AuthorTopic: GR#129 - Labyrinth - RPG Projection Sprites and Tiles  (Read 28758 times)

Offline StarRaven

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GR#129 - Labyrinth - RPG Projection Sprites and Tiles

on: January 31, 2012, 06:22:39 am
An average college student is on spring break when his rich, eccentric, great uncle suddenly passes away. On a whim, he gets together a group of friends for a bit of looting the weekend before crazy Uncle Horace's mansion is to be sold. What could go wrong? It's not like the place is haunted and they'll get trapped there after nightfall and be slowly picked off by the demonic entities that have taken over the house or something.

...So anyway, here is some stuff I have pixelled for the project. Decided it would be fun to severely limit my palette (ho ho ho) so 16 colors, not including the grey background. I know the tiles are kind of bright for a haunted house, but I'm hoping to have some kind of shadow overlay that is cleared by light sources, so it wouldn't be super-bright everywhere. Hrm. Anyhoo....

A character (concept here), some enemies, my palette, some items, some tiles, the UI frame thing.

I'd be grateful for any critique! I'm so terrible at those interior tiles, especially. If anybody knows any games with interiors I could look at, that would be nice, too.

Thanks for looking!

Offline Facet

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #1 on: January 31, 2012, 05:24:00 pm
I like ghost stories ;D Lovely sprite and an interesting art nouveau frame; is that intended as a global UI? it's kind of big.

A mock-up of the tiles & sprites in action would help critique, if only so we know what kind of perspective and gameplay you're aiming for here. It could also give you a better idea of what elements you might need to populate a scene.

Regarding ref; Castlevania is a no-brainer, but why not go straight to the source and google yourself up some first-hand, bona fide abandoned houses for inspiration?
 

Offline Tourist

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #2 on: January 31, 2012, 05:54:39 pm
I think you're channeling Scooby Doo a bit.  A group of teens, a spooky mansion, a mystery to solve.  There was a 2002 spin-off where Shaggy had a rich eccentric uncle who disappeared and named Shaggy as inheritor.  And the character design looks like half Velma (outfit) and half Daphne (hair).  If the 'demons' turn out to be old man Withers, who would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those kids, then you're definitely pulling from a single source too strongly.

I like the door quite a bit, and the overall look of the scenery so far.  I think the perspective is inconsistent, but maybe it won't be such a problem when an entire scene is assembled.  If you have the time, maybe throw together a small mockup to see if ti works.

Tourist

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #3 on: January 31, 2012, 10:22:16 pm
Facet:
Thanks! Yes, the frame is meant to be a global UI. I wanted to design it a little big; I was hoping to give a sort of cramped/claustrophobic feel as well as use it to limit the player's view somewhat. If it gets in the way too much, I may have to scale it back, but that's my plan for now, heh. :3

You're right! I forgot about a mockup. I'll get right on that.

It's haunted but it's not abandoned, so I'm having a little trouble with the atmosphere. I'm hoping some darkness will help. I Googled "mansion interior" and have been using the pictures I found for inspiration thus far. :D Thank you for the link!

Tourist:
Oh man! I didn't even think of Scooby Doo! The only thing that I was directly thinking of was Sweet Home. More boatloads of inspiration, for sure. :D If the story seems a little cliche, that's because I wanted it to be reminiscent of a campy horror movie, and Scooby Doo has a lot of the same tropes. Only, you know, less gore and death.

Just for that, I will have to have a character that insists that the monsters are just the groundskeeper in a costume. Until someone dies horribly.

Urrgh I'm pretty sure the perspective is inconsistent. :( I'm so awful at top-down perspectives. I'll keep working at it.


Mockup:

Incredibly boring so far. I'm not 100% sure how I'd like to do the lighting yet (not to mention that I haven't pixelled any light sources yet) so I left everything as-is. I'm thinking of adding a black shadow to some of the other stuff, to match the sprite.

Offline michelcote

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 02:16:08 am
Adding dark tiles for the walls in corners that you can flip could help with the atmosphere. Also I think the tables in the corner are the only objects noticeably out of perspective. Your palette so far is wonderful, and the character is quite charming.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #5 on: February 01, 2012, 03:59:36 am
michelcote:
Thank you for the compliments. :3 I'll work on the tables. I'm not sure if this is what you had in mind when you said "dark tiles for the walls in the corners" but I think it helped me anyway, haha.

Added shadows and outlines on some stuff to match the sprite. Still working on some other stuff.


Some enemies. Most of them are just sort of... concept... things. I'll do some proper animations for them later, after I finish some characters. They look so much better on a dark background! Maybe I shouldn't have made them transparent. Hm.


And a little two-frame run animation. Still working on it. I want to make it a little faster but I don't have a program that will make .gifs (just the free version of GraphicsGale.)
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 05:02:06 am by StarRaven »

Offline Wes

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #6 on: February 01, 2012, 06:02:13 am
hey man i LOVE the concept and the style. this project seems awesome. i like your bright colors too :)

what jumps out at me from your mockup is the ceiling—it's so harsh against the nice green walls and has a strange kind of distracting incompleteness to it. imo adding some kind of border to the tops of the walls will smooth it out and help solidify the walls and bring it together really nicely.

here's my suggestion:



kind of a lame quick edit but it gets the idea across.

as for your running animations—is there a reason you're only using two frames? i can imagine that sprite having a BEAUTIFUL run animation with 6 or even 4 frames.

also could you explain the HUD? i'm really not a big fan of it as it is but I would love to know more about your plans for its gameplay applications

good luck dude and keep us updated

Offline kriss

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #7 on: February 01, 2012, 12:03:00 pm
i like the design and the color choice, the shadow ennemies are.. so beautiful  :y:

I'm agree about the 2 frame animation.. it will be better with more frames.

