Author Topic: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo  (Read 16373 times)

Ali

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Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« on: 21 Sep 2008, 15:33 »
Hello folks,

After finishing Nelly Cootalot I decided to make a game that really that was thoroughly original and would really stretch our understanding of art and the adventure game format.

But, instead of doing that, I've started working on this:

Download Nelly Cootalot II Tech Demo (45mb)

Features:
No puzzles
800x600 resolution
Parallax and Vignette effects
Custom Dialogue / Speech GUIs
Patchy voice "acting" recorded with a �1 microphone.

I'd like your opinions on this tech demo for a sequel to Nelly Cootalot. Particularly I'd like to know your thoughts on:

The visual style and interface,
The voices (listening to them makes me cringe, how about you?),
How you feel it compares to the look of the first game,
And whether the game runs successfully on your computer.

Of course any other comments are welcome. I'm very aware that the download size is three times as large as the completed original game, and this is just one room!. It's a consequence of multiple talking animations, which you'll see if you play. I'd like to know if you think the extra work and filesize is worth it. If you're on a slower connexion, I'd still appreciate your thoughts on the image above.

I hope you are pleased to see this project beginning, but remember that (apart from a few other completed characters) this represents the entirety of Nelly II so far. It will be a long while before a proper demo appears in the Games in Progress Thread.

Thanks,

Ali.
« Last Edit: 04 Apr 2013, 13:56 by Ali »

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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #1 on: 21 Sep 2008, 19:53 »
Quote
I'd like your opinions on this tech demo for a sequel to Nelly Cootalot. Particularly I'd like to know your thoughts on:

The visual style and interface,
The voices (listening to them makes me cringe, how about you?),
How you feel it compares to the look of the first game,
And whether the game runs successfully on your computer.

Minor error: (in room 1): Speech load failure: '~speech.vox~Baro90003.mp3'

I like the background visuals. Everything runs smoothly, and it has great style. I'm not certain about Nelly's design though. I don't mind the three-D-ish look, it's just that to me the original Nelly was a little more interesting and could therefore capture me longer.

Just a random thought.

Looks really interesting and promosing though :)

Ps. The black lines make the characters stand out just a little too much. They're not part of the room anymore (this feeling is increased by the absense of shadows).
« Last Edit: 21 Sep 2008, 20:10 by Misj' »

jetxl

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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #2 on: 21 Sep 2008, 20:02 »
The game runs suprisingly smooth. I honestly can't understand why commercial games like BS4 and Black Mirror can't pull that off while an indie game engine can. -Oh wait. I just figured out that the characters are still sprites.

Visual style: good- I don't mind the black outlines at all. I also don't mind 3d characters in hand drawn world.
Interface: good (as long as you played Full Throttle GUI games before)
Voices: I imagined Nelly's voice having a higher pitch, she is very petite after all. Accents are good.
Previous style to new style: No more rough pixel edges. Nelly looks huge!-  She fills up a large part of the screen.
System: Game runs perfect and I got a medium PC (build: 2004).
« Last Edit: 21 Sep 2008, 21:35 by jetxl »

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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #3 on: 21 Sep 2008, 20:13 »
I haven't played it yet, I'm dlding now. I must say I really like the character style you have gone with. But I too have issue with the black outlines. They really do stand out, Well in the screenshot anyway. I will you know my overall opinions when I play the demo.
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DanielH

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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #4 on: 21 Sep 2008, 21:07 »
Fantastic to hear of a new Nelly Cootalot game, the only criticism I have is again, the black lines, and the character design. I like the faux 3d effect, but I much prefered Nelly in her old design (long faded pink dress, black frills, hair down) to the new design, maybe that's just me.

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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #5 on: 21 Sep 2008, 21:15 »
The new design is kicking ass, the characters are a little too big..but it;s cool it has a certain tied up feeling.
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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #6 on: 21 Sep 2008, 21:31 »
Well! I've played this and must say it's great!

Runs smooth as silk for me and just love the artistic style. I loved the dialogs too and the text bubles, I don't know why.

The only thing I must say is that I can't identify Nelly... It's hard, maybe this "radically diferent" outfit makes it harder to identify Nelly. Try giving her an outfit that follows the same color scheme the that of Nelly Cootalot I.

Good Luck! Keep on with this.

Cheers!

PS: Oh and I like the quality of the voices, though I expected just a little bit higher pitch from Nelly's voice too.
« Last Edit: 21 Sep 2008, 22:55 by G »

LimpingFish

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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #7 on: 21 Sep 2008, 21:58 »
It's looks fantastic. File size might well be a problem though, especially if all the rooms have multiple parallax backgrounds.

I think people have a point about Nelly's size, especially as future characters who may be larger than her will occupy silly amounts of screen space. I'd hazard a guess that reducing her by between a quarter and a third would help.

