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Messages - Ilyich

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Are we talking Photoshop settings here? I'm so bad at Photoshop brushes. Every single time I have to check Google to even remember how to create one.

Sorry, should've elaborated more on those in the first place! Here's a quick rundown on the most important Photoshop brush controls for this kind of task:

- Creating your brush - draw the shape or pattern you want to use in black on white (or transparent) background, then go to Edit -> Define Brush Preset, give it a nice name ("Sampled Brush 6" in my case), and now you have your very own custom brush!

- Press F5 (or Window -> Brush) to open the detailed Brush settings.

Here, in the Brush Tip Shape tab find your new brush, select it, and set the appropriate Spacing.
Spacing sets the distance between each brush tip placed, so setting it low means smooth, unbroken lines, while setting it high means you'd see each individual brush mark separately.

- Now, on to Scattering!
Scatter basically moves your brush marks around randomly, the higher you set it - the further apart they'll jump. Ticking the 'Both Axes' box would mean that your marks would scatter in every direction, making the pattern more random, but harder to control.
Count refers to the amount of marks being spawned
Count Jitter adds randomized variation to the Count parameter

- For more customization and randomization, Shape Dynamics is a good next step.

I won't go into detail about what all of these do, since it's easier to just try them out and see, but the general idea is that 'Jitter' parameters add some variation to different aspects of your brush.
Using this with the 'Pencil' tool for cleaner pixel art can be pretty problematic, since it mangles small brushes quite badly, but can still be useful for creating complicated patterns and shape edges.
There are similar controls for the colors in Color Dynamics and for opacity in Transfer.

And here's what it looks like when you just draw a straight line with these different settings -  a picture is worth a thousand words, after all.

That last FotAQ background looks like it was painted with a custom scatter brush, which is a technique I personally quite like for foliage, and have used extensively in Quest for Infamy, admittedly with mixed results.

It's also a bit harder to use for cleaner pixel-art styles, but I've done a (very) rough test, and it seems reasonably easy and efficient:

The basic steps here are:

- Block out the general foliage shape with your darkest colour.
- Draw your brush - it's just this blob with 3 leaves in my case, but for better results you can create a variety of brushes, ranging from single leaves to meatier clusters that can fill an entire area.
- Set your brush to scatter and start layering that foliage, from darker to lighter. I'm only using 3 colours here, but you can use more, nobody can stop you. I'd suggest adding some size and rotation jittering for the lower levels, so it doesn't look too samey, but leaving the brush 'as is' for the brightest layer, to get that variety in detail and sharp highlights.

Some additional fun can be had by adding separate gradients to these layers of foliage, adding colour jitters to your brushes, or by cleaning it up by hand at the end, but I am too lazy to try any of that out.

Not sure if this method is helpful or painfully obvious(and it's pretty much exactly what Ben's already described, only I have pictures), but that's roughly how I would approach corner-cutting when painting lots of trees.
And if anyone wants to use that brush sample - feel free to take it, of course.

General Discussion / Re: Character Portraits Resolution
« on: 27 Sep 2017, 14:47 »
Hello there!

As someone who's painted portraits for a couple of Wadjet Eye titles, I can safely say that they are usually painted at a higher resolution, then scaled down and cleaned up a bit. In my case they tend to be around x8 of their final size, here's an example from Shardlight:

And I believe Jen Pattison from Infamous Quests paints at even higher resolutions, so there are no limits to how high you can go, just remember that some of those details will definitely be lost or distorted, so it's better to transition into the 'cleanup' stage earlier rather than later.

That said, Future Flashback seems to have a much cleaner pixel art style than WEG and IQ games(both tend to have painterly backgrounds with lots of anti-aliasing), so drawing the portraits cleanly at the correct size might also be a good option for you.

Hope this helps a bit, best of luck with your lovely-looking game!

Completed Game Announcements / Re: Sepulchre
« on: 06 Apr 2017, 22:49 »
Hi! Welcome to the forums!

This game has been updated and became a part of "The Charnel House Trilogy". You can still play Sepulchre for free by downloading the demo from Steam, or by following this link. :)

Critics' Lounge / Re: Game speed : 40FPS or 60FPS?
« on: 21 Mar 2017, 16:28 »
Also the mouse movement would feel noticeably more responsive at 60FPS - that's probably the biggest obvious advantage.

