Club PA 2.0 has arrived! If you'd like to access some extra PA content and help support the forums, check it out at patreon.com/ClubPA
The image size limit has been raised to 1mb! Anything larger than that should be linked to. This is a HARD limit, please do not abuse it.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Dwarf Fortress pixelart

MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin techRegistered User regular
edited July 7 in Artist's Corner
Hello guys!
After several years of absence, I'm very glad to finally have something to post about in the AC :) I'm working on sprites for a roguelike game and I'm interested in your critique.

19CL5bN.png
Gnx7nbE.png
7tBLOZP.png

The game uses 32x32 sprites for almost everything. Currently I'm trying to make one sprite for every function because there's a lot to cover, but variation is possible. Due to the size constraint, I'm not concerned with scale very much, trying to make good use of the available space instead. The game will feature advanced tactical situations so it's important for the symbols to be readable.
Likewise, I'm not aiming for a very consistent view angle. As long as everything is only slightly top-down, I'm satisfied - unfortunately you can put much more information in a side-view sprite, while the game itself is obviously viewed from above. So the display is rather symbolic in this regard.


Some notes about the sprites you can see below:
-wall sprites are composed of 8 possible sprites total (2 horizontal, 2 vertical and 4 corners).
-I've prepared borders for transitions of the floor sprites.
-The bush and sapling sprites have little impact other than visual so I've decreased their contrast.
-The unit sprites are composite, to reflect the unit's equipment. You can see a human warrior in chainmail, with no helmet, a sword and shield.
-There are automatically generated non-pixelart shadows around walls, to help improve readability of the view. Likewise, I'm happy with soft non-pixelart shadows around sprites.
-I've prepared three different variants of the water sprite, I'm not quite happy with either of them
-I think the bigger problem is the uniformity and attractiveness of the overall colour scheme, unfortunately the sprites are to be used in multiple situations, so it's hard for me to work out a compromise that both looks good overall AND is readable. Readability has priority here.

Mayday on
EchoFlaybowenSceptreProspicienceNartwakNipsV1m
«1

Posts

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited January 6
    Mayday! Nice to see you again!

    This is some classic looking sprite work, its teeny tiny but I'm not having trouble reading anything. I feel like the balance of contrast is something you will have to juggle over time, as you build out your environments and scenes.
    -I think the bigger problem is the uniformity and attractiveness of the overall colour scheme, unfortunately the sprites are to be used in multiple situations, so it's hard for me to work out a compromise that both looks good overall AND is readable. Readability has priority here.

    If you want uniformity, I would vote to restrict the pallet and see if that helps.When you look at a game like hollow knight, at first all the monochromatic backgrounds seem a little odd, but as you play through it the choices really help build a unique setting, and the areas/items that do have more color really pop.

    I honestly think some of the modern pixel games, like stardew valley, are a bit hurt by just how bright and saturated and all over the place the colors are. That being said it's a choice that some people really gravitate to, so I wouldn't take this as advice as more something to experiment with, if the pallet is still something you are unhappy with.


    Your water texture looks fine to me, but if it a shallow pond, I prefer the see through method of something like secret of mana:
    vbudff8swnux.png

    Gives it depth, but maybe thats not possible with the small sprites...

    Iruka on
    MaydayFlayProspicience
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    The interior dungeon tiles are top of the line!

    However I find the outdoor tiles to be bland, and I think it has to do with the colour. Perhaps consider a sunset theme, or a soft blue, just to differentiate your game from many others that use a similar style.

    tlemmo4ihui7.jpeg
    qrbq58ijhd5t.jpeg
    f7mrc1n4l2io.jpeg

    Forgive me for my rough work, I’m on my phone.

    I can’t code but I imagine it’s possible to overlay a screen with a translucent colour, so you can use the same tiles in different locations. Just food for thought, focus on making the game first!

    Otherwise it’s a great start!

    IrukaMaydayDoodmann
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited January 12
    Hey guys, thanks for the comments!
    @Iruka, I'm glad you're still around! :D I will work on some transparent water, I think that will look better indeed! I also wanted to try and provide a less saturated set of backgrounds with less colours in the palette, but I realized that will have to wait until I have more assets ready. Fortunately the ease of modifying palettes is one of the main strengths of pixelart :)
    Hollow Knight might be an extreme example, but I've recently replayed Ori and was amazed by how the mellow and relatively desaturated backgrounds (I'm talking about a few choice areas here) manage to stay super alive with lots of character. I'm certainly trying to veer away from the likes of Stardew Valley, though I'm afraid I might subconsciously gravitate towards it :/

    @Endless_Serpents those mockups do look a lot more interesting... but they're strongly overlapping with the day/night cycle feature that is being considered for the game. I think my knowledge about colour theory might not be strong enough to work out a solution that is both interesting during the day and allows for a good automatic creation of sunsets and nights, but who knows... I will certainly try. The balance between making backgrounds both unobtrusive and interesting seems like an unreachable ideal to me right now.

    Mayday on
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited January 14
    Mayday! Welcome back!