I don't mind the black lines, and the overall quality of the characters and the backgrounds is superb. :)
« Last Edit: 21 Sep 2008, 23:31 by LimpingFish »
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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #8 on: 21 Sep 2008, 22:59 »
Nelly Cootalot is one of my favourite games  ;D

About Nelly sounded strange in the beggining but after a short while the felling went away. Same with the dress.

I agree that the characters do stand out a little too much, I think. Softening the black lines might work better.

Edit: my laptop is from 2000 and it runs smoothly too
« Last Edit: 21 Sep 2008, 23:30 by firefly »

Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #9 on: 22 Sep 2008, 00:07 »
I agree with what everyone else said, but I think the sprites don't stand out too much. Downgrading to 16-bit didn't ruin the outlines of the sprites either... So that's good.

However, it's slow for me. I know I have a fairly old computer, but still.

Anyway, the game is beautiful and I hope you do keep this up!

Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #10 on: 22 Sep 2008, 00:09 »
Background looks fantastic, but the character integration really irks me.

Here's a quick rough try (probably went a bit too far):

edit:












-- Space, to compensate a bit for the objectivity distortion comparisons causes.












original:


It makes the colours of the guy in particular very bland, but that could be fixed. Also reduced the contrast in the talk bubble, as it stood out a bit much as well in my taste.

The photoshop file - just added two adjustment layers (~500kb (ps cs3)

Haven't tried the game yet, but looking forward to it!

Edit: added a bit of space
« Last Edit: 22 Sep 2008, 00:13 by loominous »
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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #11 on: 22 Sep 2008, 01:11 »
 I agree with the few others about the character size.  They're just a tad too big  and makes things feel more enclosed then they might have otherwise been.  Other then that I really like the new style.

Just one thing i need to bring up, I guess it's an idle view, but I got that Loop 7 View 20 was missing for Nelly

Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #12 on: 22 Sep 2008, 02:37 »
Graphics look great.  I have no problem with the 3D characters in a hand drawn world.  I also have no problems with the black outlines on the characters.  Voices are alright--Baron needs some work.

I really like your 'depth' perception with the moving foreground and background.  I've never thought of doing that before, excellent work.

Took me a while to figure out you had a Coin verb.  You should decrease the amount of time it takes to activate it.

I also noticed that if I scroll the mouse wheel, the cursor disappears to the right side of the screen.

Also had the speech load failure..
(in room 1): Speech load failure: '~speech.vox~Baro90003.mp3'


Anyway, keep up the good work.  Looking forward to playing it.

Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #13 on: 22 Sep 2008, 03:32 »
Yay, a sequel! :D

The art looks fabulous as usual and retains the charm of the original, although I also think the black outlines are also a little harsh and make the characters stand out a bit too much as Loomy said.  Perhaps a dark brown or grey would suit the background style a bit more :)
I quite like Nelly's voice (and I normally don't like speechpacks ;)).

I left this running in a window in the background for a while while I was doing other stuff and it crashed, which I guess would be a memory-related thing?  I dunno, but thought I'd mention it.

Good luck with production!

Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #14 on: 22 Sep 2008, 09:55 »
As for the speech thing, I didn't get any errors but I couldn't hear the the baron's words when I asked him "where are we?"

Shane 'ProgZmax' Stevens

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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #15 on: 22 Sep 2008, 11:00 »
I have to say that I don't think the 3d characters gel well with your design choice for the backgrounds.  They have an almost claymation-look to them which the black outline throws off, and the effect makes them look very much like they are pasted on the background rather than within it.  I think your original method of drawing the characters to match the backgrounds would work much better here, but again this only my opinion and you are free to make the game any way you like.  Another alternative would be to try making some minimalistic 3d modeled backgrounds that try to match the style, though I think you would lose some of the comic beauty you've established.

The colors of the 3d characters also seem rather muted, but it could just be me.

As far as the animations go, they're very fluid overall and seem to fit the emotions well (Nelly raising her fist when she says 'Never!' is great).  I notice their facial expressions aren't as varied, however, but this could just be a stylistic choice on your part.

I think Nelly's voice is nice and doesn't bother me at all, although Widebeard's could use some work.

Overall, I quite like both the 3d and 2d you've done here, though with your background style I do not think they fit well together. 

Ali

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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #16 on: 22 Sep 2008, 11:16 »
Thanks for the feedback, and for sneaking in a few handy error reports! I'm glad its positive overall.

If possible I'd like a little clarification on a couple of the main points:

Nelly's Design:
Nelly will wear this Naval outfit during the game, but it will begin (and probably end) with her wearing her pink pirate dress with a ragged black trim, with minor changes as a consequence of the shift in medium. Or are your objections to her face/giant head? I must say, I think the pony tail is cute.

Character integration:
I'm afraid I like the way the characters stand out! The sprites in the first game were much bolder and more highly saturated than the backgrounds, and that's what I wanted to re-create. The black outlines actually dark green, as the outlines in the first game were, but that's of little consequence. Incidentally, ProgZMax, a clay-mation look was exactly my intention, sorry you don't like it!

