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Pixel → Tile → World

If an RPG falls in a forest, but the trees suck, does anyone care?

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Design 13 November 2015 - - - - - - · 2,397 views

My game, Of Stranger Flames, takes place in a fictional French colony settled in a heavily-wooden bit of terrain.

Forested areas appeal to me greatly, so it makes sense to set my game in a forest.

There's just one problem...



I can't draw trees

That is to say, I couldn't previously draw trees. But I've gotten better over time. I've made some new tree art yesterday! It makes my old art look like trash.

For comparison, here's my previous trees:

And *bum bum bum baaaaa!* here's my new trees:

Still not amazingly fantastic, but still alot better than previously. Hurray for relativistic comparisons. Posted Image

So yeah, it makes my old trees look like trash. An artist friend assures me that this is the way it's supposed to be, saying, "Every five minutes I think 'man, my work from 10 minutes ago is junk'". I'm having exactly that same feeling! Except, it takes me over a year to improve instead of five minutes. Posted Image

The trees have also apparently quadrupled in size. Posted Image
This should hopefully make the world feel more raw nature with a few towns nestled inbetween, rather than some cultivated garden. I'll need alot more "forest debris" as well. I have some shrubs and such, but I'll need fallen logs and other things, dirt forest floor, and etc... We'll see if I can eventually pull it off.

Artwork, I guess. =)

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Design 17 November 2014 - - - - - - · 1,304 views

I haven't posted in awhile (as usual), most of my updates just occur on twitter, where I usually post an average of 6 or so tweets a week (usually two or three tweets on a single day, then silence for a few days, and repeat), so here's a re-posting from twitter of things I've been doing recently.

First, on the coding side, I've implemented a UI for scaling and manipulating decals - which I'll use to add dirt and cracks to walls, tables, and floors, as well as put detail items (tools, paintings, papers, rugs, whatever) on surfaces.

I'm working on that in a small subproject which I'll merge back into

Anyway, on to cool stuff:

Cliffs (click for full size)
Posted Image

The most significant thing (which you can see if you zoom in), is that I finally figured out how to make grass look better.
By simply having grassy stuff where the grass meets walls (and cliffs and tree trunks), it makes it seem alot more grassy.

For scale, the player is only about a quarter the size of one of those trees. These aren't no wussy backyard shrubs! Posted Image


Posted Image

Because I'm still working on the editor, none of the art is in-game, so these couches might be too big relative to the player.

Wussy backyard shrubs
Posted Image

I made these today/yesterday. These stiff brambly plants are wild plants that'd grow naturally around various areas ingame.
The editor can let map makers tweak their stem colors (for example: red-ish, brown, white, grey, green), and they come optionally with berries, flowers, or that drapery flowery thing you currently see on them (wisteria-inspired, I guess!).

Hopefully I'll have enough plant variation that my nature areas will look interesting, and not just an eclectic mix of crazy plants. I need cohesion working with diversity, I guess.


Posted Image

These are combinable - I made each planterbox so their sides can be built up higher or lower (three sizes for the stones: one layer of brick high, two layers, and three layers. For the wood, it's one or two planks high), and so they can have different plants planted in them, with optional bars over them for plants to grow on. They can also be laid out horizontally or vertically.

Wooden cattle fence

I've already made a few stone fences in the past, and iron bar fences and wood picket fences, so I figure a more rustic wooden fence for cattle would add a more warm and "lived in" feeling to the world.

Footlockers / furniture chests

Crates / boxes:

Boxes likely in a port area or fishing village. The one on the far right says "Parii", since the game takes place in a fictional former French colony.

Shadowing and lighting my RPG's walls

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Design 02 July 2014 - * * * * * · 1,369 views
art, design, lighting
I was trying to figure out some some shadowing stuff, and so put this image together for my own benefit, and then figured I'd post it here and share it with anyone interested.

Here's how I'm shading and lighting the walls for my game.

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I was considering using Screen or Additive blending for the light, and Multiply or Subtractive for the purple shadowing, but since I have the overlays so low in transparency, it seemed regular alpha blending had the light and shadow coloring showing up better better.

