AuthorTopic: Squaretale's Pixel Game  (Read 7013 times)

Offline Bacrylic

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Squaretale's Pixel Game

on: August 03, 2017, 11:01:20 pm
Hi I'm Bacrylic and aslo the acting art director for Squaretale.

Founded by myself and my programming friend Brandon, Squaretale attempts to make its first game. An guess what, its a pixel game!!!

As this is our first step, we want to leave a good impression. So I'm here to ask for some advice. I haven't been doing pixel art long, and yet I find myself making an entire game in the style. We have pretty much rushed production, and environmentally I'm not sure if I found a good blend with how I want to portray the story to the player.

Any words or suggestions would sure be appreciated.

Also, if you're curious to what this game is about, I'll share a little info. The game will be a sidescroller pixel game, done with an expanded take on the metroidvania style. One of my goals for the game is to have very dynamic combat. I want the enemy npc's to feel like actual players are trying to kill you, and it is a struggle just to run into one.

As far as I know I'm not allowed to say anything about the story yet, but believe you me I like some dark stuff at times and I can get behind this story. I can tell you what we've based this game off of and what has inspired us. Art wise, I've looked at more recent games for inspiration. We don't really have a goal of nostalgia planned to make it like other metroidvania games in the past. Nope. Our nostalgic inspiration ties more into the story and wasn't from a game at all. We came up with the story of this game while talking about the movie The Pagemaster.

Haven't seen it? Thats ok. If you went back and watched it, you might not like it. I know I tried. It wasn't that great, but something internally makes me like it. Maybe because its from my childhood, but conceptually we liked the idea and for some reason, both thought it was an iconic movie. Now we've completely made our own lore for this story that was based off of this movie, but as a game I wanted to expand on it. So now comes the actual game inspiration and second thing that I like to sum up the idea behind ours as. Kingdom Hearts 

Yup, nothing does world diving and has a vast diversity of enemy characters quite like Kingdom Hearts. So yes, Kingdom Hearts meets The Pagemaster movie, to inspire this pixel game.

That sounds like a tall order, I know. But we've spent a lot of thought and we both feel like we can get on board for the long haul.

I would sure appreciate any help you guys can offer, while I'm deciding on the style. So here is a small clip from a scene I'm working on.





We will eventually have our website up and running, and when we do, if you like the work we're doing you can stop by to see any updates at squaretale.com.

So bring on the critiques, so I can spoil you guys with the first updates.

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #1 on: August 05, 2017, 04:29:20 am
Man it takes a while to get a response, huh?   :watev:

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #2 on: August 05, 2017, 09:37:21 pm
Here is my go at our main character's run cycle. I was going for a very exaggerated/animated run that would fit the type of character  I wanted to show. I imagine there will be a toggle for this kind of sprint.




And here are a few enemy characters we will be seeing. Essentially, these will be our game's heartless. We're not calling them that, but they will come in many different shapes and sizes.















« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 09:46:43 pm by Bacrylic »

Offline Krizpp

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #3 on: August 06, 2017, 01:03:12 am
This looks promising. Sorry for no tips/critique. Keep us updated! I'd love to be on the loop of the progress of this game.

Thanks,
Krizpp

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #4 on: August 06, 2017, 07:08:00 am
Thanks Krizpp, and sure thing.

Spread that interest like Nutella.

I've got a lot of work inbetween this stuff, but I'll post updates when I can.

 

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #5 on: August 17, 2017, 07:38:24 am
Here are some rough attack combos I'm working on.

I had a friend record me doing these moves for reference. I had intended to try a rotoscoping technique I'd seen on youtube, but because our character's animation is supposed to be stylized and exaggerated I just followed the recordings.

They're not supposed to be clean yet. I'm picking my favorites from the bunch, roughing them and discussing them with my partner before cleanup. The character's weapon is a book sword that has a blade that folds out like origami.

 









Like the running animation I want to exaggerate his moves during cleanup, but still have it make sense logically. Don't mind the smears, I was testing some stuff out for now.

The reason I like the recorded moves is on account of our character being someone who has had no prior combat experience. So having no exp myself, I grab a stick and hack away. This gave me the sense that this was something he would be capable of doing.

I'm not sure what the combo hit count is gonna be, or if we are gonna have variations to perform, but for now I'm gonna go with a single slash for a single click and 2-3 hit moves that follow multiple clicks. 

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #6 on: August 17, 2017, 07:47:10 am
Oh I forgot to mention!

