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Shattered Space (Screen Shots)

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Hey everyone, these screens are of a game I'm currently working on. Coding is in java, graphics all done in photoshop. Currently the game is in early alpha development. So far it includes ship, engine, weapon, shield classes and a nice little physics engine that controls forces felt by ships for projectiles etc. Let me know how it *visually looks so far :) Photobucket Photobucket

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the graphics looks fairly simplistic in screenshots.

The visual aspect of such a game is best judged while it`s in motion, so its hard to tell from screenshots.

That said, the images look mostly nice but the ships are a little plain, i would personally add a little more contrast to them, as the overall shapes are ok, but the colorings lack a little power.

The explosion image is interesting. The REAL feel however can only be seen in action.

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thanks for the input guys. for the record, the stars are layered.. obviously that goes unnoticed in the screen shot. What exactly do you mean by more contrast? Do you literally mean turning up the images contrast in photoshop?

I fear that the last 2 screen shots were unintentionally scaled to a lower resolution when I uploaded them to photobucket. I've got 2 new screens and an explosion animation (poor quality being a gif, its a png animation in the game) in this post.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Let me know what you think. All criticism/comments are welcome.

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Very cool. I totally tried to make a game a lot like this - and it looked almost exactly the same (see the spaceship in my user icon? heh!) - but the project got bogged down in all kinds of stuff.


For the ships, The shapes are great, but I think what you need to look out for is being too flat and gray. They could use more contrast, like darker areas, to show that they have volume.

As for color, I've made a personal effort to never use neutral gray when drawing something thats "gray" -- like your moon there, it's a sort of blue steel color, which gives it a cold feeling. Put some color on that ship, even if it's subtle!

The muzzle flash kinda bugs me too because it looks like you used one default shade of yellow -- it'd look much more vibrant, I think, if the outer parts were a slightly different color, like fading to orange. Along these lines, another thing I try to do is never use a color from the default palette. It's like when I see paintings, the type on actual canvas, it bugs me when I can tell that the artist used paint straight from the tube without adjusting the color. Something to try anyway, it's probably a bit obsessive a thing to worry about.

As for the stars, maybe don't have the same blur/flare effect on all of them. It looks a bit like when I go outside at night without my glasses on ;)

The explosion animation is pretty cool, just the last few frames on it ... yeah, it's like the expanding explosion just stops dead in space and fades away. You just have to take that part out and otherwise it looks cool.

I don't know how you could see them, but I thought the spaceship explosions and effects in the old game Ascendancy were really spectacular - they were unique and didn't follow the convention of what a fuel explosion looks like in an atmosphere (which is what you've got there, which is fine for a game of course).


Anyway looks great, good luck with continued development. I love this sort of spaceship game.

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I did a little test with contrast and got some pleasing results, thanks rambopowpow. The image at the left is the original, each image to the right has increased contrast, and a slight brightness increase. I like the 2nd from the right the most. Tell me what you think.

Photobucket

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Thanks for such a constructive critique dbaumgart its really appreciated. I just recently began using photoshop for the very purpose for creating my game graphics. So that is my only excuse so far ;P. However, I've been messing around with photoshop and just discovered a new method of rendering explosion images. Check it out.

Photobucket

I'm glad to hear that there are people out there that are still interested in games like this. To give some details about the game, its set in an open universe (kind of the same idea as Solar Winds: The Escape/Star Control), there is going to be a central story line which will require the player to travel to many different places, as well as numerous side quests/missions. The player will be able to change ships, and also fully customize his/her ship parts (guns, engines, shields, etc). I've already developed a dialog system, which will give the story more depth as the player will be able to choose what he/she is going to say. As well as many other things that I'm not ready to mention! :)

Anyways, If anyone is interested. Make sure to take a peak at this thread as I will be sure to update it in the near future.

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like you said, i think the 2nd image from the right is definitely the best one out of the 4 you showed. I would go from that image and add a few more lines of contrast (manually this time, though) to finish the design. It sure looks better then it did, but a little extra polish on one of your most important sprite (the hero) is always some well spent time.

random thoughts that may or may not end up being useful :
-try to have some whiter areas in the light gray areas.
-try to have a little more really dark gray (almost black), mostly starting from the already darker grayed areas, and use that color to delimitate the dark and light gray areas. This would be most useful in the middle (horizontal) area of the image.
-don`t use too many pixels of the exact same color nearby, make it a subtle gradient.
-If you do follow my advice about gradient, don`t use it when going from dark to light gray areas (those need the contrast).
-maybe using either blacks or whites on the outer edge of the ship will make it stand out more from the background, the ship looks a bit camouflaged when it is over the planet. This advice might end up making the ship look silly, so it`s something to try out, but has good chances of not working well.

about the explosion animation :
-the start rocks. really.
-the end of the animation is a little bit boring. It`s clearly just an image that fade away slowly, while if it was a real explosion, it would still be a bit dynamic while fading away. If you plan on having lots of things exploding at the same time, you might want to just make it end quicker. If you don`t plan to have explosions happening too often (less then 1 per 5 seconds), then you could try to liven it up by adding a few more images.

Wish you good luck ! i really like shooters and i hope yours end up being an interesting one !

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Hey thanks for the advice. I'm definitely not finished with tampering with the ships coloring, and I'll keep your input in mind. This isn't the only ship available to the player however. Every space craft that is in the game will be able to be used by the player eventually.

I just got a neat new bump (normal) mapping effect to work. Objects like planets, suns, lasers, explosions, etc, will give off light creating this very cool effect (I haven't got the height map to completely work with the ships image yet, but its a start anyway). Let me know what you think.

Photobucket

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Ooh this looks similar in some ways to a game I've nearly finished (Retaliation, my thread about it is in this forum). I like your visual style, and you seem to have had the same idea I did about the bumpmapping of sprites (except yours might be more advanced, as mine only use one light source at infinite distance)! I hope you get it finished so I can try it out.

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I am just using java's standard swing and awt libraries. The images are all loaded as either bufferedImage's (ships), and planets are either loaded as image's or imageIcon's. All of the particle effects are done using Graphics draw methods. Currently I am drawing to a JPanel, but I will be recoding to draw to a canvas shortly, so that I am able to take advantage of BufferStrategy.

[Edited by - leif_dragon on December 11, 2008 10:46:29 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by leif_dragon
I am just using java's standard swing and awt libraries. The images are all loaded as either bufferedImage's (ships), and planets are either loaded as image's or imageIcon's. All of the particle effects are done using Graphics draw methods. Currently I am drawing to a JPanel, but I will be recoding to draw to a canvas shortly, so that I am able to take advantage of BufferStrategy.


Okay cool. I ask because a couple friends and myself are coding a top down scifi shooter game using Slick. Look forward to reading progress on the game.

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