While it technically doesn't make sense for there to be arbitrary lighting on one end of the wall and arbitrary shading on the end, it adds more "life" to the wall, I feel, making it look less flat. And, as an artist friend was saying to me, 'The artistic rules with lighting is basically that you get to make it up, because what with light scattering and light rays bouncing around everywhere, you can pretty much just do whatever looks good and get away with it.' (paraphrased)

With lighting, you can just cheat as long as it doesn't stand out so badly that it draws people's eyes to it. With this wall being in the midst of a scene with many things to look at, the subtle lighting at the ends won't be too noticeable, but will still add to the overall visual aesthetics.

Probably, maybe, hopefully? Posted Image

Art I made today

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art 22 June 2014 - - - - - - · 1,018 views

I've been really busy with household projects + guests staying over, so I haven't made much progress on Of Stranger Flames.

Yesterday and today, I managed to sneak a little time in and made these:

Water cistern / well:

Posted Image Posted Image

A closed version, and an open version.

Stone blocks:
Posted ImagePosted Image
(With optional horse ring tie-out).

Stone posts:

Posted Imagehttp://s10.postimg.org/e9o659let/Stone_post.pnghttp://s10.postimg.org/q7l55ezs5/Stone_post_broken_2.png

Small posts, outdoors, for whatever purpose.
These aren't support posts, they are roughly 5" x 5" and maybe 4 or 5 feet tall.

Horse watering troughs:

An empty version and a filled version.

I'm hoping to get more work done on my editor soon - I still can't view any of this art in-game, which makes it hard to get the scale correct. I have fixed measurements (1 pixel = 1 inch, so a 48x48 tile is four feet by four feet), but I know I'll have to adjust alot of my art once I see it all in the game world - I'll probably need to adjust scale as well as relative brightness.

Hope all y'all projects are going well!

A few art pieces over the past few days

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art 21 February 2014 - - - - - - · 1,311 views
pixelart, development
I'm working on a small tool to help me package my games' art assets together in a more manageable way, so here's a screenshot of that:

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(Most of these buttons aren't working yet)

But, as usual when I can't get into a coding groove (or when waiting for long compiles), I've worked on some tileart for Of Stranger Flames.

Marble fireplace

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This is a marble fireplace, with gold trim. It's sunk into the wall, which is why the mantlepiece looks cut-off at the top.

I'm pleased with it, aside from it probably being slightly too small.


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Stack of firewood to go with it. They seem a bit out of proportion compared to the fireplace, but don't let that fool you! In reality, they actually are out of proportion with the fireplace because I wasn't paying attention to my in-game size measurements again! Posted Image

The fireplace seems a bit small, but the logs are definitely over-sized.

"Once I get the actual editor working" (yep, still on that repeating record track), then these kinds of things will be alot easier to notice and correct.

Not fully happy with the logs, even apart from the size. Too uniform for real firewood.

King's throne
Posted Image

The tiny colony/nation that Of Stranger Flames takes place in has a young king ruling it. Only the second king in its short history.
And hey, a king needs more than just a figurative throne - he needs a smashingly nice and literal throne. http://public.gamedev5.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png
French-inspired, ofcourse, since the colony was colonized by the french.

I'm very pleased with it.

Large (really large) tent


When I was making this tent, I designed it kind-of with military use in-mind, thinking it may have a place in the first semi-town the player encounters, which is a military outpost.

Leave it to my character-artist to point out that this tent would collapse after the first rainfall, when the rain would pool up on the roof. http://public.gamedev5.net//public/style_emoticons/default/angry.png

I think the tent needs some more work with creases and such. I'm liking the texturing (it's supposed to be made out of "canvas" which is made from cotton, wool, or hemp (from which ropes are made). I also liked out the rugs in the doorway came out, but I think the roof needs more character.

Double archway


Very large stone double-archway, probably for the fortified fortress the player passes through a few hours into the game.

