AuthorTopic: GR#195 - Project Entropy - Gameart, Conceptart  (Read 40295 times)

Offline Facet

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Re: Project Entropy

Reply #10 on: January 22, 2012, 07:38:12 pm
Beautiful Tiles, especially the second, Boktai-like example. I'm really looking forward to how you might go about applying colour here :D.

I very much enjoy glitchy effects/artifacts but one thing that strikes me here (and also here) is that deliberate, controlled manipulation on the pixel level is really the antithesis of the accidental, unpredictable nature of what you're endeavouring to capture here.

Have you considered applying pseudo glitch effects, common patterns in post-processing? You could ask your programmer to try scrambling, palette cycling and otherwise randomising how tiles are drawn in-engine, this could allow for lovely emergent stuff, different every viewing/playthrough and of course you could animate these effects on the fly.

I cleaned up the earlier character with what I meant about the heads looking tacked on (it was the comparative level of rendering) and also what I think st0ven meant regarding torso/arm imbalance and then aped a few effects that you might have a crack at; Base, layer offset, tile scrambled and scrambled palette swap.

« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 07:47:17 pm by Facet »

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: Project Entropy

Reply #11 on: January 22, 2012, 10:44:09 pm
Pistachio:
- the periodic labels were just for you guys- I don't believe i'm going to make it explicitly known in the game that you are using weapons based on elements. It was just a creative way for me to design them and fit conceptually with the game



Facet: Thank you very much, I'm looking forward to color too ;]

While I get what you're saying, I see no reason to not make the pixel technique sound. The images will not always be glitched- and I think sometimes the beauty of a glitch comes from distortion of already " perfect" or " beautiful" things. If I were to slouch on technique with the thought it's just going to be glitched I think it would lose some of it's power.

That said your examples are EXACTLY what I want in game. If I may ask, how did you create those images? What program? I'm working on a mac here so I'm limited from some great small programs ( I miss you graphics gale and pro motion) but I have a toshiba I could get from home.

My supposed programmer hasn't been in contact with me much, I don't know if he's able to do this sort of thing but it would be great if he could. I wonder how this would affect collision detection and things of the sort?

The edit is great as well. The snake head is boss and getting those lats in there is nice too. Thanks for the comments everybody!

Offline Facet

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Re: Project Entropy

Reply #12 on: January 22, 2012, 11:41:29 pm
Yeah, I love the highly detailed stuff and I meant it might be effective to script more of the glitchy effects on top of sound pixel technique ;D

My examples are all by hand, so to speak after having a look at some actual glitches. It's pretty simple stuff that you could easily do manually if you had to (basically just dicking about with the rectangular selection tool) but scripting them should be relatively simple to do and have the advantage of that de facto randomisation and malleability as I was talking about (maybe a real programmer could chime in here :P).

Edit - Ah, that was a bit blasť sorry, blame the hour :-[ I get what you mean now with the potential of the glitch to blur the lines from collision masks; that would definitely take some tinkering to get right. Glad my example was helpful, here's what I did -

  • Gave bestial heads full compliment of range, shortened ram's face & positioned snake's head at more of an angle, could have done this with the former also
  • Layered offset is just shifting sections an arbitrary amount in either direction; for tile scrambling I put up a 8x8 grid and Control-C/V'd that sucker. For the palette swap I copied the whole image, stuck it onto a separate layer underneath and selectively deleted the original.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 02:49:55 pm by Facet »

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Project Entropy

Reply #13 on: January 23, 2012, 06:18:09 pm
Hey there Ryu, long time no see.  :D

I've been watching the topic for a while...not really knowing how to comment.
Graphically I think you're doing really good, at first I was like "meh" but as you post your tilesets I get more and more interested, you make me want to try making some tilesets myself =) I havent pixeled in a while and I never really did tilesets but they have a sort of boktai appeal to them that really gets to me, and it fits with the whole glitchy atmosphere =).

