AuthorTopic: GR#004 Valkyrie no Bouken - NES Sprites & Tiles  (Read 23538 times)

Offline Arne

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GR#004 Valkyrie no Bouken - NES Sprites & Tiles

on: March 29, 2009, 03:13:04 am
Valkyrie no Bouken came out just after Zelda 1, but wasn't released over here. The sprites for the terrain is pretty good, I like the graphical trees and grass knobs. The enemies fell very cardboard however. Zelda 1 has flat enemies too, but at least they rotate. Most enemies in VnB does not. Graphically, they're not very striking, and the game kind of lack striking and clear designs such as Octorocs, Tektites, etc.

Since the enemies come in a variety of colors anyways, I decided to not stay faithful to the color schemes at all. Instead I'm using some of the art as reference. Also, I stay away from palette swaps and just do different versions of the sprites instead.

Some of my sprites have an extra color, or consists of several sprites with different palettes. I used the NES palette, or a version of. I haven't tried the animations out in the cases I made one. I guess mine look to the side a bit, so they could perhaps flip to face the player, but that would cause trouble with the right/left-handedness.


Reference:
http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Valkyrie_no_Bouken/Combat_and_enemies
I also dumped the sprites myself because I don't like StategyWiki's presentation.
Some Art:
http://www.devimension.com/dvp_doc_database/dev_docu000.html
http://www.devimension.com/dvp_doc_database/dev_docu002.html

Edit, old: http://androidarts.com/valkyrie/valkyrie_no_bouken_remix3.gif


Edit: Sprite & value ref, without the proper colors/palettes.


COMMENTS:

Valkyrie: Double sprite trickery. Couldn't get her hair to work graphically if blonde. She's dark haired on the original sprite anyways. I'm using a fireball gradient palette for the overlay sprite. It can be used for other stuff too, like... fire balls, eyes, whatever. Commonly occurring things. I can't remember how many FG palettes the NES has. 4 or 8. Also, this palette could be changed to choose her Color (you can choose Zodiac, Blood type and sprite color in VnB). I also tried a pure 4 color version. Looks very gameboyish. Maybe I should do something with the wings. The white is a bit flat.

Caveman (Tatta): I changed his skin tone so he looks more alien, because a plain caveman feels a bit... plain. I imagine they are a race of ogre/troll/orks . There's a bronze armour version called Dadatta, but the original sprite it looks little like the Tatta. My Dadatta is just a Tatta edit, but maybe I should pay more homage to the slight 'black-face' of the original sprite.

Jester guy (Quarkman): more striking cute pink with a cute cap with eyes on, like the frog costume worn by that kitten, or Snake man's helmet. My sprite doesn't read well. It's very crowded. Might be clearer if animated, or not.

Kiwi: I don't know what's up with the original sprite. It looks like a skipping Tentacle Kiwi. I used the some later VnB painting as reference.

Fly Drill: I'm not sure how this is supposed to be a flying mandrill. I made a flying mandrill, bird, and Monkey-Gargoyle. Used a blue on the brown Mandrill for the sake of the characteristic nose.

Scorpion: I really liked the one in Legacy of the Wizard, so I tried to make something similar, without swiping it. The Scorpion in LotW has a really beautiful curved tail, nice values on the hind legs, and a good form on the mouth/head which gives it perspective and volume. Overall, the LotW sprites are great.

Sand Reptile (Sandra): Not much to say. I'm skipping the outline at places to make things feel less cutout (and gain an extra pixel or two). There's a friendly Sandra (Kurino, iirc) which has a lighter green. Maybe I could use another palette for the dark (evil) ones.

Robotian: Gave me some trouble. I eventially made him more black so I could push in the unique color for the face cross. Probably the most fun design in the game. They actually did full 4-dir rotation for the Robotian sprite.

Goat-bull (Talos): Boring enemy. The sprite isn't very fun either. I made mine gray like in on of the art pieces. There's something going on with the tail. I'm not sure how I want to angle the horns.

Croc: Made a few variants. The original sprite is one of the best I think. It's difficult to improve upon, but I made my own version anyways. Actually I made several.

Twin Cyclop Giraffe (Twin-Girasu): I like this design. Not sure if I made it justice. I wanted to add some shading/volume to that black. Ended up using a shared palette.

Scissor head (Shizasu): I'm not sure what's up with this design, but atleast it's unique. Better that than generic. I used a single extra white tile to pick out the eye and belly.

Hovering Wyrm (Enmakonda): Another oddity. I think it's a dungeon boss. I haven't gotten that far. I haven't settled on a palette yet. Head top has another palette than the body. Big nemies look very boring with just 3 colors... well, two, excluding the outline.



