Author Topic: [FILLED] Looking for artist(s) to develop new style for A Valley Without Wind.  (Read 65682 times)

Offline eRe4s3r

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Yeah I'd be totally behind an alien lesbian bondage invaders of doom AI War redesign..... but somehow I don't think x4000 would go for that ;P And imo the goal should be to look better than a free flash game, at least.
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Offline Hearteater

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I'd nominate Auntie Pixelante. Though her style tends to look more 8-bit than 16-bit, she has an amazing way of coaxing detail and personality out of blocky sprites.
That link, was, uh, not what I was expecting.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Actually, what I'd really like is to see her take a whack at reskinning AI War, even if (and perhaps, because) she'd turn the whole game into an elaborate bondage metaphor.
Wait, wha- *Smashes panic button

Abort Thread! Abort Thread!


Good grief ;)


One aspect of Chris's approach here is to be able to minimize the impact of any proposed new AVWW art style on Arcen's existing staff and financial resources.  I.e. minimize the impact on our ability to do more work on AVWW (the game, not the art) and AIW, including an AIW expansion :)  Timeframes are still very much up in the air, but another AIW expansion is definitely something we've planned on doing for a long time.
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Offline BobTheJanitor

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The response in those linked threads seems kind of lukewarm. I hope you get some bites at least. I'd like to think you could get someone involved that you could just throw all the art work at and leave you guys free to make games.

Offline tigersfan

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The response in those linked threads seems kind of lukewarm. I hope you get some bites at least. I'd like to think you could get someone involved that you could just throw all the art work at and leave you guys free to make games.

I know Chris has gotten several e-mail responses to those. At least one of them has potential from what I can tell.

Offline yllamana

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Was attempting 3d instead of 2d art ruled out? Trine was super beautiful while being a 2d platformer (though I assume you'd go for something simpler than Trine).

I'm really interested in seeing where this goes, though. The art style works for me, but I've certainly had people say it put them off trying the game (especially since it seems to video/screenshot really badly - it looks so much better in the game itself).

Offline Mánagarmr

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Trine is a gleaming gem among indie games. Even the first was absolutely gorgeous and pretty much unheard of in the indie world when it came to graphics. Unfortunately, a billion tons of talent likely went into that game. That talent is either hard, or very expensive, to come by.
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Offline eRe4s3r

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Doing procedural usable 3d graphics is a lot harder than 2d ones... sadly ;/
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Offline syndicatedragon

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Doing procedural usable 3d graphics is a lot harder than 2d ones... sadly ;/
It might not be too bad if you could keep the terrain etc 2D and make the actors 3D. That way you could animate/reskin fairly easily, and keep the procedural stuff as is.

Offline Shardz

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There's one game in particular from the deep past that stands out which offers some amazing fluid character animation; Abuse. It's circa 1996 by CrackDotCom and it's now open source.

It got great reviews when it came out simply due to the fluidity of the character controller and the interactivity of the game in general. It was the first "twin stick 2D platform game" that I can remember and it was fun just to move the dude around, even if you weren't all that good at the game. When I first saw the new Valley, the first thing I thought of was Abuse in context. Screenshots would look very similar in place actually, but getting that controller in your hand (especially a keyboard/trackball combo) was what it was all about.

Here's a gameplay video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMFUOUz2TZw

And the Wiki Entry.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abuse_%28video_game%29

It had WSAD for movement and the mouse for aiming, similar to Valley I suppose, but it just felt *right*. Kind of like the old Blizzard games that just felt solid. You felt like your character was part of your hand. I'm glad to see the decision has been made to look into the graphics portion of the game, but the character controller is what feels clunky and stiff to me. It really does jack up my wrists playing for any length of time 'cause I'm trying to make my dude move in ways he can't. It's like cramming toothpicks down Gumby's pants and having him do deep knee bends.

And you should be able to fire when you are ducking and all that, too. The range of movements the character offers and the combination in which he can actually maneuver and shoot is what is killing me. Perhaps some sort of skeletal/physics/procedural system for the character would overcome memory limitations and make it more life-like, and that would also have to tie in with the art direction somehow...

Which is exactly the entire point to this endeavor; more consistency with the visuals in a more aesthetic fashion. I do agree that some parts contrast nicely together and the colors are very vivid, but I'm seeing a ton of EyeCandy filters all over the place. I can spot the Alien Skin Fur filter a mile away and almost everything organic in Valley (grass, trees, dirt, rocks) has that signature filter run on it. I'm not saying it's wrong, but coming from a graphic dabbler who has been around, it's very blatant and distracting. You can still use those filters, but just layer them in with overlays subtly and tweak transparency to lend texture without dominating the base art.

I'm not bashing anything here, just making my personal observations that have kept me from getting into this project converting from AI War. I don't think anyone will disagree that this project will be a huge undertaking and shouldn't be taken lightly. Also, a nice stout community vote on finalists might be a *really dang good idea* to avoid ending up in the same scenario twice. I still hear people who prefer the old Valley with the perspective view and want to revisit that idea again.

It just never ends I guess, but I thought I would toss my opinions in there if anyone cares.

