AuthorTopic: NES style  (Read 10523 times)

Offline Lazy Brain Games

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NES style

on: June 18, 2011, 11:32:46 pm
Hi all! I'm Johnny B :) I've been making NES style games for a while now, and I'm hoping the Pixelation community might take pity on me and help me out with these 2 things...

1) Developing a non-insane 16 color palette for the NES
2) Finding some type of guide for making NES sprites/images

For the first one, the palette, if you've observed any of my posts, the colors are always the first to be pointed out as "broken" or "it makes my eyes hurt" lol. I've reviewed tutorials (including Arne's 16 color palette tutorial), I've searched online, and I haven't really figured out why my palettes are so whack. The reference I've been using is this...



From this, I basically just pull colors, and do my best lol. Is there something missing from this? I've done the best I can do with this, but I'm hoping some benevolent pixel artists might step in and show me the folley of my ways, or even better, just throw some palettes my way! I know that a proper pixel artist develops his own palette, but I don't really have any hang-ups on using a good palette that someone else helped develop :) Some reviewers have noted that the Lazy Brain Games are "colorful" go figure :P

As for the NES reference guide, is there a book or a website or something on what the specs for NES art is? Specs as in:

Max number of colors per sprite (is it 3 or 4?)
Max number of colors for the background
Max size of a sprite
Max number of frames per sprite
and so on...

I hope no one feels like I'm just trying to get other people to do the work for me, but I've spent quite a few hours searching for NES art guides, and working with palettes, and I got nothin' :( After seeing some of the amazing pixel art here, I know there's quite a lot of collective knowledge and experience. Are there any benevolent artists out there that could help me out with this stuff?

Gratefully,

-Johnny B.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: NES style

Reply #1 on: June 19, 2011, 12:24:37 am
I went through some of your past threads and only saw one person that had a problem with the colors, and it sounded like he wasn't aware you were using the NES palette.

I think the NES palette is highly underrated and shouldn't be viewed as a bad palette.  I think most typically don't use it because it's larger than a 16 color palette (which is standard for most).

Also, the NES palette is pretty much tied to the NES (along with its vast library that uses it) and it's hard for me to accept a different palette as truly NES, so for me to give advice on how to make NES sprites/tiles, I would have to say that you absolutely need to stick with the NES palette.

Here is a detailed post on what the NES' limitations are and alternate interpretations of what the NES palette might look like: http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=10784.msg115062#msg115062

Offline crab2selout.png

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Re: NES style

Reply #2 on: June 19, 2011, 12:48:06 am
Heh, I was two seconds from posting that thread. Give a look at the C64 post by Ptoing to get a better idea of what makes a useful low-color palette. The problem with the NES palette is there isn't a lot of thought put into the relative values of the colours. If you look at the C64 palette, you can see how there are distinct value groups along the gradation from black to white, which makes it easier to mix and match and make the most of the palette. There's a larger variety of different colours instead of straight light red/dark red, light blue/dark blue, etc.

To me the thing that really sells an NES-style mockup is respecting the colour limits like four colours(including transparency) per sprite and 8x8 tile.  It really sticks out to me, when I see an NES palette being used, but there are five or six colours being used on the sprite(excluding transparency).

Arne had a really gorgeous NES-styled mockup here that you might like. He mostly respects the NES restricts. It should show that you don't have to use the exact same palette to make something look NES.
http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=8251.msg93548#msg93548

Offline Kasumi

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Re: NES style

Reply #3 on: June 19, 2011, 08:01:28 am
From this, I basically just pull colors, and do my best lol. Is there something missing from this?
If you're really into color theory: http://www.huevaluechroma.com/

I wrote and rewrote a lot of different explanations for why your colors are "wrong" and "don't work", but... none of them were valid.

It may just be lack of ramps. Arne's 16 color palette is great because the colors can fade darker into each other. This also creates some hue shifting harmony.

That's all I got. Hopefully crab2selout.png and others who know more about color theory here can help.

Quote
As for the NES reference guide, is there a book or a website or something on what the specs for NES art is?
KittenMaster already linked the huge post I wrote. There may be some inaccuracies, but I did my best to include only stuff that would matter to someone making NES graphics. If you have any questions, or want any of that explained in a different way, post about it.

