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Requesting opinions on in-game graphics

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Hello. I'm new here; my name is Silviu, I'm from Romania and I am an Artworker for an indie gamedev company. The reason I joined is because I was told that here I will find the greatest gamedev community. I really wanted to check you guys out, met some new people and maybe exchange ideas. Okay, enough with the introduction part. I need some help from whoever is whiling to take a look over some in-game screenshots. I want you to take a close look at the graphics and let me know what you think, what you didn't like, what you think should be improved, suggestion you might have etc. I am interested especially on the skybox: you think is too bright or too dark? Does it have enough details? I am really upset because people in my country, the Romanians, only know to critique a game, seeing only the flaws and never offering suggestions. Over the months we have received more suggestions and encouragement from foreigners than we'll ever dream to get from our brothers. I hope you can give me some real opinions and suggestions about these game graphics I am currently doing. Thanks in advance and I'm waiting for any crit, especially the minuses, 'cause I'm not looking for encouragement here.... :) Here is the link with the screenshots we've added this very morning. See ya around. http://www.evolutionvault.net/galacticdream/newscreens.htm PS. This is not an announcement (!) neither a method to make publicity. I am simply following the rule, being a newbie.
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If you're new to game development, plan on spending some time here before visiting the other forums.
Thanks for understanding.

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The skybox, IMO, is one of the most important graphical elements in any space game. Looking at your screenshots, it seems to have too much detail. It is important to make it look interesting, but not at the expense of reality (unless that was the intent). At a glance, I thought the backgrounds were the surfaces of planets - and not outer space. Space, even when close to a galactic center, is not colourful and green all round. It is rare to see much colour in space, and while I am not suggesting you make it monochrome, I am suggesting that you tone down the colour, and add stars instead of a green/red fog.

Also - I think you should increase the resolution of the skybox textures. The impacts on performance are minimal compared to the huge loss in visual quality - a low-res, blocky skybox makes me cringe.

There is one more thing. Your game appears to be lacking a light source. Everything seems to be lit with ambient lighting. It would look much better if there was an actual light source to illuminate some parts of the model more than others. Currently the lack of lighting makes the models look flat and boring. With the lighting effects you could also add in specular effects - such as a metallic "sheen" to give the ships a nice polished metallic look.

Besides the skybox and the lighting - I think the graphics look great.

HTH.

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I' not an expert by any means, but I might suggest making some of the smaller ships easier to see. I am mainly refering to the very first screenshot on the page you provided, where you can hardly see some of the ships with the black behind them.

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Thank you for your real responses. These were useful, as I made some minor adjustments to the skybox. I am using Irrlicht as game engine and it comes really difficult to make small objects appear clearly. Though the lack of details is not a problem when you zoom in, the ships and buildings sure look kinda blur from afar.

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I' not an expert by any means, but I might suggest making some of the smaller ships easier to see. I am mainly referring to the very first screenshot on the page you provided, where you can hardly see some of the ships with the black behind them.


Quote:
Space, even when close to a galactic center, is not colourful and green all round. It is rare to see much colour in space


Along the time, people were advising me either to add more color because the black skybox was making the units hard to see, either to remove coloring. I think I must find a middle solution to solve this problem once and for all. The skybox was intended to show details from the beginning. I have desaturated the skybox a little bit, added a star layer and a second skybox, which 'moves' in the opposite direction you scroll the map. Each side of the skybox (the cube) is 1024x1024: I believe there's enough detail already as I do not want my game to move slow on some computers. About the light source: we have lights attached to unit fire. There's a beautiful light which affects all units and buildings in the area where the missile/ball passes, but I guess you have to play to see it.

Would you guys care for checking out a beta demo and give me some more guidelines? Let me know and I will be sending you a download link through PM, as the demo is not publicly released yet. Also, take a look at these new screenshot, and tell me if these are better. Download the 'sky_movement' pics so you can check clearly the 'movement' effect that appears when you scroll on the map. Again, thanks for answering and looking forward to hear more opinions. Take care.

http://s14.photobucket.com/albums/a338/DamnedAngels/galactic_dream/

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