AuthorTopic: Mechanical Sky Sanctuary  (Read 3612 times)

Offline astraldata

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Mechanical Sky Sanctuary

on: December 11, 2013, 09:49:10 pm
Looking for some critique on this and would like to know what kind of props I could add to a level like this. I'm going for a sort of "mechanical-sky-sanctuary" sort of thingy here, but I'm at a loss for stuff to add. I'm not aiming for the Sonic version of Sky Sanctuary, but more of a factory-ish styled landscape with some form of buildings/ruins or something the player can jump on.

My main issue isn't the pixel art itself, but more with designing the tileset + background concepts themselves based on a vague idea of where I want to go.





The grey-blue shiny looking blocks are going to be the top of a cube that will extend up to 4 tiles into the distance. The purple+mechanical tiles are the front of the cube and the player will see these most prominently.

Players will fight DBZ-style on platforming-styled levels with scenery props & jumpthrough platforms represented by 2d sprite props, which is mainly what I'm having trouble coming up with ideas for in a level like this (think Smash Bros. 64 -- without the blurry textures).

I am having a lot of trouble finding references to make the current tileset work with such a vague idea. How do other professional artists do it?



I've put the tileset in the level against a sky-blue colored background but am at a loss from there. More than anything, I need some way to generate ideas here. I don't need it to be pretty, just functional for a platform fighting game and appealing to the eye.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 12:03:37 am by astraldata »
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Offline HezaKey

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Re: Mechanical Sky Sanctuary

Reply #1 on: December 12, 2013, 01:03:35 am
Well, since you mention it's a sanctuary, I kind of imagine two things.  One is a fortress sanctuary, and the other is a spiritual sanctuary. 
I would think a lot about the mechanical needs of the place:
air vents
engines
lights
maybe animated tubes and pipes to get rid of excess water or waste

and it's history and the people living (or used to live) on it:
statues of grandure (I mean, if you're going to shell out the cash for a floating fortress, might as well spruce up the place.)
any sort of left behind relics or modern add-ons
comforts of home

I'd also think about adding some sort of secondary color, maybe it's lights, maybe it's plants that have started to take root, and larger props just to break up all the delicate little pieces and give the eye some areas of rest.

hmm, also depending on tone of the setting, wouldn't a setting sun be pretty dramatic?  Might not work with what you need, but it might look interesting.

Anyhow, those are just some ideas.  Try looking up old factories (urban exploration sites are great for this)  Some of them might give you some neat ideas to work with.

Offline astraldata

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Re: Mechanical Sky Sanctuary

Reply #2 on: December 12, 2013, 05:51:30 pm
Urban exploration sites was a wonderful suggestion. Thanks for that. I have a great deal of difficulty trying to find references in general. Any other tips for looking up references would be greatly appreciated if you have them.

One thing I did find difficult and unique with this project is the concept of perspective and how to begin constructing 2d things to work alongside the 3d geometry. I'm trying to limit background props/etc. to 2d assets, so I'm trying to avoid using 3d models except for floor tiles. The camera is usually not below a dead-on view of the block (and mostly hovers somewhere above it), but sometimes it is below some blocks (such as floating platforms), which makes doing a semi-top-down perspective appear a little weird if zoomed out, however I do need players to be able to jump through to land on top of these 2d props, so I need to indicate they have a jump-able surface somehow. Also fyi, the camera never rotates, only zooms a little, mostly inward though.

Any ideas on how I might do this?
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 06:13:39 pm by astraldata »
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Offline HezaKey

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Re: Mechanical Sky Sanctuary

Reply #3 on: December 12, 2013, 09:00:03 pm
I bookmarked this website a long time ago because of neat photography:
http://www.urbex.nl/site/category/industry/

This blog doesn't post anymore, but the photos are ace:
http://derelictmetropolis.tumblr.com/tagged/industrial

The ones that I'm looking at most, are characterized by large open spaces and repetition (two things that are going to be useful when translating this kinds of spaces into pixels and tiles, which are minimal by nature.)

Also, if you've never seen this, you probably should: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2083556/Meet-girl-blogger-sneaked-inside-Russian-missile-factory--security.html
Everybody should see something that cool at least once.

Sites like flicker are usually full of great photos too.  Much easier to find relevant imagery than google.  (you might also consider saving photos to a folder as you do research)


Also did a quick and dirty edit.  I wouldn't use all of these in the same scene like this, but maybe any of these could be possible solutions?
My only concern is that perhaps some of these won't look as believable when the scenery moves. (I get the impression that you're putting 2D tiles onto a 3D platform yes?)  But that might be a sacrifice to make in order to have a more visually interesting environment.  This is a fighting game too, so things like objects being flat instead of 3D might be glossed over more when people are focuses on fighting enemies.

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Mechanical Sky Sanctuary

Reply #4 on: December 12, 2013, 09:56:58 pm
reminds me from the overall feeling pretty much of this:
(Mischief Makers, N64)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJjGP9X-5cU

Maybe it will give you some ideas.
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Offline API-Beast

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Re: Mechanical Sky Sanctuary

Reply #5 on: December 13, 2013, 11:51:57 am
For tilesets it's important to get a good feeling for the whole environment first, make a sketch first, don't work within tile limitations, then make a tileset out of that sketch. Personally I do the sketches on paper, but use whatever you can iterate ideas best on.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 11:54:06 am by Mr. Beast »

Offline Beetleking22

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Re: Mechanical Sky Sanctuary

Reply #6 on: December 13, 2013, 04:16:47 pm
Are those tileset placeholder? I hope so because they are from Metroid fusion.

Offline astraldata

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Re: Mechanical Sky Sanctuary

Reply #7 on: December 13, 2013, 11:02:10 pm
@milokey
Thanks for the suggestions, links, and especially the edit. The bars/pipes on the walls was a good touch. I didn't consider attaching 2d sprites in parallax to those. And, to answer your question, yes, I'm using 2d tiles on 3d platforms. I prefer not to have visible 3d geometry to do platforms of any kind (outside the main floor areas). I'd like to keep the style as close to SNES as possible (i.e. flat sprites and multiple background/foreground elements w/various parallax).

Part of me is thinking that two tiles deep is probably as far into the 3d depth as I should go for the main playable area (at least for anything complex). As it stands, the 4 tiles deep I have right now seem to be a bit difficult to populate with details convincingly. What do you think?

@Cyangmou
I loved mischief makers! It was a very under-appreciated game imo. Had a lot going for it, and it was very enjoyable. It tried a lot of new stuff for its time. I would say it even rivaled some of nintendo's most well designed platformers as far as creativity and gameplay variety was concerned. Nice stuff. Taught me how one could offer a lot of varied gameplay with only a very small set of rules and movesets (all the main character could do was throw stuff after all D: ).

I didn't, however, use it for inspiration as I probably should have for this. There were a lot of sprites and almost zero actual 3d geometry on most platforming-styled levels (aside from the parallaxed foreground/background elements). I've considered ditching the 3d block effect altogether in favor of a more mischief makers' style 3d, but I've come up with some cool designs using the full-on-3d and parallax effects. I've given up a lot of 2d freedom doing this though, and so I'm trying to think of ways I can accommodate for that tradeoff that will still offer cool-looking levels without the lush forests and grassy poofs that hang off the edge of rocky terrain.


Quote
Are those tileset placeholder? I hope so because they are from Metroid fusion.

Yup. I was using these because they're the closest thing I could find in pixel form to what I was envisioning and didn't feel like wasting the time pixel-ing an entire level idea that I had to abandon in the case that I couldn't find a way to make it all work in 3d.
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