AuthorTopic: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup  (Read 1396 times)

Offline Traslogan

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[Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

on: March 11, 2019, 10:57:04 am
Hey folks, I'd been playing a few old late 80s / early 90s RPGs like the middle of the Ultima series and wanted to do a "modernized" mockup in the same style, to see how they'd fit with a little bit more space, and wondering what folks think of the style and overall design.




Original size is above, but a more zoomed-out one is available here incase it scales weirdly in the forum layout:
https://www.deviantart.com/traslogan/art/Ultima-90s-RPG-Mockup-788275557

Offline eishiya

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #1 on: March 11, 2019, 01:21:19 pm
The background is very high-contrast, making the characters hard to see. Try keeping the values on the background surfaces to a narrower range, while interactive objects and characters keep the broader range, that way they'll be easier to distinguish.

The boards(?) and tiles on the floor feel very 3D and not flat like floors generally are, I recommend keeping shading to a minimum on flat surfaces.

Quick edit just replacing some of your floor/ground shadows and highlights with midtones from the same tiles:

I think the important parts are much easier to distinguish this way.

Offline Traslogan

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #2 on: March 11, 2019, 06:56:44 pm
*quote*

Hmm, I agree that the backgrounds need some modifying for clarity, I had desaturated them all a little before posting to try and clear it up a bit over what it had been too, but I feel the changes you made maybe look the planks seem a bit dorky? They feel extremely simple to me. The grass is a reasonable compromise as it hasn't obliterated its complexity though.

Offline eishiya

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #3 on: March 12, 2019, 09:28:18 pm
You could add texture to the planks without making them into high-contrast logs, by using low-contrast colours and focusing on texture instead of trying to add shadows to flat objects.

Offline falz

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #4 on: March 21, 2019, 06:40:07 pm
This isometric style is awesome, I like the look of it so far :) . One thing I've noticed is the characters are not oriented with the correct perspective to be cohesive with the perspective, though. I modified the image to show the purple figure in the perspective I would expect the other man to be in. I just flipped him vertically and rotated him.



Also messed with the table legs and plate, the perspective felt off.

Also, yeah, it seems like less is more most of the time with the texture of background tiles. That isn't to say there can't be more detail, but the darks and lights just need to be closer together so as not to distract from the objects you actually want to draw the players' eyes to. That does unfortunately often mean that finer details become harder to see. But more detail doesn't mean more visually appealing. Blocks of solid color have their places, and can communicate what they need to.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 07:07:46 pm by falz »

Offline Traslogan

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #5 on: August 16, 2019, 09:27:37 pm
Hey, sorry for a long delay. I'd moved onto other pixelart after touching this up a while back but forgot to post the update.

Tried adjusting the table, redrew the west-face character template to be perspective-appropriate (Was struggling with the cape without either losing 100% of his detail and thus making him harder to identify, or having it be a slightly skewed shape as a compromise) and then did some desaturating and new colours across walls and floors, with floors losing a colour or two to clean up the depth issue on planks a bit.

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #6 on: August 17, 2019, 03:28:58 pm
Having a lighter floor colour definitely helps with the readability of the image. I think we can do better than embossed-effect floorboards though, they still look a bit too fake-3D to me. Reminds me of Minesweeper...

The grass tiles look obviously tiled to me. With things like grass, I try to work the tile edges so they flow into each other. In these tiles I can kinda see a clump of stuff inside each tile.


Give me a mo and I'll see if it can show you what I mean.

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #7 on: August 17, 2019, 04:21:23 pm
I'd probably go more in this kind of direction for the floorboards.

As suggested by Eishiya, this is an attempt to create some texture.

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #8 on: August 17, 2019, 04:37:44 pm
I worked the grass tiles here to make it a bit more even and less clumpy.



The process is:

 - Zoom out and look for details that line up to make obvious vertical and horizontal lines.
 - Zoom in and break the lines up. Move things around or delete or add blades of grass
 - Repeat.

