AuthorTopic: (C&C)Overhead RPG Tile Map(WIP)  (Read 11078 times)

Offline heyguy

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 236
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

(C&C)Overhead RPG Tile Map(WIP)

on: November 06, 2014, 10:40:52 pm

Hello everyone, I'm trying to create an overhead RPG tile map for the first time! I'm trying to create an artstyle that can be considered minimalistic, stylized and/or simplified with realistic-ish proportions. I want to  create something striking but also something I can create quickly. 


Here's some reference that had inspired me and the tile map WIP. The area is suppose to be of marsh/grasslands/swamp geography. I'm hoping to have a sort of depressing, gloomy, dreary mood to the region and artwork. I'd appreciate any criticisms, suggestions, comments, etc. Thanks!

Offline YellowLime

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 227
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Sour Pixels

Re: (C&C)Overhead RPG Tile Map(WIP)

Reply #1 on: November 08, 2014, 09:26:45 pm
You've collected some nice reference there  :) :y:

My concerns are,
1. how striking/moody can a minimalistic style be
2. how quickly can one finish such a big canvas ::)
Good luck!

Offline heyguy

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 236
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: (C&C)Overhead RPG Tile Map(WIP)

Reply #2 on: November 09, 2014, 03:20:36 am
Wow. I had a large post, previewed it and lost it due to inactivity. God, this ALWAYS happens to me. First world problems.

Anyway, thanks for the comment Yellowlime. Yeah, this is one of my first attempts at pixel art so I'm not sure how exactly to go about creating striking/moody/minimalistic or a mix of all three. Some games seem to pull it off though.


Crawl

Hyper Light Drifter

Children of Morta

Serpent in the Staglands

Sword And Sorcery Superbrothers

I guess I'm not too concerned about the length it will take to finish it as long as I can create something aesthetically pleasing, unique and cohesive. The tile map I posted was 512x512 but I find myself constantly making it bigger. How long on average does it usually take to create a good 512x512 tile map?

Here's an update of my progress. I'm making things darker, gloomier and more realistic. I found some awesome Lord of the Rings Dead Marshes images that are making for more good reference. I think the tiled grass is looking pretty good but I'm just a newbie at this! I'm also creating more/different grass tiles with tall grass, rocks, mushrooms, water puddles, etc to decrease the repetition. I think it has more of a usage of color than the examples of games I posted though. I guess it's because it looks a little more realistic. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Anyway, I'd appreciate any comments and critique on my updated work! Thanks!

Tiled Marsh Grass

Marsh Grass Tiles WIP


« Last Edit: November 09, 2014, 03:26:58 am by heyguy »

Offline heyguy

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 236
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: (C&C)Overhead RPG Tile Map(WIP)

Reply #3 on: November 12, 2014, 11:06:13 am
Hey all. Here's an update on my progress. Right now I'm currently trying to nail down an art style to move forward with. I've been experimenting by creating multiple different swamp/marsh grass tiles. Like I've mentioned before, I want to create something unique but I'm also new to pixel art. I actually have a background in painting and texturing so I found myself trying to push colors and details on these small tiles. I'm working with less colors now and I think I'm getting a better grasp at pixel art. I'd really love a critique on anything and everything!

Anyway, here are all the grass tiles I've created thus far. I'm trying to create a grass texture for the small bushy, mossy grass Frodo and Sam are standing on. I'm planning on having the character the size of a single grass tile (so 32x32) and the character is going to have realistic proportions (albeit very slim, lanky realistic proportions). So I think I want to experiment with some textures that have very small, sparse grass so it looks  a little realistic too. My problem is I'm having difficulty replicating small, bushy, stringy grass like the image in pixels.


I kinda like this one a lot. It's got a painterly quality. That's probably cause I used a lot more colors , overlays, filters, etc to create it. This was my first grass tile texture. I know it's not the traditional pixel look but I think I'd like to try creating some more assets using a realistic, colorful style like this. It might yield some interesting results!

