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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsPixel Pirate in Bits of Eight
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Author Topic: Pixel Pirate in Bits of Eight  (Read 11671 times)
hawken
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« on: February 19, 2015, 01:25:32 AM »




I've been working weekends and evenings on this thing and it's gaining enough momentum to finally post here.


(every platformer needs flaming skulls)


Pixel Pirate is a "Metroidvania" style NES game, using strict NES colour restrictions emulated on the MMC5 chip. The only areas where it breaks with being pure NES are:
  • It runs in widescreen (because life needs to be fun)
  • There's no sprite flicker. (or limit on sprites)

Theres a small amount of story building, the basic storyline is that you play the part of Pete. He didn't start out as a pirate but early on in the game he becomes one.

In the game your health is displayed in a fairly similar way to Arthur from Ghosts & Goblins, with Pete this is his hat and beard. When he is without this "disguise" certain enemies will attack him, and visa versa. So health status is used a tactic.



His adventure starts off in 17th to 18th century London, in the "golden age of piracy".



Soon after he ends up in Jamaica.



And various other locations...


The game is already mildly playable;










I am using tools such as GRAFX2 (dpaint clone) and Tiled to make the tilesets, Pixen3 for animation. The game is programmed in C#.


You'll be seeing more of Pete and his adventures here in this thread.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2023, 06:55:53 PM by hawken » Logged

SatsumaAudio
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2015, 02:40:08 AM »

Looks awesome, 'bits of eight' - love it Smiley
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migrafael
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2015, 07:52:08 AM »

Looks great. Please don't the NES color too seriously. Shovel Knight did and sometimes it just hurts my eyes. They allowed for massive sprites but then didn't go for more palatable pallets. I don't get it. Limitations yes, but make it not hurt the eyes please. Tongue 

Having said that, love the look. Will keep my eye out for this one.
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Quarry
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2015, 08:57:31 AM »

I like the accurate application of NES restrictions, along with the overall looks of course  Hand ClapGiggle
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blekdar
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2015, 01:08:48 PM »

I dig the environments, they look rather spectacular.

That being said. I do have a love/hate with the NES palette. I find it can be rather hard on the eyes, but wasn't it also dependent on the TV it was running on? I know I've read this somewhere, so it's not really set in stone is it?

Seriously though, it does look nice.
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7Soul
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2015, 01:02:22 PM »

Wow this looks beautiful. Just careful with the name, I thought this was the devlog for Pixel Piracy
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alvarop
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2015, 01:27:46 PM »

Looks cool. I feel like the gameplay is a bit off... maybe too slow? But it seems to be very early in development, so I won't complain.

Following.
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hawken
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2015, 01:13:04 AM »

Thanks for the initial feedback, most appreciated.

Heres the title-screen I'll be using for now:



Although it's not really important from a development point of view to get the title-screen locked down early on, it does help set the mood for the game. Also it's handy to have a banner to develop under. So even if the game is not going to be called Pixel Pirate in the end, the project it's self at least has an identity.

Process:


First I made a sketch in photoshop. Once upon a time I would sketch on bits of paper and scan them in, however wacoms save trees folks. Also scanners are total dead weight on ones desk. Sketch can be rough, just needs to carry the basic forms.



Then I took that sketch in to illustrator and blocked out the forms. It's much easier to edit custom shapes in illustrator than photoshop, so a mix of the tools is often the way to go.



Then copy and paste the vectors back in to photoshop. Anyone who has done this before will know that photoshop will antialias the shape, making a lot of work for any pixel artist reducing colours, however in recent versions of photoshop theres this handy switch (anti alias):


If you turn that off, the shape will paste without antialiasing.



Then I go through and try different combinations of colours, finish each pass by turning on an 8x8px grid to check that the tiles are feasible under NES restrictions. (a 4:3 version of this title-screen would be 100% possible on an actual NES)


For the animated tiles, I made a strip of frames in tiled, then brought back in to photoshop and made a sprite sheet that I could cycle though. The animation on the weeds and light shafts is being programatically sped up and down randomly.

Then I place everything on a 8x8 grid and press play. Smiley

Thanks again for the feedback, feel free to ask me anything  Toast Left
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 01:24:14 AM by hawken » Logged

Bobert
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2015, 02:09:03 AM »

it takes a lot to make an 8-bit art style look impressive these days, but i'd say you've nailed the look. the detailed (but not TOO detailed) tiles and the bright, complimentary palette really makes this work

the gameplay does seem a bit slow though, like alvarop said. it's probably because pete's walk speed is so slow while his jump height is so high, which makes him feel like he should be more agile than he is. slopes and ladders also make him move significantly faster. it should be a simple fix, though. and the possibility of having a lot of slopes to slide around on seems interesting
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Tobers
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2015, 05:50:06 AM »

Awesome style! I really dig the animations and your color/art design choices!

Super appealing!
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hawken
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2015, 08:08:34 PM »


the gameplay does seem a bit slow though, like alvarop said. it's probably because pete's walk speed is so slow while his jump height is so high, which makes him feel like he should be more agile than he is. slopes and ladders also make him move significantly faster. it should be a simple fix, though. and the possibility of having a lot of slopes to slide around on seems interesting

Looks like theres a lot to do to nail the player motion. I have to admit this is a basic implementation so I can traverse the levels and start putting challenges in.

London tileset is almost complete, so I'm off for a pint of pixels at the Alias Arms!  Beer!



Trying to stay true to 17th & 18th century architecture, but will deviate for gags.
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hawken
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2015, 02:06:07 AM »

So I'm thinking to have the interiors a little different to the exteriors, 4 options as follows:



  • Side view (metroidvania)
  • Oblique 45 (rivercity rampage)
  • Oblique 90 (final fantasy)
  • Isometric (solstice)

Any opinions? I'm not really drawn to isometric Lips Sealed
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Ben H
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2015, 02:23:52 AM »

Hey Hawken! I love the art so far!

For the perspective, it depends on what you're going to do in the interior locations. Is it going to be fighting and jumping like outside? or walking around and talking? Horizontal is better for the former, but for the latter, oblique could give a more intimate feel.

If the gameplay is significantly different then the different perspective could indicate that well. Also if you do have a very different perspective, you'll have to re-make a bunch of assets, so that's something to consider.
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Quarry
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2015, 06:04:47 AM »

Isometric will be tough to do with NES restrictions, I suggest oblique 45
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hawken
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2015, 10:31:39 PM »

Looks like Oblique45 is the winner! OK lets get pixelling.

The idea is that interior stages will be more about puzzle solving and talking, whereas the exterior stages are more about roaming and er, swashbuckling.
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2015, 10:43:24 PM »

Oh my gosh this looks amazing WTF
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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2015, 12:13:23 AM »

Yeah, oblique 45 or iso seem like the best options. I'd agree with some of the above comments about emulating NES too severely. It's a great starting off point and people love it for a reason but thinking about how it can be pushed to new limits is what will make your game memorable. And stand out from the hoards of other NES style games out there  Tongue.
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2015, 12:21:07 AM »

Brilliant.  Shocked The way you made it seem like it's underwater in the title screen is really cool.
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hawken
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« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2015, 02:40:19 AM »

Thanks again for all the feedback, keep it coming rain or shine  Beer!

Well it turned out Oblique looked like too much work in the long run. So I'm going with "top down" (Oblique90)

Here's a little mockup of the ground floor of Alias Arms.



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Zorg
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« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2015, 04:22:26 AM »

Looks great. Will there be any fighting action indoors? The top down view (Zelda) seems to blend very well with the standard side view (Mario), in my eyes. Smiley
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