I agree with you there, they seem to be hovering.
I already tried different shadow types but this one seemed to be the best.
But a suggestion how to change is welcome, cause I can't seem to find the "mistake".

UPDATE: Made the mock-up ;)


This project is on hold at the moment cause of another project (01-06-2010)
But it will go on as soon as I have time again !!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2010, 05:23:19 am by deadlock »