Don't like this one at all!

I think this one is alright.

I think I might like this one a lot with one more shade of dark green outline or giving a little more depth to the ground.

I like this one a lot too! But it's moving away from the bushy grass of the picture.

Offline Decroded

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1285
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • Oh hai
    • View Profile

Re: (C&C)Overhead RPG Tile Map(WIP)

Reply #4 on: November 12, 2014, 01:40:36 pm
i like all of these tbh i think its good and u should keep going  :y:
i'd say stick with this swamp theme for a short time at least.

keep all these and combine them to build up a varied and complex texture set.
its all about context, second texture might be what used for shallow puddles of water.

why don't u drop us a rough game-res mockup with some swamp pools with reeds, walkable islands with patches of long grass, dead trees, fallen rotten logs etc.

i think its good to stick with the monochromish palette for now, then just hue-shift slightly in some key areas around the mockup where u want to highlight to the player's eye.
hue-contrasts might for example be used to make a patchy path (e.g. variation of tile 3) where the game suggests the player go to get to next checkpoint.
as u build up textures, ensure to add some strong soft-shadows to make foliage etc pop out of the scene.

Offline heyguy

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 236
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: (C&C)Overhead RPG Tile Map(WIP)

Reply #5 on: January 17, 2015, 10:32:55 pm
Hello all. I know it's still been a while but I'm still working on this project! Thanks for the comments decroded. So I actually worked on a small mock up like you suggested but I couldn't get very far. Working in monochromatic palette really helped but I felt I still needed to collect more art style reference! I also think I will create some sketches and concept art for a more alien world/landscapes/marshes. I think I might work with a magenta, brown and gold color palette. Any thoughts? So after collecting a bunch of reference, I now have some questions. I've added some pics to help me make my questions clear.

I've also added an art style mood guide at the bottom. It's a combination of the art styles I wish my pixel art to look like. Like I've mentioned before, I want something stylized and simplified. Maybe a mix of texture-y Gameboy-ish RPGs with more colors, small player characters, large enemies, large environment sprites/props like trees, tall structures, ruins, caves, etc. I want to create an alien and surreal marsh world and I actually want to put it in Construct 2 for fun. I've come up with a bit of a story to the world to inspire the alien world. Here's the gist the the world: the protagonist is incredibly ancient automaton with a prophecy to fulfill that travels an old surrealistic, alien world with strange and intelligent flora and fauna. I'm playing with the idea of the planet being entirely a depressing marsh or swamp planet with appropriate flora and fauna.

One big question. Maybe it's dumb now when I think about it. Let's say I want this hypothetical RPG game to 2 or 3 different levels of zoom like a Diablo or PS2/XBOX Baldur's Gate. Can pixels and game engines handle that without looking weird, distorted, blurry or whatever? I want my game to have a high birds eye view like this. Awesome art from Pixel Joint.



So, of course, newer games with retro pixel art styles are pushing cooler effects compared to older pixel art games. By this I mean lighting, more tiles/textures, larger tiles/textures, more animations, unique styles, more particles, shaders, etc. I have a question on how to replicate some of this stuff. Specifically, for example, lets say I wanted to create small little patches or fields of glowing mushrooms amongst the swamp grass and dirt. A more broad question is what kind of tricks, smoke and mirrors, etc are games like Hyper Light Drifter Take a look at some of this images of Hyper Light Drifter, and Radio of the Universe. Take a real close look at Hyper Lighter Drifter.

Hyper Light Drifter



Radio the Universe


I can imagine the light rays in Radio the Universe being pretty simple. But How does Hyper Light Drifter create such artistry and non repetitive tiling to their scenes, tiles, objects, etc? Is it a lighting alpha shader that overlays a dithering texture over things? Do developers and artists add a vignette or some sort of camera layer to add additional dithering and texturing to a scene? Are they using very large tiles? Are there just more unique tiles? Take a look at these images from  Moon Hunters.