I use Pyxel Edit, which has a great tool for tiling. You can immediately see the effect of your edits on a tiled image. Aseprite has a similar but less advanced feature and apparently more tiling tools on the way.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 04:43:25 pm by Chonky Pixel »

Offline Traslogan

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #9 on: August 17, 2019, 08:36:55 pm
Yeah I use aseprite, it's a great tool, but its tileset features are like the next big thing on the way iirc, so for now it's either I export to Unity and tile it there or I just keep it in my layers in aseprite.

I've tried tampering with the grass, I feel I can't notice tiling as much, and attempted to bring 1 more colour into the planks to soften the corners like you did whilst focusing on texture not depth. Someone in discord recommended the UI be brightened a tiny bit so that's had a +5 to its light level in Aseprite.

Edit: I added a shading layer too to outer walls and the chest indoors, forgot to turn that off but that's more just an experiment.



For reference, this entire mockup was basically a premise of "could an Ultima-VI-esque game be modernized to look more convenient and usable", so it's trying to build on this look:



(I am more of a pastel-colour fan though so I don't go for that 1990s high-contrast)
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 08:40:27 pm by Traslogan »

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #10 on: August 18, 2019, 08:28:13 am
Definite improvement! :)

I can still see some obvious patterns in the grass. It's better, but it could be even better! As it makes up a good deal of the image I think it's worth picking away at for a few minutes.

Top left of the image there's some odd mirroring of grass going on...

Offline Traslogan

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #11 on: August 18, 2019, 03:49:10 pm
the grass mirrors funny up there as there is a transition tile for the path to the grass that hasn't been edited. I'll try messing with that and post another revision later.

Offline Traslogan

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #12 on: August 18, 2019, 06:26:01 pm
I think I've fixed the mirroring grass by replacing it with the left-hand 8x16 of the standard grass tile again along the path.
Zooming out, I'm struggling to see tiling seams and I feel like the grass pattern is blending into itself a bit more, but who knows.

« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 07:46:34 pm by Traslogan »

Offline daramon

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #13 on: August 19, 2019, 10:01:33 am
Definitely looking way smoother! Good work.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so there's one horizontal-ish pattern of 4 bright pixels I'd probably want to break up or rotate through 90 degrees. But honestly, I'm stupidly sensitive to tiling issues and 99.99% of people will never notice an issue with what you have here. It's good, and any more work you put in will have diminishing returns.

I noticed the shadow coming off the left of the buildings. I mean, I've been looking at this image for a while and it took a while to spot, but it looks like the light source is coming from the exact right (but mainly from directly above), as the shadow extends horizontally from the base of the building. However, then you would only see a small triangle of shadow as the rest would be hidden by the wall.

If the light was coming from south-east (assuming north is up) then we wouldn't see the angled part of the wall casting a shadow, just the straight section. Assuming the shadow was long enough. At the current length it would be hidden.

The fact that both the angled section of wall and the straight section are casting a shadow kinda makes it look like the whole isometric design has been mapped onto a flat shape which is raised off the floor.

You could change the angle of the light or lengthen the shadows to fix it.

This is difficult to describe in words, so if you're interested and want an example as an image, let me know. But as I said, it took a while for me to notice this so you may not want to open up this particular can o' worms.

Offline Traslogan

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #14 on: August 19, 2019, 12:04:13 pm
The shadow was just an experiment but good to get feedback on it. Wanted to see if I could add shading in some form, but of course it's an awkward style for such a thing. I think in a game-engine it would be a hassle since shadows would likely have to be added manually so they don't apply indoors and whatnot even on a tilemap system like Unity has.

In terms of the lighting perspective, yeah I wasn't sure how to convey the lighting without it being meaningless, so I did squander the angle a bit. If you look at the original inspiration, Ultima VI, it is a very weird style, though for light and dark they simply opted for a fog-of-war system that was extremely aggressive (And lighting then made some limited appearance in VII I think, but that is a far more complicated take on the same style).

TLDR: Yeah if the lighting doesn't make sense, shame but I'll probably just remove it if it would have to be negligible to make sense too.

Offline daramon

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #15 on: August 19, 2019, 01:05:25 pm
I agree it's probably best to remove it at this point.

Offline Traslogan

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Re: [Feedback][CC] Retro 90s RPG Mockup

Reply #16 on: August 25, 2019, 09:10:34 pm
I believe this marks the finished version of the mockup then. Thanks for the feedback folks!