Completed Game Announcements / Re: Sepulchre
« on: 26 Mar 2016, 12:10 »
You can download it as a Demo to The Charnel House Trilogy on Steam. Not sure if it's up anywhere else at the moment, though, I'm afraid.

Adventure Related Talk & Chat / Re: OROW Dating Thread
« on: 23 Aug 2015, 18:44 »
I'd love to tag along and help someone with art, even if just a little!

Finished it the other day, had a blast! Very nice and meaty game that channels the spirit of Fallout and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. pretty much perfectly, with extra dashes of Lone Survivor, NEO Scavanger, Organ Trail, Wasteland... It's an interesting mix of all things post-apocalyptic, is what I'm saying. An easy recommendation to anyone who loves that sort of thing. Really looking forward to your next projects, keep up the good work!

AGS Games in Production / Re: Type Dreams
« on: 17 Jun 2015, 16:00 »
Sounds wonderfully unique and humanistic! The hectic collagey artstyle is quite something too, love it! Very much look forward to this, hope my terrible typing skills won't stop me from enjoying it! Best of luck!

Critics' Lounge / Re: Hey, remember Ben Jordan?
« on: 04 Feb 2015, 22:52 »
This gives a very nice and concrete insight into how one can improve their art - a lovely display! It's always great to see this sort of progress, thanks for sharing!

 And since we're in the CL now, I wanted to offer a small tip that might help with figuring out aerial perspective, levels/contrast issues and composition overall, and the tip is - try looking at your image in terms of values from time to time. Which basically means turning it to greyscale. Let's try and see how this works, then:

O-okay, so the bright road and the tree help save this one, but the foliage part is barely readable, with way too little sense of depth and space. It's important to remember that the closer the things are to us - the higher the contrast between shadows and light, and the further away they are - the lesser the contrast and duller the saturation. And you really want to exaggerate those relations, and you want the silhouettes of closer objects to read against the more background ones, you want them to pop.

Here's my quick, somewhat washed out edit of the greyscale picture with those things in mind: 

And here's how it translates to the coloured image (the result of putting the edited greyscale image over the original with "luminosity" blending mode and some minor additional colour-correction):

Hope this helps a bit! Obviously you want to design your image with those things in mind from the start for a better result, but switching to greyscale still might help you notice important issues at every stage of the process.

Lovely! Really cool, evocative art, lovely Vangelis-like retro sci-fi music and a nice concept. The overall feel of the world was just the right tint of cyberpunk for my tastes too - more Gibson and Stephenson than Blade Runner (minus the music :)). The design and implementation are pretty rough, but considering it's a pretty long MAGS game - great work, guys! Would love to see more from the same team, be it in the same setting or not!

The Rumpus Room / Re: Happy Birthday Thread!
« on: 10 Jul 2014, 17:37 »
Happy birthday(if it's your real birthday), Technocrat(if it's your real name)! All the best! :)

The Rumpus Room / Re: Happy Birthday Thread!
« on: 13 Jun 2014, 16:57 »
Happy Birthday, Eric! 32 seems like an excellent age to make an excellent game! ;)

Completed Game Announcements / Re: The Samaritan Paradox
« on: 28 Apr 2014, 06:44 »
Finished the game a few days ago and really liked it! Lots of good-to-great puzzles - challenging, but not to the point of being frustrating or plain silly, and quite varied. Charming graphics, especially the stylish, yet grounded in reality Gothenburg locations are a pleasure to explore, and the dramatic multi-threaded plot, although not without its problems, kept things interesting and moving throughout the game and was generally pretty well constructed and, ehm, I don't want to use the word "fun", but yeah, fun. :)

All in all - an enjoyable and very decently-sized adventure of code-craking and accidental gonzo journalism, thanks and congratulations on the release! Hope to see more from you in the future! :) 

-The ending was abrupt, yes. In my case, so abrupt that I wonder if there's a bug and I missed something:
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
After finishing Ch. 3 and not knowing what to do next, I decided to go look for Sara the last place I saw her: the cabin. There I run into Veronika, and out of nowhere accuse her of having murdered Jonatan, referring to photos I have absolutely no knowledge of. (I still don't know who "Max" is or what actually happened when Jonatan was killed.) Then shooting, and the game is over. Huh. There must be something missing, right?
That is most definitely a bug, yeah - the ending is much less abrupt and awkward in its actual form. :) Also,
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
Sara's cautious questions about weird things in the book softened the "twist" in the end for me a fair bit, since it was pretty much what I was expecting. And I mean it in a good way, since it didn't feel quite as random as it might've been otherwise. Didn't expect it to be delivered as a plot-twist, though.

