Author Topic: Graphics feedback?  (Read 723 times)

Offline x4000

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Graphics feedback?
« on: November 19, 2015, 03:01:16 PM »
Hey guys,

So obviously there are some parts that are incomplete and not worth commenting on:
1. Stuff behind the main room area (except the starfields, which are good to go).
2. Interface stuff.

And then it also seems like folks are happy with the monsters.

But I've noticed some commentary about being in the "uncanny valley" with the actual room graphics themselves.  Are we talking about the walls here, or the objects in the room, or what?  Personally I'm really happy with the walls in particular (though they are glitchy right now and showing a bunch of extra walls in some cases, so that might be coloring your experience), but I'm not real thrilled with the chests yet.

How are you finding the item graphics (aside from the money, keycards, and health, which I already know folks want changed, and will be).

Someone mentioned wanting shadows, which I'm not sure exactly what that means -- shadows where, and from what?  In Binding of Isaac, for instance, I know that they do have shadows, but there is also a concept of height there that does not exist here.  That game is using a bit of a fudged perspective like older Zelda games do.  We use that perspective on the walls because we can't avoid it, but everything else is straight top-down for us.  Like most SHMUPs and other 2D shooters.  That's not something we can change, because the ships require rotation and so on in order to work properly.

When it comes to the paneling and so forth in the rooms, right now it's a bit bland because we wanted the most bland version first, to establish kind of a baseline style that would let the enemies and players really pop against it.  And then the starfields are a great example of what we're trying to do with making the backgrounds really pop behind all of that.  Badland is a good example of that sort of aesthetic in action,a lthough we're not doing silhouettes in the foreground or quite as extreme of backgrounds.  So we're kind of in the middle.
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Offline Bluddy

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2015, 03:36:04 PM »
Hey Chris, I believe I made most of those comments.

My main question with regard to answering this is, what are we supposed to be inside of? What are these rooms? Without knowing where we are, it all seems very abstract, and I don't have a sense of what it should be like in the first place. It seems more like peeking in a graphics editor than anything else. How are these ships confined to such a small space? How is there a concept of doors for ships?

As I said in my comments, the ships are quite detailed and beautiful, and I think giving them a tiny bit of a bob/quiver as they hover in place would really bring out the fact that they aren't static graphics plastered on the screen but rather living entities.

The panelling is probably the worst offender. I think it not only needs to be more interesting (and somehow explain its presence in this environment we're in), but also look different throughout the room with some pattern. For example, assuming we're in some space garbage dump, a few occasional panels could have some extra debris or rust. The panels at the lower left of the room could be a different shade than the ones at the top right.

It feels like looking at a graphics editor because the panels are clearly tiled, rather than integrated into a cohesive whole on the screen. EDIT: I guess the other reason is because we're looking at spaceships inside rooms.

Binding of Isaac is a great example of this. At its core, each room should look the same (as they did in the original flash versions). But the shadows in Binding of Isaac do a great job of integrating the screen and making every room look like a slightly different, but unique unit. There are tiny mushrooms strewn about, little animated critters (worms and such) on the ground, some walls have water streaming down them, and a ceiling we never see casts different shadow patterns on the floor. As we walk, a the corona of a light from above shifts about, giving us a strong sense of place.

Assuming there's something in the layer above us you could cast shadows/shine lights from whatever is there.
 
If the plan already exists to do all these things, that's fine. I'm just bringing attention to them in case it doesn't.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2015, 04:25:01 PM by Bluddy »

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2015, 04:24:54 PM »
but I'm not real thrilled with the chests yet.
I mantis'ed it.

How are you finding the item graphics (aside from the money, keycards, and health, which I already know folks want changed, and will be).
Thanks god! Er, I mean, Chris. Thanks Chris. A lot.
Talking of this, I'm very curious. What will you come up with? Time will say, I guess.

For the rest, I'm personally not caught in the uncanny valley. I love the general "Arcen" theme. It's very similar to Bionic Dues for the rooms and TLF for enemies and shots. It sounds familiar, and I like it.
However, I remember being a bit... set off by the graphics the first time I saw Bionic Dues. Let's say it's a particular style but once you're familiar with it, you can really appreciate it. And I do! ;)
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
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Offline mrhanman

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2015, 04:58:26 PM »
I was just looking at all the item graphics in Images folder, and they all look pretty great.  I think some of them might not match the overall style of the game, though.  Kinda like how some early special effects didn't quite blend into the surrounding scene in a movie.  I guess what I'm saying is the items all have this distinctive, saturday-morning-cartoon sort of style that is awesome, but doesn't quite blend in with the surrounding graphics.  None of the explosion graphics seem to match this cartoon style.  The ships are all great, though some of the player ships need to have a more distinctive hitboxes.  Everything seems to match stylistically until I hit the tileset folder.  Those aren't bad, but pretty much everything in there looks like it was done in a completely different style.

I will say that the medkit and energy graphics seem to not match the rest of the theme.  Not stylistically, but  I wouldn't expect the health and energy of a spaceship to be a literal first aid kit and 9 volt battery.


Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2015, 05:48:34 PM »
I will say that the medkit and energy graphics seem to not match the rest of the theme.  Not stylistically, but  I wouldn't expect the health and energy of a spaceship to be a literal first aid kit and 9 volt battery.
I mantis'ed that too.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2015, 08:21:25 PM »
Cut.
I will rather post this in Mantis

Offline mrhanman

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2015, 08:23:48 PM »
Cut.
I will rather post this in Mantis

It wouldn't hurt to leave it here, too, so the community can see and discuss.

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2015, 08:26:40 PM »
It was pointing out stuff on a screenshot and I don't want to show public screenshots because Chris said we should wait with those.
Here is the text however:
Look at this screenshot. This is good example what you can change in the graphics. First there are the extra walls you already mentioned, this is probably a bug of the room generation (does not know where to finish the edges of walls).
Overall I like the style of the walls. They look totally okay. However, the corners really need a makeover. You can clearly see the edges where the tiles end and this shouldn't be the case. It gives the game a too edgy appearance.
Also look on the "pipes" that go down at the corners. You can see that they are clearly cut where the tile ends. When everything moves you might not notice this but I DID notice it and it doesn't look very nice to be honest.
So there should go some work. Tiles should blend in better into each other so a single tile does not stand so out.

You can applay the same to the floor tiles (not the background, I mean the static tiles on the floor). You can see where one tile ends and the other begins.

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2015, 09:09:59 PM »
I just noticed how hard it is to seperate debuffs from damge on enemies. When enemies got any debuffs on them they simply glow red, which is the same when they take damage.
It would be useful to have small icons above the nemies to know what debuff is applied (poison, acid, rupture).

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2015, 02:33:26 AM »
I added a note on TheVampire's mantis entry. As some folks around here are phobic who are afraid of bugs like mantis ( ;D ) I repost here.

I also noticed these little gray intervals on the gray walls (hard to see) have a perspective effect that make them sometimes to the left of the wall, sometimes to the right. And sometimes two different directions are adjacent.
For instance, look at the middle - bottom flat section of wall on the screenshot: there is 4 of these little gray intervals, and the leftmost isn't in the same direction of the 3 others.
That produces a sort of perspective error. Maybe having all these gray intervals straight and parallel would fix this.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline x4000

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2015, 09:15:40 AM »
Just a quick note to let you guys know that this is being read and so forth.  I figure I'll just post an email that I sent to Cath about this.  She's one of our main two artists, and is doing the environments and backgrounds.  If you love the gorgeous building art in Stars Beyond Reach (and terrains), that was almost all her in terms of painting it, too.  In this particular game, Blue (who is unavailable right now unfortunately due to a death in the family) is doing all the enemies, and will do the HUD.  Genna, Charity, and one other artist are doing the items.  As usual I'm on particle effects, and as happens about half the time I did the logo.

Anyway, bear in mind that talking to you guys in these sorts of circumstances of critical feedback can be exhilarating but also really hard to bear sometimes, since it can cut a bit close to home.  Cath's an awesome artist and we're basically still sorting out aspects of the game's visual style, so hence the inherent friction at the moment with some bits.

Quote
Hey Cath,

So, please put on your thick skin a bit.  I hate to put you in this spot of having to talk to players directly, but I think there's a useful dialogue going on here.

Are you on mantis?  If so, I can make you a developer and assign you tickets and you can respond.  At any rate, here is one about walls: https://arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=17824

Some of that is due to the bugs in the wall code right now, though I think there are a few things being mentioned that are not.  There are some things with that that need to be dealt with in terms of me adding some code to allow for more layers or something, and some are general feedback on things like the perspective with the walls, etc.

Other commentary is here: https://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?topic=18160

Bear in mind that Bluddy is one of our more abrasive forum members, although his heart is in the right place.  Some of his most notable comments that relate to you:

1. Bluddy: The panelling is probably the worst offender. I think it not only needs to be more interesting (and somehow explain its presence in this environment we're in), but also look different throughout the room with some pattern. For example, assuming we're in some space garbage dump, a few occasional panels could have some extra debris or rust. The panels at the lower left of the room could be a different shade than the ones at the top right.

Me: I absolutely could do this sort of thing in terms of setting up the code for this to happen.  Your things could be larger than a tile or two, as well.  I suppose that one of the problems that he's having right now is: what IS this ship we're in?  The one that our ship is flying inside of, I mean.  At first I was kind of frustrated with that, but then I started thinking about it a little more.  It does make sense: is this primarily a warship?  Junker?  Passenger transport?  Industrial refinery?  Etc.  Different types of ships would inherently have different detailings around them that give you a sense of what the purpose of the place you are in is.  "I'm in an abandoned apartment building" versus "I'm in a derelict hospital" versus "I'm in a nondescript building with... walls and floor?"

Me: Anyway, so this isn't really a failure of art at all, but it's a matter of us needing to go further with this.  This is one of the reasons I want to pull you off those time-consuming far-background parts (why bother with the under-game area when the starfield versions are already gorgeous and we could spend time on this instead).