I like HUD, but maybe it take too many place in the screen, as if we're looking looking the game through a tv ^^

Offline Sharm

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #8 on: February 01, 2012, 02:10:50 pm
The table should have the same curve as the pillars and be oval not round.  That should fix a lot of the perspective.  The door looks like it's in the middle of rising from the ground because the bevels don't have a bottom.  Is that on purpose?

I've been using Microsoft Gif Animator to make my animations until I found out how easy it was to make them out of layered images in GIMP.  Both are free.  I would also like to see a beautiful animation cycle for this girl, but I think you'll need 8 frames to do her charming character justice.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #9 on: February 02, 2012, 08:24:59 am
I can't see using eight frames on a sprite this size; that seems like overkill. I definitely can't see doing eight frames per character! I don't think I could manage to get that done in any reasonable amount of time. D: I might try six if four doesn't cut it, though. :3
Started working on a four-frame run animation: Frames:

Wes:
I was thinking that too, that the ceiling needed some transitions. I like what you did there with the gold a lot!

Sharm:
The pillars actually do have the same curve as the table (in fact, I copy+pasted half the table to get the right curve for the pillar) so I dunno what's up with that. I don't know if it's the character being pretty much full-on side view that's making thinks look wonky or what. I think I'd rather change the tiles though, at this point. I'll squash the tables and whatnot somewhat, and hopefully it will look okay. Thanks for the advice!

I've been afraid to try to put GIMP on this machine -- it's just a little netbook and I'm afraid GIMP will be a CPU hog. D:


Thank you all for all the compliments. :D

For the HUD... I guess I just kind of had an idea of what I wanted (I thought something like an antique frame?) and went for it. I have plans to fill out the other parts of the HUD with some other stuff but I haven't gotten to it yet, and there's some stuff I want to change. (Those circles in particular I'm not very happy with.)

Offline Mike

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #10 on: February 02, 2012, 08:42:16 am
Just for the sake of good time management I agree.  Go with the lower amount of frames.  It's impressive that you have the mindset that less is more.  Good for game development.  You'll be sure to meet whatever deadline you have with that attitude :D

Also.  I love this.  I wish I had more to say but just looking at that screen makes me want to play in that world.

Offline Sharm

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #11 on: February 02, 2012, 02:59:31 pm
Ah, sorry, I meant to say the bottom of the pillars.  They seem more in perspective than the top.  Here, like this:

You're right about 4 frame being better for time management.  I admit, I just wanted to see that hair bounce around.  Actually, she seemed the sort of character to bounce a lot when she ran.  Are her arms going to move, or will she be holding stuff in game?

My netbook can handle photoshop 5.5 which is more of a resource hog than GIMP is.  I wouldn't be worried about it.  If you still want something tiny, I'd go with Microsoft Gif Animator.

I forgot to say so last time, but those enemies are seriously cool.

Offline adamisgr8

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 05:18:22 pm
I really love how this is going! However there is one small thing that bothers me a bit.

I guess shading would also be a good solution to this small problem, but maybe you could put something to emphasise the corner?
Otherwise I really like what you've done so far!
+1

Offline Facet

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 06:08:17 pm
Sweet mockup, definite GBC vibes which is no bad thing ;D.

Re; perspective I think the background is fine but the characters don't adhere to the same rules; not that you couldn't get away with this, many games do but I've edited to conform better for comparison's sake below. How are you planning on doing North-facing doorways?



I actually quite like the UI in context, it puts me in mind of some fondly remembered first-person RPGs. I would however, demarcate the inner border with a black outline to separate it from in-game elements and consider affording it a separate palette.

Regardless of frames, some arm movement would be nice on the girl, and her hair appears to grow and shrink currently because only the outline changes. Some ideas for additions; how about some leafy William Morris wallpaper, wooden architraves, oil paintings and some sconce lighting. If you wanted to continue the swirly Art Nouveau feel of the UI into the tiles there's more ref. than you could ever need here.

GraphicsGale is a superior & lightweight program for animation.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 06:22:12 pm by Facet »

Offline Manupix

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #14 on: February 03, 2012, 03:29:44 am
Animation nitpick: the hair would probably look better if it cycled once for every two steps (or full cycle), I don't think long hair could move at the higher frequency of once per step.
Or at least make it look different for each step, as if it moved sideways.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #15 on: February 03, 2012, 04:21:55 am
New mockup:

Fixed corners, added wall tops on front view, changed some of the shadows, fixed the bottom of the door, changed the UI a bit. I just noticed some tiling errors, but I'm closing it out for tonight so I'll have to edit it the next time I work on it.

Also started on a portrait:

I'm not sure about the style -- it's not really what I had in mind, not to mention that she's sparkling like a vampire in the sun -- but I was having too much fun to abandon it halfway! :D Made a blink animation and a talking one, as well, but I haven't animated it yet.