I wanted to show you guys the promotional posters I had made. They were last minute, but since it kind of started everything, I'm getting attached to them.





 :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay:

Offline eishiya

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #7 on: August 17, 2017, 12:50:22 pm
In the last animation, the character is quite a bit smaller than the rest.
I like the second animation. The rest don't read very clearly to me, they look like flailing rather than attacks. It might just be the presentation though - try holding on the first and last frames, so that it's easier to see the animation as a unit. Without holds, the entire loop just blurs together.

In the first poster, the character doesn't stand out well from the background, the values on them are very similar to the background. When working (especially when thumbnailing) on things like this, I recommend previewing in greyscale regularly to help you notice problems like this.

Both posters feel rather dull, colour-wise. I don't mean that they have to be colourful or saturated, but that they're rather grey and have no sense of focus created by their colours. Nothing stands out, everything looks equally unimportant. You have wonderful light sources (a sunny sky, candles, magical books), but you're not using them at all to create visual interest. For example, consider how much more interesting the second poster could be if the books were the dominant light sources, casting their coloured lights everywhere? Or, even if you want the candles to b the only light source, consider how orange and weak candle light really is! That poster looks like by a bright ceiling lamp, not a trio of candles. Don't be afraid of coloured light, and of shadows so dark that they obscure detail! Candlelight in particular has a long history in art, so there's plenty of inspiration.

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #8 on: August 19, 2017, 04:03:31 am
As rough as rough gets, its pretty rough. As stated previously.
Other than the first two, the rest were optimized to just have the main keyframes with no inbetweens. The flailing comment must be a 'you' thing. My partner and others I've shown didn't have a problem following the sequences, but I will admit they are 'rough'.

I didn't really elaborate on what I meant with the posters. They were just for show. I made them last minute for a convention we were invited to, and otherwise we wouldn't have had anything. I do intend to give a another go later on, so thanks for the tips. The second poster got the short end of the stick for time reasons, but I did want to have this sweet color scheme and light sources witht he books. You're on the money with that one.

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #9 on: August 22, 2017, 12:36:26 am
I'm working on setting our character's color palette. I must admit that I'm pretty bad a setting up a color scheme, but I went with the colors I used in our character's concept design. There is currently 23 different colors. We're not working with any constraints, color wise but I don't know if this would cause a problem or not. If there is one, please let me know.

Below is a weapon test for our character's booksword. I know the animation for the handle coming down and the paper flipping up needs some work.



And a still of what the final sword was gonna look like.



Offline eishiya

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #10 on: August 22, 2017, 12:50:21 am
If your system has no constraints, then there's no problem with using 23 colours. However, the more colours you use on a sprite, the harder it is to keep the shapes those colours make up looking consistent from frame to frame. Generally, the fewer colours you have, the easier it is to animate. And of course, on top of that there's the visual unity that you get when you reuse colours between different parts of a sprite and between sprites instead of having a separate set of colours for everything.

With the sword's handle, what if the hand flips out of the book, like it was a ribbon bookmark that suddenly became solid? It makes no sense in 3D space, but could look cool. Alternatively, maybe the book's spine could fold out.

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #11 on: August 22, 2017, 02:40:36 am
Thanks for the note. I'm sure the struggle will make itself present if the count is too much to animate with.

For the book animation, I think it would be hard to visually show a ribbon becoming the handle of the sword with the book being as small as it is. This animation probably wont happen during the game everytime you equip the book unless I can manage to make it super quick. He's gonna be able to quick-equip a different weapon during combat and I think it might be a problem if you had to wait for an animation to play out before attacking. 

I intend for there to be a few weapon books he can get or a few different weapons that the book can turn into. I like the ribbon idea for another weapon though. Other than the sword, his other weapons could expand to take on different shapes. I know for certain I want to add a shield that grows to be pretty big on him. That'd be good add  ;D ;D

The spine folding out was actually our first idea for how to handle that, but we opted for one of the gold bars on the spine extending down. I might give that a try though. When he isn't attacking but has the weapon equiped, its just gonna look like he's running with a book in his hand and that animation may work out better.   


 

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #12 on: August 23, 2017, 05:35:35 am
Ok so I've been back and forth with different pieces of this game, trying to make assets for the 'cross your toes we'll make it in time' demo. Bouncing kind of helps me from getting burnt out from working on one piece of the puzzle, but that just means I haven't checkmarked anything off as relatively finished. So I've decided to focus on finishing off Alex's sprite sheet with all his animations, or at least the ones we'll show for now.

