AuthorTopic: Trio [Zelda-like retro art, music, etc.]  (Read 9467 times)

Offline Ashbad

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Trio [Zelda-like retro art, music, etc.]

on: January 12, 2014, 03:35:50 am
Hey, I'm not dead

Finally got over a long slump of non-motivation, and started working on a game project.  Similar to looks with post-NES zelda games.  Gameplay is a bit more complex.  Music/etc. is similar in style but a bit more orchestrated.

Of course, looking for critique as I complete more and more tiles/sprites.  Right now they are sparse, but I'm starting to pump them out fast.

Also, sorry in advance that almost everything is 2x magnification; in future posts they won't be (not on a device that can cleanly make them 1x size again.)  They were 2x since the actual game will have everything scaled 2x nearest-neighbor.

WIP of the main title screen (just text at the point; still working on improving the clouds, they're just rough at this point)




Some tiles / sprites








Also, not art related, but my soundcloud, has some music for the game on it (first two near the top are completed songs):

https://soundcloud.com/theashbad/

(I feel it's important to also post music, since without music+art together, you can't get an actual idea of the intended atmosphere)


Anyways, would love some pointers where they could be given; for now, probably mostly on that main title screen with the clouds.  I'm planning on making less flat cloud forms, and maybe slightly anti-aliasing the main title text (so far I've messed up AA pretty bad in my attempts.)  Could specifically use any resources anyone might have on cloud formations, and how they're composed in 3D space; right now I'm going on the assumption of spheres of varying sizes that are meshed together at different distances from the main viewing plane.

TIA
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 11:45:46 pm by Ashbad »

Offline Ashbad

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Got some more tiles done



I'm mostly happy with the pixel placement but I think the colors need a lot more work.  They all looked great until I put them all together, and some things contrast wildly with others and it's an eyesore.  (It does look better at 2x zoom tho, since that's the magnification I pixel'd the thing at, only posting 1x since that's the rules) I'm done for the night though, so I'll try to post any updates to the color tomorrow.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 02:37:31 am by Ashbad »

Offline Facet

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Rupees and pots are a slightly unusual place to start! What's the player character(s) like, what's the scenario in a nutshell?

I don't think the colours are that bad but some of the rupees are oddly desaturated for gems and the lamps aren't lighting themselves up even :P, could do with a bit more oomph overall I reckon. I usually slop big areas of flat colour over the prospective scene to get a feel for the scheme before actually getting down to working up individual elements.

Not sure about the dither shadows or 1pix outlines on the titles, LttP had a lot of nice fat black lines and shadows. I might have a fiddle later but it's too late for me here atm.

Music sounds authentic, are you using an old Zelda soundtrack soundfont?
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 03:18:07 am by Facet »

Offline Pixtopher

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Really like the outlines personally. Helps separate visually entities that can be interacted with.

Offline Ashbad

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Rupees and pots are a slightly unusual place to start! What's the player character(s) like, what's the scenario in a nutshell?

 ;D Started with the first object I though of, more of a self assurance that I could make something of high enough caliber to keep going.  Plus, rupees ("resins" in this case) are always cool looking so I literally got distracted by the shiny objects first. 

As for the character, I'm apprehensive to post anything quite yet because I'm still sketching things in my notepad (almost finalized a design); I have the idea in my head, but I don't want him to be either too cute, too badass, or poorly drawn -- he's supposed to be a mix between the former two -- and so far I haven't found the mix I like.  Main character is the game's namesake, Trio, who wakes up from a dream to realize he's in an high-high-fantasy setting.  Stumbles across village, joins local band of thieves, runs from antagonist who apparently wants something Trio has, Trio needs to escape back home to survive.  Rough 2 synopsis, I could go on further but I'd probs get too descriptive really fast :y:

Setting: really, while I love dragons and castles and all, I'm going for something that's really as far from traditional medieval as possible.  Instead of dropping things like the generic magic stuff, I'm dropping the generic dragons and castles and stuff.  Hard to explain, hoping it will make better sense once I get a main story draft/outdoor tiles/overworld theme song kicking.  For now, again, hard to put in words, unfortunately.