I'll work more on the animation as well! I've been procrastinating a little bit on that and working on some little bits and bobs with the tiles. I think I'm going to overhaul the pillars and fix the tables next. (And I just realized that the handles on the doors are too tall for a character this size to reach them! Hah. That's what I get for making the tiles first.)

Mike:
Oh don't worry! I might be frugal with my frames but I'll battle my procrastination for sure. Haha.

Sharm:
I am hoping to make her a bit 'bouncier'! Yes, the arms will move but I'm procrastinating on them a bit because I'm not sure exactly how I want them to look. I was thinking I might give her a girly run.

Thanks for the advice about GIMP -- I'll take that into consideration. I tried Microsoft GIF Animator but it needs the frames to be in GIF format (which is the whole problem -- the free version of GraphicsGale won't save GIFs.) :(

Facet:
I was really hoping I could get away with it, actually. It's easier to see things properly with a semi-top-down perspective, but I really like the look of the characters with a side-on view. I really like your edit, though. I might see if I can get my sprites closer to that angle. Heh! With some tweaks, maybe I can nudge the sprites and the tiles both close enough to each other that they look all right together!

Oh man, I had plans to do some work on the UI, but you have given me some great ideas for tiles. Thanks for the ideas and the links!


Again, thanks to everyone for the compliments~

Offline Mike

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #16 on: February 03, 2012, 04:33:23 am
The portrait is going to be dynamic right?  For example if she is getting scared it will be reflected in the portrait.  Or if she is getting hurt, or happy,etc etc etc...

:D

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #17 on: February 05, 2012, 08:53:53 am
New mockup wheeee....

Pillars have been removed for renovation.

I'm working on this animation but I'm not sure I'm making any headway.

Left to right: Original, delayed hair bounce, no hair bounce (just for comparison), four-frame hair bounce.

I guess I'm going to have to go six frames after all.


Mike:
Yes! I'm hoping to do a couple different portraits for each character; at least normal, scared, and injured. Since I think I'm going to have to do 6-frame animations, I'll just move the eyes and mouth for each character. (So many expressions are possible with just a few eye/mouth variations, though, so I think it might be the better option anyway.)

Offline Mike

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #18 on: February 05, 2012, 09:25:27 am
Original makes the most sense with the amount of frames you have.  It also reads as hair bounce from a run.  It's energetic looking. 

Oh and is she going to be holding a box or something?  Or are the arms not finished yet?

Offline Sharm

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #19 on: February 05, 2012, 03:46:40 pm
The mock up looks dramatically better, it suddenly looks more like a house.  I love the sconces and that painting.  You'll want to have that gold edge on the other walls on the bottom of your screen.  Great, now I want to play it and there's no way you'll be done with the art soon.

Offline Facet

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #20 on: February 05, 2012, 04:58:54 pm
Awesome painting :y:, I think tradition dictates it should rattle occasionally and perhaps flash disturbing glimpses into a hellish parallel dimension. Austere portraits of the mansion's previous owner who might well have met a mysterious grisly death are another favourite.

I like the four frame run although I'd try moving the hair further off the shoulder in step with the outline in order to counter the impression of the hair's volume changing. Capping at four frames might prove wise if you've got quite a bit of animation to do, you can always add more at your discretion later.

Cuteness abounds in the shiny portrait. I can't resist evangelising the expressive potential of hands here though. It seems a shame not to take advantage of more extensive changes if you have a waist-up portrait installed in the corner of the screen as a status indicator. I think this type of thing would make for a lot more empathy with the character. Also removed partial rim light which was banding with the outline.

Nitpicks; doorframe casts no shadow on either the door or wall and bizarrely I'm reading the lights as a praying mantis with an outsize head :P; going bigger, more planar would help.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #21 on: February 06, 2012, 08:05:46 pm
Small update:

Animation:

Mockup:

Offline Corinthian Baby

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #22 on: February 06, 2012, 10:52:41 pm
The inventory looks good, easy to read.

I like that you are going for some shadows for a dark ominous effect. But I think your application is too stark. It's the same shade as the ceiling, which is a cut out so to speak, whereas the floor is actually there. I would say either soften it up, or use some sort of transitional color so it's not so harsh moving between light and shadow.

A similar effect is happening with the door. While you give it some volume by making it darker on the bottom which is good, but it creates a disparity in its relationship to the floor. To remedy make a darker floor color, or transitional color like I said before. Also I would argue for more contrast between the floor and walls in general. The lack of contrast flattens it out. Also remember how the sprite is affected by any bg change. The colors you're using for the main chara are bright enough to be easily distinguishable but you also are using bright colors for the tiles, which if you're not careful can battle for the player's attention against the sprites. (Also, please follow Facet's character edit when it comes to rpg perspective!)

I think it's interesting that you are making a game of this genre in this cartoony, vibrant style, because on paper it seems to be a mismatch but I think it is a graphical challenge that is very possible. Scooby Doo was mentioned as a reference earlier, and even if you didn't ref it, it's worth studying because it is an example of how the style and genre can be blended successfully. Good luck can't wait to see more.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #23 on: February 08, 2012, 09:28:02 am
Sorry for the brief update last time, I was really tired.

I never really intended for the flat lime-jello-green and ambiguous-grey to be what I used for the walls and ceiling. It was supposed to be more like a placeholder until I came up with some decent tiles for them. Heh. Anyway, so here's what I'm trying out now:

Looking more and more like a house! :D I also mocked up some lighting effects for the sconces. Hopefully that helps a little bit with their readability. However, I was going for an insectoid look to them (I'd like for some of them to be monsters in disguise, who could attack characters that get too close) and "praying mantis with a candle for a head" was exactly what I was thinking.