« Last Edit: June 23, 2012, 02:38:53 AM by Shardz »

Offline jonasan

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interesting to see this happening. would surely be a step in the right direction to widening the payer base... so many people cant touch something they find visually disappointing.... dont understand too good myself, but then i remember being amazed by and very happy with the graphics on my ancient BBC micron and ZX.... kids these days...

for me any change in art style has to retain the unique feel you guys have created (and better animation would surely help the feel of everything)... dont know what others think but i am quite taken by the cel shaded style Nanashi is experiementing with...

http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,10971.0.html

best of luck with the hunt for an inspired style and talented artist!


Offline Misery

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interesting to see this happening. would surely be a step in the right direction to widening the payer base... so many people cant touch something they find visually disappointing.... dont understand too good myself, but then i remember being amazed by and very happy with the graphics on my ancient BBC micron and ZX.... kids these days...



Aye, same here.

Frankly, I think MANY games released these days are, well, ugly as heck.  I really, honestly prefer things like the NES or 2600 (seriously, I tend to think games for both look nice) as opposed to the "hyper gritty EVERYTHING IS BROWN AND GREY because SUPER DUPER REALISM" crap that is SO freaking common these days.

Offline Dizzard

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Wow this is definitely a huge undertaking. I never hated the graphic style of the game, I suppose individually everything does look fairly nice...it's just when it all starts coming together some things just clash.

I wish I knew some sprite artists personally (with previous game experience)  but I don't really. :( I hope you find the artist you need.

I'll support this as much as I can though. (like with Kickstarter)

Offline eRe4s3r

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I strongly contest that anything from the ancient days still looks good or from the consoles you mentioned for that matter..., the standard resolution nowadays is 1920x1080 (at least) and the standard resolution back then was EGA or at best VGA (640x480) (or TV resolution which is even more terrible) If you ever played on of the old games (or the pixel indy games) on a LCD you know why games nowadays usually do not go that route. The detail level required for a game not to look completely ugly is so high that you can never reach it with pixel art (where images are drawn pixel by pixel), only with proper sprite art (where they are drawn in sections at the least).

Look at Bastion or Limbo for beautiful looking games. And to be fair, AVWW tried to do something along these lines but using pre-rendered objects was maybe an odd decision after all. Sprite artists are drawing while pre-rendered needs to be modeled for that. Using a 3d model that was made for HQ renderings as a sprite usually never turns out well (lines and definitions are blurred and not pixel perfect, light is weird). This is also why I decline most if not all job offers where someone wants sprites from my 3d-models. You'd need to go to the resolutions of GSB to make that viable (ie, around 512x512).

AVWW is not ugly, it is just weird looking, incoherent might best describe it (Background vs Characters). And that is not easy to solve. If you want to see ugly, try Resonance on a 1920x1200 HD desktop ;P 4x linear scaling is not pretty. And no scaling is tiny. So either tiny or ugly.. not exactly a good choice.
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Offline Misery

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I strongly contest that anything from the ancient days still looks good or from the consoles you mentioned for that matter..., the standard resolution nowadays is 1920x1080 (at least) and the standard resolution back then was EGA or at best VGA (640x480) (or TV resolution which is even more terrible) If you ever played on of the old games (or the pixel indy games) on a LCD you know why games nowadays usually do not go that route. The detail level required for a game not to look completely ugly is so high that you can never reach it with pixel art (where images are drawn pixel by pixel), only with proper sprite art (where they are drawn in sections at the least).

Look at Bastion or Limbo for beautiful looking games. And to be fair, AVWW tried to do something along these lines but using pre-rendered objects was maybe an odd decision after all. Sprite artists are drawing while pre-rendered needs to be modeled for that. Using a 3d model that was made for HQ renderings as a sprite usually never turns out well (lines and definitions are blurred and not pixel perfect, light is weird). This is also why I decline most if not all job offers where someone wants sprites from my 3d-models. You'd need to go to the resolutions of GSB to make that viable (ie, around 512x512).

AVWW is not ugly, it is just weird looking, incoherent might best describe it (Background vs Characters). And that is not easy to solve. If you want to see ugly, try Resonance on a 1920x1200 HD desktop ;P 4x linear scaling is not pretty. And no scaling is tiny. So either tiny or ugly.. not exactly a good choice.


Neh, I'll still take the old systems, thanks.   As a retro gamer I'm used to the older ones, and I very rarely find recent games that I honestly think are good looking.  Stuff like Bastion is decent enough (didn't like Limbo at all), but very, very rare.    At least, to my perception, anyway.

I'm well aware my tastes are pretty rare; in that I'll take something like, say, the original Super Mario Bros, with it's simple sprites and stark, bright color schemes, or, I dunno, Space Invaders on the 2600, over...... well, damn near anything produced in the last 15 years.  Particularly anything on the PS1 (I find pretty much EVERYTHING on that console to be really fugly).   As it is, it's so rare I find something I like the look of, that I tend to simply not give a rat's ass about the graphics of most games.    I've always put gameplay over graphics ANYWAY, even back then, but still, I usually just dont care.

Particularly with games rendered in 3D.  I cannot off the top of my head think of any that I honestly thought were pretty.  Usually, my thoughts on them are "meh", which sums everything up nicely.

And having been stuck with bloody ancient monitors for the longest time (I only JUST got a monitor capable of 1920x1080 very recently),  I've no issues with resolution at all either.  I was perfectly happy with 640x480 back in the day, thank you very much.    Geez, this probably makes me sound old, doesnt it, despite that I'm not.