One suggestion with the stairs....that triangular shape shows too clearly that it's a paradox. it's more effective to make the viewer/player suffer the effects of the paradox first and then reveal the visual illusion...Maybe if you made the stairs bigger, and you obscured with fog or by zooming in too close , then have the player go trough the loop once or twice frustrate him a little and THEN zoom out/clear the fog to reveal the illusion it would be far more effective. Think of the way this kind of thing is revealed in film such as this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI-b9ye4RqY short, and...inception to some extent but they have far less fun with the concept so I wont link them :p.

In regards to the concept of the game, I feel at once excited that you take on a game with a clear meaning like this, but at the same time I'm not all that sure that the vision really connects and is coherent, like Helm already said.

Entropy is a law of thermodinamics, yes...and do you believe in it; do you think that it is what will really happen with the universe, that all the energy will be dissipated into heat? is THAT what the glitches represent? how does that connect to enlightenment and the hinduism vision of enlightenment you apparently are using for the game progression?

Why GBC, why a typical game progression with bosses and killing things? why does enlightenment look like going about and killing all the things that give a human mind a sense of cognitive dissonance?(paradoxes). There's nothing truly threatening about the schrodinger's cat to someone that is seeking enlightenment, so why is it a boss? going around the universe terminating all the paradoxes sounds more like a "war on paradoxes" or some kind of mindless crusade by an incredibly regressive mind that cannot accept being challenged, rather than an act of seeking enlightenment. I dont really see the connection to entropy either.

I'm saying this because if you're proposing this as an innovative way of expressing your art, so your goal is to show that the idea and the medium are meant to be together, and I dont think this is necesarily false but I think you need to figure some things out about this particulare structure you chose for it to work.

Now, I'm not necesarily saying that exploring enligthenment or paradoxes as glitches in a game is wrong, maybe you shouldnt have the guy really seek enligthenment, maybe he can be under that pretense but he can turn out to be the most royal asshole to ever live, or maybe just be a regular guy stuck in a horrible situation. Maybe you could have him still seek enligthenment but not fight paradoxes, instead you could do something akin to the Hastina Pura war thing, and have him fight vices. I often hear Indian gurus talk about negating all wicked and stupid things inside yourself, not by pretending they dont exist but by meditating on them and seeing them in all their stupidity until you're so disgusted by them you simply expel them from your being  completely, thus "negate" them. That could be a context in which you could keep the gamey kill everything progression and keep the enlightenment thing, but I just cant match fighting paradoxes with seeking enligthenment.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 07:43:30 pm by Conceit »

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: Project Entropy

Reply #14 on: January 24, 2012, 05:09:12 am
Good to see you Camus :]

Thats a great concept for the stairs, are you saying to up the scale to the point where each stair is around the height of the character? so he must climb then in fog until he realizes it's infinite?

Project entropy is just a catchy name. If you remember project Deadbird, I do not intend on titling a game deadbird- just another fancy code name so I can act like I'm a big shot game company keeping things secret. " Project Entropy" has little to do with things in game- I have thought of " titling" the game the delta symbol which is the symbol of entropy - only so the title screen is an echo of the first legend of zelda title sceen- a game that this project pays tribute to in some aspects.

Questions of " why gbc" and " why a typical game progression" really don't need explaining do they?. We can always be more conceptual in our media, but eventually we lose form. If I want to paint a painting about this- should it really stop me that painting has little to do with the universe? Our media will connect to the concept through our interpretation, I don't think any media is more suited than another to portray what I wish to portray.  But since you did ask, I have chosen my medium for multiple reasons:
- I enjoy the aesthetic and believe that digital work and pixel art scale lends itself to the idea of utilizing glitches- of which these glitches do lend themselves as an analogy to paradoxes ( glitches within reality or theory)

- for class, we must utilize media outside of traditional painting, and I decide to use my pixel art skills to do so

-  a game allows a level of interactivity that is far different from traditional painting. I am also interested in replicating the lonely, mystic quality one feels in game such as the original legend of zelda, or more recently shadow of colossus.

Note that not all bosses in the game are paradoxes- and the  paradox bosses are non violent unless you intend to harm them. Battling the shcrodingers cat will allow you to see it's multiple states- you are to be the poison that has the chance of being released in it's chamber. Other bosses such as " Void" are naturally violent- not through some higher moral evil, but because a black hole is an extremely strong, destructive force.