A little pixel cleanup with our 23 color scheme and flipped his shirt logo and bag for his left animations on his sprints.




We also wanted a jog or a running animation thats less hurrdle jumpy. Right now both the sprint and jog are set at 10 frames each and I kind of want to keep it in that range if possible.   



Sorry about the straggling pixels, didn't notice those in there before loading out.
Aside from these and the combos I posted earlier, I gotta make a jump anim, possible double jump, combat roll, an 'in air' attack anim, an equip anim, and probably some ledge animations. Making games is a love, hate relationship huh.  :blind: :blind: :blind: :blind:

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #13 on: August 27, 2017, 12:08:25 am
Ok so I did a little work on the jump and jog animation, but I'm not sure if I'm satisfied with it, the motion I mean. The cleanup is to come but I don't feel like they match with the style of the sprint. A goal of mine is for the animation to have a lot of character in it.


I edited the jog down to 8 frames instead of 10, but then back up to 12. I thought the first try was a bit choppy and wanted to speed things up a bit. It didn't look right with a faster speed, so I added the extra frames to try and smooth out the animation. Not sure where to make changes yet, but will be adding hair bouncing.



Similar style issue with the jump. Its a little too bouncy/cartoony for me, and I know I want an exaggerated second jump so I'm not sure if the first jump should be something basic looking.

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #14 on: August 27, 2017, 12:30:54 am
Oh and for the sneak-idy peaks, I'll show a bonus image for the level I'm working on making for the demo. The modern scene is taking a break. It was intended for the trailer and I'm not quite there with it. My partner wants to push for something playable. Here's an attempt on the in-game conceptual appearance.



Although this will be a sidescroller, its not necessarily a platformer, but for combat reasons I need to find a way to design platforms that don't look like floating or tileset placed platforms. I want them to blend in with the environment and feel natural. Any advice on how to achieve this? If so, please share. I have some thoughts on it myself, but putting it into visuals is difficult.
 

Offline eishiya

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #15 on: August 27, 2017, 12:52:00 am
Are you asking just for the woods, or for all levels? In-world platforms are probably the ideal way to go. Scaffolds, podiums, cars, piles of boxes, trash bins, treehouses, balconies, roofs...

More cartoony platformers sometimes incorporate tree branches as platforms in forested areas, but I don't think that would work in a more realistic-looking game with a human protagonist, as they wouldn't hold the character's weight and a human would have trouble balancing even on the thickest branches. Plus, for clarity, it's best if the platforms are fairly blocky-looking and stand out from the background, whereas real branches aren't blocky and usually blend with the background branches. Leaf/branch platforms look best when the whole tree can be stylised and blocky. I've tried mixing blocky platforms with non-blocky trees like this and I don't think it worked well at all, would not recommend.

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #16 on: August 27, 2017, 01:11:18 am
All levels. Those examples are exactly what I want to input. Though I want to change it up with elements that match the book that the world is in. This book level is actually intended to be in the story of King Arthur. I'm not familiar with any iconic elements that were present in this setting of the book, but I'd like to tribute to those kinds of things as throwbacks to the original stories.

I agree with you there. I'm trying to find that sweet spot inbetween. Here was my first go at it, and althought I was liking it, I don't like how it feels so flat.

Offline eishiya

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #17 on: August 27, 2017, 01:32:28 am
Do floating islands fit with the world of your game?
The way I'm dealing with platforms in a natural setting in my current project is by having a very rough terrain and lots of boulders, the upper/horizontal surfaces of which are walkable, and the vertical surfaces of which are just cosmetic (the player does not collide with them). It also makes for more interesting platforms, since they're not all just horizontal/flat, they can have slopes just like the ground. This does have the disadvantage of leaving less space where the parallax backgrounds are visible, but the platform "bases" can be visually interesting in their own right.

Something else to consider, if all else fails: magical platforms that aren't part of the world proper, but are added by the books. Magical swords, shields, or just magical blocks you can jump on. This could work well if the gameplay involves traversing the same "real" setting under the influence of different books, which create different-looking platforms in different arrangement.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 01:36:01 am by eishiya »

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #18 on: August 27, 2017, 03:13:46 am
No, unless the story you enter refences them you might not see floating platforms. Though some form of platforms will be necessary to have elevated.

Thats an interesting take on it. I may do something similar if not that exactly.