Main Character: I don't want to say naive, quiet, etc., since those are pretty vague, but I'm trying to get him to portray the opposite of a stereotypical rude dipshit 8-10 year old boy.  "cute" in a non-creepy, relatable way.  It's surprisingly hard to make him look like a fighter at the same time.  Perhaps I can post the best sketch I can get tomorrow and ask for C+C to see if I'm going in a good direction.

Quote
I don't think the colours are that bad but some of the rupees are oddly desaturated for gems and the lamps aren't lighting themselves up even :P, could do with a bit more oomph overall I reckon. I usually slop big areas of flat colour over the prospective scene to get a feel for the scheme before actually getting down to working up individual elements.

Ah, the lamps  ::)  Yeah, was just testing out a darker-colored variation of the lamp (the purple one), to see how it would look.  I've tested the normal orange-yellow one before, was moderately happy with results:



What doesn't show up is that I'm going to program in a sort of circular purple filter that surrounds the lamp and lights up the area around it, leaving a "glow" without looking like a cheesy 32-bit RGBA transparency overlay.  Still tossing around ideas, might do a bit of a bump-map for all of the indoor tiles and do it with shader, and with areas exposed to light, shift the color towards the next purpler/bluer/greener/etc. (Depending on the torch's color) on a set palette so it still looks like untainted retro even though I'm cheating.  Might be a lot of work, but it would be a very fun thing to add, so I'd be willing to spend a week or more on such a feature.

As for the resins (name for the rupees in-game), yeah, I got so carried away with doing cool hue-shifting that I forgot to really play with the value contrast.  :P  Yeah, I think I should do a revision on them, thanks for mentioning.

Quote
Not sure about the dither shadows or 1pix outlines on the titles, LttP had a lot of nice fat black lines and shadows. I might have a fiddle later but it's too late for me here atm.

Great point, now that you mention it I really want to go back and play with some nice thicker, slightly cartoony lines.  As for the dither shadows, in hindsight I agree with you, I think I'm going to go for a deep desaturated purple shadow, which I can try to put together tomorrow morning.

Quote
Music sounds authentic, are you using an old Zelda soundtrack soundfont?

Actually, a good number of the samples/instruments were either hand-made or heavily edited :)  For the flute I studied a couple of completely royalty free flute samples and spliced together some of the waveforms, edited them a bit by hand, added a lot of effects, and exported 16-bit 32kHz audio -- pretty similar with the violin.  (of course, I'm keeping track of the royalty free authors, because even though they sound different from the original, and the four or so specific samples didn't require acknowledgement, I think it's only fair.)  The Contrabass is a far less edited version of a royalty free soundfont, and the spirit-like droning is the (kind of corny) angel-voice sample from the same soundfont, heavily edited, and transposed down 4 octaves.

Also I've been studying the actual scores from LttP/some other SNES games, and I've been seeing what makes them so memorable/dramatic/mood-heavy.  The Frontier Village theme started off sounding like a slightly happier version of the kakariko village theme in mixolydian mode, but shifted more towards what I wanted it to be -- more childish and with more charisma to it.  I'm finding myself writing melodies now and zelda-fying them rather than the other way around, which I hope will add more of my own touch to them.


Anyways I'm tired as all hell, it's super late here as well, but I greatly appreciated the feedback and I'm hoping to have some improvements tomorrow.  Sorry for wall of text, I'm tired and when I'm tired I just tend to spew more.  And, thanks again!

Anyways, nighto

Offline Facet

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Baby steps, setting a standard makes a lot of sense, Iíve done the same. Has the protagonist a (double) split personality disorder? It seems like you could do with narrowing down your scenario still, simpler the better imo; it does help focus/prioritise stuff, but Iím not gonna stray too far out my GFX dept. comfort zone.

The titles are a blank slate atm; they donít really say anything about what kind of game it is, no scene, story conceit or logo iconography (are the sky/clouds story relevant?) I couldnít say modern or medieval. I was actually stuck sketching Ďcos I donít know either, and seem to have gone full Wind Waker :lol:, but you could maybe work some threes in there and go bigger and bolder, itís a bit hard to read currently.



