AuthorTopic: Phantasy Star 1 Gfx edits  (Read 4131 times)

Offline Arne

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Phantasy Star 1 Gfx edits

on: January 02, 2013, 02:38:35 am
It was time for some fun with old pixels, so I played around with the notion of injecting some graphical changes of mine into Phantasy Star 1 (1987) for the Sega Master System. My Alis is supposed to look more like the character design, but it might be a little gritty, many minor details fighting for pixel space. As usual, I'm in favor of partially coloring or omitting outlines, especially around the bases/feet to ground the masses, and at the top to suggest light... bloom? I added some color noise and hues here and there to liven things up, but I'm not sure if it just makes things dirty instead. I'm unsure about keeping the snot-green field so large on the trees. I wanted to be faithful to the originals.



I might be wrong, but the starting town might be on a platform (the EXIT could be an elevator), so some atmospheric perspective over the edge would be nice. There appears to be a palette entry for it, but it's a warm green similar to the regular grass.

http://www.pscave.com/ has some nice ref. material.

This is the first time I've worked with SMS hardware restrictions, so I wrote a program to help me fiddle around with the game data. I might have messed up the endianess on the patterns/sprites, because they're flipped. Pixels can have 16 colors (from 16 color BG or FG palette) so they are 4 bit planes (8 rows of 4 bytes each for an 8*8 tile). I guess a global palette makes it more difficult to change enemy colors (e.g red/blue Octorok). In Phantasy Star you only encounter one graphical enemy at a time, and the building are all different graphically. I'm thinking the palette, or part of, is changed by the program during encounters with NPCs or enemies.


Hunting these palettes tables down is somewhat difficult as they seem to be scattered about (as are the pattern tables). A color is defined by a byte, or rather, 6 bits, like 00bbggrr, meaning, only a 2 bit resolution per slider, meaning, a 4*4*4 = 64 colors to choose from. Unfortunately, this results in several too similar colors and also too large value gaps / missing colors (such as grays, or a yellow skin tone).

Offline Helm

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Re: Phantasy Star 1 Gfx edits

Reply #1 on: January 02, 2013, 01:44:01 pm
Your stuff is great. Have you tried to avoid almost all single pixels in your edit, though? Please give it a shot. Either make them bigger clusters or ommit them. See if you like it without the added noise that single pixels bring to the picture. Also that path tile change with the edge highlight I think is too harsh, it's punching through the depth of the image.

Offline Arne

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Re: Phantasy Star 1 Gfx edits

Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 02:25:38 pm
Thanks. The path gave me trouble and the white bothered me as well. I was trying to do something light without the noise of the original so I had something of a similar overall value. There are no light grays though, so I tried more structured white lines. I also tried mixing light colors but could not make it work.

I sort of like single pixels here and there to suggest texture/pitting (or highlights, or gradients), though not on my grass which is far too dotty. I wish I had a brown-gray-green which I could use to do subtle patching. The small hedges are too noisy and certainly need a cleanup to suggest planes better. Perhaps her hair would benefit from some noise reduction. Looks kinda curly now and she's actually straight haired.

I noticed that the original brick walkways are actually only 2 tiles, repeated, so my attempts with the grassy tiles won't work.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Phantasy Star 1 Gfx edits

Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 08:18:35 pm
The grassy tiles work fine with just 2 tiles imo. Esp if you remove the dotting on them as that kinda makes them more obviously tiled.

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Arne

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Re: Phantasy Star 1 Gfx edits

Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 11:25:04 am
You're quite right.


I'm actually having trouble finding screenshots and sprite dumps of the game (edit: doh, pscave has plenty), as well as commented disassembled "source" like there is for Metroid, etc. Might have to download Meka. It shows the pattern tables, though only once loaded into VRAM. The real useful part is that it also shows palettes and knowing color order is great for searching for the the pattern tables in the ROM.

Some guys at SMS power retranslated PS1 (the official translation was poor). Perhaps they know some useful things. Would be interesting to use the lowercase letters for item icons instead, e.g  "[/] FORCE ROD". I think PSO established an iconographic language for the items.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 01:35:39 pm by Arne »

Offline Arne

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Re: Phantasy Star 1 Gfx edits

Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 08:27:37 am
Lutz has that bright robe so I chose to not blackline it. It made the blackpoints on the other stand out, so I lightened up the internals a little. However, I want to avoid the fuzzily aliased, muted "16-bit" RPG look and keep some of the crispness. Usually everything needs to be changed when doing the animation, so these are not very set anyways.



Unsure how the animations actually work. There seems to be 1 standing frame and 3 walking, which might mean the mid-walk frame needs foot shuffling since it can't be asymmetrical.

Some great ref here, but it looks ripped and not properly dumped:
http://www.gazetadealgol.com.br/diversos/sprites/ps1
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 09:11:21 am by Arne »