AuthorTopic: [WIP] Curse of the Caves (EGA DOS game)  (Read 30685 times)

Offline Mathias

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1794
  • Karma: +2/-0
  • im not real
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/9542.htm
    • View Profile

Re: [WIP] Crystals and undead geologists! (EGA mockups)

Reply #40 on: July 17, 2010, 08:09:49 pm
Wonderful effort so far.

What are the cyan things in the water? Are they some kind of squiddy lifeforms? The leftmost large one is very ambiguous and just looks like a blob to me. Oh. . . and that's a trail of insects headed his way. He's too calm looking for being in a life or death situation.
Aye yaiyai I just realized that's a knife, not a little flashlight in his hand, too. IMO, some readability issues are present.

But what about the overall composition, how will the logo and title screen options integrate?

Offline Hyrule_SwordsMan

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 104
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: [WIP] Crystals and undead geologists! (EGA mockups)

Reply #41 on: July 18, 2010, 06:12:04 pm
I haven't done any big pixel pieces in quite a while, so I decided to finish this before getting back to the mockups. It still needs the title text, but I thought I'd post the scene itself first. What do you think?


Helmet light ref
Skull ref


you know what would look great?
conserving the 8x8 4 colors pallet limitation. Something like this:

Offline ptoing

  • Moderator
  • 0101
  • *
  • Posts: 3063
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • variegated quadrangle arranger
    • the_ptoing
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/2191.htm
    • View Profile
    • Perpetually inactive website

Re: [WIP] Crystals and undead geologists! (EGA mockups)

Reply #42 on: July 18, 2010, 07:40:30 pm
Just for the fun of it? EGA has no 8x8 block 4 colour limit. It's just the palette.
I don't think it adds anything.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline moket

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 52
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
    • human hacks

Re: [WIP] Crystals and undead geologists! (EGA mockups)

Reply #43 on: July 19, 2010, 12:27:43 pm
Nice mockup !
I did a quick edit for the character proportions, his arm is really small compared to the head, but it can be style you want to convey. Also the knife is confusing, I will work more on it this evening.

Offline eobet

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 52
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • eobet disajn

Re: [WIP] Crystals and undead geologists! (EGA mockups)

Reply #44 on: July 19, 2010, 09:48:57 pm
I didn't even notice the knife before the edit, so that's bad I guess, but the deformed proportions hint back at the in-game sprites which is very cool.

Also, while on the issue of readability... it's already a bit mind bending to have to make out the fact that the ghosts in the background are actually three headed ghosts and not three separate ghosts, so when you blend two of those together in the foreground... I'm sorry, but it just becomes a mess. I thought he was attacked by a jellyfish/octupus.

But overall, I've never seen the EGA palette look this good. In fact, I've always despised it, but now I may have to reconsider.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 09:52:49 pm by eobet »

Offline BlackTerror

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 30
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: [WIP] Crystals and undead geologists! (EGA mockups)

Reply #45 on: July 20, 2010, 05:19:07 am
I was thinking about making the crystals reflect based on movement, since the light source will have to move relative to the camera to get that effect, but I'll have to see that in motion before I decide on anything. If the point is to make them visible, only making them change when everything else is also in motion might not work very well.
Yeah, I like this idea. It's easy enough to implement (see also: those player-tracking eyeballs devs loved to stick in their games in the early-mid 90s) and makes sense since the player has that light on his head. They could shift relative to glowing enemies too, acting sort of like an enemy sensor. Hey, Out of this World did it.

As for the drab paper, have you tried something like dithering the gray with a color like yellow for a faded notebook look? You can play with the pattern a bit for texturing, add yellow/white/gray lines for creases, etc. My quick attempt:

(compare to )

I experimented a bit with the text to see what was most legible on that background. Gray outlines were too much, but a simple gray drop shadow to the right or left works nicely. Nice pixel font, by the way.

If that's too strong, you could try 1/4 tone dithering, or cyan or blue dithering maybe.

Offline big brother

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 341
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • herculeanpixel.com
    • View Profile
    • Portfolio Site

Re: [WIP] Crystals and undead geologists! (EGA mockups)

Reply #46 on: July 20, 2010, 05:45:16 am
I would keep a solid yellow background for the notebook paper. It brings the plane forward to the player's attention. The dither can interfere with the handwritten font.

I do notice a slight discrepancy in narrative tone between the title picture and the in-game graphics. The sample message content further contributes to the dichotomy of registers. It's hard for me to imagine this cute little lemming guy struggling to survive in a world of sparkling crystals and cartoony worms.

Don't get me wrong, I love what you've done and they way it evokes a game in my head. It makes me so nostalgic, but I know my old favorite games don't look this polished and pixel-perfect.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 05:49:18 am by big brother »

Offline Arachne

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 309
  • Karma: +3/-0
    • View Profile
    • Retinal Eclipse

Re: [WIP] Crystals and undead geologists! (EGA mockups)

Reply #47 on: July 29, 2010, 12:56:55 pm
Thanks for all the kind words. ;D



I hope the glove and knife look better now.

The cyan creatures will be an important part of the story. They are ghostlike, so I thought I'd try to convey that by making them vary a bit in shape, but I can see how that can be a little confusing out of context. I tried to divide the one in the foreground into two creatures to make their designs more uniform, so I hope that helps.



