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Side Scroller level textures


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#1 Brian Rana   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 07:34 PM

I'm building a side-scroller.  Currently I'm using tileable textures to build my levels.  Problem is I want to make a beautiful game, and tiled textures don't exactly cause gasps of visual ecstasy. 

 

My question is, how do games get such awesome level textures without having to draw the entire level by hand?  Refer to my examples below.  You can see that the ground the player is walking on does indeed recycle textures, but not in the static way that tiles would.  How do is this done?

 

Braid: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jvcBv49ezTM/URAx1F8PFjI/AAAAAAAAAEM/T2uk52z1WIw/s1600/braid_screenshot.jpg

 

Capsized: http://www.capsizedgame.com/media/images/screenshots/shot1.jpg



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#2 BHXSpecter   Members   -  Reputation: 1557

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 09:16 PM

I think those are a mixture of tiled textures and hand drawn.  Think the lower half of Braid may be hand drawn in photoshop or such and the walk-able surfaces may be tilemaps. Capsized may very well be all tilemaps, but it could be a mixture too. I've not seen any videos about their development art wise so I can't say for certain though.


Edited by BHXSpecter, 21 January 2014 - 09:28 PM.

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#3 PandaDragonThing   Members   -  Reputation: 311

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 10:29 PM

I've seen something like what you want, but on a 2D tiled multidirection kind of game. I suppose the same could be achieved if you created small tiles that have a few options in what they can merge into( grass texture A can merge into texture B, C, and D to the right. This makes random generation of placement of textures ) and you can even break up some textures into their own thing like vines could be littered around and the same for foliage or small objects that protrude from the game. But making things like the sloping hills or even making it look nice would take lots of varying options( like a lot of lots ).

It seems like too much work, art and programming wise to even bother to implement. Hand drawing the map is the easiest and most effective way to do it and will end up looking more aesthetically pleasing. The only thing it wouldn't work for is randomly generated maps that are unique from each other which would be one of the few reasons to do it the harder way( Look at terraria, it achieves this and looks very good, but you can still see gaps in the fluidity ).


Edited by PandaDragonThing, 21 January 2014 - 10:31 PM.


#4 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 18577

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 10:45 PM

Gamasutra posted an article a while ago about the art of Braid.  It goes into quite a bit of detail.

 

 

In general, you can avoid having such an obviously tiled look through clever use of "variation" tiles and the addition of extra detail.

 

 

Let's say for example you have five ground tiles in a row.  You might start off simply having five identical tiles.  That's fine for testing purposes, and let's you get a good idea of the layout, but might get a little boring if you keep doing it.  One solution is to add variation to your tile-set; you might for example create two more ground tiles, just by editing the original one to have some small variations.  

 

By mixing these up when creating your ground you already have a less obviously tiled look, but a clever observer will still spot the tiling over larger areas.

 

You can take this a step further (or use this as an alternative technique if you don't want to create additional tiles) by adding some small details to provide additional variation.  If you ever used the campaign editor from Star Craft, think similar to adding "doodads".  As an example, you might take your line of five ground tiles, and then add a flower on top of one and a clump of grass sprouting from another.  If you apply this technique cleverly, the "tiled" look becomes a lot less obvious.

 

 

You might also consider the use of additional layers (with or without parallax scrolling) if you aren't already using more than one.

 

 

Hope that helps! smile.png



#5 BHXSpecter   Members   -  Reputation: 1557

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 11:42 PM

jbadams, thanks for that article. I had missed it and was also interested myself in the art techniques used in Braid. I'm interested in everything with game development (art, programming, sound, music, etc.). Thanks again.


Edited by BHXSpecter, 21 January 2014 - 11:59 PM.

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#6 BarrySkellern   Members   -  Reputation: 692

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 01:22 AM

You could also consider multitexturing, ie using lower frequency textures to modulate parameters or blending over large regions of similar tiles. The effect can still be quite obvious as it doesn't change the fact that the tiles do repeat, but it can add some an extra layer of variation in addition to the other effects mentioned.

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#7 Godmil   Members   -  Reputation: 744

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 10:58 AM

Didn't Braid have several layers of textures slapped ontop of each other, which when blended nicely totally killed any repeating patterns



#8 Brian Rana   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 04:21 PM

Thanks guys for all the input.  And Godmil, that sounds quite possible.  I'd certainly like to see the micro-techniques of their system though.  I devoured that article that jbadams linked by the way.  Fantastic stuff.  Any more material on this kind of process would be much appreciated.


Edited by Brian Rana, 22 January 2014 - 05:28 PM.


#9 dacypher22   Members   -  Reputation: 194

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 06:05 PM

Many beautiful 2D games are actually still using tiles, even when you don't know it. Some tutorials call this "erasing/obliterating the grid". This means that through creative use of textures and objects and details that take up more than 1 perfectly filled tile, you can achieve some amazing results where the lines around each tile disappear and the player can no longer tell where one tile ends and the next begins. While it is old, this guide has some good advice about getting rid of the "grid" look. 

 

Tiled artwork is so incredibly useful for 2D game creation, since they cut down on the assets and memory required tremendously, that a lot of skill and creativity has gone into evolving their usage over the years. 


Edited by dacypher22, 22 January 2014 - 06:20 PM.





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