"but I just cant match fighting paradoxes with seeking enlightenment."

How is battling( challenging ) a boss ( paradox) and defeating ( understanding) not creating some sort of connection with seeking enlightenment?

Fighting vices would instantly make this game about morality, which I do not want it to be. While morality is an important issue, I think there are things much higher up in the universe to be explored - the game player will always do what he thinks is right and that is enough I believe for this game in that regard.

While I do have an intended " ending" for this game, it should be known that most of it is just about exploration. There is no princess to save, and few if any have searched- and obtained enlightenment, and this game is no different. If you explore the game map and decide that you are puzzled and wish to give your energy to some other cause, that is the same as winning ( ending) the game ( quest for enlightenment). For many, more earthly matters such as love, family, a career, and dealing with the here and now is just as worthy to devote time to as sitting in a room for hours on end in the lotus position.

the problem with such commentary is there is no way for me to spill all I have thought of and have intended for the game, and on this forum you guys must give critique and commentary assuming I haven't done these things because I have not showed them to you( how else would you know I have addressed or contemplated these issues?). All I can show are mock ups and tile tests etc for the playable demo that I hope to have for the installation project for class.

Offline Cure

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Re: Project Entropy

Reply #15 on: January 24, 2012, 07:18:54 pm
I find the thesis of the game a bit strange, it works fine as a storyline, but the entire idea of enlightenment as a goal to be achieved is flawed, from the philosophical perspective of Buddhism. It then becomes a desire, an act of the will, that one assumes can be attained through their efforts, and held as an object. The spiritual practices of Buddhism are obviously efforts, but their goal is to encourage favorable conditions, to invite enlightenment rather than reach out and take it. So 'questing for enlightenment' makes for a fine game but would be a pitfall in the actual philosophical system.

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: Project Entropy

Reply #16 on: January 24, 2012, 08:39:27 pm
Cure I don't know much about Buddhism although it is slightly related to Hinduism. In Hinduism enlightenment or "moksha" is a state of mind or a transcendence into the fabric of the universe" Brahman". This is more what I mean by enlightenment- with the character deciding to pursue this through exploration of the game world, where defeating bosses is an analogy for understanding paradoxes, dealing with epic forces, and are stepping stones to the end of the game. There will not be some triforce object or legendary crystal that the player is seeking.
Reading over again what you are saying; at least in Hinduism this is something that is actively pursued through yoga. I don't believe there is too much of a difference, especially in this context whether enlightenment is pursued, or actions are done to create favorable conditions for enlightenment.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 08:43:45 pm by Ryumaru »

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Project Entropy

Reply #17 on: January 25, 2012, 10:48:22 pm
I dont know how it is in your art school, but in film school you did have to justify the format you chose to express your idea, and I imagine if you go for something as extraneous to painting as gameplay, you should have a good reason WHY gameplay is elemental to the idea. I kind of get the feel this doesnt really matter and you just want us to comment on the pixelart and how you could do the glitch effect on it...is this the case?

Ryu, enligthenment is a loaded, loaded word. What I'm trying to get to is you dont need to make it about enligthenment to make a game where optical illusions and confusing aspects of scientific understanding are ethier personified or represented as game glitches. in your response to me it seemed like you werent so much going for spiritual enligthenment, you mention some people just get a job a car and a wife and whatnot, and you mention the idea of exploration...that just doesnt sound like enlightenment at all enligthenment is about transcending suffering, not accumulating the things everyone normally desires. But then you reply to cure and again you textually say you ARE talking about spiritual enligthenment...it just makes me more convinced enligthenment really just isnt very related at all.
 
I kinda get the feeling you want to make a  game in a world where optical illusions and science conondrums protrayed as glitches, and every once in a while you have a god of war-like fight with scientific phenomena of the universe....that sounds great but I just dont see how you graft enligthenment on top of that.

a BIG problem with games today is that storywise they're supposedly about something, but if you look at what they make you do in the game they're actually about something entirely diferent. This cognitive dissonance keeps many people from considering them art...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otyXtzLNxoI this is a good explanation of what I'm trying to say, and this is something inde dev Jhonatan Blow (the Braid guy) haprs on over and over in a bunch of lectures.  Spiritual enligthenment and killing paradoxes just doesnt match for me, even if it's a metaphore for understanding. Unerstadning the universe is a scientist's journey not the journey to enligthenment, so I think at the moment your concept suffers from this cognitive dissonance.