I was going to do a portrait of great-uncle Horace but I haven't designed him yet. I'll get on that, though. Glowing eyes optional? ;P

Haaands! I forgot to mention those. I added some (though not as good as Facet's, unfortunately) to the previous mockup. I would much rather redraw every portrait, but I have a fair few characters and I'd like to save a little time. (Plus, having interchangeable parts for the faces makes it easier to write in new scenes on the fly without having to stop and draw a new portrait if so-and-so doesn't have a "laughing" face, because most expressions can be made with a few different eyebrow positions and a few different mouths.)


Corinthian Baby:
I agree about the floor shadows. I have to admit; it's a bit of a short cut, but the other reason I'm doing them like that is to give the shadow monsters a place to hide. I'm looking at different ways to do the shadows, though, so I'll keep your advice in mind. :D

I have to admit that I initially tried to go for a darker, grittier style and... well, it's just not my thing. Too many games are dark and gritty these days! I will have color! Lots of it! Bright and shiny! I am thinking that I would like to have some sort of darkness overlay that is cleared by light sources.

I thought about the character perspective and I think I'm going to keep the side-on view. I know it's not technically correct, but I feel like you see more of the character that way.

Offline Corinthian Baby

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #24 on: February 08, 2012, 07:51:28 pm
The wallpaper looks great. One thing bothers me about the wall though, the lower tile, those selective 1 pixel length highlights.

The floor I think has too much contrast within itself. To remedy this, I would remove those black outlines because it makes the floor much too stark and gridlocked. Traditionally, floors should be lower contrast, so the higher contrast/colorful sprites will stand out when walking on them. Right now those outlines are the same color as the chara's outline, which makes them easily get confused when an outline's purpose is to make an object stand out. Hm, what if you made the main color of the floor that medium greyish brown?

Maybe add some texture to the rug next?

Oh and about those insectoid sconce lights, I think they're too small, or perhaps understated. It's hard to make out what it is because of the 1 pixel width. This is an instance where an outline might help distinguish what it is and support it.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #25 on: February 08, 2012, 10:11:36 pm
Ffff stupid forum ate my post. :<

Anyhoo, quick fix:

-->
Made the dark purple darker and used that instead of the black.

Tried some alternate sconces but I think I like the single candle on the other ones better. (I know none of the issues with them have been fixed; still only one pixel, etc etc I made these when I made the other ones and I just wanted to see how the shape looked.) The sconces are supposed to be something like this:

I don't really see any good way to add an outline or make them bigger without completely changing the design, so if they're that hard to read even in context, that's what I'll have to do.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2012, 10:26:26 pm by StarRaven »

Offline Facet

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #26 on: February 10, 2012, 12:19:41 am
Some really nice progress, love the wallpaper & hands. I think adding elements like the hands as a separate entity, a few variants on top of a static portrait is a nice middle ground between the ideal of many entirely redrawn emotive portraits and the much more attainable static base with facial expression change which can look a little stilted sometimes. With the addition of the lighting effect the original sconce is of course much better but I still think it just gets lost a bit at that size and as also a consequence of being comprised mostly of line; I would however very much like to see it come alive ;D.

Corinthian Baby makes some great points about readability and shadowing; increasingly you're introducing quite busy global patterning whereas implied detailing with lower contrast, some flatter areas would allow the eyes to 'rest' more on what's important, ie mechanical elements. I'd tone down the brown swirls on the UI a bit which distract a little and seem like space-filler and concentrate on making the lighter, structural swirls look great, perhaps shiny, metallic in addition to creating a few tile variants of the boards. Also, lengthening those a bit, perhaps just removing every other divide would look more floor-boardy.

You mentioned a shadow overlay earlier which sounds like a great idea instead of getting caught up too much in per-tile rendered lighting, a test run of these would be great too.

Quote
Ffff stupid forum ate my post. :<
Ctrl-C that sucker for security before posting, that can be an enormous pain :P.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 02:40:03 am by Facet »

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #27 on: February 12, 2012, 09:37:46 am
Yeah, I was trying something with those swirls but it's better without them. Some other stuff will pretty much cover those spots anyway. Anyhoo, mocked up a darkness effect finally:

Still working on those sconces. Nothing I want to show off just yet.

Worked on the run animation:

I'm pretty happy with the front view so far.

And I'm testing out the portrait with the expressions I have done so far. No hands yet. Okay, I admit it, I did it for fun. XD I just wanted to watch her blink.


And some scraps:

Characters, items, character status doodad.

I am thinking that one of the top corner bits of the UI could extend into a place for a mini-map. It could be toggled open/closed maybe? Hm....

Offline Facet

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #28 on: February 12, 2012, 07:27:09 pm
Frontal run is great (awesome hair bounce) as is the adorable animated portrait and item icons.

Minor stuff; the jaggys at the widest point of the hair in the static frontal sprite and the lack of a corresponding far hand in the profile run.

The shadows definitely inject some good old-fashioned ghost story atmosphere. The whole thing's looking great  ;D 

Offline kab00m

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #29 on: February 16, 2012, 04:28:54 pm
Looks great. Are you actually turning this into a game?