Roofing shingles

I made this one a week or two ago. Since it's composed of tiles, when I actually make use of it, I'll be sure the forward-facing portion of the roof is slightly longer than the backward-facing side (because of the camera angle of the game).

Built-in bookcase


A bookcase built-into / sunk-into the wall. Way too oversized. (And yet, I have a measurement system... apparently I neglected it the past few weeks).

I'm a sucker for built-in furniture (like that marble fireplace), having helped my dad construct a few around the house when younger. Never this fancy though, and certainly not in a stone wall! http://public.gamedev5.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wacko.png

Anyway, I hope all y'all projects are going well. The programming side of mine keeps starting and stalling, progress-wise, but hopefully it'll kick into drive soon. http://public.gamedev5.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png

Inwhich I post some artwork to gaze upon...

Posted by , in Pixel art 09 February 2014 - - - - - - · 1,565 views
art, pixelart, tileart
Inwhich I post some artwork to gaze upon...
...wistfully longing for them to actually be within the game world itself.

Been sick/busy/occupied for awhile with non-programming things, but I've still gotten some art done here and there over the past few weeks.

Got a NAS with x2 1TB Western Digital Red drives stuck in it (as a single RAID1 drive) for backup purposes. I like Western Digital; they give good prices, high quality (in my inexperienced opinion) harddrives, backed by good no-hassle warranties.
(For you non-english speakers, my internet is a bit rusty but I think the correct translation is: "Western Digital is a pretty cool guy. tEhy gives goud deal and and doesnt afraid of anything.")

Anyway, artwork, yes.

Cliff walls:
Posted Image

Posted ImagePosted Image

Planter boxes:
Posted ImagePosted Image (and several more plant variations)

Roofing shingles:

Paving stones:


Brick wall:


Minor spattering of info

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art 02 January 2014 - - - - - - · 1,117 views
development, rpg
Not much to say, and not much to show, but I haven't posted in several weeks so I figure I need to post something.

I've been running some tests using SFML and OpenGL, to see what kind of framerates I could get when drawing my 2D tiles (the results of the performance results are still inexplicably low), and in doing so, I confusedly ended up with some weird OpenGL mistakes from mixing up by the order that the vertices were supposed to go in:

Posted Image

Being new to GLSL (and OpenGL in general), I was playing around with getting my existing color blending algorithms working with OpenGL shaders:

Posted Image

Anyway, eventually (after heatedly interrogating other GDNet members in the chat room) I realized (okay, fine, "admitted I was wrong and acknowledged" Posted Image) that I didn't actually need to use GLSL shaders to achieve the results I wanted:

Posted Image

But, I do need to use GLSL shaders to use one texture as the alpha mask for another texture. Posted Image
I thought there would be built in OpenGL functions for that, for sure.

It took me several days to trick SFML into letting me do that, by intermingling OpenGL function calls and GLSL shaders and depending on SFML implementation details:


That's a rotated texture that has been flipped horizontally, with a independently rotated and/or flipped texture applied as the alpha channel.

If you came here expecting artwork... I haven't really worked on much recently. http://public.gamedev5.net//public/style_emoticons/default/ohmy.png
Today I did make some pottery and jewelry boxes, but that's about it for the past several weeks!

Oh, as mentioned in my previous dozen or so journal entries, you now have the great privilege of following me on twitter! *waits expectantly for the world to burst into rejoicing*

*still waiting expectantly*

Update on 'Of Stranger Flames'

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Design 11 December 2013 - - - - - - · 6,947 views
art, game, development, progress and 1 more...
Haven't posted in awhile. I've been busy doing some minor VBA scripts as well as necessary housework projects, so I haven't been able to make much project on my game.

Anyway, I'm back knee-deep in Of Stranger Flames again. It's so refreshing to be able to speak my native C++ language again!

Editor work:

I just finished getting tag-filtering re-implemented into the editor:

Posted Image

I'm trying to get the editor done as fast as possible, but we'll see how it all works out. 3 1/2 years working on the editor?! I really need to get it done. Posted Image

Ofcourse, those 3 years have also been spent on artwork, the game concept, and other things, but still... without getting the editor finished, I can't move forward.