Enligthenment is an inner journey, and it is mostly about accepting the present moment and letting go of all your prejudices, it has very little to do with fighting anything, or understanding confusing scientific phenomena. What little I thought could be related to fighting in a journey of enligthenment would be eliminating your own inner vices, because they keep you distracted from the real source of completeness and happyness which as you said is brahman.

What I'm saying is...you have many options for justifying why this guy is exploring this glitchy world...he could be frustated scientist that became a gamedev and later went into a coma or went mad or whatever...I dont know...but you keep mentioning enligthenment and the more you do it the more I dont see the connection at all.

I linked a short when I made a sugestion about the penrose steps
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI-b9ye4RqY
I think as simple as it is it works better conceptually, the guy isnt seeking anything special, he's just stuck in a bizzare situation and is desperate to get out, that's all you really need to know. I think you're better off doing something like that than trying to define something as undefinable as enligthenment...you could still have the character go trough all sorts of learning experiences but it's less loaded if it's from the perspective of normal guy stuck in strange glitch world

EDIT: oh, about the penrose stairs...I meant making the stairs longer so it isnt easy to see the whole illusion in one screen, not necesarily making the steps themselves bigger....although that sounds like it might be fun :p. Basically I'm just saying you get more out of the illusion if the player goes trough the stairs and doesnt know they loop, and then you reveal that they do and he hasnt been going anywhere. so it'd be good if the first time he goes trough it he doesnt see the whole image. I proposed two ways to hide the whole image, the first was to simply have zoomed in on part of the image at the beggining and zoom out later to reveal the whole structure. But since we're working with pixelart we dont really want to zoom much right? so I thought maybe you could have one of those fogs that cover everything within a radius of more than two meters of the player, and remove it later on to reveal that you've been going in a loop.

I just thought that maybe you could match the zoom with the glitch thing, by having the screen distorted as if the aspect ratio had been loaded wrong, maybe intentionally have it load with big tallpixels so that you're seeing only part of the screen....and as you climb the staircase maybe you find a puzzle that has the game actually load in real size and you realize the staircase was looped. You got a good game concept play with...these illusions lend themselves to being represented in games.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 11:16:37 pm by Conceit »

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: Project Entropy

Reply #18 on: January 26, 2012, 03:52:34 am
It was a little forward to say those questions don't need explaining- my logic was that the medium will fit the subject at a certain level whether I justify it or not. For example, human excrement will always fail at attempting to depict the beauty of the blue sky whether an artist tries to justify it or not.
    It is not that I wish for comments only on the pixel art ( although more comments on that would be helpful) but like you go on to say, enlightenment is an extremely loaded word, there are an infinite amount of questions you guys could ask, assuming I haven't thought about them ( and some I haven't) but most are things that are internal and it would be difficult, or at the very least extremely time expending to answer them all.
    As I said before, gameplay simply allows for a different kind and level of interactivity than traditional painting. I'm sure you know of, or can imagine what I talk about when I describe the " mystic loneliness" of games such as legend of zelda and shadow of the colossus. I personally find a similar feeling whenever I attempt to broaden my knowledge or really sit down and think about the " bigger questions". For me it's a complex feeling- partly a form of dread ( that certain loneliness) but also excitement as you explore the map ( find a trail of questions/ answers that seem to lead somewhere).
   