Moon Hunters



Are they using larger tile maps to minimize repetitious? I see lots of large swooping brush strokes. Are those stone floors sprites or overlays on top of the tiling textures? I know some engines have lighting and shadows. Dungeon of the Endless Ocean seems to have real time shadows and that looks really slick!

Dungeon of the Endless


Here's the art style mood guide I've been talking about. I want to create a cool style like these games. To the left, there's magenta, gold, and brown. Some of the colors I'm planning on working with eventually. I will start with gray tones I think.



Haha, so I think I'm finally done with this post. Thank you for reading. I'm going to take another crack at this project and post some new updates soon. So tldr. Still working on this project and making some changes. Curious in advanced techniques and effects like lighting, real-time lighting, overlays, bloom, shaders, camera layers/vignettes, and more vfx with modern pixel art games. Would like thoughts in my idea, color palette and art style mood guide. Can overhead 2d rpgs have a camera that zooms in and out? Will post work soon!

Offline Vagrant

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 157
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • At your service.
    • @VagrantPixels
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/43310.htm
    • View Profile

Re: (C&C)Overhead RPG Tile Map(WIP)

Reply #6 on: January 18, 2015, 02:22:50 am
Perhaps you've been obsessed with reference gathering, without paying any actual heed to your own pixels?

I thought to critique, seeing as I have an extremely similar aim to yours, but the post was long and devoid of pixels. It was more like a wishlist; what you would show to a pixel artist if you were to employ one.

If you would answer me this, truthfully; If you were to be presented with these two choices, which would you prefer?

- Managing a game with a team of professional, talented artists. They have no problem achieving what you want. Which frees you time to design and imagine cool concepts for them to execute.
- Being the lead artist in a game project not necessarily your own, purely acting the craft of the pixel till it looks flawless.

It's important to know where your priorities lie. As I read you, it's the former. You'd be better suited to carry out a game design plan and it's context, instead of some of the abilities required to achieve it, like code or pixels or music. They are the obstacle in the way to all of those cool images which represent your big goal. Why not focus on design? If you're good, you'll get others to fill the necessary roles anyway. And it's always best to play by your strengths, or if lacking, by what brings most pleasure.

That, or you could train and master several skills, which is always a huge advantage, but it may yet be daunting, and take quite some time. How long will it be until we here see you posting dream quality mock-ups, worthy of a Kickstarter fortune?

Nevertheless, I still thirst for seeing some tiles. The reason we're all here in the first place.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 02:28:25 am by Vagrant »

Offline Decroded

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1285
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • Oh hai
    • View Profile

Re: (C&C)Overhead RPG Tile Map(WIP)

Reply #7 on: January 18, 2015, 04:55:28 am
The reference gathering is pretty good but yeah I'd say jump in and mockup a scene like I said last time.
First thing u need is ideas.
What is the game about?
What is the setting?
What is going on in the scene?
From this information u can gather ideas of things to draw and fill ur scenes.
Better to have too many ideas to fit on screen than have a boring sscreen of some bland objects.
I suggest working in this way, don't obsess over tiling just draw draw draw and post.
don't worry if it looks bad, everything looks bad before it looks good, especially in pixel art imo.
don't be shy, keep it coming

Offline PixelPiledriver

  • 0011
  • **
  • Posts: 997
  • Karma: +6/-0
  • Yo!
    • View Profile
    • My Blog

Re: (C&C)Overhead RPG Tile Map(WIP)

Reply #8 on: January 18, 2015, 05:09:35 am
Vagrant makes some good points.
So think about it a bit.

Definitely get started right away grinding some pixels.
You have plenty of ref at this point.
And a large portion of the work you will need to do on your own.

I also think a lot of this stuff is very general, and it would do you good to focus more on specifics.

Quote
To the left, there's magenta, gold, and brown
In what context?
For what?
Why?

Quote
So I actually worked on a small mock up like you suggested but I couldn't get very far.
Why not?