Speaking of art (look, a diversion!), here's some I made recently:
(These works are all copyrighted, except where noted below, and I reserve the rights to them Posted Image)

Some plants for forested areas:

Posted ImagePosted Imagehttp://img42.imageshack.us/img42/991/7ai5.png


Some stone water holding thing:


Paintings and other wall-hangers:


The paintings within the frame are old public domain artwork from the 1700s, from Wikicommons.


Here, I was trying to make some kind of wall-mounted wood-carved wall-hung something or other.
Is it clear enough that you can tell what it's showing?

Baseboard and fancy crown moulding:


Carved baseboard (basically just re-using the art from the wood-carved object above).


This is weird. It's supposed to be a type of really fancy crown-moulding (decorative trimwork that goes at the top of walls where the wall meets the ceiling), but this crown-moulding has painting inside it. I never knew such a thing existed until I saw a photograph of something similar from some fancy building in Europe or Russia.

Can you tell what the picture is supposed to be?


Incase you didn't know, I tweet now. That is to say, I have a twitter account that could ostensibly be used for tweeting, if I'd remember to do it more often. http://public.gamedev5.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png

I tend to not want to tweet unless I actually have something to say or am replying to, or retweeting, what someone else said, so I only average about 1.5 tweets a day. I currently have 75 non-spambot followers, which is pretty good, all things considered. I figure, despite not really being all that sociable, that I need to build a 'social media' 'presence'. That's a thing now, you know. Or, at least it was three years ago - I might've been left behind again. http://public.gamedev5.net//public/style_emoticons/default/ohmy.png

So anyway, you should follow me. And you should PM me on GameDev.net with your twitter handle so I can follow you. http://public.gamedev5.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png

Stain glass windows

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art 08 October 2013 - - - - - - · 1,444 views

A month or two ago, I drew some stain glass windows for Of Stranger Flames. Here's how they look:
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(These are blended together in an art program - this is not an actual in-game screenshot)

Some plant artwork

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art 31 July 2013 - - - - - - · 576 views
art, 2d, rpg
Wow. Five journal entries in one month. I hope I'm making up for all the months where I skipped posting!

Well, here's a few more shrubbery things for my game:

Attached Image
The trunk ain't so hot here. I've already updated the trunks since I took this screenshot, and while improved, they still aren't that great.

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I love these ones alot. Also, generated a few smaller versions of them, for more variation.

These were ridiculously easy to do, because I found some public domain plant leaves and just recolored, shrunk, and rotated them.

Some over-fancy mayor or lord will be pleased with his new doorway:

Attached Image
This would ideally be against a grey-ish or dark-colored wall. A dark red wall would work well also. The gold leaves are supposed to be as if they were stenciled on the wall as decor.

These doorway leaves were also public domain.

Cabinets and shrubbery for Of Stranger Flames

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art 25 July 2013 - - - - - - · 1,243 views
art, concept art, sketches and 1 more...
Here's some art I made today and yesterday for my RPG game project.
(Note: This art is not public domain - I intend to use it for my own game projects - though I'd love to release some of it in the future)

Since Of Stranger Flames takes place in a heavily-forested land, I need alot of shrubbery to make the environment more detailed and 'natural'.
Previously I posted pictures of some trees I was working on. Yesterday and today I made some shrubbery:

Attached Image

Note 1: This is not a screenshot from within the game, this is merely a test image layered in an art program.
Note 2: I added way too many shrubs in the picture.
Note 3: Every shrub there is a different shrub, they aren't copies of each other.
Note 4: I added way too many notes under this not-a-screenshot image.

Since the game also takes place in urban environments - namely: small villages, prosperous towns, and prosperouslier cities - then I need the inside of the buildings to also look good.
These images are some cabinets I just finished:

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Attached Image Attached Image

Here's the concept art I sketched several months ago, which I based these cabinets on:
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I drew it while re-re-watching Pride and Prejudice (the good one - the 2005 movie). Posted Image

Tiny bit of art, some programming talk

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Code snippets 21 July 2013 - - - - - - · 1,123 views
Here's a few pieces of art I made for my game, in between programming.

