torsdag 27 februari 2014

Level Up!

Keeping with the theme I've set these past two weeks I'm going to keep talking about the different artifacts I've created related to the main character in the game me and my group is making. Last week I talked about how I made the first sprite of the main character, the level one sprite which you start out as. This week I'll talk about the level two sprite, how I made it and what challenges I faced while working on it.

After I made the level one sprite I immediately moved on to making the level two sprite. At level two the character has some more stuff on her and is carrying a gun instead of a pistol. Having a gun instead of a pistol meant that I couldn't  recycle the level one sprite to create the level two sprite. There was also a problem making the main character look stronger because the character is both top down as well as only 64x64 pixels big. The limited size of the character means that anything I add has to be fairly big, because you wouldn't be able to tell what it is supposed to be otherwise. Furthermore the only area that I'm able to add detail on is the on top of the arms, shoulders and head.

The steps I took when creating the level 2 sprite were the same as the ones I described last week when I made the level one sprite. I start out by sketching the pose and making it look anatomically correct. After that I add some flat colors, boxing in the shapes of the character. I then add a black outline around it and add some texture to the colors.

The level two picture in this post is not completely accurate as I've made some corrections to it, mainly changing the shroud on her shoulders from blue to an almost scarlet color with a golden border. The green has also been made a bit more saturated to stand out better from the background. You can see that green color in the second picture.

The second picture might be a bit confusing if you read last weeks post as it looks more like the level one sprite than a level two, or even a level three sprite. The reason is because it is a level one character, but with an upgraded gun. It is the same base as the level two sprite but I've removed the shroud and added the bag from my level one sprite.

In the end I not really pleased with how the level two sprite came out. Especially the arms I think could use some work, but at this point it is probably more important to make sure all the art assets exists instead of polishing a single artifact to perfection.

torsdag 20 februari 2014

Head First Into Making Sprites

These lasts weeks I've mainly been working on the main character. Last week I discussed how I designed the main character and showed the different stages she went through during the design process. This week I'm going to talk about how I turned the concept art into the sprite that is in the game at the moment.

The sprite I'm mainly going to talk about is the level one sprite that you see when you start the game. I'm almost complete with both the level two and three sprites right now, but I think the process of making the level 1 sprite is more interesting as I had no experience making sprites when I started out.

The level one has her holding a a pistol with both her hands. The game is top down so the only things you see is the top of her head, her shoulders and her arms. Starting out I made a new 64x64 canvas in photoshop which I then sketched the the main character's pose on to. I used a small brush tool with a lower opacity for this as I didn't need to define the lines at this stage. In hindsight I should've probably started out with a bigger canvas and then scaled it down to 64x64 when I was happy with the proportions. When you are working in such a small size as 64x64 it is hard to make lines the way you want them to, which is why I think that starting out bigger would've been easier.

When I finished her pose I made a quick outline and started to put down color on her just to experiment with her color scheme. I may have done this a bit backwards as I put down the colors before I had a final outline to work with. Instead I put down the colors on top of the half-assed outline and then created the final outline by painting a darker color around the main color. E.g. to outline her green clothes, I took a darker shade of green and created a one pixel wide outline around it. At this point I was using a one pixel big pen tool in photoshop.

This technique of making an outline looked good in photoshop, but when it was put into the game it didn't provide enough contrast to stand out. To fix this I made the outline pitch black which made everything much clearer in game.

It's still not absolutely final as some group members still have some problems with the colors, but at this point I'm starting to feel I've put more than enough time on it and that my time could be better used on something that is yet to be created. That is something that I will have to speak with the rest of group about though.

onsdag 12 februari 2014

Sprinting Into Pre-Alpha

At the moment we are creating games based on the concepts we did a couple of months ago. My group is creating a "defend the objective" type game where the player is tasked with defending his/her truck from waves of bandits. The most off the cuff mechanic in this game is that you are only allowed to move in a circular arc around your truck. To make sure we are going to complete the game before the course is finished we are working by using scrum, a framework designed to constantly update and iterate what you are producing. In scrum you work in sprints. Each sprint is a set amount of time in which you set out to complete goals you made at the start of the sprint.

I took on the role as lead artist again and these first couple of sprints I've mainly focused on creating the main playable character. I had a lot of freedom when designing her as we hadn't come up with any specific details that she had to have. The only directions I got was "anything is fine as long as it isn't revealing". Although there were still some contextual guidelines. Her clothes, for example, should be easy to move in and not that delicate since she is a traveler, they should however be a fairly good condition as she is a tailor.

Another challenge designing her is that in the game you are supposed to have three different levels, represented by different clothes. This means that I have to design three different outfits for her which makes things a little more complicated.

Above I've attached a couple of different concepts I sketched. To make the process of designing them faster I made a base human which I then used as a mannequin that I was able to just draw different clothes on. The one furthest to the left is the first one I did. It is a bit of a mess because I just drew whatever came to mind, but it has a lot of elements which carried over to the rest of the designs. The one in the middle is probably the sixth or something I made. I'm quite pleased with it as it shows a lot of intricacy, with different patterns and details. However it is a bit to much for a level one outfit, and as that was the one that the most important at the moment I didn't end up going with it. The last one is the final concept of her level one outfit. It isn't flashy, which is what I want, and I think it fits someone who travels about.

There are still some problems that needs to sorted out however. The biggest is that because the game is top down you aren't going to able to see any details that are not on the head or on top of the shoulders and arms, but I'll be able to overcome it.