Couple of the regular Zelda issues: pots & resins look more in profile, blocks and carpet moon design pure top-down; could be squished a bit vertically to suit, the upper surface of the block pushed to the top edge. Should be interesting to see some of the tasty sounding filter stuff in action.

Musics: Nice job on the emulation then! I seem to remember LttP was more standard MIDI-tastic in places, not sure actually though, Iíll have to go have a listen.

Offline Ashbad

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Thanks for the advice on the story!  I'm going to try and fill in the gaps / cut out the crap tonight if possible.

> Title

Damn, that looks awesome.  Probably more windwakery than I was intending, but I think I understand what you mean by the looser, thicker style.  I can probably keep the general shape of the font, but I'm going to try and redo it from scratch tonight as well.

Hmm, yeah I'm going to try that with the blocks.  Probably as soon as I get home, since that should be a much quicker job than the other two.  And then after that I might try to translate the character to pixels, at last.

> Music

Thanks!  Yeah, LttP used between 4-6 channels with most of its songs, I'm generally using around 8, and using less harsh sounding instruments, just because LttP songs sound kind of abrupt on a PC with headphones on (but if you play it through the main laptop speaker instead they sound as intended.)  And since I'm going for a PC game it's only smart to cater to sounding good on PC, I suppose :)  Tried to still keep it a bit abrupt sounding though, so the feeling isn't entirely lost.

Sorry I haven't replied sooner, I've been working furiously on another song for the game and I'm almost finished:  https://soundcloud.com/theashbad/trio-luan-forest-theme

(Not pixel art, but since this is the only other "overworld" theme other than that town theme, I think it's also important to post in order to give an idea of the game's atmosphere/tone -- which I still need to work better on portraying correctly.)


I'll edit in my updates tonight :)
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 08:05:55 pm by Ashbad »

Offline Facet

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hm, just rereading: 'Has the protagonist a split personality disorder?' was referencing (facetiously) having a single char. named 'Trio'; thought that could be a device that could be leveraged in the titles or wherever. Sounded way harsh, sorry.

I'm all for a bit more liberal musical restrictions ;)

Offline Ashbad

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Holy hell it's been a long time since I've updated this.  Or worked on it really



Picked it back up again yesterday, made good progress:



time lapse of the sprite over the past few hours.  I made it at like 2 AM and was hoping that I wouldn't wake up and realize it was shit but it turns out I actually like it more now than last night.  Made his colors saturated to stand out against the background, and because I think it has a nice, fresh look to it that way.  Tried to make it readable and use some good cluster techniques (didn't completely achieve this but I think it looks readable at least.)  His perspective against the rest of the objects and the room is questionable, but I don't think the average player would mind, and I don't want him looking like a fat dwarf like Link in ALTTP.  Made a lot of door and window variations, but only one variation of each is shown.  Tweaked colors in existing tiles here and there.  Scrapped that old title splash screen thing, going to reimagine it later once I have some more important assets (like actually animating the sprite, for one) finished.

Music department is going slowly, but I've been doing a lot of music theory study lately so hopefully when I do get an idea I'll execute it better.

Programming / shader effects department still completely nonexistent, still working out the best way to simulate 3D objects from the 2D tiles, pretty much leaning towards a normal map, just figuring out how I'm going to go about actually making the normalmap tiles efficiently (and hopefully without lots of manual number crunching.)  Might model some things out (like pots and blocks, etc.) out in blender and derive their normalmaps from that.  Still a lot of work to do.

Still going over all of your ideas Facet, thanks for all the feedback thus far!  ;D

Offline Ashbad

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Started working on a run animation.  Think I'm satisfied with the torso/arm movement (maybe might make the arms more exaggerated at the top of the leap frame) but I want to better animate the hair so that it flips while running (right now it's only one keyframe) and make the legs look less awkward (they look like they're running at an inwards angle -- should be easy fix later)

   

Edit: added a revision, which is the second one
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 01:10:14 am by Ashbad »