For the other worlds that will be infected or altered I'm up for magical placed platforms of the sort and influence, but pertaining to the story, this one is a small section and is untouched.

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #19 on: August 31, 2017, 05:40:31 am
Can I get some feedback?

The background is cause I'm sure I missed some hidden pixels in some frames that'll make things look gritty otherwise. I'll get them later, but I'm more concerned about how the animation reads. If its too choppy, too fast, needs more frames and the like.



I have another roll without the leap that puts Alex hitting the ground right away, but I feel like this one has more character to it.



Not sure how I feel about this one. I did a previous jump that felt too bouncy, so I checked some game references, and for one I noticed that they didn't have a bend frame prior to being airborn. It just cuts right to being in the air, followed by a decending frame, pretty much just two by the looks of it. The reference looked good but for mine I kept some extra frames. There is a bend, an extend, an ascending, a top of the arc, a descending, and a bending land frame. Maybe its the timing for this one thats bothering me, idk.



Here is the fixed jog. It's 12 frames in total, but I'm not sure if I should add more or not. I feel iffy about the timing on this one as well. Also the bag might be bouncing a little too high... :-\



« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 05:43:50 am by Bacrylic »

Offline G01dmaster

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #20 on: September 02, 2017, 06:58:45 pm
So coming in, love the vision, the idea, its calm and nice, but I want to talk about the attacks, specifically talking of what i like and dislike about all 5 versions :D

Version 1
Its smooth, the attacks don't have breaks in it, and its easy to reset back to his normal stance, and leaves very little space for an attack, and is a 3 swing attack, simple but shows a lot.
It has the same up to down strikes twice and gets boring after watching it more than 10 times, so you probably need to make this more... complicated... and if you used this one I would say set up more than 1 attack combo, make it random or a set command, like up+attack or down+attack etc...

Version 2
I was asking an art major some questions about these, and he liked this one because it showed more action in it with the leap, but I don't like how he just ends crouched, maybe add a few more frames in there? It also feels really fast in the end, like a low weight sword but the ending swing is really long, like a large strong sword, feels improper, mabye increase the swords length during that attack (since the sword DOES transform you can make it longer if you wanted to)

Version 3
Its clean, its nice, all attacks are around the same speed, I don't see too many problems with it, but the feet seem a little off when he is turning around, I'm not sure due to the look of it but it looks like he is swinging and pivoting on a foot, which would be bad if an enemy parried as it would knock you off your feet and basically make you lose... idk your choice on this one, this is one of my favorites tho

Version 4
Swords normally either specialize in stab, or slash, based on the design of your sword it looks like a slash sword, as more stabby swords and more pointy, like a rapier (ooooh i love them) and when you attack with a straight attack, it takes longer for you to swing again because you have to move your whole arm and body into position again, so the next attack feels a tad to fast, but not to much. and also when ending a combo your last attack is normally the strongest, so put more emotion or effort into it? its like a left left right combo, ending it with a knockout punch.

Version 5
Looks like a samurai sword :D
Well, it literally looks like a samurai using that sword, it's interesting, maybe a different sword type?!?


Not much different during edit, sorry for long wait :p
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 01:17:06 am by G01dmaster »
Gold is Da Bomb, ey...
(WIP SIGNITURE)

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #21 on: September 08, 2017, 02:28:32 am
@G01dmaster

Thank you for the feedback. This is the kind of stuff I like to hear back on. Still working on it so I don't have new stuff to show yet, but I'll address your notes as a collective because there are some things I didn't mention prior that may explain some things you'd mentioned. But aside from those you've brought up some good points.

We probably won't have multiple ground combos. No particular reason for this, just that we intend to have multiple weapons to change from. I'll probably do a descending from air attack, but not an ascending one. One of the games I've been looking at for inspiration is Momodora, which has a three hit combo and it works for all reasons and purposes.

The combos were recordings from me actually holding a wooden sword I'd got at a flea market, it was just a placeholder.

For gameplay I intend Alex to acutally be holding a book in his hand when the sword is equipped. Unless you actually press the attack button the book won't turn into a sword, which is why I'm leaning towards the lunge first attack. It presents a great way to show the sword folding out of the book for an extended reach in one move. After you lunge the sword will remain out, but has a cooldown time for it to retract that refreshes everytime you attack. This is also an unintentional call out to another game I'm working for called Attack On Kitten.

Slash or Stabby, the sword's concept is actually thinner in a way that it could be used either or. If I can still show the origami folding out with a thinner version I will make it thinner. Making it extend might be a later add if we go with it.   