Here's a rough mockup of how they might appear in-game, although I'm not happy about having such large areas of uniform color next to the much more detailed sprites and tiles.

Oh. . . and that's a trail of insects headed his way. He's too calm looking for being in a life or death situation.

If I can make it work, death should be a minor hindrance. He'll find items that can resurrect him, and he must use this to resurrect others who have died in the caves.

Quote
But what about the overall composition, how will the logo and title screen options integrate?

I'll try to put the title in next. Initially, I named it Endless Cavern, but later changed it to Crystal Blast. The latter doesn't really fit the mood as it is, so I think I'll go back to using Endless Cavern. Title screen options might be a bit more tricky to fit in there, now that you mention it, but I'll see how it turns out.

I did a quick edit for the character proportions, his arm is really small compared to the head, but it can be style you want to convey.

I don't see the problem with the proportions. Maybe it's the helmet making his head look big? I'm gauging his upper arm to be roughly 1 heads long and the lower arm plus hand a little less than 2 heads, which seems reasonable to me.

I would keep a solid yellow background for the notebook paper. It brings the plane forward to the player's attention. The dither can interfere with the handwritten font.

I like the idea of yellowed paper, but I think a sudden change from the dark colors of the background to light yellow is a bit too harsh, personally.




I think I found a way to make the items pop out a bit more by adding a bit of red to them. I also made some changes to the player character to make the helmet look more like a helmet and moved his shoulder up a little.


Quote
I do notice a slight discrepancy in narrative tone between the title picture and the in-game graphics. The sample message content further contributes to the dichotomy of registers. It's hard for me to imagine this cute little lemming guy struggling to survive in a world of sparkling crystals and cartoony worms.

I agree. I didn't have a story in mind when I started making mockups for this, since I just wanted to draw something that had the style of old DOS games. Then I decided I needed a story in order to make the world more consistent, but I don't really feel able to write lighthearted stories.

With moves like this, there's a bit more than a slight discrepancy. :D

A larger character sprite would allow for a more realistic approach, I think, but that would also mean more time spent on the animations, and I fear that would take some of the fun out of it for me since I don't really like animating that much.

Offline Helm

  • Moderator
  • 0110
  • *
  • Posts: 5159
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Asides-Bsides

Re: [WIP] Crystals and undead geologists! (EGA mockups)

Reply #48 on: July 29, 2010, 01:09:20 pm


I wanted to congratulate you on the beautiful clusters in this little item. Tight, seamless. I tried to move some stuff around and it made it only worse. It's truly a valuable compromise between spaces you wanted to represent and visual fidelity.

Offline Ninja Crow

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: [WIP] Crystals and undead geologists! (EGA mockups)

Reply #49 on: July 29, 2010, 08:53:59 pm
The cyan creatures did read like ghosts to me, but unless my eyes are playing tricks, then in your excellent title screen they appear to be a reasonable 1.5 to 2x the height of a human character (i.e. just right for a monstrous creature with an emphasis on a hazy, stretched aspect because of their temporal nature).  But in the game mock-up, they're 20 or 30 times as tall.  I don't know if this discrepancy is contributing to your discomfort, but I wonder if these creatures would look better if they were pixelled to be about the size of a large boss, rather than something the size of a background layer.

Oh, and the glove and knife look great!

I also really like what you said about his attitude in the title screen, and had to think (maybe for the first time?) that 'hey, that's right, what would it be like for a person if things like video game rules could actually inform their world view?' - so thanks for that, it's exciting and stimulating to explore!

I also love that he can resurrect earlier explorers - adds a lot of heroism and potential story depth (it's not all just about grabbing as much loot as possible) as well as opportunities to reveal plot details ("here's the key to the next cavern - I couldn't make it but maybe you can...").

I do like 'Endless Cavern', though I think the reason you might have tried to change it is because - despite how it rolls off the tongue - it lacks a good verb for pep (or at least a more descriptive noun) and so 'Crystal Blast' must have sounded very exciting in comparison, but maybe began to feel too exciting (like it was supposed to be some kind of high-energy Columns or Tetris clone...).  At the risk of suggesting something that sounds too comical and throw away, would 'Crystal Caverns' be too alliterative for you?  Then there's also 'Phantom Caverns', 'Crystal Depths', 'Ancient Caves', 'Adventure Mine', 'The Under World', 'Caverns of the Dead', or many other possibilities and combinations of possibilities.  (though I doubt any of this is much better than 'Endless Cavern'. :-[)

I saw no problems with the proportions on the title screen - it was very convincing!  (to be fair though, I do often underestimate just how long a forearm can be, so maybe you can try the pose in a mirror and that may be the only evidence you need.)

I like your heart container!  And your new sprite helmet looks very realistic (though it obscures that cute, wide-eyed expression a bit).

Quote from: Arachne on July 29, 2010, 06:56:55 AM
With moves like this, there's a bit more than a slight discrepancy.

A discontinuity between game art and sprites is - historically - pretty much par for the course.  Maybe even an expected feature if you want to rekindle memories of playing classic games.  For me, a realistic art plate or title screen creates the conceptual coolness for helping me take the game seriously, while the game-friendly sprites add the cuteness that helps me become attached to the game emotionally (this is a way to say 'fall in love with' without sounding too corny...).  This is the kind of cognitive dissonance I can live with!