AuthorTopic: Graphics for a C64 game  (Read 12629 times)

Offline saimo

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Graphics for a C64 game

on: September 24, 2010, 10:51:21 am
OK, so I'm working on this game for the C64:



Now I have decided to make the top part more interesting by means of a HIRES bitmap. Easier said than done, given that I'm no artist. Much easier.


The first thing that came to mind was adding clouds. Although I knew right from the start that a pseudo-realistic approach was not going to work, I tried anyway because I felt it was going to be funnier to do. Eventually, although I'm quite satisfied with the clouds themselves, the whole doesn't quite work, as I suspected:




So, I switched to cartoonish/childish clouds - and I was so uninspired that they ended up looking rather... well, bad. I guess I'll have to simplify and make them even more stylized.




Still, those clouds were good enough to get a first idea of where I was heading to. The next problem was making the sky less dull, so I thought of adding more hues. Due to the technical restrictions, the only solution I could come up with was the usual gradient stuff. And, at that point, another problem arose: which ramp to use? These are the best ones I could find, with the bottommost one being the one I prefer:




Techical restrictions aside, my biggest problem is that I can't even imagine an "artistic" sky. I tried to look at photos, but they aren't a good reference. I guess I'd better look at pixelled references (don't ask me why I haven't done it already - I don't know :P).
Well, in the meanwhile, any ideas?
« Last Edit: October 15, 2010, 06:05:58 pm by saimo »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Sky for C64 game

Reply #1 on: September 24, 2010, 11:18:35 am
To be honest, I would probably ditch the sty as well as the sun (in case it is not needed for something). The newest one you have there is just way too busy, I assume the player will go up there and be infront of all the busy stuff going on?

Also the gradient skye stuff does not look nice either. No need to emulate Amiga copperpuke skies.

Otherwise this looks quite cute I have to say.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline saimo

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Re: Sky for C64 game

Reply #2 on: September 24, 2010, 11:37:39 am
To be honest, I would probably ditch the sty as well as the sun (in case it is not needed for something).

No, the sun isn't needed for anything: I just left it there for some cuteness. Indeed, I had already considered removing it to have more freedom with sky hues, but first I wanted to see how far I could go with it. Maybe it will go.
As for the whole sky, OK, I can remove it, but how can I fill that space, then?

BTW: forgot to say that the 4th row of characters (so, the 8-pixel band between the clouds and the topmost platforms) can only be painted in solid color.

Quote
The newest one you have there is just way too busy, I assume the player will go up there and be infront of all the busy stuff going on?

Yes, but it won't be a problem thanks to the outlines of "active" objects - if you want to try an earlier version for a better idea, get it from CSDb.

Quote
Also the gradient skye stuff does not look nice either. No need to emulate Amiga copperpuke skies.

Well, I didn't mean to mimic Amiga stuff - it's just that I couldn't figure out a way to fill the emptyness. I guess the problem is in dealing with clouds and sky background separately at conceptual level.

Quote
Otherwise this looks quite cute I have to say.

 :)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 01:39:40 pm by saimo »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Sky for C64 game

Reply #3 on: September 24, 2010, 01:00:37 pm
Made an edit.



I would keep the sky and clouds very simple to stay in style with the rest.
The highlights on the top of the platforms is something I would do because it increases the visual separation of the platforms and makes them pop out a bit more.
You lose a bit of detail in the top row as you can make no dents, but I think it's a good tradeoff.
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Offline saimo

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Re: Sky for C64 game

Reply #4 on: September 24, 2010, 01:38:32 pm
Thanks for the edit, ptoing!

I would keep the sky and clouds very simple to stay in style with the rest.

Yes, definitely the right direction. This is exactly what I meant when I said I'd have to simplify and stylize the clouds.
I'll try to draw something just a little more elaborate to achive a slightly less bare look (and I'll probably keep the sun).

Quote
The highlights on the top of the platforms is something I would do because it increases the visual separation of the platforms and makes them pop out a bit more.
You lose a bit of detail in the top row as you can make no dents, but I think it's a good tradeoff.