2. Bluddy: It feels like looking at a graphics editor because the panels are clearly tiled, rather than integrated into a cohesive whole on the screen. EDIT: I guess the other reason is because we're looking at spaceships inside rooms.

Bluddy: Binding of Isaac is a great example of this. At its core, each room should look the same (as they did in the original flash versions). But the shadows in Binding of Isaac do a great job of integrating the screen and making every room look like a slightly different, but unique unit. There are tiny mushrooms strewn about, little animated critters (worms and such) on the ground, some walls have water streaming down them, and a ceiling we never see casts different shadow patterns on the floor. As we walk, a the corona of a light from above shifts about, giving us a strong sense of place.

Me: A lot of what he is asking for is a mixture of technical and art stuff.  From a technical standpoint there are a few challenges there with things such as shadows potentially falling on the windows, but that could be solved.  I have a form of shader that would let the shadows just be on top of floor and then disappear over the chasms, which would be pretty awesome.

Me: THAT said, how would we even show meaningful shadows in this perspective?  In Isaac it works because there is a kind of fakey concept of height to things, like shots that are moving.  We don't have that here.  Anyway, so there are a lot of conceptual problems that are more in the art realm than anything else.  If you can figure out some things that you want to do in that area, and have some sort of idea of how it might work visually, then I can tell you if it would be a problem from a technical standpoint.  Most likely not, but still.

3. Pumpkin/Me: Then it comes to the loot containers, which I have been kind of unhappy with and other players brought up as well: https://arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=17813  I think that the discussion of doing an animation there is a worthwhile idea for something that's this central.

4. Me: When it comes to the pedestals that have items on them, right now they feel like a flat thing under a flat thing.  I'd like to introduce some more depth there, so let's add a second "cage" layer above the item that sits on the pedestal (both the big and small ones).  These cages could cast shadows or something down on the items inside there.

5. Me: The players are very much confused by the difference between glass items and regular shootable ones.  They're too close in style, and the players just don't recognize the difference in them at all.  I'd be cool with the glass ones if they were a lot simpler, maybe almost more like ice cubes or stacked ice cubes or something.  This is really important, because the glass ones drop items sometimes, whereas the shootable ones never do.  But we wind up with people shooting every last freaking object because they don't notice the difference, heh.  A tutorial will definitely help with this, but I still think the visual difference needs to be really vastly apparent for them.

6. mrhanman: I was just looking at all the item graphics in Images folder, and they all look pretty great.  I think some of them might not match the overall style of the game, though.  Kinda like how some early special effects didn't quite blend into the surrounding scene in a movie.  I guess what I'm saying is the items all have this distinctive, saturday-morning-cartoon sort of style that is awesome, but doesn't quite blend in with the surrounding graphics.  None of the explosion graphics seem to match this cartoon style.  The ships are all great, though some of the player ships need to have a more distinctive hitboxes.  Everything seems to match stylistically until I hit the tileset folder.  Those aren't bad, but pretty much everything in there looks like it was done in a completely different style.

Me: I'm not really sure what to say about this.  My first inclination would be to try to "rough up" the icons slightly to make them fit into the overall style more.  But perhaps it's a saturation thing?  Or, alternatively, maybe your tileset graphics need to have fewer details per tile so that they fit in a bit more with the item graphics?  Explosions are a separate matter and I'll have to deal with them later, although I can make them cartoony if we want.  Anyway, I'm not really sure what to do here.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Chris
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2015, 11:10:30 AM »
Condolences to Blue and family.

Quote
(...) the glass ones drop items sometimes, whereas the shootable ones never do. But we wind up with people shooting every last freaking object because they don't notice the difference, heh.
Yup. I'm the moron that brought that up! :P The completionist in me has many strings in his hands, and I am the puppet.

Also, for the "coffer" matter, I'm not sure how things must be done. I have no art talent (or veeery few) and my suggestions may be pretty lame. My core opinion was, from a design point of view, coffers convey no sense of mystery and reward as they currently are (and I believe they must). I would like to be more specific and have better and more accurate proposals... If I can be of any help on this topic (that I'm rather involved in; mystery and reward are important matters for me), please let me know.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline x4000

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2015, 11:18:22 AM »
I think we're good for now!

At the moment I'm not sure if there's much more to add in this thread.  There are a number of pieces of excellent feedback in here (basically the stuff I noted in my email to Cath), and we're going to work through those and see what you guys think.  Then reevaluate from there, and see what needs to be added.  Sometimes the list of suggestions can get long enough that we need to just do a batch before really having the proper context to think about the next batch.
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Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2015, 12:25:59 PM »
I just experienced a weird bug and are unable to reproduce it. The backgroudn glitched and looked weird. I mantised this but I'm really not able to say what caused this.

Offline x4000

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Re: Graphics feedback?
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2015, 12:40:47 PM »
Actually not a glitch!  Just very strange temp art that is removed in the next version. :)
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