Aside from using the lunge as the first hit, I could follow up with any 3 hit combo. I personally also like ending with the jump slash, and don't worry. I'd exaggerate that to look better if I go with that one.

Thanks again. Oh and also for version 3, I did those recordings in gravel while wearing flipflops, so my footing was definitely off.  ;) ;)



Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #22 on: September 09, 2017, 09:46:19 am
Omg, finally another update on here.

Sprite Animation ready for tilesheet, almost. Animations not just flipped, but edited for asymmetrical items like the bag and his shirt logo. (just realized I did the combat roll starting from the idle pose, when it should have been from a jog pose. I wonder if that'll screw me over)


Recent change in character, I've decided to stick with just two colors for the hair. Forgot to apply this to jog, will do later.

Also working on death animation concept. I tried researching scenes where a character does one of those dramatic collapses before death. Didn't find much of what I was looking for. Here is something close to what we're going for.


Gonna change the way the paper comes in the scene, but my partner likes the way that the paper erases him. I like the pose but I was also trying some other looks with him completely hitting the ground, the paper effect could happen after any of them.

The combo has yet to come on account of me needing to go back to designing the level. I've made enough so my programming partner can play with stuff. (I still want to throw something at him) ::)

Fun fact for later guys. I'm not posting in job search section because I don't have a full deciding vote on this, but if anyone is interested in joining this game endeavor I may find the need to have some assistance in the distant future. But if someone could match what we're looking for I could probably argue to bring them on sooner.  ;) ;)

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #23 on: September 12, 2017, 09:09:45 am
Finally finished lining up my character's sprite sheet.

Now I'm working on making a a tileset for my forest scene. I recently watched a tutorial on choosing color palettes, but I'm still not sold on this one.



Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #24 on: September 14, 2017, 09:24:29 am
I'm not satisfied with my current tileset, but for all sake and purposes it gives my partner something to work with in the meantime. So to make sure we have what we need for the game I'm jumping back to working on our basic enemy character, the Inkling Pawn and concepting out it's close range attack. My partner says projectile attacks could have a lot more bugs to fix, so we're not gonna show the fireball just yet.

Here is a test for the Pawn's idle anim.


And here is the concept for close range.


Let me know what you think. I kind of like the arcing slam down hit for my taste (#1).

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #25 on: September 17, 2017, 03:48:34 am
Did some work on my inkling during comiccon. Not the best work station, so it still needs some work but people seemed to dig it.



Starting the gauntlet attack.

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #26 on: September 22, 2017, 05:22:32 am
Pre-attack animation.



Attack

« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 10:10:32 am by Bacrylic »

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #27 on: September 29, 2017, 12:54:10 am
Oh, meet the newest member of the Inkling family. The Ambigross (name pending), our first rank 7 inkling.


Inklings are composed of drops of ink, books and sometimes random pages. The consistent feature is an ink drop as the mainbody, the rest is made up of droplets or solidified ink that has taken the form of punctuation or an actual line of text from the pages themselves, forming a figure. For instance, should a page have a line that says 'armor' the Inkling's body could be built out of armor, or have an attack involving armor.

The Ambigross is an Inkling that got a hold of a few extra dangerous pages. If he didn't already look tough, he's still holding a few surprises.     

Also our Knight Inkling.

« Last Edit: September 30, 2017, 04:47:58 am by Bacrylic »

Offline Bacrylic

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #28 on: January 08, 2018, 10:10:38 pm
After a work hiatus 'The Book of Alex' is going back in developement. Here is a promo piece I was working on for the occasion. Squaretale is back at it again.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #29 on: January 19, 2018, 02:08:57 pm
Alex's updated attack combo.
Book Sword

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #30 on: January 24, 2018, 11:13:08 am
Really trying to nail the whole tileset thing for this forest level. Was having trouble with making different tiers of grass, so on one of my tests I did this ground and stone look. I like it the most out of what I tried. Maybe its because it flattens the area that the player will walk on. Idk.



I intend to try and add more grass, and some alpha decoratives to make things more green. Suggestions are welcome.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #31 on: January 24, 2018, 11:23:14 pm
While that looks neat, I think maybe it's a bit too minimalistic on the grass. Feels unbalanced. Perhaps something you could do is add a "foreground" layer of grass that goes maybe one or two pixels up in front that covers the bottoms of the shoes?
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #32 on: January 25, 2018, 02:08:12 am
@MysteryMeat

Thanks for the feedback. I'll try to work something out. I don't know why doing grass gives me such a problem. 

