The Tequila Den

Combines the world of Tequila with Games.

Tag Archives: art

Back in the saddle…

I’ve been a bit of a rock-star the last few days in regards to getting Canasta finished. I’ve nearly got most cases finished in the new AI scheme and it’s looking rather promising. I hit a few snags after the initial implementation, most being a few type errors on my part, and the other half stemming from me not paying attention or simply using the wrong parameters or creating a new undefined variable. For now it seems as though many of the bugs have been flushed out. Now to add a few more cases for the AI not to play so mindless and to fix some ungodly animation errors. Although, it is fun to see cards fly across the screen in one direction, even though they should be flowing in the opposite direction.

I haven’t done any sprite-ing or art of any kind the last few days. I’ve rather taken the approach of more planning and a bit of recon. The best way to develop a style is to study others. Another big obstacle I’ve stumbled upon is resolution. First, with Canasta, it’s been an issue which needs to be remedied. I need to lower the resolution so it fits on more native displays as most displays have gone widescreen. When I first developed the game I made it for a standard 4:3 display, well it doesn’t fit on my laptop. Once I get everything sorted out behind the scenes with AI and the card handling, I’ll be tackling that as definite.

Back with “mouse” though and resolution, it’s become an issue because it’s hard to develop graphics for a game when you don’t really know the resolution. A few pieces of art and my studying is that it’s much prettier if you can go with a larger resolution, and in some cases, easier. So right now I’m trying to find a new medium in terms of that. I’ve already decided to limit myself in terms of color, by selecting a specific palette. (pretty sure it’s an SNES, but I don’t recall for sure). There is a degree of difficulty when the resolution is smaller, you almost get limited in the detail and some things may seem unclear as to what it is, but then you get to the point “when’s enough, enough?”. So that’s where I’m at for the moment. Sooner or later I’ll crack down and whip up the debug room for the game, but for now, full steam ahead on Canasta.

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Hard to find…

You know what’s really hard to find? Motivation. Well, actually, I had some of that the other day when I’ve been browsing and trying to locate decent pixel art tutorials. The biggest problem I’m finding is that there’s a huge gap from beginner to ‘passable art(ist)’. Let’s be honest, I’m not a good artist at all, however, I can teach myself to do some things and in the end I can be quite creative in that regard. The problem is I struggle mightily with sprites. What’s even more unlucky about that? Good luck finding a pixel art tutorial that leans towards making sprites, its near impossible. I sit most of the time with Aseprite (beautiful program btw) open with a blank canvas I’m either hammering in YouTube searches or google ones. But, it just seems to no avail.

So when I finally do stumble onto something worth reading/watching, it’s like this…

  1. pick a skin tone and draw a couple of blobs to represent the head and body.
  2. now, carefully outline the limbs and add in details of the face (eyes, ears, mouth, nose)
  3. clean up rough lines and add depth
  4. Boom done.

Wait… what?

It literally goes from drawing blobs, to rough outlining to a finished product some how. I need the parts that help in regards to body proportions. Unfortunately I’m thinking of finding a decent skeleton sprite that I can use as a framework for all the characters.

The reason I want a character sprite done first is that it gives you the scale of everything else. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t wanna make a 16×16 sprite of a 6′ person and throw them on a tile map with 16×16 tiles and have a single tile be a chair. Basically you’re saying to the player is that chair is 6′ high, or that lamp, bench, piece of paper, book, whatever it may be. Once I have the basic sprite/design, it’ll be much easier to make the world which encases that character.

Maybe I’ll throw up some ugly drawings I end up doing in my meager attempts at art. Be fore warned. Of course I’ll try and link to any articles and what not that I find useful in my efforts.

I’m a terrible artist…

I’ve known that I’m terrible at art for a pretty long time. I have a few issues with regarding pixel art. I’m indecisive as hell. I’ll rework the same few pieces countless times before I leave them alone, but then I’ll go back and hack them up again. I’m also pretty sad when it comes to color picking, there are a few go to colors I like to use and I just try and hash it together to make it somewhat…. nice. One other thing, I just don’t get enough practice. All of it is mainly my own fault, but it stems down to my indecisive nature. If I sat down and had a plan (which I definitely need more of), I could attempt more and get better.

I should also mention that I have a problem with shading/texture. My original plan for the game is to have a ‘clean’ look. So, lack of dithering and all that crap is going to be non-existent, for now. I truly understand this is going to hamper the look of the game, and will indeed turn people off of what I’m going for. However, this is my thinking, I see too many indie games (RPG Maker) that are either square-y or have a terrible mismatch of tiles. I’m hoping to avoid such a thing with everything having my own style.

Here’s where I’m at, yes, it’s not much, but there’s more going on under the hood and other prep that this screen doesn’t show.

The sprite is animated and can walk around freely. Now we’ll talk about the key things missing from the area. First obviously is the clutter and ‘decorations’ that fill up the rooms and such. Next is the obstructions and collisions. Of course the menu displays/HUD are also missing, but here’s my arguments for lack of showing at the moment. Remember my indecisiveness? That’s playing a key role at the moment.

So, for the menu I’m stuck between two ideas at the moment. A fast, easy inter-changeable items al-a Metal Gear Solid type (when you use the bumper buttons to navigate through your inventory), or a traditional, press the escape button and full up menu displays with different categories. The main reason I’m tipping towards the latter is that I can limit the number of required keys to be used. If I go with the former (MGS style), I’ll need to activate two additional keys. I’ve toyed with the idea of only using one action button, but it’s just that, toying around with the idea.

Can someone kill my indecisive nature?