The highlights are nice, but unfortunately they can't be used because there are no colors left. The part below the sky is HIRES Extended Background Color Mode, so, while I can choose freely the foreground color (which is used to paint the platforms), I have only 4 background colors, which are already used for the dents (brown, dark blue and dark gray) and the outlines (black).
I need such mode for performance (the platforms are generated procedurally) and memory reasons.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Sky for C64 game

Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010, 01:54:32 pm
Ah, fair enough, did not know you used ECM for this, but I guess full blown hires bitmap would be a tad slow.

EDIT:



This would work: black, yellow, dark brown and dark blue as bg colours and some tweaks to the platforms, like getting rid of the grey ones and such. This way you could have the highlights and the dents :)

I take it the clouds are sprites, or at least partially?

EDIT2:

Also, what is it with lots of demosceners and "filling out empty space", seriously give it some room to breathe.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 02:23:32 pm by ptoing »
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Offline saimo

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Re: Sky for C64 game

Reply #6 on: September 24, 2010, 02:35:09 pm
Ah, fair enough, did not know you used ECM for this, but I guess full blown hires bitmap would be a tad slow.

Yeah.


Quote


This would work: black, yellow, dark brown and dark blue as bg colours and some tweaks to the platforms, like getting rid of the grey ones and such. This way you could have the highlights and the dents :)

This edit is nice as well, but... mmm... I guess the tradeoff becomes too much now. I appreciate your input, but I think I'll stick to the basic platforms. Maybe in future I'll enrich them with the characters that get freed thanks to the new top (more below).


Quote
I take it the clouds are sprites, or at least partially?

No, the top part is meant to be fully HIRES: I'll just switch VIC mode between the clouds and the topmost platform.
Back to what I was saying above, the publicly available version is entirely ECM, so the HUD takes quite a number of characters. But once the HIRES sky is in place, I'll move the bar to the bottom and thus save the characters used for the pig silhoutte.


Here are the revised clouds:



Good? Bad? ???


EDIT:

Quote
Also, what is it with lots of demosceners and "filling out empty space", seriously give it some room to breathe.

Dunno if it's a demoscene trend or anything, it's just that such an empty sky looked too dull to me :-\


EDIT 2:

« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 09:41:18 pm by saimo »

Offline Infinite Segment

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Re: Sky for C64 game

Reply #7 on: September 24, 2010, 03:02:51 pm
The new sky looks nice (maybe a bit too straight), but I agree with ptoing, the sky is a bit too busy and is drawing attention away from the playing area. The highlights he added actually help prevent that by making the platforms pop out more, drawing your eye down again. (And of course his sky is less busy, partly because of the muted clouds [though they don't look very nice] and partly because of the lack of sun.)
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Offline saimo

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Re: Sky for C64 game

Reply #8 on: September 24, 2010, 03:39:55 pm
The new sky looks nice (maybe a bit too straight),

Indeed, I should break those horizontal lines more. Here's an attempt (which also tries to re-arrange the clouds in a more effective way):



(I just noticed one thing that bothers me: the similarity of the left "nose" of the clouds. I guess I'll change that of the clouds closer to the sun).


Quote
but I agree with ptoing, the sky is a bit too busy and is drawing attention away from the playing area. The highlights he added actually help prevent that by making the platforms pop out more, drawing your eye down again. (And of course his sky is less busy, partly because of the muted clouds [though they don't look very nice] and partly because of the lack of sun.)

Yes, the highlights would help in that sense, but they come at a cost, and the result is that neither the highlights nor the platform look perfectly nice.
But, no worries: as said above, the outlines attract a lot the attention, not to mention the fact that the objects (which the player has to catch) move, whereas the rest is static. (An additional word for the sun: it doesn't contrast highly with the sky and, as it can be seen by trying the playable preview, it isn't much of a problem - or a problem at all ;)).
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 04:36:47 pm by saimo »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Sky for C64 game

Reply #9 on: September 24, 2010, 03:45:44 pm
I am wondering, how much processing power would it cost to open the upper border, make it skycolour and they the sun and some clouds as sprites up there?
To give the whole thing more space to breathe. That way you could perhaps even make the clouds move.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.