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #33 on: January 25, 2018, 07:16:26 am
In a few words: "grass is fiddly green earth-pube bullshit"

Sometimes its easy other times its hard, but often you can kinda simplify it like hair. Ie, rather than individual strands you draw tufts and shade for texture. It's something that might help here, but depending on intent you should keep this version on hand too since it reads as a more worn-in, threadbare kind of grass.
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #34 on: February 01, 2018, 02:58:50 pm
Lovely progress on this since I last looked! really unique style.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #35 on: March 04, 2018, 06:11:40 am
I've been rather busy so I haven't really posted anything here in a while. So until the next big update in progress heres a death animation I was working on for Alex.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #36 on: March 04, 2018, 02:44:03 pm
I like the idea of him disintegrating, but the transition from solid to particles feels very linear. I think having some larger clumps at the edges (which also move up) would work better, and then those clumps would break up into single-pixel particles.

Is the page meant to be inside of him, and the body around it disintegrates? If so, I think it reads quite well! It even looks like you have some particles coming off the page as it flies up, I think you should make those more visible and maybe trail from the page a little longer, as they look more like stragglers from the transformation than coming off the page.
If the page being inside him wasn't your goal, or if you're looking for alternatives ideas, how about having the particles gather towards the center and coalesce into the page?

How will this animation work when the character is in motion? Will the character's body just stop moving suddenly, or will you wait for it to stop before playing the animation? Since you have a static element (the book), I think this would look weird starting to play while the character is still in motion.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #37 on: March 04, 2018, 06:40:10 pm
like Eishiya said, I'd also say you should have it start as he's jumping into the air there. Having it ONLY happen after he comes to a rest is, while easy, a lot less visually interesting.

Another thing you could try is having the particles "swirl" into the page in streams like a cyclone.wouldn't be terribly hard to accomplish, just use the select tool to create the spiral shapes and the spray tool to get the particles in there I'd think.
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #38 on: March 05, 2018, 07:58:04 pm
Those are some good notes guys! Someone had mentioned that he was too still to me, and I was thinking of a fix for that. I don't intend for him to be still or if I do, the animation would happen a lot quicker to compensate during the disintegration. Though he'll more than likely have some motion. 

Those pixels were stragglers from the body, and not from the page itself. Making this effect was a huge pain in the ass, and I'd rather not make an addition that would require me to redo it. (please no,  D:) Though if it is something I can apply without having to start over, I'd certainly give it a go. Its not that I don't want that kind of polish, just that at the moment that will be something to come back to.

Doing that by hand is not fun. But I'll make a note of the useful tips you guys mentioned when I come back to this. Thanks guys.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #39 on: April 21, 2018, 09:47:13 pm


Working on my level design. A step up from my last attempt. Excuse the mess of colors, I was testing something and this was a picture grab from that. Currently working on cleanup. Attempting to add foreground and background elements that will blend well with the midground.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #40 on: April 24, 2018, 05:34:34 am
Let me just say, you will have a hell of a ride by making pixel art this f*ckin' detailed and huge! Of course this is not trying to stop you in any way, just telling you what to expect.

I'm thinking here an index painting or vector-like approach will help you. That is keep shapes simple, and render them out if they are close to the focal point where we're gonna see em. Also focusing on suggesting, instead of rendering, and flat areas saves you time. So that is what I tried to do in this edit.


fullres

Here's also a more complex lighting setup. Lots of light on dark, some godrays, etc. I don't know if the player can/does walk on the tree or ruins so the lighting there is mainly to look good, it's not functional. And due to the size it's quite rough but hopefully it demonstrates what you can do with the lighting/bg as well.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 05:42:53 am by pistachio »
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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #41 on: April 28, 2018, 03:34:06 am
I like what you did there. It looks good as a whole. However there is the fact that during gameplay the camera is gonna be pulled in much closer on the character. I would like to see a pan out shot to this extent though.

The mountains are a nice touch, but theres actually gonna be a lot more forest scenery with layers of background elements and canopy lighting. The open space feels nice, I'd like to keep sense of vastness while enclosing it in woods.

Thanks pistachio.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #42 on: April 28, 2018, 02:11:24 pm
You can still shade in this manner and have it look lovely zoomed in, especially if you use the shapes of the solid clusters to suggest more detail than is actually drawn. I think it's more pleasing and less flat than an overload of detail, and less distracting from gameplay.