Making a list…

To be totally honest, I haven’t physically worked on Mouse. I’ve done a lot of mental planning and documentation of ideas, but haven’t really done anything in terms of opening up the editor and actually doing work that is required. Unfortunately, my personal life is ramping up again being that it is summer. Hockey is winding down and in comes long work hours, golf and baseball. Computer time and productivity unfortunately gets hit the biggest.

I still have the greatest desire to make this game. To me, it needs to be made. Everyday I get closer. I’ve made a little big of a pact with myself, that being…. Everyday I must complete something, one of these tasks:
– create a usable tile.
– map one area (a room, a house, a scene).
– write a working function (inventory displayer, message window, craft recipe)
– concrete a story point (game mechanic, story point, names/places/lore)

So this is what I’m thinking, I’m thinking of a 30-day (maybe 60?) game creation ‘marathon’. Just 30 days in a row with something that contributes to the completion of the game. I was thinking of doing a daily post for each item I do create, but, I think I may settle with a weekly round up of what was previously done for that week/stretch of days. I’m going to try and update more often then not, but given my track record….. you know!

Testing…

screenshot 2014.05.11 22.04.24.0566

Just testing new tiles and a new sprite-set. Also changed the life bar a bit to something I feel makes it look a little nicer. That’s all for now. More to come a bit later.

Before April runs away…

It’s been a quick week, let alone month. A crazy month to boot. From snow for most of it to beautiful weather and golf courses opening up. I’m actually a bit excited for it. I’m still debating on whether or not I’ll be purchasing a membership this year, but like usual, I’m thinking I need to get out and enjoy the outdoors a bit more than I have been. Feels like I’ve been cooped up all winter long. Plus, I really need to lower my handicap!

I’ve left Traders alone for a while. I haven’t had much “drive” to work on it as I’m in a bit of a stalemate with it. Once I complete a plan on doing the login/stat keeping side of it, along with pre-fab maps, I’ll most likely dive back into it. But for now, I want to take more of a creative turn to game making, thus Mouse.

More on that…

I’m terrible at art. I have a great vision in my head, but what I produce is simply not that. Making I should just download my brain? Anyone have that cord handy? I spent the good majority of the week googling templates and sprites and such, even came across and read through a bunch of tutorials. So instead I’ve turned off the finicky main character sprite and moved on to something I do know how to make, code.

I started by brushing up on a lot of Sphere API with regards to entities. After much messing around, I managed to do some controlled movement to mimic the opening sequence in my head.  It doesn’t look terrible… but the temporary sprite I’m using makes it look a bad cartoon when its a serious scene.

*sigh*

Ignoring that fact, I’ve got a lot of art to do. The scene consists of a character running down a hallway dropping papers every so often. I’ve made it so when the ‘player’ move past the point the tile is changed to a fallen piece of paper. So obviously, the paper falling is yet to be done. I also want to adjust his speed in various points of the run, and possibly bend over to attempt to recover a piece. Also needed is the sprite with the paper in hand, naturally.

*sigh*

The other thing, the walls… are soooo bland.. haha. Aww fuck. Anyway, I’m going to start rough mapping the rest of the opening and start setting up the opening game play. I’m most likely going to start delving into the game menu some more and work on a rudimentary save/load system. I think it’d be smart to get the basics of it done before the game gets bigger and I end up missing something that may be hard to keep track of. Planning saves headaches!

I also started a bit of debug mode on the game to test certain systems. Once I get more visual production I’ll snap some screens.

Mind-numbing…

Making usable tiles is difficult. I have no artistic ability. Like zero. I figure I’d could get by just by making all the graphics myself, even if it includes making a simple dummy tile. My art direction for the game is simple. Simple simple. No textures, no shadows, no fancy pixel art, just workable, clean and obvious work. That is what I thought about my work, until I really studied what I was doing…

Hmm, maybe its not my own artistic ability. I think the bulk of the problem is that I have no direction. I have no idea where I’m going with a map. I have lots of ideas of how I want the maps to look, but to connect the dots, that’s entirely another story.

To back track… a lot; a while ago, I mentioned an idea I had with my phone. The textpad in it for instance, well for Traders, I was taking note what needed to be done and things I was brainstorming. It works really well for a to-do list. In the past few days I’ve compiled such a list for Mouse as well. One major point I keep looking at is “mapping. Brainstorm and connect”, as well as “concrete storylines/direction”.

I’ve failed this. I’ve failed this project for the last…. decade? Ever since I made a short 2-3 minute demo of “Barratone Fist”, I’ve never accomplished much to this point. It pisses me off.

So… what now?

Make a fucking decision you dumb-ass. Over the next few days I’m going to stop opening up Sphere IDE and open up my notebook. I’m going to concrete some game decisions and physically map out connecting lines to other maps and places. I want to map out story directions, and maps that pertain to them, then, I’ll re-open Sphere and get at it.

This game will be released, I swear to god!

Whoops…

I kind of lapsed on the updates there for a bit. I’ve been going through some personal issues at the moment.

I’ve started working on Catan again. I re-wrote much of the networking code to try and improve its performance and tried to clear up a lot of redundant code. I ended up making a prototype to send data along the network (mainly for ease of myself). I’m currently just testing what I have right now actually works the way its suppose to.  I’m also writing notes of all the things that need to be added yet, whether it’d be small, large or for aesthetic reasons. Hopefully by the end of this I’ll be able to have  a master to do list.

As for Canasta, I looked at the new engine…. that is as far as I got with it. Didn’t have much desire for it at this time.

Mouse has theoretically been started (again;) I have a more polished version of how I want the world to look like, style of game-play and overall feel of the game. The only thing I lack at the moment is the artistic ability. Want to contribute and aid my sorrows?

I’ll be posting new screens to both Catan and Mouse in the coming days, and as always, I’ll try to be more diligent with updates.