AuthorTopic: [WIP] Improving my character & scenery-piece  (Read 11280 times)

Offline astraldata

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Re: [WIP] Improving my character & scenery-piece

Reply #30 on: July 16, 2014, 02:09:49 am
What you have now can work, but your biggest issue is the stark contrast of the moonlight -- tone that down a lot more and get it closer to the brightness of the room and not the character.

I'd personally go for something maybe just a *little* darker than this earlier version of the room (as a GIF animation, but as a game world, it'd be almost exactly this brightness/contrast/etc.):



As for the gun, I'd turn the barrel up a great deal more (almost vertical) and give it a little more kickback depending on the kind of power you want it to have (which means you'd bend her elbows just a bit more on the kickback frame). This looks little more powerful than maybe a dart gun -- so ensure you give the elbows/hands a lot more distance from their original location and turn the barrel more upwards from its initial position in order to increase that power.
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Offline Lakelezz

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Re: [WIP] Improving my character & scenery-piece

Reply #31 on: July 17, 2014, 01:11:56 am
Some more changes!
I still did not work on the contrasts but I will take your feedback into account of course.
However it is rather easy to work on the palette in the end than working on the animation. So before I am going to struggle about the changes, I wanted to get some more other stuff done.




The recoil is now stronger, added one frame for it.
I added a opening door and converted the colors into the new palette.

Concerning the way the door opens and stops: I am still thinking about this. It was planned that the door opens and that the zombie runs into the screen behind from it.
Does the angle of the door look "off" in the last frame or at any frame? I am not entirely sure about this.


Additionally, should I give the door more depth? Is the door too flat?

Offline Phlakes

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Re: [WIP] Improving my character & scenery-piece

Reply #32 on: July 17, 2014, 08:25:54 pm
I just realized something that's been bothering me, the lighting on the character seems to be coming from nowhere since the only light that affects the environment is coming from the windows behind her. Quick edit-



Obviously there's some issues with priority, but consistent lighting goes a long way in making things feel cohesive.

Offline Lakelezz

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Re: [WIP] Improving my character & scenery-piece

Reply #33 on: July 19, 2014, 01:00:47 am
Thank you for your feedback, Phlakes! It is true that the character is quite bright. Originally she was meant to stand in the light but I guess this is not gonna happen anymore.
But the lighting is not from nowhere. The lighting actually comes from the left.
I will have to make my mind up about this. Because one problem is the readability. You mentioned the priority problems already: If I would use the idea of your edit, she would probably drown in the piece again.
Also what astraldata recommended, to lower the contrast, is still an interesting idea. On the other hand I feel like it works even without lowering the contrast.
But I see that the ideas about the contrast are stacking up so I probably need to do something about it.

However I tried to show what I meant on this following picture - placing her into a light ray. She does not fit completely into it.

I also added a GUI, just as a test for now. Does it look okay or does it even destroy the picture?
Though I really wanted to try this idea out:




The usual one but with GUI:



And without GUI:



Offline Lakelezz

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Re: [WIP] Improving my character & scenery-piece

Reply #34 on: July 21, 2014, 12:30:49 am
I made quite some big changes or rather added new stuff.

The monster is now added but I feel like he is not really fitting due the lighting.
The GUI is changed now but I am still thinking of removing it. What do you think?

Also I tried to do some saturation changes:


Here is the original one, without saturation changes:


And here is how I think the monster should affect the viewer in terms of terrifying.
It melts into the background - is only partly visible, strong contrast.
But this wont work on my piece, I guess.


Offline astraldata

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Re: [WIP] Improving my character & scenery-piece

Reply #35 on: July 21, 2014, 08:11:56 pm
The saturation-changed image is the best overall.

The GUI looks great, but I think they seem to lack importance for gameplay purposes -- i.e. the HP should either be represented fully visually or the numbers should be much easier to see than they are now. They are much too small to indicate that they're the most important feature up there. If you put the ammo (which kinda looks like a salt-shaker) immediately after the HP meter, it could work a bit better if you *must* retain the small text.

The brain should go on the far right of the large organs, and the large organs could potentially go on the bottom portion of the screen with the ammo/hp at the top, or if you want to keep them all at the top, put a large empty space between the two most vital stats (hp/ammo) and the large organs, which should be right-aligned with the view (i.e. brain on the end would give you this gap + right alignment, with ammo to the side of the HP -- keeping you from having to redesign the life/ammo to match the size of the other secondary stats).

Contrast-wise, you can keep what you've got -- it will definitely work.

As far as your monster goes, unless you kept that contrast of the last image (which is almost NES colors), your monster won't have the "ugly-face-in-a-nightclub" scary vibe you're going for with this image. To make up for that, make the monster appear a lot more threatening pose-wise and implements-of-death-wise. The way it's standing now, it's almost like "Come hither, pretty girl... Don't you want to give me a hug...??" and is showing no intent in its body-language of moving toward her at all. She's far enough away to pop a cap in it's ugly face, so there's no sense of danger there.

Put her next to the door, and make the monster more menacing-looking, or add more monsters in close to her, perhaps some dead ones, and there's a bit of fear that's going to occur, even with this sort of lighting, because of the feeling of "being overrun" is scary in the same way that one might fear a swathe of army ants swarming up your pants legs. Besides, even in the 'scary' lighting of the NES-looking image, you're thinking "she's got a gun and she's far away from the guy at the door (who only has a bone-finger and teeth to fight her gun), and according to the HUD, she's got infinite bullets -- what's she scared of?" Perhaps give the creature some sharp tendrils that whip across the room or some large scary-looking projectile blades it has ejected from its body and have them hurling in random arcs at her from across the room. You could have one busting out the wall from off-screen behind her at the same time the door busts open. These would all give a sense of danger to her situation if you didn't want to move her closer to the door, and all of these would work fine with the lighting.