Stone fence
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I just finished this a few minutes ago - it took about an hour.

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I guess about a week ago? Maybe two.


Didn't get anything done today - rather lazy. Still have a few hours left in the day, so I'm going to crack back into the code for a bit more work.

Yesterday and the day before I made great progress finally figuring out a good resource-management system for my game. This is after a week or two of false-starts, and several concepts drawn on paper over the past few months. The end result isn't anything special - but all my prior attempts were either too limiting in capability, or else too generalized to be useful. I've gotten it mostly working already, and yesterday I started connecting it up to the old area-drawing code that I haven't seen in several months. I'm happy with the area-drawing code - it's still stable and clean - but the tile-drawing and image-sharing code that I was replacing just was too clunky.

One bit of code I'm somewhat proud of is a new serializing system I wrote up to replace my old one. The new one is more reusable and a pleasure to use, though there is one annoying thing I'd like to fix later.

The new serializer is heavily template-based for great flexibility, observe:
struct MyStruct
	std::tuple<std::pair<std::string, int>, float, std::vector<std::string> > tupleOfPairsAndVectorsOfStrings;
	float otherStuff;

//Template specialization for serializing 'MyStruct'.
size_t Serialize<MyStruct>(Serializer &serializer, MyStruct &tileDetails, size_t pos)
	//Automaticly calls the overload for floats.
	pos = Serialize(serializer, tileDetails.otherStuff, pos);
	//Automaticly calls the overload for tuples, which in-turn calls the overload for each tuple's member,
	//which in this case calls the overload for std::pair<> which then calls the overload for std::string and int,
	//and also calls the overload for std::vector, which calls on each element the overload for std::string.
	pos = Serialize(serializer, tileDetails.tupleOfPairsAndVectorsOfStrings, pos);
	//Sound slow? Not when you remember template functions are resolved at compile-time. =P
        //It shouldn't be any slower than most other serializing methods.
	return pos;

class Foo
	//Calling Serialize() on class 'Foo' automaticly detects that Foo has a Foo::Serialize() function, and calls that instead.
	size_t Serialize(Serializer &serializer, size_t pos)
		//Calls the Serialize() function for vectors... which automaticly detects the type of element in the vector,
		//and calls Serialize<ElementType>() for each element in that vector.
		return Serialize(serializer, this->arrayOfStructs, pos);
	std::vector<MyStruct> arrayOfStructs;
While not intentional, I think it's also loads faster than my old class, which is a nice plus. I haven't profiled it yet to see.

Better still, I don't have to code almost-identical read and write serializing functions for classes - just one function, that reads OR writes, using the same code. Serialize() depending on the nature of the Serializer passed in, reads or writes using the same functions. And without a bunch branching statements - it redirects to the read or write function using a function pointer.

Using a function-pointer also allows me to redirect to Safe or Fast read functions at run time (or for individual pieces of code), depending on the requirements of the program. If I want to, I could later also add Encrypted read/write functions, or Compressed read/write functions, without changing any existing code, but by just adding the new functions to the Serializer class that handles the incoming bytes.

I'd like to be a tree

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Design 25 June 2013 - - - - - - · 1,108 views
2d, art, pixel, rpg
I'd like to be a tree I know I haven't posted in a long while. Still working on Of Stranger Flames, but progress has been sporadic. Still optimistic though!
Here's some of the tree art I've been working on:

Attached Image

Alas, this is not a screenshot from within the game, but merely layering the tree components (shadow, trunk, leaves) over each other in a image editor. Because the trunks are separated from the leaves, I can mix and match any of the 19 trunk variations with any of the 10 tree tops in 13 different colors of tops. Hopefully that'll give enough variation for some good forests - most of the French colony in Of Stranger Flames takes place in heavily forested areas, so they need to look good and have enough variation. I'll hopefully animate them just a little in the wind, by slightly rotating the tree tops +-10 degrees.