Quote
Max number of frames per sprite
The console doesn't limit you in this way. Everything else (tile limits mainly) affects how you decide how long your animations should be. Unless you mean something different by frames.
Quote
Max size of a sprite
Jerk answer: 8x16. That's as big as a hardware sprite can be. You get 64 of them. So...
if you laid them all side by side: 512x16
Top to bottom: 8x1024
In an 8x8 arrangement with no overlap: 64x128.

But that means you're using all your hardware sprites to form one "sprite". You could show one sprite this big every other frame and make a flickery fighting game. In short, the answer is like the above. The other limitations are what would affect how you would think about this. You could show a "sprite" bigger than screen if you didn't mind super sprite flicker.

I make NES games, but I think the NES palette is really not that great. There's not a real yellow, and 7 of the colors are wasted by being black. Like crab2selout.png said, the colors don't blend.

Honestly, I'm totally messed up about NES stuff. Seeing "NES style" makes my blood pressure rise because I actually have to check to see if it really is. And even if graphically it is, gameplay wise it usually isn't. So many things people make happen in NES style games would make the NES processor slow to a crawl. There's more to authenticity than graphical authenticity.

But I'm a purist, and that's off topic.

Here's some interesting NES art: http://jamesmorrow07.deviantart.com/gallery/11869769

As far as I can see it follows restrictions, but I didn't get out my magnifying glass.  :hehe: If I can find more sources of some of the stuff I have saved, I might link more.
I make actual NES games. Thus, I'm the unofficial forum dealer of too much information about the NES

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: NES style

Reply #4 on: June 19, 2011, 04:27:16 pm
From my experience using the NES palette, it's not about smooth ramps at all, it's about getting the most with each single color to maximize readability.

Not only that but it's a very vibrant palette especially when you get very creative with it.

Offline Photocopier

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Re: NES style

Reply #5 on: June 19, 2011, 05:13:00 pm

This is an image used on the forums as reference alot. I think a member made it (can't remember who).

Offline Kasumi

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Re: NES style

Reply #6 on: June 19, 2011, 10:44:33 pm
256x240 is the resolution. Television safe area is what accounted for the ambiguity of the resolution. Other than that, that's a great simple reference, though I had trouble understanding what 50 colors per screen (fade) meant. Or even what "fade region" meant.

So I googled it. The first result is this topic here: http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=6023.msg70736#msg70736 which is also probably the source of that image.

What he's talking about may be a mapper specific thing I haven't heard of, or possibly messing with the color emphasis bits described in my long post. Generally games faded out by doing a loop of subtracting $10 from each palette color if the palette color was greater than $10 three times, then setting all colors to black. This still only allows 25 colors though on the screen at once though. It's also possible to display all 64 colors of all 8 variations of the color emphasis bit on screen at once like this, but that doesn't leave room for game logic. 50 colors or is more feasible, if you change the entire palette before a certain scanline. But then everything rendered before the scanline can't use the colors from after the palette change, and everything after can't use the colors from before.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 10:46:27 pm by Kasumi »
I make actual NES games. Thus, I'm the unofficial forum dealer of too much information about the NES

Offline Jad

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Re: NES style

Reply #7 on: June 21, 2011, 11:57:00 am
All of the colors in your palette are fully saturated - nothing ever enters the area of greatness. A whole dimension of color is lost

GRAYNESS I mean. Except grayness sure can be greatness
« Last Edit: June 23, 2011, 11:24:01 am by Jad »
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Offline Lazy Brain Games

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Re: NES style

Reply #8 on: June 21, 2011, 03:16:28 pm
Wow! Thanks for all the info guys! Currently I'm in near the end of a project, so I'm stuck with the whack palette for that one :P Sometime next week I'll commit the time to develop a new palette after absorbing all the information posted here ;) For all the stuff I've done in the past, I just used 16 colors... and that it! I finally figured out that I there can only be 16 on-screen, not the whole game lol.

Thanks for all the help everyone!

-Johnny B.

Offline Kasumi

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Re: NES style

Reply #9 on: June 21, 2011, 08:31:38 pm
Well... no. You get even more than that. You get 25 on screen assuming no tricks. 12 for the stuff that moves smoothly (sprites), and 13 for the stuff that's stuck in a rigid grid (background tiles)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 08:33:55 pm by Kasumi »
I make actual NES games. Thus, I'm the unofficial forum dealer of too much information about the NES