   Cure specifically noted spiritual enlightenment in buddhism philosophy so naturally my reply was to that. However I would say that scientific enlightenment- or a complete understanding of how the universe is not too far off from spiritual enlightenment- both are the end result of searching- externally or internally. If I were to describe my ultimate intents for the game I would have to say that the actual gameplay falls more on the external, scientific side ( with the game map and characters becoming personified versions of things[ for whatever reason I've been interested in personification lately]) while such a search is of course a metaphor, or at least relatable to spiritual enlightenment( can video games be meditative? It might seem silly but hardcore level grinding in an rpg does seem to take you away from yourself in some slight manner).
    Would the word " purpose" fit better for you? if ANYTHING I want the game to be about developing or finding one's own purpose. I personally don't know if there is any purpose to our existence ( I'd like to believe there is) but I do know that at some level, if you don't create, unearth, or otherwise decide your own personal purpose, you may be a " wandering spirit"  with a whole bunch of questions and not a lot of happiness once your life has ended. In " project Entropy" the character is to be thrown in this personified universe without so much as a hint on where to go or what to do- If I had an infinite amount of time, resources, and energy, I would probably expand the game to include areas that develop the themes of love, sexual desire, familial ties, career success et cetera- to allow players that gravitate towards those things seek them out, and for them that would be " winning the game" as much as the " intended" route of understanding. While I have shown here a lot of boss sketches you must understand I am me. I'm the guy that used to draw overly muscular demons all the time; and I often still do. I had content, so I decided to show it. That does not necessarily mean that is all the game is " about". I enjoyed the fact that in Legend of Zelda, ( and even games like megaman) that there is no linear order( in the case of LoZ, some are of higher difficulty, but there are multiple dungeons that you can play out of order) for the bosses- and for project entropy, I don't even know if the bosses will be necessary to defeat in order to " advance" in the game ( I apologize for using so many quotations, but it seems appropriate to separate these words) but seeing as how they are personifications of challenges, paradoxes, or otherwise epic natural forces, their defeat would ultimately aid you along the way.

   I believe at this point, a lot of your reply is stemming from my misuse of the word " enlightenment" I apologize. Ones own purpose, and a more broad vision of enlightenment ( an answer to the " big question") to include, or not be weary of both scientific and spiritual versions of the same word may be more appropriate.

"you could still have the character go trough all sorts of learning experiences but it's less loaded if it's from the perspective of normal guy stuck in strange glitch world"
For all intensive purposes, that's more or less what this is. I have never been one to be extremely adamant about a rock hard message in my work because some portion of the audience is unfailingly not going to " get it" or otherwise interpret things differently than I intended- the latter of which I embrace because a piece of art is much more special when there is a connection between you and the piece, and is not an artist shouting his opinion at you. This is not to say that I do not have intentions with my work, but sometimes intentions are hard to vocalize, after all there is a reason I work in a visual art, just as sound artists wish to express things that cannot be seen.

to go back to this quote from you:
"you could still have the character go trough all sorts of learning experiences but it's less loaded if it's from the perspective of normal guy stuck in strange glitch world"

I have released my intention here in this forum by necessity, but as I said above, I do not wish to shout any message to my audience. I wish only to aesthetically and visually illustrate things such as that " mystic loneliness" or explore my fascination and appreciation of glitch art while hinting at or otherwise allowing the character to search for a purpose in this game map that he has been thrown into- without a princess to save. ( many non gamers mistakingly call " Link" " zelda" since it is the " legend of zelda" if I recall it's not explicitly stated that you are trying to save a princess, unless you happened to read the guide book, am I right? Well take that feeling of not really knowing what you're doing and happening upon dungeons, puzzles, and epic forces, and just subtract the princess- and the triforce for that matter, and replace them with a purpose of your own).

I really enjoy your idea about zooming in on the stairs; when I created the staircase illusion, I was honestly worried about the technicality of rendering it is isometric, and was not paying too much attention to scale. Embracing that expanded resolution " as if it has been loaded wrong" is an interesting idea and like you say is something that may be fun to play with. I do enjoy the self reference of the visual acknowledging this is in a digital world- a game.