Oh, I have one of those 'tweetering' accounts now, if'n you care to follow me. I average about 5 twits a week, so I'm not too spammy on your feed. Though I should really increase that to at least twice a day... Sometimes my feed gets filled with a single twitter user tweeting seven or eight times in a row. Posted Image That's not something I want to mimic.

I haven't posted in awhile, so here's some art I've been working on

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art 24 March 2013 - - - - - - · 1,213 views
pixel, art, tile, rpg
I've set up mercurial and use that for Of Stranger Flames. I should've learned some kind of source versioning system years ago, but the list of things I 'should learn' is rather large. Posted Image

Mercurial was surprisingly easy to get up and running, so I'm glad. I've installed TortoiseHg but I end up doing everything by the command-line anyway, so next time I won't bother installing the GUI.

I've been making very slow progress, chipping away at things here and there. Yesterday, for a small programming break, I made some windows with curtains:

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I tried to design the window so that it'd work with multiple different wall-types, though I'm not too pleased with the result. I don't particularly like the way the glass panes, the framework between the frames, or the window sill came out. Which is pretty much everything except the curtain rod. Posted Image

I like the curtains much better though! And since the curtains block most the window, and I don't outright hate the window, I'm not too concerned with getting it perfect. The main thing that irks me about 2D windows, is what do you show through it? Grass? Streets? My usual 'sky blue' panes don't make much sense, since the player is looking down at the window at an angle.

I guess I could make the panes semi-transparent and place ground tiles beneath it, depending on what the window actually looks out at. This is something I'll tweak once I get the much-talked-about-but-not-finished map editor working and am able to walk around in-game.

Here's the window covered with curtains:
Posted ImagePosted Image

Not to compliment my own work or anything (http://public.gamedev5.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png), but I particularly like how the line shines through the curtain.

This first parted curtain is rather unnatural - the strait lines and how the curtain comes to a point (instead of a clump) at the bottom.
My later versions improved:

The only thing really lacking in these curtains (aside from the gold tiebacks on the blue curtains that I accidentally miscolored) is that the curtain doesn't bunch together in folds of frabric, but I'm not particularly worried about that.

This was about two hours work.

I wish I had something more substantial to show, programming-wise, but on-average 90% of my programming work is non-visible. Lately (past four or five months), 110% of my programming work has non-visible and seemingly insignificant. Oh well, progress is being made, even if slowly!

Hammering away on code and art

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Indie games, Design 15 January 2013 - - - - - - · 1,050 views
pixel, art, rpg, tile
I've been busy with code, and though I've been making little progress, progress is being made.

Yesterday and today I tossed together some art for my game to give me a break in-between compiles. This week's theme has been rough wooden structures.

(Note: This art, like all the art I reveal on here, is copyrighted by me for use in my own projects, so duhnt ya be steelen' it!)
(Note 2: I reposted this from my broken website, JaminGrey.com | StrangerFlames.com)

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I'm not likely the texturing of the ropes too well, but other than that I'm quite pleased with the result.
There will probably be a gallows in two or three different towns... and depending on your judging decisions as a Guardian, you might get to hang a bandit or two.

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These benches are for exteriors, like town squares or house gardens.

Cross for churches:
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There are a couple churches scattered through the colony, but only one plays any real significance in the plot.
The churches in the game are all Catholic since France was heavily loyal to the Catholic Church during the time period of the game (the game takes place a few years after the reformation, though that doesn't feature in the game).

Wooden outdoor stairs:
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Wooden floor:

Check out my nicely staggered bonds! That's how floors are supposed to be laid... or at least how I've always laid them, every single time (all one of them) that I did so.

Wooden fence:

I was too lazy to make the north-south fences for this fence set. =)

Wooden posts:

Just a couple wooden posts with no particular purpose.

I hope everyone is doing well, and that your projects are progressing better than mine is! http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/laugh.png

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