Author Topic: Which style do you prefer for sierra-like adventure game?  (Read 601 times)  Share 

Izera

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I'm creating early-Sierra-like adventure game. I decided for barbarian themed game as Sierra never did do anything like it, but I think it would fit their range of games perfectly. Obviously I went with AGI style, however, I can't decide between earlier "blocky" 2x1 pixel size and later 1x1 pixel size. I include test backgrounds created by me below. Please zoom in :)

2x1 pixel size

1x1 pixel size


Those backgrounds are not a part of the game (actually I loosely based them on this image). I made them just to check which style looks better and to evaluate how much time I need to create background using each style. I gave myself 1 hour for each background and ended up with similar end result (which is shocking as I thought higher resolution would take more time to create). However, it seems that 1x1 would need more cleanup/fixes than 2x1.

And yes, I know that they aren't perfect - I would normally spend much more than 1 hour on a bacground :) I just wanted a quick mock-up to compare styles.

I'm not sure which style is more appealing as they both have this cool retro feel for me. That's why I would love your feedback and help with deciding. Which style do you prefer and why?

ClickClickClick

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Overall I like the 2x1 better, but you should try to get the dithering from the 1x1 to work.
Testing, testing... is this thing on?

Izera

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Overall I like the 2x1 better, but you should try to get the dithering from the 1x1 to work.
I originally tried the same full-scale gradient on 2x1 but it felt somewhat off. I liked this narrow one better for some reason. You may be right though - the more I keep looking at the narrow one the more wierd it seems now :D

horusr

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Well 1x1 looks better, smoother and more appealing.
But 2x1 has more retro feeling.
Idk, I don't play 2x1 games so I can't say which is fits better to sierra feeling.

In that particular image the protagonist in 2x1 looks like a bare-breasted woman! :X

Izera

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In that particular image the protagonist in 2x1 looks like a bare-breasted woman! :X
Haha! Yeah I was afraid someone might say that. Not sure how to make him into a strong barbarian in 2x1 without that illusion. He either has "breasts" or flat chest :)

Hmmm, maybe that's your answer right there. I know you said the backgrounds aren't part of the game, but what game is this exactly? It looks cool. Reminds me in a remote way of Space Quest II, with the exploring of the planet and discovering of new beings and cultures.

Gurok

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In that particular image the protagonist in 2x1 looks like a bare-breasted woman! :X
Haha! Yeah I was afraid someone might say that. Not sure how to make him into a strong barbarian in 2x1 without that illusion. He either has "breasts" or flat chest :)

It looks a bit more chest-like stretched out to a pseudo-4:3 aspect ratio, IMHO:



Sierra really only ever used a 50% ordered dither, like the part I've highlighted in magenta here:



That's what stands out to me.

Hmmm, maybe that's your answer right there. I know you said the backgrounds aren't part of the game, but what game is this exactly? It looks cool. Reminds me in a remote way of Space Quest II, with the exploring of the planet and discovering of new beings and cultures.

Could this be a Conan the Barbarian game?

I prefer the version with more detail!
« Last Edit: 16 Jul 2017, 12:47 by Gurok »


Cassiebsg

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I prefer the 1x1 too, but you're right that the 2x1 has more of a feel of original retro (if I can say it like that). (nod)
There are those who believe that life here began out there...

Izera

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Re: Which style do you prefer for sierra-like adventure game?
« Reply #10 on: 16 Jul 2017, 13:05 »
I know you said the backgrounds aren't part of the game, but what game is this exactly?
Could this be a Conan the Barbarian game?
The game will be called Barbarian Quest (obviously ;)) but it's not about Conan because
a) I'm not sure if I can use the character (the books are public domain, but some new editions, comics and movies are not).
b) Although Conan has some ironic sense of humor I would like the game to be even more humorous.
There's not much to show right now apart from those mockups. I'm currently working on the story and experimenting with the style.
The game will use and play with lots of barbarian tropes as much as King Quest played with myths and fantasy tropes.

It looks cool. Reminds me in a remote way of Space Quest II, with the exploring of the planet and discovering of new beings and cultures.
I'm really happy that it made you think about exploring/discovery from SQII as those elements will be a big part of the game like in nearly every Space Quest and King Quest game.

Sierra really only ever used a 50% ordered dither, like the part I've highlighted in magenta
Ah! True. I'll keep it in mind and try to stick to 50% ordered dither only :)

Random fact: Izera just joined the forum today!
That's true :) I decided to join because I really wanted to get feedback from fellow adventure lovers and creators. Also, AGS is the engine/editor I chose for the game so It seemed appropriate to register on the forums :)
« Last Edit: 16 Jul 2017, 13:11 by Izera »

Re: Which style do you prefer for sierra-like adventure game?
« Reply #11 on: 16 Jul 2017, 13:08 »
It sounds like an awesome game! Just remember not to make the sequel about this guy:


Izera

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Re: Which style do you prefer for sierra-like adventure game?
« Reply #12 on: 16 Jul 2017, 13:13 »
It sounds like an awesome game! Just remember not to make the sequel about this guy:

Hmm... Brien son Of Conan :P

Re: Which style do you prefer for sierra-like adventure game?
« Reply #13 on: 17 Jul 2017, 02:48 »
I like the 1x1 style better.  I just think it looks better.  And even if all the dithering isn't "Sierra accurate" it looks great.  I'd focus on making the best looking game in that resolution rather than trying to perfectly mimic a style, but that would be my choice.  If your choice is different, so be it.