    Jumping off Iruka's comment about the water, maybe you could exaggerate the depth of the grass a little more by adding an obvious side plane facing the viewer. At the moment it kind of feels like the path is sitting on top of the grass, instead of the grass growing around it.

    mcnxc21ived1.png

    Kinda like this only not terrible

    Flay on
    Doodmannacadia
  • SeveredHeadSeveredHead Registered User regular
    ok this is pretty great, balance between cartoonish and grounded is good, i really dont enjoy that super bulbous cartoony style every indie rpg seems to have

  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    Just so you guys know, I'm making progress on this and I've incorporated your tips, but due to the NDA, I can't currently show much more until the official announcement (things like the GUI and stuff). I hope to have lots more to show within the month.

    DoodmannIrukaMarty81DisruptedCapitalistacadiaRhesus PositiveMegaMek
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    I look forward to it! Keep it up!

  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited March 13
    Alright guys, since we've had the official announcement, I can spill the beans: I am working on the graphics for the official Steam Dwarf Fortress release along with Meph, a very prolific DF modder,.
    The mockups that are currently available on the product page are really huge so I'll put them behind a spoiler:

    MOCKUPS:
    XFPkbuP.png
    XmtXthe.png
    76yLzTd.png
    RUE4xjw.png
    AWaxyti.png

    Meph is somewhat less experienced with pixelart (or art in general) but he has amazing skill when it comes to producing lots of stuff quickly and some of his ideas are really great and well executed. We've got a bit of a back and forth thing going on, as when I put emphasis on readability and uniformity, Meph prefers richness and staying true to the "raws" (the actual in-game information about the looks of an object, which contains even stuff like skin colour, eye colour, hairstyle etc.). So there is some polishing to be done!

    Right off the bat I can tell we need to switch the direction of the lighting for the ramps, as it turns out the human mind automatically reads this lighting direction as concave >_<
    Some of the lighting on furniture also needs to be made more consistent.

    Here's some icons I did myself. I'm posting them at 2x size (you can view lots of 1x size in the mockups).

    XiRcCT3.png

    y200OAq.png

    ex3tW1D.png

    I'm aware that viewing them stand-alone only paints half of the picture. When we're able to see them in the game itself, I'll start posting more screenshots, right now mockups have already taken too much of my time.

    Mayday on
    bowenDisruptedCapitalistRatsult2SceptreEchoacadiaIrukaKalnaurKetBraDoodmannswaylowAiouaNipsBrodyI ZimbraFlayBahamutZERORhesus Positivesee317MegaMek
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yo this is the first art for dwarf fortress that's made me kind of understand what's going on, that's awesome.

    Ladies.
  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    Okay, this got extra awesome now.

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
    KetBraMegaMek
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited March 14
    Changed the way ramps are displayed. Turns out the human brain is wired to interpret south-lit hills as valleys!

    Contains a mock-up of wall shadows (unconfirmed):
    9cCChnb.png

    Mayday on
    bowenacadiaKalnaurDoodmann
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I may have to actually buy dwarf fortress to get access to this stuff.

    Ladies.
    acadiaKetBraNipsMegaMek
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 14
    Its crazy and cool that dwarf fortress has been a thing for all these years! 

    The outer, grass wall is the only thing my brain doesn't seem to know what to do with. Assuming the fortress is below ground and I'm looking at an earth cross section, shouldn't the inner faces of the walll be dirt (or stone)? It makes the grass look like a huge hedge with stuff sitting on top. 

    Iruka on
  • acadiaacadia Registered User regular
    It's not 'underground' so much as it's 'inside a mountain' I think. The recent edits definitely help to sell that better.

    DisruptedCapitalist
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    Iruka wrote: »
    The outer, grass wall is the only thing my brain doesn't seem to know what to do with. Assuming the fortress is below ground and I'm looking at an earth cross section, shouldn't the inner faces of the walll be dirt (or stone)? It makes the grass look like a huge hedge with stuff sitting on top. 

    This is a cross section but the fortress is all on ground level, carved into the side of a rocky mountain. The grass "walls" are actually slopes, and the view is cut at 1 tile height. Once I add a couple levels to the view with both downward and upward slopes, it should become more obvious.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Hm, interesting. Its hard for me to see, but I also never played dwarf fortress so it might be my brain just heavily applying zelda cave wall logic to the art.

    bowen
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    Looking good! I particularly like the Dwarf heads you’ve got so far.

  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited March 14
    Iruka wrote: »
    Hm, interesting. Its hard for me to see, but I also never played dwarf fortress so it might be my brain just heavily applying zelda cave wall logic to the art.

    Ohh, that might be it. I've never played Zelda, but I've seen the faux-perspective they used.
    Someone suggested smoother ramp corners, but it turns out that would totally break at multilevel view.

    Mayday on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I don't know how flexible their code and the tilesets are but could you work in some rubble or variation that suggests it goes up instead of a straight smooth surface like that?

    Ladies.
  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    Dang! That's so cool that you will be contributing to this. It's funny that I've been popping in your thread the past couple weeks, and reading so much about DF getting "real" graphics, but could not put 2 and 2 together.