Also, FCEUX now has LUA support. This is pretty amazing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioZsrOfh8CI
I couldn't find the script online, so I made my own. It was pretty rewarding to oogle around in the RAM for stats, positions, health, etc and then have it displayed graphically. It's really simple to write the LUA HUD stuff too. I suppose you can use it for all sorts of things, like making a Mini Map for Metroid 1 (if Samus' global position can be easily decyphered that is).


Edit: Started on a map, but I'm not really following the NES restrictions here. I'm mostly playing around with feel. Tile maps are tricky, because you'd think that it's better to make some variations of the tiles to make it look more random, but everytime I've tried that it has looked... disorganized. I think it's better to use unique arrangements, local themes, landmarks. One way to do that is to keep the tiles simple, but place them in unique groups. For example, sand texture can be local and bunched up, leaving other areas empty. I'm thinking of doing a few big versions of some tiles, like the big tree, the big mountain. Other ideas for landmarks are Wells, houses, ruins, obelisks, a dead forest, towers... Some may be meaningless, but they'd serve to break up the monotony of the landscape.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 04:32:48 pm by Arne »

Offline JonathanOfDrain

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Re: Valkyrie no Bouken - NES sprites

Reply #1 on: March 29, 2009, 06:56:51 pm
I remember playing this game during one of my NES binges a few months ago.
I think your pseudo-NES style your using is perfectly fine. Ben2TheEdge recently did pixel work for the back of a Scott Pilgrim comic and explained he wanted people to get the feel of NES without having to worry about the restrictions (correct me if I'm wrong). So if you're taking the same route then you're fine.

As for the actually sprites I think you've got everything going in the right directions. A few sprites stick out a bit more than others, like the croc. The first and last ones look the best but I think the solid outline hurts them. Try breaking that up a bit. The trees look a bit goofy, maybe it's the placement of the tree and the leaves.

A problem you could run into is with the Valkyrie. If you continue with the idea of players picking their color (which was pretty awesome for a NES game) then you should make that green change. Maybe that color could be a choice too or maybe the armor could be the complimentary color.

You've obviously done a good amount of research on this and it's paying off. Hope to see more updates.

Offline Arne

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Re: Valkyrie no Bouken - NES sprites

Reply #2 on: March 29, 2009, 08:12:42 pm
Thanks for the response. I can see what you mean about the croc's outline, a few other sprites have none on their top side. It comes down to what BG it will be shown against. I might not need it on the nose.

Kinda croded, cuz I'm playing around. I removed most black from the BG so the enemies pop a bit better (a bit like Advance Wars). I might have to tone down the black on the hills, but I don't think I can remove it completely.


I'm thinking about diagonal turn angles (for the look of the sprites), these kind of views describe the forms better. Pure Side/Front views can be a bit boring. Actually it may or may not look strange, I probably would have to run some tests.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 08:15:53 pm by Arne »

Offline Arne

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Re: Valkyrie no Bouken - NES sprites

Reply #3 on: March 29, 2009, 11:28:18 pm
Animations. The fat jumping bird isn't so good. Unfortunately Mac CS3 corrupts the palette of my animated gifs (not the static ones), so I need to use another person to save them.

King Kong doesn't quite work either. He's meant to be standing on a big mountain, lobbing rocks. Kinda like a turret. Got lips instead of teeth, cuz the hands have claw dots already. It would be to dotty with teeth too.

The head of the bat penguin vulture needs something other than static bobbing. My attempts failed so I'll let it rest. I think it's better to just throw out a lot of things, then go back and clean up, homogenize.

The Valkyrie turns her head on the original sprite. My head looks a bit static. I think turning is better than bobbing up and down. Turning would also involve the head wings of course.
Also, the weapons (for the striking animations) are separate in the original, so I guess the Valkyrie is about six 8*8px tiles when attacking.

The Tatta's spikeclub isn't too hot. In the original he swings it up and down, but I didn't think I had space for that. Maybe he should turn his head too.



EDIT: I think this fixes some of the aforementioned issues. Edit. Also fixed color corruption in Save For Web. I needed to apply a sRGB profile because the Save for Web app thinks it's special. Edit: Actually, it seems like the apple monitor defaults at 1.8 gamma, PC monitors are 2.2. Save for Web probably recalibrates, unless I apply the profile to counter. The question is, sould I start using the darker 2.2 gamma?

Anyways. Image. Most legs are a bit boring, just bobbing up and down. I think the wings need better flapping on the monkeys.


« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 02:05:01 am by Arne »

Offline Rydin

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Re: Valkyrie no Bouken - NES sprites

Reply #4 on: March 30, 2009, 05:03:25 am


It probably goes without saying, but please don't keep the magnified trees.  They don't work in this situation.  :)
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Offline Dr D

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Re: Valkyrie no Bouken - NES sprites

Reply #5 on: March 30, 2009, 05:11:22 am
I think the trees suffer from too roundy-ness, and having-the-whole-trunk-shown-in-front-of-the-canopy-ness. (lol penis) Great work, all of this is, though.

