AuthorTopic: Art direction WIP  (Read 10082 times)

Offline Yngar

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Art direction WIP

on: July 17, 2013, 05:45:29 pm
I'm working on a game project called Dungeon Fling and I could use some opinions and advice on the art. I am kind of stalled out on the project at the moment trying to figure out what I should do for the art. It has been under slow development for a couple of months and I have been putting off a lot of the art for a while now, and I am trying to finish up some of that but I am hitting a few issues.

The game is a dungeon crawler that uses minigolf or shuffleboard style mechanics. The player and enemies are represented as discs, and the player shoots through the dungeon, bouncing off stuff to get around and try to get to the next level.

This is a screenshot of the game as it is now.

I also have a demo up here http://www.newgrounds.com/dump/item/1403f97c016aaf7b47ee017242708c84

I'm aware that a lot of the art is pretty bad, some things like the pit trap are badly scaled up just because I was trying to save time in development. That is definitely not final. What I am really focusing on right now is the player and enemies. Right now I am shamefully just using  scaled down images of the concept art. Ideally what I would like to do is have an icon that looks good at that size, and potentially have a full body sprite that doesn't rotate with the disc but instead uses animations and multiple directions.

Here are some of the ideas I have tried. Most of them are pretty rough, I was just trying to get an idea of what I could do at that size.

Here is the concept art I am basing them on for reference http://ludopunk.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/warriorportrait.png
This is the shameful disc I am using now, not pixel art at all.

If anyone has any comments or suggestions for making these discs look good it would be greatly appreciated. Trying to figure this out has slowed my project to a halt. I'm having trouble fitting enough detail in that small of a sprite to make it look much like anything.
Thanks for any comments! :crazy:

Offline Mathias

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Re: Art direction WIP

Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 07:07:57 pm
I like the gameplay concept.


What if your walls/boundaries were more like this. More pronounced and obvious.

I find the bg checker pattern too noisy. Lessen contrast perhaps. Have you tried just a solid color with scattered doodads (like your skeleton dude right below the spikes in your mock) and/or patches of texture?

Your colors are generally muddy and bland. Spice 'er up with some color highlights/trim here and there.

As for the discs, I recommend an established color-coding system to indicate to the player who is who more easily. And try to make the little avatar depictions simpler - show larger images of them, by showing less (maybe in more a chibi style), but enough to make it clear what is what -  i.e. revise the skelly disc to only show its skull and a little upper ribcage, maybe part of this sword/shield.

Why do the discs rotate?

Dungeon Fling? You do realize that a "fling" is also a term for a brief romantic relationship or affair, right?  Anyone who knows that may interpret the name of your game as being some dating or love story game or something.

Offline Yngar

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Re: Art direction WIP

Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 07:36:01 pm
Thats a lot of really good feedback thanks!

That perspective on those walls is pretty crazy looking. I like the exaggerated style though I will definitely try something like that.

You are probably right about the floor. I was going with the checkers because the visual theme I'm going for is kind of a dungeon jazz lounge. The idea is that the dungeon is really just a place where all these monsters hang out. That's why there are drink and card tables sitting around, also I need more neon signs. I think I can definitely tone the floor down though.

I'm pretty bad with colors but you are right about the highlights, I need to work on that.

So for the discs do you think like a bust view would be good? I'm trying to decide if I should go with a full body and have it animated to move with the disc, or just do a portrait style on them.

The discs rotate to give a sense of movement, it looks very stiff when they don't. Also more importantly they rotate because its part of the physics. If you bounce off a wall and get some heavy spin going it will change the trajectory of your next bounce. Without it, the discs don't carry rotational momentum like you would expect they would.
However from an art standpoint I could make it so they don't appear to rotate. I was thinking I could give the disc some texture and have the character portrait on it be a separate image pasted on it that doesn't rotate. That way the portrait wouldn't spin around but the disc would and you could still see how your disc is spinning.

That is a good point about the name of the game, I hadn't thought of that. I meant it as the action of flinging the disc. I will give the name some thought.

Thanks again for the feedback, that is all really helpful  :y:

Offline Charlieton

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Re: Art direction WIP

Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 08:21:08 pm
Dungeon Fling? You do realize that a "fling" is also a term for a brief romantic relationship or affair, right?  Anyone who knows that may interpret the name of your game as being some dating or love story game or something.