Quote
Working in monochromatic palette really helped but I felt I still needed to collect more art style reference!
Why?

A lot of your questions also lean toward an interest in being a artist/programmer.
You have a lot of really important questions, many of which I have the answer to.
But to cover them in detail would be brain murder.
Many of the answers are better experienced than explained.
I'll try to give you some simplified insight and things to look up.

Quote
Let's say I want this hypothetical RPG game to 2 or 3 different levels of zoom like a Diablo or PS2/XBOX Baldur's Gate. Can pixels and game engines handle that without looking weird, distorted, blurry or whatever?
Snapping or stopping on increments of 100% will display the pixels at larger sizes with no distortion.
Do some research on game cameras.
What they are.
How they work.
The math behind them.

Quote
A more broad question is what kind of tricks, smoke and mirrors, etc are games like Hyper Light Drifter
Read about the modern graphics pipeline.
How are images rendered to screen?
What is the Rendering Pipeline?
What are Shaders?
What kind of data does a Shader receive?
What kinda of data does a Shader ouput?
Is the order in which things rendered important?
What is Blending?
How can colors be defined with numbers?
What kinds of data can be displayed as colors?
What is the importance of a Vertex?
What is the importance of a Pixel?
Are Vertices used in 2D Pixel games?
Are Pixels used in 2D Vector games?

Quote
But How does Hyper Light Drifter create such artistry and non repetitive tiling to their scenes, tiles, objects, etc? Is it a lighting alpha shader that overlays a dithering texture over things? Do developers and artists add a vignette or some sort of camera layer to add additional dithering and texturing to a scene? Are they using very large tiles? Are there just more unique tiles?
Do these seem like possible solutions?
And if they do, how do they work exactly?
Well, being able to answer the block of questions above would make these questions easier to answer.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 05:11:36 am by PixelPiledriver »
And knowing that it is, we seek what it is... ~ Aristotle, Posterior Analytics, Chapter 1

Offline heyguy

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 236
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: (C&C)Overhead RPG Tile Map(WIP)

Reply #9 on: April 21, 2015, 10:12:35 am
Reviving this old thread in hopes of getting some feedback. Thought about posting a new topic but I think it's nice to see the changes that have been made. So I got my a chance to rework on this over the weekend and I'd like to get some critiques if possible.

Vagrant, I did because obsessed with reference collecting. I wasn't exactly sure what even I was imagining in my head so I didn't know where to begin. To answer you question about about being a designer or artist though, I'd honestly like to do a little of both. I'd mainly like to do design but my way towards that field is through art.

Anyway, I did what every suggested and worked on a monochromatic tile set. So disregard magenta, gold and brown!! Working in grays has really helped me out. I've reduced the size of the tileset to from 512x512 map to a 256x256 map and I like the end result. I'm still simplifying some of the textures. I've had to create a couple of grass textures to add variety to the ground planes.

Quote
But How does Hyper Light Drifter create such artistry and non repetitive tiling to their scenes, tiles, objects, etc? Is it a lighting alpha shader that overlays a dithering texture over things? Do developers and artists add a vignette or some sort of camera layer to add additional dithering and texturing to a scene? Are they using very large tiles? Are there just more unique tiles?
Quote
Do these seem like possible solutions?
And if they do, how do they work exactly?
Well, being able to answer the block of questions above would make these questions easier to answer.


The reason I ask some of these questions is because I wonder what sort of tricks I can do to reduce some of the repetitiveness of the scene if I zoom the game camera in and out. Right now I know I can make a cloud shadow alpha floating of the landscape. That would look pretty and reduce obvious tiling. I remember Left4Dead having a vignette effect around the screen to simulate the human eyeball. I imagine that could be done in a today game via a post processing effect or something.

I've put more thought into the setting, level design, game design, game world, etc and I think I've come up with solid ideas that'll help me pump out some pixels! Here's the tilemap and a mock-up level test example Decroded and others suggested I create.