AuthorTopic: Feedback on Style/Look and Feel of mockup for indie game.  (Read 1410 times)

Offline dreadicon

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Hi Pixelation!

I've greatly enjoyed browsing everything here, and wanted to know if I could get feedback on the Mockup for an indie project I am heading up. The artist is the brilliant Joe Pendon. We are trying to establish the artistic style for the game (which you can read more about the game here: https://twitter.com/1LonelyOutpost ), and want any and all feedback, but most of all feedback about the style itself. We want to convey a lot of different feelings and impressions in this game; it should be tactile and interesting to pull the player in. The landscape should allow us to convey a sense of loneliness and solitude. We are trying to capture the relaxing and engaging 'magic' of Stardew Valley, but with our own twist on it; not just 'in space', but also layering new kinds of mystery and adventure sense onto it. Narratively, the game begins lonely, but you attract more colonists as you grow your farm and develop the community. As a team member likes to put it, 'loneliness is the antagonist'.

Offline Vinik

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Re: Feedback on Style/Look and Feel of mockup for indie game.

Reply #1 on: July 07, 2018, 02:21:11 am
Being quite frank, while you might get general feedback on potential player's reactions to your game's art style in other boards (a smart move in my understanding), specifically here it would feel wrong for me to provide critique to someone else, rather than the actual artist :D. Please don't take what I am saying in a bad way, I am in no way entitled to enforce rules on pixelation, and I am not even sure if this is a rule here, but as a common art notion, the artist should be the one to feel comfortable to submit his unpublished/WIP work to critique, else any input we give might be unwanted, which is not cool at all. Also notice that I am in no way saying that you are posting to critique behind his back, as I know nothing about your working dynamic, and I shouldn't assume anything about it. I am sure people here will welcome Joe with open arms if he wants opinions on his pixel art :y:

Offline dreadicon

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Re: Feedback on Style/Look and Feel of mockup for indie game.

Reply #2 on: July 07, 2018, 08:02:23 pm
Thanks for the reply Vinik! I totally get where you're coming from. Joe is just very busy with other things, and so it's left to me as designer and catch-all-guy on the project to really let him know if this is where we want to go. I'm very sorry if this violates forum principles, but I got his consent (and encouragement) to go ahead and post it if that helps. http://oi64.tinypic.com/16geps6.jpg

It may not be quite in the spirit of the forum, but I really wanted the opinions of the pixel art community enthusiasts and professionals, as they could probably give much more precise feedback than your average gamer (like me...).

EDIT: I also have run into serious issues in other forums with zero-tolerance policies on advertising other games not only on the official forums of other games, but also on reddit and discord servers for other games.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2018, 08:04:05 pm by dreadicon »

Offline Vinik

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Re: Feedback on Style/Look and Feel of mockup for indie game.

Reply #3 on: July 07, 2018, 09:58:11 pm
No problem, I am glad you didn't take my comment in bad way :). As far as I have perused pixelation there is no zero tolerance vibe.

Getting general artistic direction feedback is well within pixelation scope, I have got it myself here.

As for you sample/mockup I can't really say that it implies "mystery" to me in a quick glance (it doesn't :P) but then again, mystery and and aventure sense are things which might very well come strongly from what happens in the game, how it is laid out, rather from what it looks like. To me a game can look cute but feel mysterious, or look grim and feel relaxed and comical.

As for the style, I dig topdown pixel art more than anything else, but as far as topdown goes, I am not found of stardew valley art at all, and do not consider it to have outstanding pixel art to be held as standard in no way, seriously. If compared to stardew, your mockup actually has better style for my taste even if it can be improved, as it has cleaner surfaces, and much less banding/gradients which are eyesores to me in SD, and were frankly one of the reasons I didn't got it on the last sale which ended yesterday.

Please notice thay my taste probably wont match your player's demography, that I am not a very experienced nor skilled pixel artist to begin with and that am speaking against the style of a widely successful title based on taste alone :D.

As for individual technical aspects of the mockup, that would really be more productive to give to Joe, but if I were to give my two cents it would be to:
1- adopt/create a single pallette to make the color of stuff a bit more cohesive
2-favor individually shaped characters instead of paperdoll base (which is a very hard decision considering the additional work time, but it pays off)
3-make characters look ahead instead of directly at the camera to reinforce the perspective (took me a while and valuable hints by eishiya here to learn that)
4-try to keep consistent geometry after you have set a perspective, for example, the backwards slope of the roof shouldn't really be visible from this perspective (I can explain my opinion better to Joe if wants, but it might be a conscious distortion to match a similar distortion on the interior's tile set like in Zelda games, I don't know).
As I said those are technic suggestions from someone still learning the trade, which would be more useful for Joe to evaluate/reject as he see fit.

Offline dreadicon

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Re: Feedback on Style/Look and Feel of mockup for indie game.

Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 06:49:39 pm
Thankyou very much for the thorough feedback Vinik! I can see that about mystery, and while most of the mystery will come from audio and level design, I'm going to think more about how the art can convey that as well, and talk it over with Joe!

You're right about stardew; gradients, garish colors, and so forth are all objectively bad things about Stardew. That said, the tactile feel and the vibrancy of stardew are a big part of its charm for many, so I'm pretty encouraged that you think it reminds you of Stardew, but looks better from a technical perspective is very encouraging as that's the sweet spot we're trying to hit; improve on the technical side but keep some of the look & feel of Stardew on a broad level.

I'll pass on the individual critiques to Joe as well; I'm not experienced enough to comment on the suggestion for a single pallette xD

I've been pushing for individualized characters over paper doll, even as several of the artists have suggested it. I agree that unique body types and posture in the walking animations are crucial to the uniqueness of the characters.

Interesting comment about look ahead instead of at the camera; again I don't have enough experience so I'll pass this on to Joe :)

I noticed that about the roof too (and completely understand that it kindof breaks the geometry; it looks pretty good this way despite that, but on the other hand, the architect in me is annoyed to no end by it xD

Thank you again for all the effort you put into the critique, this will definitely help us!