Weirdly, I put the outlines in to solve the problem of 3D-2D integration. Without the outlines they fit in less well. I'd be a fool to disregard your advice, loominus, but I find your edit a little too washed out over all. Would lightening the outlines as per that edit but leaving the characters untouched work for you guys?

Character size:
I agree that Nelly is big, but I don't see the problem. She's a lot smaller than a character would appear in an animation or a film. Could it be that we are used to seeing tiny little character sprites, so this seems strange?

She would be smaller in other scenes, and I imagined her being about 1/6 of that size in some exterior/map locations.

Thanks again for your feedback. It would be helpful if you could let me know how things strike you in light of the points above.

Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #17 on: 22 Sep 2008, 15:08 »
If you want to address the character integration "problem", I think it goes further than the dark outlines.


Here's a small 'black point' tutorial, that might be also be of interest to people who like "photoshopping" stuff (but is just as important when painting, as you're basically just "photoshopping" in objects that you draw into your own painting)

(Disclaimer: some very basic stuff will be stated - not to be interpreted as disrespectful - just want to make it understandable for anyone)


When we judge the distance to an object, we do so very much based on their darkest value, as in, the darkest part/colour in the object. The darker this colour/value is, the closer we deem the object to be, and vice versa.

This is most noteable under foggy conditions, where things just a few meters away become washed out, and only objects very close to us retain some kind of blackness.

This fog effect is actually always present, but to a much lesser degree, which makes it harder to spot, as things only far away will be noteably washed out. It still occurs however, and have to be considered if a foreign object is to be believeably integrated into an environment.

In this example I quickly integrated the sprites into a photo of a foggy landscape:



To make them "sit" in the environment somewhat believeably, I altered the sprite's values so that the darkest point, which was found on Nelly's right foot, corresponded to a nearby object's darkest point.


Let's say we wanted to integrated them further back in the image:



Due to the thick fog, the problem becomes very apparent. Her darkest point is very much darker than that of nearby objects (hardly visable here). A nearby tree's trunk will have to work as reference.



In this one I just raised her values, so that her darkest point corresponded to the tree trunk.


If the background has washed out values, this phenomenon becomes very important:



In this case I raised the values of the background, but kept the sprite's intact. As their darkest value is even darker than that of the foreground, they pop out, and the image looks manipulated.

-

The last part is the main problem I have with the screenshot. The values of the sprites - even without the outlines - simply pull them infront of everything, even the foreground table, due to their darker values. The choice here - if a fix is desireable - is to either pull the foreground closer, by darkening the table, or by altering the sprites's values to fit the environment.

I think this could be fixed with different shaders, or more washed out lighting in the 3D prog, as well as post colour treatment. As the background style is heavily stylized, I think hoping that normally shaded 3D sprites will fit is rather optimistic. I think the speculars found on his boots and nose in particular, breaks with the extremely flat background style.

So my suggestion would be to create sharper contrast in the sprites without including dark (or bright) values, and achieve this by going towards more cel-shading like shading, where fewer values make the contrast between them appear sharper. This would integrate them, and also avoid the washed out look found in my edit.

Edit: Just remember this image, in which I tried to demonstrate how smooth gradients wash out any contrast, while even having quite similar values right next to eachother (like in cel-shading) increases the sense of contrast:



(To make clear, I'm not advocating cel-shading, just shaders closer to cel-shaders. (Some of the ones I've seen also give the clay impression that you seem to be going for).

Anyway, just my few cents.

Edit:
Could it be that we are used to seeing tiny little character sprites, so this seems strange?

I think it's partly that, but also that she seems big when compared to stuff in the room, such as the borders, tables, shelves etc. One problem there is her big head, which messes with the proportions, as the stuff in the room seem to correspond to her body's dimensions, but not the head's. It's a tricky situation.
« Last Edit: 22 Sep 2008, 21:29 by loominous »
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jetxl

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Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #18 on: 22 Sep 2008, 19:33 »
Character size:
I agree that Nelly is big, but I don't see the problem. She's a lot smaller than a character would appear in an animation or a film. Could it be that we are used to seeing tiny little character sprites, so this seems strange?
I didn't noticed how big the characters were untill Nelly started to block the items in the background that I wanted to interact with.
Guybrush in Monkey Island 3 is huge too but he's also very thin (even compared to the other characters) so he never blocks the background. I don't know if they did that on purpose but it works out.
But I can understand why you don't want to rescale the characters. It affects everything.

And the more I look at Loominous edit, the more the original screenshot bothers me.
« Last Edit: 22 Sep 2008, 19:35 by jetxl »

Re: Nelly Cootalot II - Tech Demo
« Reply #19 on: 22 Sep 2008, 21:14 »
I love how 'nice' it feels. It's a very polished look. I also think the large characters are refreshing and completely fine logistically. I do agree fully, however, with what loominous says about the character integration with the backgrounds. If you could get that right, the whole package would look brilliant! :)