Completed Game Announcements / Re: Blackwell Epiphany
« on: 24 Apr 2014, 17:01 »
Yay! Much congratulations to Dave, Janet, Ben and everyone else involved! A momentous occasion in AGS history, this! Looking forward to finally finding out whodunit! ;-D

I haven't seen this game you were working on, Snarky. Was it ever announced?

I remember seeing a shot from it somewhere (Critics' Lounge, probably?), and it was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the screenshots for this, actually! Not that they are too similar, but it's a fun connection. One of those "great minds think alike" situations! :)

Since it is now officially allowed, I'm going to vote for Snarky. Really great background with interesting sharp rendering, atmospheric colour palette and very convincing water animation - hats off!

Really like HanaIndiana's entry too - lots of cute little animated details, especially the tiny ducks. :)

This looks quite excellent!
Great artwork both in the background (lovely colours!) and the portrait (that hat ^_^) departments, and the premise sounds fun!

Best of luck getting this thing done!

It saddens me a bit to see how often it is assumed in these discussions that "the masses" lazily vote for the same game across the board and that's why we end up with these jackpot winners.
First of all - that happens with most awards that don't use genre differentiation for their categories, be they judged by a small committee or by democratic voting - that's just how it works - there is almost always a work that was the most striking, impressive or just came out at the right time and captured the spirit of the moment. And it's not like it has to be phenomenal in every aspect to win in every category - just better than other nominees.

Then there's this little problem - who are these imaginary "bad" voters? Isn't there about a hundred of them(us) in total? So no, I don't think there is anything wrong with the voting base and the way the voting itself is handled. Sure, not everyone have played every nominated game, and all of the games were made under different conditions, and it's not exactly fair, but nothing is. We just need a representation of generalized feelings of the community, and that's what we get anyway. No need to make the process harder. We have 12 "picks of the month" and the nominations still get you on the "Awards" page of the database, so let those singular games win their trophies - they've deserved them by definition, and they are the ones putting AGS on the map anyway. :)

So my position is that everything is nice and lovely as it is, and adding some fun and particular categories, while removing the clearly redundant ones, are the only things we should really be worried about. And here are my thoughts:

-Freeware vs Commercial - let's be inclusive here - AGS awards are for AGS games - how they were made and how much effort went into them is somewhat irrelevant to the final product. Adding the "Best Freeware Game" category makes the most sense here, since it's the most helpful one - you can actually go and download the games that won it and find out that even free AGS games are rad.

-SFX/Music/Voices - I'd cut it down to just "Best Sound [Design]" and "Best Music", since judging SFX by themselves is quite a challenge, and voiceacting is a pretty rare treat in AGS games still. Of course, that can give the games with voiceacting more edge in the "Best Sound" category, but then those games did put a lot of effort into sounds. As for "Best Music" - do not merge that with anything under any circumstances. :)

-Story/Dialogue - pretty different things, probably should be apart. Comedy games tend to rely more on the amusing dialogue, while thrillers need a good story. Both can be equally "well written", but on different merits.

-Art - currently the "Best Character Art" category seems a bit odd to me, so I'd go with "Best Artwork" and "Best Animation/Sprites"

-Gameplay - "Puzzles/Gameplay/Game Design" merged into one and "Programming" as a different, more technical award.

These cuts can also open some space for less general or genre award categories(see Baron's examples) that can help both the less fortunate, but still interesting games, and the fans of particular genres/types in their searches: Best Setting/Game World, Best Atmosphere, Best Comedy/Drama/Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/etc, Best Experimental Game, Most Underrated(ok, this one might be too ironic and more trouble than it's worth :)) and the like.

The Rumpus Room / Re: *Guess the Movie Title*
« on: 17 Feb 2014, 18:47 »
Everyone in my country knows that, so I'll pass :D
Wait, that was a hint, was it? :P
It would actually be interesting to see how well this movie is known in other parts of the world.

Yep. ;-D

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