That is a good point about the name of the game, I hadn't thought of that. I meant it as the action of flinging the disc. I will give the name some thought.

This conversation brings my mind to the relatively recent game Offspring Fling, which happens to be the most clever game title ever concieved. The context is strong enough that the inlcusion of the word "fling" (and indeed, the entire expression "spring fling") doesn't mislead me to think it has anything to do with dating.
Det skulle vara lätt för mig att säga att jag inte gillar dig, men det gör jag; tror jag

Offline Mathias

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Re: Art direction WIP

Reply #4 on: July 18, 2013, 02:17:25 am
Thats a lot of really good feedback thanks!
. . .
So for the discs do you think like a bust view would be good?
. . .
That way the portrait wouldn't spin around but the disc would and you could still see how your disc is spinning.
. . .
You're more than welcome!

For the chars on the discs, you need to decide whether you're actually attempting to depict a full enemy, as in - there's an actual enemy stuck to this disc flying around -OR- more of a symbolic representation, such as a portrait - like you mention: just showing the bust and upward.

Perhaps these discs could be gears or circular saw blades with teeth and only they rotate if you want to maintain that sense of rotating movement. And/or the enemy/figure does rotate but when/if it comes to rest the portrait quickly straightens up as if there's a weight in the disc that causes it to straighten up once there's no longer inertia overpowering the force/influence of the weight attempting to keep the portrait upright - imagine a bouncy/springy rotation until it stops fully upright.




@Charlieton   Hah, that trailer is pretty funny. That guy's a good actor. Coulda been really cheesy but he pulled it off; made it convincing and funny. LOVED the added touch of the 1995 website. Great.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 02:19:12 am by Mathias »

Offline Yngar

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Re: Art direction WIP

Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 04:31:11 am
That is pretty much what I'm trying to decide on now. The whole idea came from hearing about this board game Catacombs years ago. I had never even seen the game until after I started working on the project, its a lot less interesting than I thought it would be. But that's basically where the disc idea came from, that's why they are represented as discs.

I will definitely put some texture on the disc, whether I make it into something more interesting or not. I think it would be cool if I had full images of the players and enemies in the middle of the disc. They wouldn't rotate but instead be animated to dash with the movement, and attack or take damage when colliding. I'm not sure how well that would read and it would be a lot of work. Either way I would like to have some kind of animation on the attack, even if its just a blade flash on a disc with a portrait on it. I might also make the disc animate to "squish" a little bit when its shot and bounces.

I already have code implemented to have the portrait or sprite draw over the disc and not rotate, that's pretty easy to do. The bouncy thing might be cool as well. I made an example of what the sprite would look like with only directions implemented. http://www.newgrounds.com/dump/item/7e82f063c9351fe85a8b98083bdab7cd
It only works with the warrior, and the code isn't very good so up/down movement takes priority but its an example of how it could look.

Offline surt

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Re: Art direction WIP

Reply #6 on: July 18, 2013, 10:23:24 am
You could try a Gauntlet-ish angled view with tapering tiles.

Offline Yngar

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Re: Art direction WIP

Reply #7 on: July 18, 2013, 02:46:00 pm
That looks pretty good. Though I'm not sure how that works for L shaped walls or rooms.

Offline Mathias

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Re: Art direction WIP

Reply #8 on: July 18, 2013, 02:48:17 pm
Hey, that works, Surt. Very nice.
But perhaps dirty it up. So clean . . .



@Yngar   Played your current version - You reeeaaally need to do something about the movement taper-off, when your disc comes to a halt. Takes too long. Also, can you snap to whole pixel coordinates while the camera is moving? The aliased artwork jiggles around distractingly since anti-aliasing is turned off yet the camera is moving between whole pixel coords, I think.

Offline Yngar

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Re: Art direction WIP

Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 03:01:48 pm
@Yngar   Played your current version - You reeeaaally need to do something about the movement taper-off, when your disc comes to a halt. Takes too long. Also, can you snap to whole pixel coordinates while the camera is moving? The aliased artwork jiggles around distractingly since anti-aliasing is turned off yet the camera is moving between whole pixel coords, I think.
Yeah you are right. I will probably have the camera stop following, or only follow at a set speed if the character is making subpixel movements.
I have no idea what is going on with that aliasing thing, it doesn't happen when I run natively only the web version. I will definitely get that fixed but this isn't a game dev forum so I will avoid getting into that. I am making note of it though.