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #30 on: February 16, 2012, 08:30:52 pm
I've been designing a new UI. I did the original frame mostly for fun and I didn't leave room for some important things, so I'm scrapping it. I don't have a lot of ideas, though. Here's what I have so far:

I like gigantic clunky UIs in case nobody can tell. :B

The ovals along the right side are for inactive characters. (I am thinking that if a character should die, the demon's hand can reach in from off-screen and scratch out the portrait.) The circle at the top left will be a place for a mini-map that will show which area of the house the character is in, and a bar nearby would name it (something like, "Second Floor -- North Hallway.")

And two new animations: picking up an item and using an item.

Shown with a test item (green notebook) and without. I haven't fixed those jaggies yet; I keep forgetting. Also, I am beginning to think that her arms are too short in the standing sprites, haha.

Just for fun, I found some concept art of the wall-sconce-monsters:



kab00m:
No promises, but I'm hoping to. :D

Edit:
Oh! Also I kept meaning to say...
...creating a few tile variants of the boards. Also, lengthening those a bit, perhaps just removing every other divide would look more floor-boardy.
I can't get the floorboards any longer; my tiles are only 16x16. :( I was going to try a vertical board, though -- maybe the perspective will make it look longer? Test:
vs
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 03:00:32 am by StarRaven »

Offline kriss

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #31 on: February 16, 2012, 09:37:28 pm
I like a lot the book animation ^^

The first time i saw your HUD, i immediatly thought about art nouveau !
Maybe you should take a look at thoses exemples

Offline kab00m

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #32 on: February 17, 2012, 03:09:51 am
If you don't use this art, let me try. I made a 2d engine in sfml c++.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #33 on: February 17, 2012, 04:34:24 am
If you don't use this art, let me try. I made a 2d engine in sfml c++.
If I don't end up using it, I'll slap a CC on it and put it on OpenGameArt. I'll let you know if I do. :3

Offline Mike

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #34 on: February 17, 2012, 10:47:07 am
It's looking really great so far.  However are you sure you want to add a minimap?  I'm all for naming the rooms but adding an actual functioning map seems a bit overkill.  The house can't possible be that big and if you add a map that helps orient the player it kinda kills the scary and mysterious house vibe.

For me this game(were it to become a game) is enticing because of not knowing what lies ahead. 

This is all just my opinion though.

If you do turn this into a game would you be using normal scrolling or screen to screen? I think that will be crucial decision.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #35 on: February 18, 2012, 07:08:24 am
Mike:
The house is pretty big, heh. Four floors and about fifty (admittedly mostly small) rooms. The design is intentionally maze-like, for both gameplay and story reasons. Having a mini-map doesn't mean you have to "know what lies ahead" -- there are a lot of ways that a game can challenge a player, but making it hard for them to find their way around is not one of my favorites. Still, I think "because I want one" is not really the best justification for why I've got a mini-map, so I'll give it some thought. If I scrap it, I might at least make it available via a map item that the player can pick up.

Now I might be severely biased, or I might be misunderstanding what you're talking about, but.... is screen-to-screen that thing that some of those Zelda games do, where the screen doesn't move until you get to the edge of it? I'm not a fan of that. It makes everything feel disconnected and it's a pain to run anywhere for more than a screen's length when you have to stop and wait for the screen to catch up to the character. That would really take away from the "running away from something that's trying to kill me" vibe, and the creep of the camera as you walk is crucial for a slow reveal. The game is primarily going to be stealth-based, without a lot of fighting. (Basically, if an enemy attacks a character and the character has the appropriate item, the character will kill the enemy. Otherwise, the character will take damage and run away if they survive.)

Anyway, that was a bit of a ramble! Keep those opinions coming; I definitely want to know what you think. How will I know if my design choices are solid unless I can justify them when people question them? :D

Bah, I hate posting a reply when I don't have any progress to show but I'm still working on this UI....

Offline Mike

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #36 on: February 18, 2012, 12:19:17 pm
My reason behind those 2 choices is this.  If its screen to screen that means going to another screen can be potentially dangerous because the whole room will be visible and you'll immediately see everything.  Sort of a pop out surprise.  Could be good for horror type games.  My imagination for this type of scrolling is a bit limited sorry.

On the other hand if you use seamless scrolling you'll be able to use that to gradually reveal things.  Like maybe you can hear a sort of crunching sound further ahead but since the game has limited visibility you can't see directly in front you(because its a side scroller) and you'll have to actively get closer and closer until you can actually see what is making the noise.  Maybe it's a tree branch against a window maybe its a zombie chewing on some brains.  Who knows lol.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #37 on: February 18, 2012, 06:48:58 pm
Yeah, that thing you said about seamless scrolling (crunching up ahead, who knows what it is? etc etc) is exactly what I had in mind. Screen to screen would allow for some shock scares, but it's not the effect I was going for. I might be thinking "wow it's horrible" but on second thought, it wouldn't be so bad if the screen was big and the whole room was viewable at once. (I'm imagining it on a small screen like the one I've designed already.)

I think my original inspiration for making a horror game was when I played Persona 3 and it would scare the crap out of me any time I got one of those floors with the Reaper on it -- it was fine at first because there were no monsters on it, but then I'd hear that clinking chain sound and I'd just go "oh crap." (And then I'd start running and suddenly I'd see that little blinking dot on the mini-map coming toward me that that was enough to start me running like hell in the other direction even without seeing it on the screen! The visual equivalent of hearing footsteps coming down the hall, I guess.)