Pistachio's response gave me a rather sad thought: I'm afraid you might end up in an Auro situation here, where viewers will think the art "looks pixelated" rather than like pixel art, because it's not taking advantage of its medium, but rather fighting against it. Your art looks like it's high-res art that's been pixelized; you're not doing anything with the art so far that wouldn't be better (and possibly faster) in HD or vector art. Your art is full of large shapes with angles that don't work great in pixel art, it has lots of noisy details that would be easier to make subtle and more natural without PA's limitations, it's full of slight variations of colours that look like they want to blend smoothly but aren't allowed to. Where you do have details that do look native to the medium, like the little 1px thick grass blades, it looks noisy and artificially straight, high-res art would give you more flexibility.

I'm not saying you shouldn't use pixel art for the game, but consider why you're using it, whether it's really helping the game look better, or holding you back.

If you're certain you want or need to make it pixel art, then consider its limitations and make use of them, play up to the medium's strengths by adjusting your visual style. Pixel art is great for:
  • Horizontal, vertical, and 45-degree lines (1:2 lines can work well when there's no banding accompanying them, like there currently is in the spears).
  • Creating ambiguity for viewers to fill in, take advantage of that by not trying to draw all the details, and by creating edges on your tiles that read like different things depending on which tile they're next to.
  • Custom palette variants, which can be created quickly since there are relatively few colours, so take advantage of palette swapping instead of just using colour overlays for effects like weather and night, custom palettes can always be made to look better; palette swapping can be done in almost any engine via shaders.
There are probably other things I'm failing to think of, too.
Right now you're in a sort of uncanny valley of pixel art, but you have many options for remedying that.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 02:25:38 pm by eishiya »

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #43 on: April 28, 2018, 06:00:45 pm
@Eishiya, you're right.

Games like Owlboy, performing high res pixel art, and pixel artists like Yur Gus are just terrible.
(Overloaded with sarcasm. To the point the lid fell off the pot)

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #44 on: April 28, 2018, 06:38:34 pm
Snake and Fool both make better use of their medium than you do, that was the point of my post. Their art doesn't look like a translation of something else into pixel art, it looks like it was always meant to be pixel art. Perhaps instead of dismissing the criticism outright, you should examine their and other great artwork for how it transcends or makes use of the limitations of pixel art, and learn from that.

It sounds like you misconstrued my post as telling you to make low-res art somehow. I did not say that anywhere, and I took care to make my suggestions size-agnostic.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2018, 06:43:21 pm by eishiya »

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #45 on: April 28, 2018, 08:41:42 pm
noted

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #46 on: June 08, 2018, 08:16:08 pm
 :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:
So yeah............theres this.............its a wip, but there's some good shit here.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #47 on: June 08, 2018, 09:00:16 pm
Looking good! The increased contrast and foreground layers really help draw the eye to what's important.

Are the falling leaves important? If not, I think they might be a bit too detailed and contrast too much, as they draw a low of attention to themselves.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #48 on: June 09, 2018, 04:27:48 am
@eishiya
Just possible adds to consider

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #49 on: June 09, 2018, 09:33:18 am
Just wanted to comment on this, the lighting/atmo's improved a lot in the latest shot, digging the dark FG especially. I dunno if I gave you any ideas up there :P Happy to help either way. Keep it up.

If/when it gets animated we wanna see that ANIM
:D
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 09:36:48 am by pistachio »
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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #50 on: June 09, 2018, 06:23:52 pm
@pistachio
Sure thing. There will be an animated cutscene

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #51 on: June 14, 2018, 07:17:57 pm
Just taking a peek at this for the first time! I'm wondering how long you've been working on this? I skimmed the entire thread so forgive me if I missed that part, you definitely have an interesting premise, world, and a definite stray from the typical protagonist, but it doesn't look like you've got bosses or any combat with this log spanning back into 2017. I wonder how long you expect the dev to take and it you've released anything before? It seems like this could very well end up being your life's work :P

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #52 on: June 15, 2018, 06:05:17 am
@trisbee
Its ok man, you got a valid point. We came up with the idea for this game in 2017, but we haven't been working on it for a whole year. My programmer hasn't put in much, but he's a dad and going back to college so his input will probably occur when I'm almost done (then i can bitch at him to hurry up). This is intentionally a big game and I know a lot of people say not to start with one, but I'm invested in the story. Plus I think we'll have something worth playing here and I'm learning a lot along the way. This is my first time making sprite animation or pixel art, so I'm slow moving forward since its just me at the moment. Earlier in dev I had cash to support myself while I worked on this with no job, but now I have little cash and a job. I've been working doubles to free myself 3 days a week to game dev, but I'll rarely get the full 3 for that. I wouldn't mind workin on this for a few years so long as we get to tell the story we want to tell, and were funded for it. And by the end of those years, we'll have learned a crap load about how to game dev. Technically I still don't know what the hell I'm doing. Everyday is like an experiment. 

