torsdag 20 mars 2014

Upgrades for Everyone!

Last week I talked about the picture I made that shows how much you've upgraded your character's outfit. I only talked about the first one last week so it seems fitting to talk about the other two levels this week.

These pictures are supposed to show progression as you upgrade your character. The reason why we decided on adding these pictures is because it is hard to tell exactly what happens to your character's sprite because it is so small when you look at it when you are playing. Considering this, the number one thing I had to keep in the back of my mind when making the higher level pictures was "upgrade". If you couldn't tell from the pictures I made that you had upgraded the whole point of  the pictures was lost.

All the pictures I've made next to each other showing the progression from level one through level three

The level two upgrade was fairly straightforward. When I first started making concepts for the different outfits I quickly decided on having a scarf or something similar to show progression as it would be quite visible even from a top down perspective. With that in mind it was just a simple process of opening the level one photoshop file and start adding onto it. It was very easy because I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do and also because I had the level one photoshop with all layers separated to work with.
Current version of the level 2 sprite
The level two picture was made without causing me much trouble, the same can't be said about the level three picture. Like the previous picture, I had a good grip on what I wanted to do when I started out working on the third one. At level three the sprite in the game gets a big glove as well as some arm accessories. While it works when you look at the sprite, adding these details to the picture turned out very unremarkable. The change wasn't as noticeable as the one from level one to level two. This is were things got though.

Unlike the prep work I had for the level two sprite I didn't have any concept pictures that fit perfectly. There was some ideas from the concept stage that I considered, but nothing that really stood out as a perfect solution. In the end I ended up just drawing things and seeing what stuck. What I ended up with was a more intricate robe and a new bag. They aren't groundbreaking additions, but they help add to the feeling of progression. I haven't asked for any feedback on it yet though so we'll see if it stays as it is or if I'll have to change it.

How the level 3 picture turned out
That is all from me this week. Hope you enjoyed reading this and hopefully you'll be back next week.

torsdag 13 mars 2014

Let's Talk About Something Else

At last I am free from making sprites. For now at least. Last week I made every version of the main character sprite, nine in total. If you are not sure what I mean it is as follows: In our game we have a main character. You can upgrade her clothes and weapon independently, with three levels each. This means that I had to create sprites of the main character with a first level suit and weapons one, two and three. Then do the same for both the level two suit and the level three suit. I've attached a image below showing how the main character's sprite changes if you only upgrade her weapon and not her suit.

Weapon progression from level one to level 3.

However I feel like I've talked enough about how I make these sprites and that it is time for me to talk about something else, so that is what I'm going to do.

To upgrade the character you enter a menu and select what aspect of your character you want to upgrade. To show which aspect you can upgrade and what it will change we have pictures in this menu. These pictures are not pixel art like the rest of the game. Instead they are straight up painted images me and my team members have made. We choose to it this way because none of our artists are really comfortable making large scale pixel art. It also meant that we could use any concept we made and turn it into an in game artifact.

Seeing as I had made all the things related to the main character up to this point I felt it was fitting for me to take on the responsibility to create these upgrade images. I had already made the concept art for her level one suit which meant that most of the work was already complete and all that was left was to colour it. When I first started planning this I had it in my mind that it would be fully rendered with material and lighting. My producer however was shocked by how long I estimated it to take and said that it wasn't acceptable, so I proposed to only add some flat colours and and some shadows to that which wouldn't take nearly as long. This my producer thought was more reasonable.

The steps I took to get to the final product. I think the colours are a bit off though.

In the end I'm quite happy with the result even though I only put in a couple of hours into it. There is definitely improvements to be made if I wanted to but time is becoming sparse, and I will probably not be able to implement them because there are more important things that needs to be made/improved.

torsdag 6 mars 2014

Sprites again?

If you've been following this blog, you will know a fair bit about the sprites I've been making. Last week I talked about the level two sprite. The logical progression is that today I will be talking about the level three sprite, which I will.

The level three sprite was a mixed bag of obstacles. The weapon she would be using had no clear concept at all, the only thing that was set in stone was that it was supposed to be attached to the main character's arm. There was also the recurring problem of not having enough room on a 64x64 pixel big sprite to show any significant progression. What worked in my favor was that since the gun is attached to the character's arm I could use the level one sprite as a base on which the level three sprite was made. I only had to move around her arms a bit to create the pose and from there on out it was smooth sailing. You can see the similarities below.
Level three (left) compared to level one (right)
Making the gun was interesting because, as I said, I had no direction to start in. This meant that I had to experiment quite a bit. Unfortunately I have nothing to show from those experiments but there are still some remnants in the final version. The spool of thread on side was one of the first things I added. Maybe it has some interaction with the weapon or maybe she uses it while she works, since she is a tailor. The spool felt a bit too heavy on it's own, so I added a counterweight to the other side. The pipe was originally bigger, but it felt to cumbersome to be carrying around on ones wrist, so I made it smaller.

If you look at the image I've provided you can see what I've done to show the progression of the character. The scarf/blanket on her is added at level two, which I unfortunately don't have a picture of at hand. In my previous post there is a picture of the level two sprite, but it is not the most updated version. Anyways, what is added at level three is most notably a leather glove with brass clasps that covers her whole lower arm. She also has a piece of cloth attached with brass bracelets on her right arm. It is still fairly hard to tell what they are supposed to resemble, but in the game we will have some high resolution pictures which hopefully will make the player understand what everything is supposed to be.