Also, welcome to the forums!  Good luck with your game.  I'd totally play a game about either Conan, to be honest.

Gurok

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Re: Which style do you prefer for sierra-like adventure game?
« Reply #14 on: 17 Jul 2017, 04:07 »
And even if all the dithering isn't "Sierra accurate" it looks great.  I'd focus on making the best looking game in that resolution rather than trying to perfectly mimic a style, but that would be my choice.  If your choice is different, so be it.

Same here, actually. To me, it looks like a game of the EGA era, with Sierra-styled character art, and that's not a bad thing!

Danvzare

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Re: Which style do you prefer for sierra-like adventure game?
« Reply #15 on: 17 Jul 2017, 10:05 »
And yes, I know that they aren't perfect - I would normally spend much more than 1 hour on a bacground :) I just wanted a quick mock-up to compare styles.
I find it incredible that you made something that good in an hour. I can't make a background half as good as that with twice as much time.

As for which one I prefer. I personally prefer the 1x1 type, but that's probably because I like my graphics to be as good as possible, despite being a strong advocate of graphics not mattering.
But if you want to go for an authentic AGI style, which it seems like you do, I would go for the 2x1 type.

In that particular image the protagonist in 2x1 looks like a bare-breasted woman! :X
Looks more like Super Saiyan 4 Goku to me. (laugh)

Re: Which style do you prefer for sierra-like adventure game?
« Reply #16 on: 17 Jul 2017, 13:33 »
I'm really digging both backgrounds, but I lean more for the 1x1 pixel one.
My main issue with the 2x1 pixels is that you have to keep making sure everything is in the non-square grid, and all the drawing software I use is not helpful on that aspect, so it always ends up being more work for me.

On the technical side, what Gurok mentioned is true, pre 256 color Sierra backgrounds were a list of commands that the computer would draw.
Here is a stolen gif that shows one background being rendered: [Source]


As you can see it's a series of lines and fill commands one after the other.
The dithered parts were just another color in the palette, that would be rendered as a 50% dither, so they didn't have access to other types of dithering unless done adding a lot of commands that would make the games a lot bigger.

Now, that said, I personally think that unless you want to go for a 100% real old Sierra style you should take advantage of the tools we use now a days and make the dithering that works best for the backgrounds.

Izera

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Re: Which style do you prefer for sierra-like adventure game?
« Reply #17 on: 17 Jul 2017, 13:50 »
My main issue with the 2x1 pixels is that you have to keep making sure everything is in the non-square grid, and all the drawing software I use is not helpful on that aspect, so it always ends up being more work for me.
I had the same issue, I used many programs like Pyxel Edit, GrafX2, Cosmigo ProMotion and Graphics Gale. I think the only one from those which supports the 2x1 pixel size is ProMotion but I hate working in this application for some reason. It has LOTS of feautures but I find it hard to use no matter how long I'm using it.

But now, I found a perfect software for my needs! Aseprite! It has nice pallette support, dithered gradients, custom brushes, 2x1 pixel size, layers, animations, and more. I can't recommend it hard enough! Really, I'm in love with this editor. They have a free demo where you can use every feature of the program but you cannot save your work. The full version is cheap (unlike the "pro" version of Cosmigo ProMotion). You can check it out here: https://www.aseprite.org/. If they ever add an optional non-pixelart interface then I suspect that it will slowly become the most used pixelart editor :)

On the technical side, what Gurok mentioned is true, pre 256 color Sierra backgrounds were a list of commands that the computer would draw.
Here is a stolen gif that shows one background being rendered
Oh that is so freaking cool! Thank you for providing me with the gif! I will not use the same method of creating my backgrounds (obviously) but referencing it should help me achieve the Sierra "feel" :)

Re: Which style do you prefer for sierra-like adventure game?
« Reply #18 on: 17 Jul 2017, 15:20 »
But now, I found a perfect software for my needs! Aseprite! It has nice pallette support, dithered gradients, custom brushes, 2x1 pixel size, layers, animations, and more. I can't recommend it hard enough!

Aseprite is a great tool. Where do you set it for non-square pixels? Or are you just making a 2x1 grid and coloring inside it?

Oh that is so freaking cool! Thank you for providing me with the gif! I will not use the same method of creating my backgrounds (obviously) but referencing it should help me achieve the Sierra "feel" :)

Yeah, that method can be torture to use, but it really shows how the backgrounds were assembled.

Izera

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Re: Which style do you prefer for sierra-like adventure game?
« Reply #19 on: 17 Jul 2017, 16:19 »
Where do you set it for non-square pixels? Or are you just making a 2x1 grid and coloring inside it?
When you create a new image you simply tick the "advanced options" checkbox and choose pixel size from the dropdown list :)