Offline tehwexxl0rz

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #38 on: February 18, 2012, 11:57:14 pm
I think my original inspiration for making a horror game was when I played Persona 3 and it would scare the crap out of me any time I got one of those floors with the Reaper on it -- it was fine at first because there were no monsters on it, but then I'd hear that clinking chain sound and I'd just go "oh crap." (And then I'd start running and suddenly I'd see that little blinking dot on the mini-map coming toward me that that was enough to start me running like hell in the other direction even without seeing it on the screen! ...)

DUDE I KNOW THAT FEEL!

Quote
(... The visual equivalent of hearing footsteps coming down the hall, I guess.)

RUN WITH THIS. That's a perfect analogy that begs to be taken literally! The mini-map can be explained as some kind of primitive handheld sonar device. (In my mind I can't help but imagine it being bat-themed.) Regardless of theming, I'd definitely vote yes on mini-map to help the player stay oriented without constantly having to pause to look at a map.

As for the smooth-scrolling versus screen-by-screen debate, why pick one? Smooth scrolling for rooms and hallways seems like the obvious choice with "screen-to-screen" breaks between rooms and staircases, etc.

Offline Facet

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #39 on: February 19, 2012, 01:26:10 am
New UI looks great; much more functional, the bit of legacy corner could do with the same spit and polish. I doodled a more structural and colourful example. I like minimaps for ease of navigation but also because they facilitate my tendancy towards completionism.

The sconce-creatures are going to be pretty hard to animate and for the player to read at that size without an introductory cut-scene or something and creative licence notwithstanding; real candles are a bit of an anachronism, no? Regardless, I love the idea.

What's to stop you using a larger (32x16?) meta-tile for the boards, like any other larger entity? I also notice you seem only to be using one or two pixel buffers for AA; the more shallow the curve, the longer the buffer, regardless of steps.

The Zelda-esque 'item get' is pretty sweet. I want more ;D

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #40 on: February 19, 2012, 07:45:58 pm
tehwexxl0rz:
As awesome as that sounds, I can not think of any way that normal kids have handheld sonar devices that would make any sense. XD Even if they were in the house already or something. However, in a less literal sense, I wonder if I could go for a generic "there's a sound coming from this direction" sort of thing on the mini map. Infamous did an interesting thing with how the dead drops showed up -- the edge of the minimap would kind of glow in the general direction of the nearest dead drop -- a stronger glow for when it was nearer.

About breaks between rooms: Oh yeah, of course. I guess I'm just so used to RPGs that do it this way that it's kind of a no-brainer for me. I should probably look at other ways to do things in the future, but I think it does fit for this project.

Facet:
What's to stop me from using a bigger tile... um... uh... principle..? (In other words, nothing. 8D Good idea, haha. I will give it a shot.)

Man, the blue and green you've added on there make me think of something ancient, with green things growing on it, which is kind of awesome. It's not what I'm going for, but it gives me some ideas.

I'm hesitant to add so much shading and small details to those dark brown parts, since that's where some things like items and such will end up (in the oval bits, those will be 100% covered) and I don't want it to become too busy.

I've just kind of been eyeballing the AA; is there anywhere in particular that you thought it didn't look right? I pushed some pixels around while I was shading. I also like the thicker borders you used, so I tried that, too.

I may have actually saved over the original picture, so it might show up the same up top. Gah.

Experimenting with some more organic shapes with the other half. I love snakes. :3 Not sure I'll use him but he was fun to doodle anyhow.


The next animation I want to work on is a getting hit/taking damage sort of animation, but I'm not really sure how to do it. Hm.

Offline slym

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #41 on: February 19, 2012, 07:57:49 pm
That UI is muuuccccchhhh better. Exposes more of the game screen :)

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #42 on: February 19, 2012, 08:19:23 pm
And...
->
Better?

Offline Facet

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #43 on: February 19, 2012, 09:14:56 pm
Yeah, 75% more floorboardsy ;D

I can see how my edit could be seen as old & mossy, the rough texture doesn't help, but really I was just trying to demonstrate a broader pallete for more 'life' and also to enable a beveled, rendered effect akin to a watchface in comparison with the flat design you have currently. You could try that sort of thing with the more metallic blues and purples too. 

It's worth bearing in mind how a larger UI might obstruct gameplay if you're going asymetrical (how things might be hidden from the player under it). The only place where I think it definitely needs more work is the bit I edited, specifically the kinda aimless looking cresents. Snakes are cool, no doubt but are they related to the game? Some in-game beastie might be a better fit. :y:

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #44 on: February 20, 2012, 01:12:15 am
I'll be perfectly honest; there's a reason I picked flat, cartoony graphics for everything else. Rendering is not my forte, and it's not really the look I want to go for. Actually, I think I'm going to go back and flatten it out a little. My attempts at shading are just making it look like a mess, I think.

It would be great if everyone could tell me more about UIs obscuring the player's vision, it's super helpful. I wouldn't think of it at all if people didn't mention it every other post to remind me. Sarcasm aside: yes, I do think about it. I test it out every once in a while by laying it over the mockup to see how much it will obscure in-game. I've moved it down to the bottom:

I'm thinking of moving the circular part down a little further, actually.

The asymmetry of it is really getting to me, though. I could do something like this:

...but I dunno. Bleh?

