AuthorTopic: Wings of Saint Nazaire (Large Images!)  (Read 34730 times)

Offline Howard Day

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Wings of Saint Nazaire (Large Images!)

on: January 25, 2013, 12:54:30 am
Hey, guys - It's been a while since I've dropped in here - I thought'd I'd share what I've been working on.
Since I lost the hard drive that had my side scroller project on it ( and learned a valuable lesson on backing everything up, always), I spent  some time trying to think of the next project I wanted to work on. For the longest time, I've loved the X-Wing/Tie Fighter games, although my true first videogame love was the original Wing Commander.
Having realized this, I'm attempting to blend these two titles and come up with something new.
Originally called Dead Silent (not a name I ever really liked), we've since r-named it to Wings of Saint Nazaire.

I've done a huge amount of work for this, and I'll just share a small portion of it here:
Mood Piece:

Alien Space Carrier:

Alien Fighters:


(and old/new versions of textures)

Alien Bomber:

Alien Concept art:

(by is_chimera)

Destroyed Ship Debris:


Ambient Debris:

Human Bomber:


Human Light Fighter:

And its cockpit:


Human Medium Fighter:

And it's cockpit:
http://www.hedfiles.net/launchmockup2.png
Human Heavy fighter:

Human Stealth Fighter:


And Some might remember my old spaceshooter project... Well, you'll be happy to learn that some of those designs live on in this new project!
http://www.hedfiles.net/pixel/pirateA.gif
Turned into this:
http://www.hedfiles.net/PirateFighters.png


Originally DKH was coding his own engine to make this game (and doing a great job, here's a video of that engine in action, along with tons more gameplay!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zVXmxa3OWM <<Old
http://youtu.be/lTcHSGn2h1s <<Newer
...And then I started learning Unity at work - and started learning to code in C# - we both recognized that on a small project the more things each person can do, the faster things will go. So we've been transitioning the project to Unity.
Here's where we've gotten so far (at least in part).
The Alien Ship selection screen:
http://www.hedfiles.net/WOSN_Alpha/GrottoTest.html
And the current state of the playable game:
http://www.wingsofstnazaire.com/alpha.html
There's tons more artwork, but I've already flooded you guys. I hope you like what we're putting together here, and would love any feedback you've got!
Enjoy!
« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 08:31:00 pm by Howard Day »

Offline Pawige

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Re: Wings of Saint Nazaire (Large Images!)

Reply #1 on: January 25, 2013, 05:03:54 am
Wow. Dude. Your stuff always completely blows my mind. Everything looks gorgeous! Do you mind if I ask what your process is for creating these ships? How long does it take you to make one?

Offline Cage

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Re: Wings of Saint Nazaire (Large Images!)

Reply #2 on: January 25, 2013, 10:28:45 am
Hey, this looks lovely!

I have a thing for prerendered 3d space ships since Super Stardust ;)

I like the video you've shown, despite the modern graphics, the movement/camera feels a bit like those old flying games - especially the moments the player is closing in on the exploding ships.

The alien concepts remind me of those big organic creature bosses, which take half of the screen, from the r-type/gradius like games - this is a good thing too!

What software are you using for the models/rendering?

Offline kriss

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Re: Wings of Saint Nazaire (Large Images!)

Reply #3 on: January 25, 2013, 06:16:31 pm
Amazing work  :y: it's all i can tell because i'm shoked  :crazy:

Offline Howard Day

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Re: Wings of Saint Nazaire (Large Images!)

Reply #4 on: January 25, 2013, 06:28:41 pm
Pawige: Thanks, dude! So, the process for building the ships has grown somewhat organically. Originally, I just sort of built the shapes - I didn't do a whole lot of detailing.
http://www.hedfiles.net/boomslang1.png
That took 2 evenings to finish.
Eventually, though - it became clear that that level of detail wouldn't work for the closer up needs of the project. Sure, mostly these ships are 256x256 sprites, but you do see them closer up at other points. That being the case, I started modelling in detail to the later ships I worked on.
http://www.hedfiles.net/hognose72.png
http://www.hedfiles.net/hognose71.png
http://www.hedfiles.net/hognose70.png
This one took two and a half weeks of evenings.
However, Since this took so much longer, I wanted to see if I could accomplish the same look of modeled detail using only textures - and thus saving me a gigantic chunk of time.
http://www.hedfiles.net/PirateFighterA06.png
http://www.hedfiles.net/PirateFighterA07.png
This one, which took only two evenings of work, and has almost no modeled detail.
This worked so well, that I went back to previous ships and applied the same texture method to them, as well - the later highly-detailed models I left alone, but some were almost in limbo between the two methods.
For example:
http://www.hedfiles.net/Cobra63.png <<Original, modeled only detail
http://www.hedfiles.net/Cobra73.png << New textures
So, today a new ship would take me a couple of days to finish. It's a lot faster than it used to be.

Cage: Thanks! This project as a whole is designed to be nostalgia-bait, so I'm really glad others are getting that same feel off of it!
Here's an example of the rendered sprites that are used in engine:

And another Alien ship - a Frigate:
http://www.hedfiles.net/Frigate06.png
http://www.hedfiles.net/Frigate05.png
I'm using 3dsMAX 2012 for the rendering. 

kriss: Thanks!

