AuthorTopic: 24-hour Game Jam Pixel Art - Space Monkey Platformer (c&c appreciated)  (Read 3351 times)

Offline Quady14

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Hello!

I recently participated in my second 24-hour college game jam (first one to actually end up with a playable game at the end) and I thought I would submit the character art I did here to get some advice on where to go. Our randomly selected project was "Space Monkey Platformer" so that's why there's space suit monkeys everywhere. I'm less happy than usual on these guys, but granted we were working under a time limit and it takes me forever to put out even this, I think it would be valuable just to hear any and all critiques/advice/suggestions/serve-me-up-some-butt-whoopin'-pixel-art-justice type comments.

I've done an okay body of pixel art over the past few months, and I'm drawing in my sketchbook every day to try and find a style I'm happy with, but I'm just not quite there yet. I've got inklings of what I'm comfortable with and what appeals to me, but I really want to improve my workflow, especially with pixel art. It takes me 3 hours to do what takes most people 30 minutes to do ten times as well, and I feel like the first step to bridging the gap is to understand how to naturally get depth and detail while not thinking about it too much, I want to be speedy but I don't want to be slapdash, basically, so if you guys have any tricks of the trade to maximize output in minimal time, I would be grateful to hear them... So with that, I'll stop blabbering and upload these guys already!

TL;DR - I made some space monkey sprites in 24 hours, and they stink even though I spent a lot of time on them; can you help me with some advice on improving general quality as well as workflow?

Space Monkey Agent Paulskevic


Evil Space Gorilla


Evil Helicopter Chimp


I apologize in advance for the shameful lack of quality, I hope you can believe me when I say I'm trying as best as I can (in this case within the limits of 24 hours, otherwise I would've spent even more time on each individual character). Please though, fire away, I only want to get better, and any advice you can give I'll try to keep in mind in the future when working on pixel art. Thanks everybody! :)



P.S. There is one last thing I'm curious about, just for the sake of extra knowledge; during our game jam, there were two main issues regarding implementing the character art. First off was that due to the dimensions of the rooms, we had to stretch out my pixel art considerably so it would relatively fit the sizes of the levels, which were of a pretty significantly large resolution. Obviously that made the sprites look really blown up and sloppy, but what I'm curious about for any programmers or otherwise knowledgeable fellows around here is what the solution to that problem would be? I'm sure there's some sort of compromise, be it a camera fixed on the player or something to that effect, I'd be interested to hear it.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 12:42:04 am by Quady14 »
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Offline Arne

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Regarding workflow, I suppose it's different from person to person what  comfortable and not. When it comes to animation, working directly with rigid pixels often makes me lock the shapes... i.e. I copy paste chunks like the body and just move the legs and arms. Perhaps I move the face but forget the back of the head and ear so the face just appears to be sliding around.

To get around this, I prefer to draw the animations large (2-4x). I do rough individual frames and noodle until I get the motion right, then I scale the figures down and clean up the pixels.

Very small characters, like 8*16 or so, I'll animate at a pixel level because each new frame can be easily drawn from scratch and detail replication is easy.

I know some people draw rough animated stickmen at the pixel scale and I suppose that work to. I just have a little trouble getting the subpixel details right that way. Scaling down sort of handles that automatically.

Marking the points which rotate (hips and shoulders) with colored dots is very helpful when animating. It allows you to avoid some of the rigid body with flailing limbs problems.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 08:24:04 pm by Arne »

Offline Quady14

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Valid points, it's always good to hear the strategies of other people to animate and create sprites; it's always good to adopt more efficient practices to improve output. I do have just one question, when you talk about drawing the animations large, how do you get your animations doubled or quadrupled in size without losing quality? Or do you mean that you start large then scale down and clean things up? In my experience scaling up makes cleaning things up much harder to work with, but I'll have to try drawing large and scaling down to see if it's any different for me.

But yeah, thanks again for your advice, it'll come in handy I'm sure. :)
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Offline bigluc

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I think something that would help make your art look a whole better, even under time constraints, is making things more balanced. For example, on your evil space gorilla, it's helmet isn't round, and it's head is on one side. Also one had has it's fingers far more spaced out than the other hand. Fixing these small things even when you're starting out makes it look a whole lot better.