Just my two-cents. :)
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Offline Lakelezz

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Re: [WIP] Improving my character & scenery-piece

Reply #36 on: July 22, 2014, 01:47:43 am
Thanks a lot for your comprehensive feedback which is much more than "your two-cents", haha.

I edited the GUI a little bit. It was of course not sorted yet since I was not sure if I am going really to implement it, but I guess so.
About the HP, the number is just secondary. The bloodbag would lower it's volume when the girls gets hit.
Increasing the number size would look weird. I do not want to let the GUI be in the focus though. Any suggestions?

On the game-wise side, I was thinking about much more freedom: The player can decide which of these GUI-Parts should be displayed and also which GUI-Parts should only display if they reach a certain value (dangerous-mark).

The ammo had infinite bullets due the idea of the loop. She would camp there while the animation repeats and repeats. However I changed it now (the number is still to be edited), to represent the threat of survival she is in. Thanks for this hint! Infinite sounds pretty "overpowered" and "boring" - specially in a survival.

I am missing the the thirsty GUI but I do not know how to display being thirsty. First thought: A plant in a pot.
The idea is funny but when I looked at it, it was more like "meh". Maybe I have to reorganize on this. I tried using the cut-view into the plants inner being and filling this with water.
But this feels not good and is not really expressing the need of water.
Making the plant dry feels maybe too unique in comparison to the other GUI-parts and too hard to predictable.

Also the brain is containing the sleep-meter, too. I guess this is okay.
There are also plenty of other ideas for the upper part of the GUI. Plasters, painkillers, ... all kind of usable items.



As for the monster: I edited it. Made it bigger and scarier. More blood, more bones, and better shading.
At the moment I am also working on its appearance. I got a little animated example for this.

First there is nothing. Just the girl heard something from the rather silent night.
Then something attacks the door. The door gets strongly damaged and then, after another attack, a monstrous blade (made out of bone?) shines through.
The light turns off. I might add a lamp, working and then stopping to work. I need to change the window-light-management, if I want to go for this idea.
Maybe removing the right window or letting it be nailed with planks?
The light returns, maybe rather powered by a short lightning than the lamp itself.
From this lightning the monster can be seen and it will start to try to attack the girl.



This is just a rough "sketch" animation to visualize the main idea. The first frame, when the door starts to break, is way too fast, of course.
I mentioned the rest already, though (concerning lighting).

Thanks for reading! I would really like to hear your thoughts or to see your edits (if needed to visualize your ideas)!

Offline Lakelezz

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Re: [WIP] Improving my character & scenery-piece

Reply #37 on: August 04, 2014, 09:26:58 pm
Okay, I made quite some interesting decisions.
I will let another character walk into the scenery and let him fall to the ground. Then the monster will "hatch" out of him.
This is what I got until now:



Please recognize it is still work in progress, specially the last frames need quite some fixing on the outline and so on.
However I have got a question before I continue:
When you take a look at the monster's "blade" on the upper images, the blade is in the front (it's left arm).
But when the monster is hatching, the blade is on it's right arm (in the front again).
As we discussed this already: What do you feel like is more important now? The logic behind the piece (the blade should stay on one certain arm) or the clarity (the weapon should always be in the foreground / in the focus)?
I have an argument speaking pro the clarity decision:
If I would let the girl change her direction and she could hold the weapon with one arm (any weapon), I would let the weapon stay in the foreground, too.

I am looking forward for your ideas, critique, and solution for this "problem between logic and clarity".

Offline astraldata

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Re: [WIP] Improving my character & scenery-piece

Reply #38 on: August 05, 2014, 06:06:17 pm
Clarity is always key in my opinion -- things can be done to allow for the jump in logic though (i.e. the bones can reshape into weapons by simply showing this happening in its attacks or the cutting hand can be a secondary sharp object like a claw which is reflected in the left-facing sprite while allowing it to maintain the finger-blade look of the creature while looking toward the girl).

Not sure about the darkened room idea since the room is pretty much as dark as it should be (imo), but a lightning flash would work (say a power-line fell after a crash of thunder outside, which could cause long flashes and flickering allowing the jerky movement of the monster toward her throughout the strobe-light effect). The important thing is not to overwork yourself. There are always many ways a similar effect can be achieved to the one you want without a ton of effort in implementing it (such as reworking the windows/lighting/boarding-it-up/lamp-light/new-light-source/etc.) and in this case, a fallen power-line and/or an unusually violent thunderstorm can make the strobe-light/rave/jerky appearance you're after with your monster's movement, where it appears to cover a lot of distance in a short time and gives the feeling that it's not even safe to blink for fear that you might lose track of it.
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Offline Lakelezz

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Re: [WIP] Improving my character & scenery-piece

Reply #39 on: August 05, 2014, 08:55:30 pm
There will be no lighting anymore, the idea is canceled but thanks for your ideas at this points. They might help at some other piece later on.

Hmm, I am not quite sure if I should add all of those animation stuff just for some logic. Do you really think it is one dangerous mistake of simply switching the armored hand into the foreground?
It would be weird if the monster changes his attacking hand just the logic in terms of switching.