AuthorTopic: [WIP][C+C] Apple II Low Resolution-Style RPG Experiments  (Read 2730 times)

Offline Archaean

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Im experimenting with the creating RPG game graphics within the limitations of the Apple II Low-Resolution Graphics mode (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_II_graphics#Low-Resolution_.28Lo-Res.29_graphics).

Im trying to see how well a hypothetical RPG would work in this space 40X40 pixel screen resolution and 15 colors (two greys are effectively the same although the AppleWin emulator renders them differently).  The color space is YPbPr based, using (roughly) this palette:



As I noted above, there's really only one grey, so I'll be removing one of the shades of grey from the above working palette eventually.

One added challenge is the aspect ratio of the pixels They can shift depending on the color being used and what colors are adjacent, but theyre roughly 16:9 or 7:4 (Im using the latter, it makes for slightly smaller images while keeping whole numbers).  I have to get used to working with very skinny sprites, like this sphere:

turns into

The RPG itself would resemble Dragon Warrior or Phantasy Star Combat showing a portrait of the opponent.  The backgrounds are in 40X40, and Im making characters 32X32, placed in the center of the screen and (hopefully) meshing with whatever background is shown. 

Here would be a desert background:

->

With a bandit/rogue added:

->

Any constructive criticism would be appreciated, and I am particularly interested in any ideas or advice in working at this resolution, color palette, and pixel ratio.

For references/inspiration I looked sprites from Fire Emblem and Ultima 5.  I only recently remembered to look at the SSI Gold Box games, and I realize a few of these sprites will probably end up resembling some of the Pool of Radiance characters.  I also looked through the forums here and AtariAge keeping an eye out for ultra-low resolution techniques.

Here is a progression of sprite alterations as I work on a bandit, showing a little bit of my process as I add or chip away at various pixels, or play with some variant colors and shapes.





A note on the last two instances of the bandit - Im currently wavering between shading or sticking with a more flat style of color the latter would make alternate color schemes easier to implement, as picking functional color dyads and triads from this particular color space can be limiting.  I've found gradients and shading that look nice when the sprite is small can clash when the sprite is effectively full-screen, and how the sprite appears over a background also needs to figure in to how I decide to pursue color schemes.

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: [WIP][C+C] Apple II Low Resolution-Style RPG Experiments

Reply #1 on: August 13, 2014, 08:37:33 am
If you're working in photoshop, you can natively draw in wide pixels

View > Pixel Aspect Ratio > Anamorphic 2:1 (2)

 :y:

Offline YellowLime

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Re: [WIP][C+C] Apple II Low Resolution-Style RPG Experiments

Reply #2 on: August 14, 2014, 10:05:20 am
I liked the shaded version more, but I think it'd be better without the highlights.

If I were you, I'd create simple-shaded (normal and shade) versions of the sprites and try to work out 'functional dyads' (to use your terms) for each color that will be used in the variations.
If I couldn't find any convincing ones to use as recolors, then I would go flat, which will be easier since it would just be refilling the shaded parts with the basic color.

But I think the highlights (and triads) are too much to work with in such a limited palette, when considering recolors ;)

Offline Archaean

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Re: [WIP][C+C] Apple II Low Resolution-Style RPG Experiments

Reply #3 on: August 16, 2014, 05:16:31 am
Thank you for your replies this has already been worthwhile for me!

rikfuzz - The changeable pixel aspect view in Photoshop is very handy my gratitude exceeds my embarrassment for not looking for the option earlier! 

YellowLime - Color pairings seem to be the way to go, and looking back Ive noticed the highlights tend to be the most clashing elements of a lot of my sprites.  Im used to using highlight/midtone/shade triads, but at this level two colors seem to suffice most of the time.

Here are a few more backgrounds + character variants My current goal is finding a good balance of detail within an image.  I originally drew the backgrounds separately from my early characters, so having components work together is proving to be tricky.  I'm learning to be a bit more careful with my composition and color choices. 
 
Other sketches A mountainscape:

:

And a skeleton in a forest:

:

The forest looked a little sparse to me, although that might be a good thing if I want characters to read against the background Im trying an experiment to add more of a canopy and a higher tree density.

:

I'm aiming for a collection of different terrain and a decent-sized bestiary of fantasy characters and monsters.  For the moment I'm relying on "iconic" monsters (Skeletons, dragons, etc.) to help communicate what the shapes depict, although I'm curious to see how much detail and character I can add while retaining legibility. 
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 05:23:03 am by Archaean »