I know this was a long winded response, but my direction has changed since we started this and with more time its only gonna get better. (p.s. as life's work, I also digital paint and do standup comedy. So expect some humor in this bitch)       

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #53 on: June 15, 2018, 09:23:08 pm
@trisbee
Its ok man, you got a valid point. We came up with the idea for this game in 2017, but we haven't been working on it for a whole year. My programmer hasn't put in much, but he's a dad and going back to college so his input will probably occur when I'm almost done (then i can bitch at him to hurry up). This is intentionally a big game and I know a lot of people say not to start with one, but I'm invested in the story. Plus I think we'll have something worth playing here and I'm learning a lot along the way. This is my first time making sprite animation or pixel art, so I'm slow moving forward since its just me at the moment. Earlier in dev I had cash to support myself while I worked on this with no job, but now I have little cash and a job. I've been working doubles to free myself 3 days a week to game dev, but I'll rarely get the full 3 for that. I wouldn't mind workin on this for a few years so long as we get to tell the story we want to tell, and were funded for it. And by the end of those years, we'll have learned a crap load about how to game dev. Technically I still don't know what the hell I'm doing. Everyday is like an experiment. 

I know this was a long winded response, but my direction has changed since we started this and with more time its only gonna get better. (p.s. as life's work, I also digital paint and do standup comedy. So expect some humor in this bitch)     

i definitely want you to be aware of the last thing you said in your reply ;)

"Technically I still don't know what the hell I'm doing. Everyday is like an experiment."

2 1/2 years on and off into my dev (DON'T GIVE UP) I have gotten muchhhh better than when I first started, I constantly want to go back and improve graphics, change systems etc etc- just be aware that while your are certainly going to get better the more you do it, it's a double edged sword, if you continue to reapply new ideas and techniques especially in an expansive game you will never finish have a finished game, I've seen people work on games for 7 years no lie that look great, but still don't even have an alpha demo.

In more simple literal turns, imagine drawing on a piece of paper with a pencil, your picture looks okay, but once you finished it, rather than start a new one, you felt like you could improve it by erasing and improving some lines, now imagine each time you improved the drawing you felt like you could improve it more, which would eventually result in a potentially good looking drawing with a hell of a lot of eraser marks :P (which I guess could represent the toil this takes and how your game can be distorted from its original vision in the process)

meanwhile, someone else who takes what they learned to a new drawing each time, ends up with a really fun tangible representation of their journey of improvement which I think would be a lot more great to have a whole portfolio of progress than 1 nice drawing, i'm not saying you're anywhere near this point but definitely something to think about so that you aren't that 7 years later game dev :)

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #54 on: June 18, 2018, 07:57:41 pm
Gotcha, but I think we're good man.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #55 on: June 29, 2018, 09:38:45 pm
Some Inkling Pawn animations I've been working on





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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #56 on: August 17, 2018, 07:51:46 pm


I'm having some thoughtful issues, as well as my partner has got it in his head that we need to make a pitch bible because he wants to pitch a previous cartoon project we attempted. I hope and will strive to keep this game from being put on the backburner.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #57 on: August 18, 2018, 11:05:27 pm
would be a crime to put this on hold, it looks like 2d uncharted-megaman  :0'
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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #58 on: January 08, 2019, 06:10:43 am
Hey guys, guess who is back. That's right, we're coming back to The Book of Alex.

I've finished working on our cartoon for now, and we're waiting to hear back this month. I'm currently looking for a new job, but my development time can finally come back to this little gem.

I'm looking forward to posting our next step of progress.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #59 on: January 13, 2019, 08:46:21 am


How about some BOA color tests. I'm redoing my level design approach. Once I get stable again, this shiz is gonna be poppin.

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Re: Squaretale's Pixel Game

Reply #60 on: February 03, 2019, 06:42:40 am


Alex, books are deadly weapons. Testing out some creative ways to use the book sword. There should definitely be some combos.