Offline Arne

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Re: Valkyrie no Bouken - NES sprites

Reply #6 on: March 30, 2009, 04:10:44 pm
The scaled up tree was just a reminder for myself to do something like a 'world tree'.

Here are a few screenshots for easy reference. The trees look like that, kinda like a cross section anatomy diagram of a tree.




Edit: ToDo: Fix downswoop wings on the flying apes. Do a Tatta which is closer to the designs in the later games. Do some terrain chunks which covers all angles of terrain transitions. Decide on a palette. Possibly darken the gray on the coast and dead trees, then use that instead of the gray+black on the hills/mountain/piles.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 04:55:34 pm by Arne »

Offline Arne

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Re: Valkyrie no Bouken - NES sprites

Reply #7 on: March 30, 2009, 09:05:51 pm
The Tatta bronze armour is supposed to have some kind of dotted-mouth black-face, but I the pixels made it too noisy. Perhaps a helmet-less version could help to bridge the designs. I tried to represent the wild hair in the helmet design.



I decided to turn the head in in the opposite direction of the body. Tatta is kinda spasmic now :/
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 09:18:55 pm by Arne »

Offline crab2selout.png

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Re: Valkyrie no Bouken - NES sprites

Reply #8 on: March 30, 2009, 09:35:46 pm
Hey, Arne, as always itís a pleasure to see your lovely game concepts.

I agree with you on the original sprites. The silhouettes are pretty boring and nearly identical for each enemy. Probably to keep the square hitboxes clear to the player, but it screws up the unique mental image that couldíve been building for each monster.

Some of the creature designs feel out of place/. Iím having trouble seeing how the robot, two-headed eye thing and the clawhead monster fit in with your other monsters. I like the designs and execution, itís just they all feel like alien creatures while the rest are plausible earth creatures like birds, gorillas and cavemen. Maybe Iím missing out on the backstory to the game though.

Do you plan to have any pyramids/buildings that are many times the size of the player like in one of the links in the first post? Or are houses and things like that going to be 16x16 like the player sprite?

I like the monkey sitting on top of the mountain. Itís a nice touch to complement the other baddies randomly walking around. Would something like that be used in multiple places or is monkey on the hill unique for the entire game?

I like that you kept the tree silhouettes. Theyíre a nice take on a typical overworld tree. Is there anything that can be done for the tree bottom? Likea slight curve to give the impression of a trunk with more volume?

Last thing, is there anyway you could post your images at 100% scale instead of 200%. The board tends to scale things up 100% at a time so your images when zoomed go from 200% to 400% and 300% is the sweet spot for me.

EDIT: I like the spazzy animations. They're the good kind of spazzy that adds to an animation and not hte distracting kind.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 09:38:49 pm by crab2selout.png »

Offline Arne

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Re: Valkyrie no Bouken - NES sprites

Reply #9 on: March 30, 2009, 10:01:23 pm
Thanks for the feedback.

Local static bosses are common in the game. The twin giraffe and scissor head are like titanic guardians. The mountain ranges and lack of recognizable features on the enemies makes them look huge. Characters with humanoid shapes look smaller because we know humans are small. That's my theory anyways.

I want to do special NPC enemies who have more complex and different behaviour. This rubs off onto the generic enemies. Even though they just run around and attack the player, the player will know that there's some depth to the monsters. I guess I could do stuff like "It's a secret to everybody" caves. It would be fun to have more complex behavior, like, creatures sitting around a campfire, then when the player shows up they attack.

Yeah, the monsters are really a mish mash. That's why I tried to use odd colors on some, to alien them up a bit. I'd rather see unique alien enemies, but including a few local wildlife enemies doesn't bother me. There are some backstory elements, like the beasts of burden (ox/goat) turning into hostile enemies. Perhaps I should make the croc some other color to alien that up too. Most enemies come in Blue, red, black... and maybe some gray/white.

Pyramids, sure. I haven't played through the entire game yet...

The tree bottom bothered me too. It's too much from the side. At the same time I don't want to touch the design too much. I don't mind the trees being very graphical. I want to keep the common terrain stuff simple, then scatter all of these little unique landmarks about, or arrange the terrain stuff in memorable patterns. Woodland paths could be used to give the player a sense of orientation. He'd see a road and know where it leads (and there could be signs.) It would also give the world a sense of history. I want to do ruins too. I think there's a large ruined city near the end of the game, but I'm not sure (not there yet).

I like the Final Fantasy 1-2 houses. I think I'll do them 4 wide 3 high + 1 for the chimney. That's 32*24. I'll see.


As for scaling, I use Firefox and it has shitty blurry scaling. That's why I 2x...
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 10:19:01 pm by Arne »