Friday, December 23, 2011

Another Horribly Ambitious Action/Adventure Project that Can Only End in Disaster

Yes, it is true. I have fallen prey to the powers of childish ambition once more. "Hey guys," I say, "this new game will be the greatest game of all time. Just you watch and see! The story is epic and the game has like 340 hours worth of content. It is going to be amazing. I'm making it by myself and I think it will only take a month if I work hard enough." Everyone else just scoffs and rightfully so. I am a fool and the game will never be finished; once again it will lose cohesive direction or I'll run into some seemingly unassailable technical problems and it will be thrown into the massive heap of unfinished projects that has been rotting away on my hard-drive for years. Maybe some day I'll be some famous wizard of ludology and this junk would instantly turn into a gold-mine worth millions. Scholars around the world will analyze what I was trying to build, finding brilliance where there is none. Fanatics will take the games and finish them for a novelty effect; the arguments over what I had originally intended the games to be will be glorious.

Unfortunately, most of the stuff I had worked on at a very young age using programs like Klik'n'Play is lost forever. Which is no tragedy; it was all garbage. But in my hypothetical dream future this fact would inspire all sorts of speculation. These horrible, horrible games of the 7 year old mind would be legends. There will be archeologists digging through landfills searching for the hard-drive that holds these relics.

That is a bit of a tangent. Hope you enjoyed my very arrogant indulgence of ego! Eh, so my point is that I have started some casual work on another game that, based on early signs, I will not get around to finishing. I am, though, intending to learn some new things in the process so that my time isn't completely wasted.

To start things off on a brilliant note (and by that I mean the most stupid note I could have possibly started them of on), let me speak briefly about what I am currently doing with the art style of this new project. About a year ago I created an 8-bit color palette (256 colors) for a modification of Doom that I was considering. I ran into some problems with custom fonts and scripting in that engine so my intentions never went very far. The color palette I had created was interesting because instead of focusing on a wide range of tones, it instead tried to have a variety of color hues. I was intending to make something a little more colorful than the typical stuff people do with Doom.

When creating art I want a consistent set of colors to work with. I think it has to do with my perfectionism mixed with the fact that it helps to keep the visual style consistent. For all my pixel art I use Gimp, which allows me to load and then use color palettes like this one. So, ever since I had made this palette I have been using it for all of my work. So, for instance, all the graphics from Reconstructing S-31 used this palette.

However, after working with the palette for a while and especially after doing some of the work for my current endeavor, the very limited selection of tones really started to become a problem. Since I was no longer working within a 256 color limit, I decided to expand this palette into this:

This palette has the same color hues but greatly increases the amount of tones to work with. Now why was I running into so many problems with the original palette? Well, my current project consists of 8x8 tiles, making the fidelity of the sprites extremely low. The reason why I choose to do this is because it allows me to make finalized artwork really fast, since it doesn't take very long to make something that is 8x8. Drawing it so it looks good can often times be challenging, but having an expanded color palette allows me to add more details.

The most difficult things to portray in 8x8 sprites are, of course, the characters. However, I did come across a solution early on. An independent developer who goes by "oryx" created some really expansive sprite sheets for an 8x8 rogue-like. Currently he is using the sprites for the game Realm of the Mad God, but I've seen them used else where as well. They are really quite wonderful and they are free for anyone to use. My characters are based around the general shape of his, but I intend to go in some different directions with how I shade them.

Oryx's sprites can be found here:

And, finally, a naked dude. Enjoy.

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