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kburkhart84

Member Since 30 Jun 2004
Online Last Active Today, 06:02 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Unreal Engine 4

18 December 2014 - 09:20 PM

Hate to say it, but the Unreal Engine is far from beginner friendly for the most part.  There are plenty of other better suited engines to the task, especially for 2d.  If you feel capable of it, go for it, but you have to be able to learn off of documentation and tutorials unless you have the funds(or a friend) to hold your hand through it.


In Topic: 2d engines of choice

11 December 2014 - 11:03 PM

Box2d is probably the "standard" of 2d physics engines.  It is at the least from what I've seen the widest used, unless you count using a 3d engine(with 3d physics) limited to 2d plane kind of thing.  Unity's 2d uses box2d, as goes GameMaker Studio, and Construct 2 as well if I'm not mistaken.  Therefore, if your game needs a physics engine, it is probably a pretty good choice.  But, as mentioned above, some games don't need physics, and others that could use them are still probably better without, so take that into consideration.


In Topic: Programming Laptops (-numerics pad)

07 December 2014 - 07:47 PM

Maybe I'm crazy, but I HAVE to have the dedicated numpad myself.  It is not only more convenient in general, but I use Blender a lot and several of the keyboard shortcuts use the numpad.


In Topic: 2D Game Animation Frame to Frame shading and Coloring Variations?

02 December 2014 - 11:34 AM

I'm not good at pixelling or other 2d art myself, but here is some advice.

 

Remember that except for real life, anything digital that you see is already frame by frame, including movies, 3d games, etc...  Of course the actual framerate varies, but the same rule applies.  So, take a look at something similar to what you want.  If you are interested in low-rez pixel art, take a look at similar games like old mario, zelda, final fantasy, etc...  You could go even older to Atari style but there isn't any shading in those sprites really due to hardware limitations.  But NES, SNES, Commodore 64, among others are great examples as they started having shading by then.  The same rules apply if you want to do different styles, including higher resolution pixel art, brush art(or whatever you call it), vector art, whatever.

 

So, remembering the rule above about things working frame by frame, note that your eyes work out the in-betweens most of the time as long as you have enough frames.  Pixel art generally got away with only 4 - 8 frames for a walk cycle, and it was enough, and did not look bad.  Higher resolution art requires more frames for things though, as there is simply more information for the eyes to process and it gets jerky to the viewer without more frames.

 

So, just draw the frames and adjust the lighting to be from the same direction.  Our eyes will work it out, especially if it is low-rez pixel art.  Just remember in general what is light and what is dark.  If my character is a kangaroo, and my lighting is from the upper right, the stomach of the kangaroo will by light nuetral to dark, as it is facing away from the light but isn't exactly in shadow either.  But if I have an animation where he/she leans back on the tail(to kick the feet up), then that same stomach area will now be facing the light and need to be brighter shade of the same color in the palette, while the head will be more in shadow depending on how far back the head goes.

 

Though I mostly talk about pixel art, the above applies to all types of art, even 3d though  it is usually automatic from lighting in the engine.  If you do vector art, you will have shapes and gradients for lighting(depending on the style you choose), so you would possible move those around some too, unless you want the lighting to not adjust on your objects as animation happens.  Some games do that, but I don't like it that much.


In Topic: Isometric Assets, 3D to 2D?

29 November 2014 - 03:34 PM

I can say there is good reason to go the 3d pre-rendered to 2d sprite pipeline.

 

For one thing, most can agree on this, 2d games are simply more simple to make, and quicker.  Much of this is tied to the art and so by doing this pipeline that advantage is negated, but other things are still gained by doing 2d.  Some great game engines are geared to 2d, including for example GMStudio(by yoyogames) and Contruct 2(by Scirra).  These are great engines, and tend to be quick to develop in, so you get some advantage in going 2d not only in game complexity(though 2d can have many complexities regardless) but in development time due to engine choice.

 

Another advantage lies in that if you simply haven't/can't learn to pixel art, and don't have the funds(or friends) to outsource your art, then 3d may be the way to go, at least pre-rendering it.  I fit this case perfectly, because somehow though I've never gotten good at pixel art or even vector art, I can somehow make pretty respectable 3d models.

 

Another advantage lies in styling.  At least for me, it is pretty easy to use the same style for all the art in pre-rendered 3d pipelines.  This is because you can easily create materials that are similar, you can use the same or similar textures(if you use textures), and you can easily ensure the lighting is the same by using the same scene setup and just moving objects in and out as you need to keep everything the same.

 

If you get pretty good at using this art pipeline, you will find it has other general advantages.  For example, once you get going, changes are much easier.  You don't have to redraw all the animation yourself if you simply tweak a material or change something basic.  There are exceptions to this, but for the most part things can be redone easily, including animation and material tweaks, all the way to lighting setups, for example either to change or because you want more than one in order to use different graphics in different scenes or something.  Also, you can reuse some assets for different things, for example if you need a face closeup for RPG style menus or dialog boxes, or for rendering actual video scenes for the game, or lastly for other pre-rendered scenery, like if your main menu displays the character attacking an enemy or something(either video or a static image).

 

The last thing I will mention here....if you get good at this 3d to 2d pipeline, you have a head start for the future for example if you want to go full 3d.  You've already learned much about modelling and animation and probably gotton some practice.  The material settings won't be the same mostly because you need more detail than low resolution pre-renders, but much of the knowledge will still apply.


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