  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited March 15
    bowen wrote: »
    I don't know how flexible their code and the tilesets are but could you work in some rubble or variation that suggests it goes up instead of a straight smooth surface like that?

    I'll experiment with it. Right now the priority is the creation speed - I just slap on this overlay over the basic floor sprite, bake it, make a few small tweaks and it's done. If I start manually adding ridges, rubble etc. to every one of the hundreds possible floors, you won't see this game until 2025.

    @earthwormadam , the Steam versions has only just been announced, so don't beat yourself up over it ;)

    Mayday on
    bowen
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yeah that's cool that's kind of what I expected was the case knowing what I know of DF.

    Now I just gotta hope steam pings me when the game gets put up to buy.

    Ladies.
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    Here's a mockup of the multilevel view with corrected ramps. It's just my idea for how to do it, not something confirmed for the game. Does this look more readable to you?
    l1FDuZ7.png

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I do like that much better.

    Ladies.
    DoodmannRhesus Positive
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Ah! So much better, I immediately read that correctly, rather than struggling to try to imagine what was happening. You're right, the multilevel view does wonders.

    MaydaybowenDoodmann
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    This is kind of infantile but also great fun:

    87p3INF.png

    (taking a break from the ramps debacle).

    bowenFlay
  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    Your pixel art is delightful! The orc monster dude has a lot of character packed into that tiny sprite.

    The peacocks green feathers kinda blob together without some more contrast or something in between them though, if you were looking for crits.

  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited April 4
    One guy at the DF forums fucking crushed that peacock icon :D I did some small corrections as it's been pointed out the style varies too much across the sprites. Might correct all the remaining birds etc. (tried it with the drake and it's a bit hard, I suppose).
    New Roc sprite at the bottom.
    DX4zgg2.png

    Annnd Patrick and Tarn convinced me to make a 64px high colossus... unfortunately at this size my lack of skill with anatomy already shows :(
    2U18k7I.png

    Mayday on
    IrukaDisruptedCapitalistacadiabombardierRhesus PositiveMegaMek
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    I don't really have any ideas for fixes, but I'm having a hard time telling which tiles are ramp and which are not. Which might just be from too much time looking at up/down triangles. Also, what are cliffs going to look like, cause the two ramps in succession already look sort of like a cliff.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson
  • AimAim Registered User regular
    For a lot if not most objects the light source seems to be above and a bit left of the observer, but the big spot on the cow's makes it seem to be to the right of the cows :)

  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    @Brody I've decided to leave the ramps be until I can test them in-game on the fly. Spending all this time on mockups is taking too much time.
    Aim wrote: »
    For a lot if not most objects the light source seems to be above and a bit left of the observer, but the big spot on the cow's makes it seem to be to the right of the cows :)
    Aw shucks, it's just a white spot on the cow :/ I'm not sure how to convey different brightness of the surface without making it look like it's lit.

    I did some larger creatures (the old ones are there because they were close on the spritesheet):
    OiflyvI.png

    The semi-megabeasts are using the same body template for now, I'll probably come back and give them more unique bodies sometime after the first release.

    acadiaFlay
  • acadiaacadia Registered User regular
    edited April 12
    These are DOPE. They're not animated, are they?

    acadia on
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited April 12
    acadia wrote: »
    These are DOPE. They're not animated, are they?
    @acadia Come again?
    sGaQarO.gif ;)
    There is no plan to animate everthing for the first release, but Meph does create some frames here and there when he's idle. We'll see how that goes.

    Did these two today:
    OAwbvlv.png

    Mayday on
    DisruptedCapitalistacadiaearthwormadamBrodyFlayProspicienceMegaMek
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    How will these match up with what usually seem to be randomly generated megabeasts? Are they just going to put a [spider] tag that then finds your spider sprite? Cause that is going to make megabeasts way more fun.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    The plan for sprites for the megabeast bodies is to compose them out of several pre-made body part sprites. So a spider body plus a goat head plus snake tail? I'm not sure how far we'll be able to go with it, but it's certainly going to be fun.

    bowenBrodyEndless_SerpentsRhesus PositiveMegaMek
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    This is rad. I'm looking forward to seeing the zombie whale sprite :^:

  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    Just chiming in to say keep up the good work!

  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    Hah, sorry - had a hiatus for personal + job stuff but I'm returning to work on DF tomorrow!

  • AimAim Registered User regular
    edited June 7
    Mayday wrote: »
    Aim wrote: »
    For a lot if not most objects the light source seems to be above and a bit left of the observer, but the big spot on the cow's makes it seem to be to the right of the cows :)
    Aw shucks, it's just a white spot on the cow :/ I'm not sure how to convey different brightness of the surface without making it look like it's lit.

    Yeah, I'd just shift the white spot so it matches the light, unless you have a particular reason to want to have the spot where it is:

    7tuaykfwwgkf.png

    Aim on
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    Oh, I see what you mean. Sure, that's a good fix, I'll do it this way!

    I've prepared some mood/status icons:

    status%20icons.png

    bowenIrukaDisruptedCapitalistAim
Sign In or Register to comment.