I do not wish to seem unappreciative of these comments and will try to respond to them as best as I can, However I do also enjoy comments on the art and I will hopefully add some mockups of inventory screens and more game-y things in that nature- I'm having a difficult time envisioning those currently because my decided resolution makes areas such as weapon and item design hard to elaborate on a small scale and I obviously want to show those on some sort of more rendered level specifically because of references such as the elements of the periodic table in the weaponry- but at the same time, even the idea of going to a " different screen" for some reason irks me as if it is counterproductive to some parts of the feeling or mood I wish to express. I also am not sure how to include text into this. Perhaps it could be a completely " silent" game, but there may be things I'd like to express that are hard to illustrate without text- perhaps making it glitchy and seemingly incidental is a possibility.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 04:02:48 am by Ryumaru »

Offline Helm

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Re: Project Entropy

Reply #19 on: January 26, 2012, 04:29:45 pm
"with the game map and characters becoming personified versions of things[ for whatever reason I've been interested in personification lately"

I don't know what 'personification' is exactly, but portraying a phenomenon as say, entropy, with a symbol of a scary humanoid form is not really personifying it. A person has a complex psyche as you well know. Giving something limbs and a head doesn't lend it a psyche. What would entropy feel? What would he/she be sad about? What would make it happy? Do you plan to address any of these things? If yes, you could do worse than read Gaiman's Sandman comics for ideas as to how to do this. If not, you're not personifying things, you're just representing an abstract idea with a drawing of a humanoid monster.

"you must understand I am me. I'm the guy that used to draw overly muscular demons all the time; and I often still do"

I accept you as you are, but I sense some inner turmoil on this point. What you've posted here seems to me mostly driven by the same desire to drow demon forearms, with the meta-concept of Journey of Understanding tacked on after the fact so you feel less bad (?) fo some reason for having drawn demon forearms again. Does this make sense? I feel you must move resolutely towards either one end or the other. Either make a game about the journey to understanding without drawing demon forearms once in the whole game, or forget the journey of understanding and draw hella lots of demon forearms in your art until you realize what exactly it is that draws you so much towards them, and deal with that in your art. There is no middle path that will produce anything of much truth, I believe.

From a game design standpoint, right now you're not exactly designing. You are brainstorming higher ideas that do not seem to be connected with gameplay much. Camus/Conceit is right to link you the Blow stuff on the matter of a game having a theme, and a subtext, and the mechanics must enforce the theme and comment on the subtext. If there's one thing that is not a journey of understanding at all, that is the toil of a jrg. If there's one thing that isn't about forging your own path, is these masked-linearity metroid/zelda/vanias where the only eventual way to get from point A to point Z is if you hit the major nodes in between. A game about exploration and wonderment is Skyrim, for example. The mechanics support its theme of tourism completely. A game about eternal toil until one reaches stillness (or do they?) is Dark Souls, for another example. Every mechanic in Dark Souls supports what the game is about.

If you really must make a videogame which doesn't just reflexively come to its creator (like say, Mario, or Sonic. These games weren't designed to be about anything concrete, just vague ideas of what would be fun to do) then I think your choice of theme/subtext and graphics/mechanics so far is wildly out of step.

I'm not sure how far in you're going to go with designing this and how much will eventually be implemented, but it's interesting as a purely academic persuit on its own.

Here's suggestions on both aesthetic and practical concerns if you *are* commited to turning in a complete videogame for your project:

* Make 2 complete levels, different themes, one boss for each level, minor new gameplay for each level. Don't make more, you'll just swamp yourself. If you can make the art assets for each level in a week's worth each, you can do this.

* Keep to very simple zelda-esque gameplay. Don't bother with levelling, xp, many different interchangable weapons. Having 2-3 abilites that are fun will be fine.

* If you want to be clever with ideas such as infinite staircases and quantum states, you can do that briefly and you don't have to justify it a lot. Let the game be a game.

* If you can, do not draw a single muscly demon for the whole game, see how that feels.

* Don't labour the art. See how much art you need, make it fast, and refine it if you have time at the end. Don't make pixelation threads for every little thing, just draw as well as you can at the moment and you'll find out at the end even if a few tiles or enemies are not as great looking as others, the whole thing will look better as a sum than as parts.

* Keep to NES animation styles, 2 frames are enough for most gameplay-essential things!

If you're desperately in need of a higher concept for your game that you want to reflect in gameplay, perhaps, sadly, the issue of predestination and determinism is the only one that you'll have time to explore for such a project. Levels, stages, start and end points and nothing else but what the programmer decreed is the only natural subtext to such a videogame. Shadow of the Colossus which you say you love is exactly about that too, even if it's a bigger game.