I'm glad you guys like it!

Offline Indigo

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Re: Wings of Saint Nazaire (Large Images!)

Reply #5 on: January 26, 2013, 09:01:45 am
You've made me weep with joy.  I hate you, you bastard..  Very good work here.  Tremendous attention to detail.

A couple of suggestions:
The jitters!  I get the nearest-neighbor sharp pixel vibe, but I feel if you're going to do that, draw the images at scale.  there's nothing worse than pixels jittering in size across the screen - it's distracting and breaks the illusion very fast.  I feel you should either be linear filtering and scaling - or no filtering and no scaling.

You can fake some added depth with some low-poly meshes extruded towards the screen rather than simple planes.  I've done this on some experimental projects and provides some really great results while maintaining the 2D feel.  Although this method tends to want linear filtering as well.  It might be cool to see a bit of this subtle depth in the cockpit and ships you shoot at

lastly, I feel the noise level on some of the assets is a tad bit high, but that could be preference.  Might serve the project well to conserve that a bit.

Offline Howard Day

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Re: Wings of Saint Nazaire (Large Images!)

Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 01:21:42 pm
Indigo...Wow, thank you sir. Wonderful critique, and I hope I can adequately respond to it.
1.) Jitters - this is unfortunately a somewhat unavoidable consequence of sub-pixel movement. I am using a Full screen AA solution to try and smooth it out. I've tweaked the settings. It's very, very tricky to balance smoothing the cockpit display elements, and keeping that crisp pixel art look. Hopefully the change will better balance that.
2.) Depth - Yeah, I totally want to do something like this. The problem is that the way I'm controlling  what's turned on and off is by moving it through the flat plane of the cockpit. So those throttle displays are just slightly angled meshes pushing in and out of a flat plane. The key word is flat - adding depth distortion is going to make that system significantly more difficult. I will try and add it to other assets - but I'm afraid most cockpit will have to remain flat. :(
3.) Noisy Detail - Yes! Absolutely, I agree. Much of that noise is attributed to my over-zealousness with a dirt texture overlay. I've toned that back on a bunch of the more recent renders of these assets - the addition panel lines, and tiny detail tends to get completely lost in the final sprite, leaving just overall shape and lighting. Most of that detail will only ever be visible in a very close up. 
Please, try the build again - hopefully the crawl has been significantly toned down.
http://www.hedfiles.net/WOSN_Alpha/WOSN_Alpha.html

Offline Indigo

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Re: Wings of Saint Nazaire (Large Images!)

Reply #7 on: January 26, 2013, 10:59:54 pm
About the depth issue:  can't you just change the method you're toggling things on/off by just disabling/enabling the render of that asset in unity?

About the jitters:
the AA solution is probably helping a bit, but it's still a bit of a bandaid.  If you absolutely must maintain the crisp filtering you've got a couple of options as far as I can see.

1) you can stop moving various objects by sub-pixels, but rather round it to the nearest integer.  This would ensure that the asset is being drawn at 100% scale on a whole-pixel - no jitters.  You lose a bit of smooth flowing movement with this method, but gain in pixel consistency.  Often times this trade off results in a more believable experience.  The only thing you could apply this to would be things that aren't being scaled in-game (it seems like you ships are being scaled) - which would probably mean just the cockpit.  But the cockpit does cover the vast majority of the screen, so it'd probably still be a pretty big improvement.

2) I usually don't recommend this for pixel-type games, but in the case of this project it might be beneficial.  Looks like you're scaling all of the pixels on the screen x2.  If you just increased the resolution of the game window to that size, and instead drew all the *assets* x2, then the jittering effect would be far less apparent.  'pixels' across the screen wont align so neatly anymore, but you get that extra resolution you'd need for movement without having to increase the resolution of the assets themselves.

Offline Howard Day

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Re: Wings of Saint Nazaire (Large Images!)

Reply #8 on: January 27, 2013, 10:14:55 am
Indigo: Well, yes - that's a possibility for some of them. Unfortunately, I would have to hand-script every display toggle by hand. This is somewhat prohibitive, because there are LOTS of them. :( I've done some work on the jitter issue - and I discovered that if I switched my camera render type for the cockpit layer to orthographic, most of that issue disappeared. It's still on there a a bit with the displays - but I'm not ever going to be able to get rid of that entirely.

So, I added an updated build! This one has Ripple firing of your guns, a working capacitor, smoothly damped movement, and a bunch of other under the hood improvements!
http://www.hedfiles.net/WOSN_Alpha/WOSN_Alpha.html
I also put together a unity Particle explosion!
http://www.hedfiles.net/unityexplo.mp4
Enjoy!

Offline Howard Day

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Re: Wings of Saint Nazaire (Large Images!)

Reply #9 on: January 28, 2013, 12:24:38 am
Okay! Updated the build!
The gunfire now illuminate the cockpit, and the status display accurately reflects the status of the weapons, their re-charge status, and fire pattern. You can switch the fire patterns by hitting "Q". The current options are All, Ripple Fire, and Cross Linked.
http://www.hedfiles.net/WOSN_Alpha/WOSN_Alpha.html
There's a bunch of other minor improvements, as well.
Enjoy!