AuthorTopic: Dev tools  (Read 2114 times)

Offline wzl

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Dev tools

on: February 08, 2015, 11:45:13 am
Oooooooookay so, let's see.

Recently the programmer of Irkalla (dhontecillas) showed off one of their tools, which is still in production: http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=35320.msg1105750#msg1105750

It made me think about the general landscape of tools available to pixel artists and game creators. Let me quote my reply on that thread:

Quote
Honestly, the available toolsets to create 2d games at this point is really low. We have general purpose pixel and tilemap tools, but they all do just what you would expect. There are barely any tools that go beyond that (like your sprite library for instance). Compared to the huge scope of 3d dev tools (meshing, scultping, material painters, context sensitive mesh generation etc etc) it is really lacking. Admittedly 2d dev doesn't require any fancy stuff most of the time, but if you want to do something slightly out of the box you're stuck to writing it yourself, distracting you from the actual game dev.

The lack of tools may be a reason for 2d games being stuck with mostly simple mechanics and gameplay. It feels like they barely progressed from the 90ies.

Admittedly there are a few that increase the workflow like pyxel does for tile sheet creation or this which allows for interesting lighting effects.

Personally i'm working on a tilemap editor where you can paint on top of your levels, to easily create new tiles dynamically, so special details don't need to go into the tilesheet but can be drawn at the artists leisure.

And then there's the sprite library by dhontecillas which allows for more control about how animation frames are composed and used in game.

Things that should be simple, like replacing a weapon or clothing on a sprite is an excruciating amount of work and there are other problems with aren't solved as well, resulting in tacked-on solutions or scrapping of interesting features or mechanics entirely.

What's your take on this? What tools do you use or feel missing?
Do you even think 2d games need to advance any further?

Offline Probo

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Re: Dev tools

Reply #1 on: February 08, 2015, 12:32:03 pm
more related to Game creation than pixel art, the level editor in GameMaker is pretty terrible. it doesnt have basic tools like the marquee tool to let you say move a section of the level right one tile. youd have to move or remake the entire section, one tile to the right. and thats just the objects, then youd also have to move or replace all the gfx tiles, one tile to the right, individually. theres one or two user projects started to try and make a standalone GM studio level editor but theyre all woefully unfinished as far as ive seen

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: Dev tools

Reply #2 on: February 09, 2015, 10:31:40 am
For a lot of tools I need, I generally manage to make a photoshop action or something to half way alleviate the repetitive dull tasks that take time away from drawing. 

Recently I found myself needing to scale down a lot of tiles, with anti-aliasing - but no bleeding between tiles / over the grid lines.  I thought I'd have to split my psd into individual tiles and then scale them all individually, but any tiles with transparency still had fuzzy edges after reszing.  Pretty frustrating.  Changing to 'bilinear' scaling seemed to fix it though, without needing to split it all up first.

Other interesting tools I've found and use:

Shoebox has a bunch of super useful tools in one package. (Extract unique tiles from screenshot, pack images to spritesheet, extract textures, all sorts of misc stuff.
http://renderhjs.net/shoebox/
(I recently had to export 300 sprite parts from a PSD, again and again for a heap of colour variations, so instead I exported all once, packed a sprite sheet to apply the colour variations to, and unpacked the modified spritesheets. Saved countless of the dullest hours.  Probably could have set things up better in advance, but it wasn't my PSD, so I had to work with how it was already set up). 

I bought this on Steam, but haven't tried it yet:
http://autotilegen.com/
Looks great for making all the variations needed for a full tileset.

Rotsprite for nice scaling/rotating of pixel art. 
http://info.sonicretro.org/RotSprite

Currently using Tiled as map editor.  Pretty nice. 
http://www.mapeditor.org/

Offline Carnivac

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Re: Dev tools

Reply #3 on: February 09, 2015, 10:45:44 am
more related to Game creation than pixel art, the level editor in GameMaker is pretty terrible. it doesnt have basic tools like the marquee tool to let you say move a section of the level right one tile. youd have to move or remake the entire section, one tile to the right. and thats just the objects, then youd also have to move or replace all the gfx tiles, one tile to the right, individually. theres one or two user projects started to try and make a standalone GM studio level editor but theyre all woefully unfinished as far as ive seen

This one is excellent and it's creator added things people (including myself) asked for.

http://gmc.yoyogames.com/index.php?showtopic=499060&page=1
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I know nothing about pixel art
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Offline tocky

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Re: Dev tools

Reply #4 on: February 10, 2015, 04:17:12 am
whoa. carnivac that answers a prayer of mine

is happymonsters development toolset any good? i remember the one that made symetrical generative sprites? is he doing some kinda alex mauer // petscii thing these days? seemed nice.

andi mcc and michael brough made ARTIST: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-27/?action=preview&uid=4987

mcc also made these:

Try these new games, now in beta:
Icosa — 3D art creation toy
Scrunch — 2D art creation toy

strangethinks SECRET HABITAT also generates art.  http://strangethink.itch.io/ - in 2d and in 3d

arthur thepodunkian lee made a good map editor for UNDERSIDE, unfortion you can nly use it to make clones of UNDERSIDE - hve u cnsidered using KNYTT STORIES as a tile editor? i remember it being good but i dont use it myself

all this shit is vaporwave and not-exactly-pixel. generative art. glitch tools. we have to teach ourselfs to recombine the symbols into new and exciting forms
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 04:41:18 am by tocky »