AuthorTopic: Retro platformer - C&C  (Read 4636 times)

Offline maxl

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Retro platformer - C&C

on: July 15, 2012, 09:42:39 pm
Hey!

I want to start by saying that I don't really consider myself a pixel artist, I'm just a game developer who has to do the art for his games by himself. I am currently working on my new game, which is a retro inspired platformer with pixel art graphics. At least I call it pixel art!  ;)

Here are 4 ingame screenshots:

The style is really minimal but I still think it can be improved quite a bit with proper care and time. I just don't know how, so some pointers in the right direction would be great! Note that the tile-size is 8x8.

You can see all the individual sprites here:
http://planet-wars.net/rico/assets/
Subfolder "entities" might be the most interesting one.

BTW, I managed to create the hero's walkcycle with the help of this tutorial:
http://www.google.at/imgres?um=1&hl=de&client=firefox-a&hs=lRs&rls=org.mozilla:de:official&biw=1680&bih=910&tbm=isch&tbnid=DYsVSh7Giw2MCM:&imgrefurl=http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php%3Fthreadid%3D3480211%26userid%3D113488&docid=21kanZnuUisLAM&itg=1&imgurl=http://i.imgur.com/8HCFv.gif&w=392&h=600&ei=8DgDUKv-DMvOswblutiVBg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=178&vpy=163&dur=1525&hovh=278&hovw=181&tx=109&ty=133&sig=107714052048955994592&page=1&tbnh=159&tbnw=104&start=0&ndsp=1&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0,i:70
I don't know who created this, but it helped me so much! :D Do other tutorials of this quality exist which would suit for me? For creating tilesets maybe?

I know it takes years of hard work and practice to become a good pixel artist. Unfortunately, I just don't have the time to do that. I'm a game developer/programmer, not really an artist. But I still want to improve my skills to make my art at least acceptable...  :)

P.S.:
If you want to see the game in action, you can download it here for Windows, Mac and Linux:
http://www.planet-wars.net/rico/rico_beta.jar.zip
Or if you have an Android phone or tablet:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=rico.beta.app
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 09:45:37 pm by maxl »

Offline Lazycow

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Re: Retro platformer - C&C

Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 04:39:40 pm
Hi Maxl, these are so many pictures... Maybe you should ask yourself what you want to improve first and post the part here - e.g. some of your animations. (Yo, couldn't find them)
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Offline PypeBros

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Re: Retro platformer - C&C

Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 07:46:02 pm
I'd be tempted to say that the #1 thing to fix here would be to move away from that pure-squarish look.
That is, as long as you have identical 'seampoints', you can have a working tileset and go "wild" with the shape of the limits, to make organic things look more organic

(doh, I can't find that animated reference that illustrated the concept with top-down RTS (warcraft?) tiles)

Offline maxl

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Re: Retro platformer - C&C

Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 05:51:40 pm
Thanks for your replies!  :)

You're right, I should have picked one thing and asked about how to improve that single thing and not post all my work at once and expect feedback.  :-[

You've guessed it already. The stuff I want to fix the most are the tiles/tilesets. Right now, I have a pretty flexible setup which lets me assign a certain texture and colors to each single tile. I have a sort of tile "prototype" which contains all the variations in texture:

Then I have several color-sets, each 3 colors. The black, white and read pixels in the texture get replaced by the colors in the chosen set. I can mix texture and colors as I like but in practice, only a handful really make sense and look ok. I might have to break away from this method completely and create traditional tilesets. I just thought I could be lazy but now I think it really shows...  :blind:
And yes, I currently don't have any transitions between the different tilesets. You think that's a must?
I kinda fear that 8x8 is too small as a tilesize as I don't even know how to produce tiles which are tileable and still not feel natural and non-repetitive.  :(
I'm just fishing for ideas right now, so please tell me whatever comes to your mind.  :)

Offline PypeBros

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Re: Retro platformer - C&C

Reply #4 on: July 20, 2012, 07:12:59 pm
iirc, Worms game had just a texture and a "rule for borders". When they needed to create complex terrain, they just applied a mask to the texture and then over-draw the top/bottom borders. That worked pretty well.

Offline maxl

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Re: Retro platformer - C&C

Reply #5 on: July 21, 2012, 09:42:02 am
iirc, Worms game had just a texture and a "rule for borders". When they needed to create complex terrain, they just applied a mask to the texture and then over-draw the top/bottom borders. That worked pretty well.
But but but... Worms wasn't even tile-based. AFAIK, it had fully destructible terrain and vector graphics. Or at least, the style looked like that. Could you post an example image?

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Re: Retro platformer - C&C

Reply #6 on: July 21, 2012, 03:42:22 pm
=

(okay, it was a bit old, as a Worms example :P)

In that game, the "clipmask" is generated from random terrain generator. Here, you'll have your terrain generated from your tile map. The thing is: you *can* have tiles that have arbitrary shape, provided that they connect at some well-defined "seam points":


Your tilemap suggests that you have a lot of top/down combinations, even for a single texture. It means a lot of work, for little benefit in terms of variety: you always end-up with slight pattern and a sharp border. If instead you define border mask, you can apply it on any texture you decide (and thus have textures that are larger than 8x8) and let the rendering engine create those small tiles by itself.

Offline Lazycow

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Re: Retro platformer - C&C

Reply #7 on: July 23, 2012, 06:55:36 pm
Ok, you're trying to build the world out of artificial patterns. That's a specific style, but I don't think you can improve it much that way. Well, except the colors maybe... Your colors look a bit "washed out", like you see the world through a wall of nebular. Try to make them more saturated.


Also, what about using pixel structures out of the real world, instead of geometric patterns? That may not fit your desired style. I dunno. Here's a quick test anyway... (using Arne's palette)

If you want to keep your patterns, what about changing the colors, at least?
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. Yes we can!