Yeah, I think I'll just do something like that.

I really wanted to go for an antique frame sort of look but every comment I get wants to move me away from that so I guess I'll give up.

Edit: Unfortunately, there isn't really a UI-appropriate beastie I can add, so unless I want to insert a snake motif into the game just so I can have one in my UI, I'm out of luck. ....I'm really, really tempted.

Edit Again: Here's what I'm working on now:

Any terrible mistakes that need to be rectified before I clean it up?
« Last Edit: February 20, 2012, 04:22:56 am by StarRaven »

Offline Facet

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #45 on: February 20, 2012, 07:53:45 pm
I didn't mean to labour the point, nor imply that an asymetrical UI would definitely be a problem :-X. I think a full antique frame is a nice idea and there's no need to stick to some rigid template you aren't as fond of, some organic flair is great. Personally I would just reign back a bit is all.

With that said the latest version is looking lovely and I guess you'll have more oportunities to reuse or experiment with bits of it in menus and titles etc. To render or not is pretty subjective, as is the snake quota; if it looks great, roll with it. :P     

Offline Seiseki

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #46 on: February 20, 2012, 11:10:20 pm
Wow, I really want to play this game! The art is extremely charming!
Please tell me it includes resident evil style puzzles! :D

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #47 on: February 21, 2012, 08:18:07 am
So I experimented with a font.

When an item is selected or the character is facing something interesting, something like this will pop up:

There will be no full-screen pause menu things if I can help it.

It still needs some shading and tweaks but I am so done with this thing for now. Back to animation. Sprites are more fun to look at anyway, haha.

Facet:
To be honest, I can only stand so much deviation from symmetry anyway. One of the reasons I like big honking UIs in the first place is that a thick frame is less intrusive than a bunch of junk hanging all over the screen. (In my opinion.) I also don't like having to pause the game to view a menu or something (nothing like pausing the game to use an item to interrupt the flow) which is why I tend to... well, shove everything onto the main screen. For lack of a better way to put it. Ahaha~

Seiseki:
I have never played any of the Resident Evil games, to be honest. :blind:

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #48 on: February 28, 2012, 01:48:34 am
Damage/death animation:


I tried doing it at an angle so I could use it for both the front and side views. (And also because I think it looks better.) I pondered changing to isometric at one point but I don't like using directional buttons for that, it always feels awkward.

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #49 on: February 28, 2012, 07:47:03 am
Looks great! I would try out a couple of variants (one of her sliding accross the floor 1 pixel, and one with her head bouncing for a frame) just to see if either improve it, it does seem a little bit fast at the moment.

Offline Mike

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #50 on: February 28, 2012, 05:34:22 pm
I agree with a bounce.  Physically it makes sense and it's a small touch that adds to the overall of death.

Also it's a little weird that her leg stays in the same place when she falls over.  Instead of falling it looks like she is bending over with her right foot(screen right) being the base.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #51 on: June 08, 2013, 08:00:59 am
New stuff.


Some characters. Tried out different heights, builds, etc. Skin tones are a challenge with this palette at such a small scale. There's like a total of two nice ones. I don't like the wonky attempt I made at something more pale. It's fine, though. I'll stick with approximating and rely on the portraits to be more precise~


Concept pixels for the shadow creatures. Tough to make silhouette-type creatures at such a small scale. Still working on them. :blind:

Offline Sohei

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #52 on: June 08, 2013, 09:59:33 pm
Very lovely, I like how characters are made. Good job!  I don't think I could give some critique or usefull advice, instead I'll just give some lovin' to your pixel art.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #53 on: June 13, 2013, 02:39:59 am

More characters, tried to fix some skin colors. I did not like that wonky "pale" one that I tried, and then it kind of grew on me, but I like the flat pink one better. I probably need to break my 16 pixel width rule at this point. A couple unfinished characters in there as well, oops. All the identical color-swapped characters at the bottom are versions of the main character that I'm trying out, but I think they look a little boring, especially the guy. :(

And this totally unnecessary grass tile that I am ridiculously proud of for some reason.


Working hard on a new mockup but nothing to show yet.

Offline Vakinox

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #54 on: June 13, 2013, 03:27:33 am
Two things. I've always heard the common rule in pixel art is "No Black."

One improvement is to change the outline a bit, whenever it's possible.

. . .

Also, the perspective seems off if this is going to be for a RPG.

I always get this wrong too when creating my own sprites.

I tried to fix it a bit for you (final sprite on the left):



Apologies for my lack of expertise, but there's probably something you can do with it.

Still needs work on the bottom half, the feet mainly.

. . .

In other news, it's really looking excellent! Keep up the good work, and don't give up.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 03:29:37 am by Vakinox »

Offline r4c7

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #55 on: June 13, 2013, 07:19:16 pm
For the light skin, maybe this would suit your needs. I don't know if you tried it and didn't like the look of it, but I think it looks okay.

It would definitely look better with some tweaking. I think the problem with your original was that the shading took away from the redability, but the light color is too light by itself.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #56 on: June 20, 2013, 01:06:09 am
Two things. I've always heard the common rule in pixel art is "No Black."
...
Also, the perspective seems off if this is going to be for a RPG.
The rules are really more like guidelines. ;D These are meant for particularly dark backgrounds. I hate to just cry, "It's my style!" when faced with critique but this is one of those things that I think really is a stylistic thing. (I mean, if it looks bad, I'll change it, but "that's the rule" isn't really a good enough reason for me when I like how it looks just fine. But really though, does it look bad? Because if that's the case....)

I had a long discussion about the perspective earlier in the thread and I decided on a more side-on one after a lot of thought.

For the light skin, maybe this would suit your needs. I don't know if you tried it and didn't like the look of it, but I think it looks okay.

I did try that and I didn't like it. It looks good there, but surrounded by the other sprites, it looks washed-out and sickly and maybe like an alien or something. XD If I nudged the color to be a little more saturated/warmer, maybe, but I'm not sure I want to alter everything else in the game with that color. I'll tweak it a bit and try it out? Thanks for the input!

->
Changed two colors to make them look nicer as skin tones. Doesn't seem to have broken the world yet.

I've still been dicking around with character concepts and sprites, as you can see. Still no new mockup.

Offline Seiseki

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #57 on: June 20, 2013, 03:04:30 am
I love your style and colors! I remember this from way back, glad you started working on it again.

I don't think the black looks ugly either, at least not when you break up the outlines a bit.
But I'd have to agree on the perspective, some of the sprites show too much neck and shoulders, which should be obstructed by the head, when viewing from above.

Offline Decroded

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #58 on: June 20, 2013, 12:10:32 pm
I think perspective is fine except for little things like the little round table is too close too the wall, the base should have more space because of the size of the table top.
At the moment it must be hovering with no shadow to be in that place.

And the picture frame could use some thickness perhaps 2 pixels for the plane on the very top, and maybe 1 pixel inside (thin top plane of the bottom bit), and perhaps some tweaking, so it doesn't look like cardboard.

Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #59 on: June 21, 2013, 03:55:54 am
Still tweaking the palette. Figuring out a good palette is an art all in itself and I'm really proud of the job I did on this one. Endlessly tweaking colors is one of the reasons I decided on a limited palette to begin with, though. I could do this for ages. :P (So many... pretty... colors...!)

Comparing colors.


("death" animation is still unfinished ahaha)

(yeah nobody's going to even see the difference yay)

Those are my first attempts at new wall sconces, by the way. The concept art for them: (link) I don't like them but I'm still pondering how to make them look... right. Heh.

I love your style and colors! I remember this from way back, glad you started working on it again.

I don't think the black looks ugly either, at least not when you break up the outlines a bit.
But I'd have to agree on the perspective, some of the sprites show too much neck and shoulders, which should be obstructed by the head, when viewing from above.

Thank you~ The sprites are viewed from the side, not from above! I know it's not quite the standard but I hope it looks okay. We had a big discussion about it earlier and people said it looked all right in context so I'm hoping that's still the case. (I'll keep an eye on it, though, especially on the objects and stuff, to make sure they look okay with it.)

I think perspective is fine except for little things like the little round table is too close too the wall, the base should have more space because of the size of the table top.
At the moment it must be hovering with no shadow to be in that place.

And the picture frame could use some thickness perhaps 2 pixels for the plane on the very top, and maybe 1 pixel inside (thin top plane of the bottom bit), and perhaps some tweaking, so it doesn't look like cardboard.

You're right about the table! I'll fix that. You're right about the picture frame, too. I tried to fix it up in the mockup above. Is it better?

Offline Decroded

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #60 on: June 21, 2013, 05:12:31 am
It definitely stops it from standing out as obvious to my eye so yes, looks better  :y:
A hint of shadow wouldn't go astray either:

Offline PypeBros

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #61 on: June 21, 2013, 07:08:17 am

Contrast should be lower in the darkness, shouldn't it ?

Offline tim

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #62 on: June 21, 2013, 04:20:39 pm
When playing with shadows, don't forget these 3 parameters :

- usually less contrast
- usually a less color saturation (more  b&w). The opposite is also possible.
- tinting (cold, warm, mysterious, it's up to you)
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Offline StarRaven

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #63 on: June 22, 2013, 07:01:48 am
It definitely stops it from standing out as obvious to my eye so yes, looks better  :y:
A hint of shadow wouldn't go astray either:


I like that. :D


Contrast should be lower in the darkness, shouldn't it ?
When playing with shadows, don't forget these 3 parameters...

Guys my palette is only 16 colors. I mean, it's a FAKE limitation, since I want to do some kind of shadow overlay thing later (I mocked it up somewhere) but I'm still only using 16 colors for the tiles and everything.
Here's my palette:

I'm not really using the top pink and purple much, but I don't think another blue-green would add a lot. (Would it? I know human eyes are really sensitive to greens. Maybe I need a warm green, or a cooler medium grey?) I guess I was going to use that purple for neato purple shadows or something but I never did and it just ended up another not-quite-black that's too saturated to use for much anti-aliasing but fills out my purple/pink color ramp. (Edit: Actually, I'm using it in my floorboard tiles so that's something I guess.) That background dark grey is not actually part of my palette, I just don't like the bright color of the forums these days...?

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For the walls close to the player, I was thinking of doing something like this, like the wall is cut out?

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New death animation. Mocked up a little blood spatter effect just to see what it would look like but it's not finished or anything.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 06:12:55 pm by StarRaven »

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: [WIP] "Labyrinth" Sprites and Tiles

Reply #64 on: July 02, 2013, 12:12:09 pm
New death animation looks great - the little bounce really works for it.