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Critique my JRPG Graphics

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Hello everyone!

 

Well, for years I've been toying with 2D tile graphics and art for an RPG idea. I've kinda been working a lot more on this, now that I have begun to write a compelling storyline... Pretty much, it's a 2D Final Fantasy style RPG. 20x20 Tiles/Sprites.

 

Anyway, here's a basic asset demo I created using tiles and sprites I've made. Thoughts/Critiques?

 

Red_Saga_Asset_Demo1.png

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I'm not much of an artist, but it's seems decent overall. I especially like the characters.

My main criticism would be:

  1. The trees are clearly copy-and-pasted. There needs to be more variation.
  2. The rock/stone in the center seems to be too smooth. I feel as though it should be more rough.
  3. The windows on the house seem too small and lacking detail. But I guess it depends what you're aiming for.
  4. I can't seem to figure out what the house roof is made of. Wood? It needs to have more texture.
  5. It might be better to have separate tile sets for short grass and long grass. This would help make the grass more dense without copying that same grass sprite all over.

Hope it helps!

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Make sure to express the camera angle in your sprites. The house is fine, but the trees are approaching a flat billboard look. You can make them have more depth.
 
tree_Orthogonal_Perspective.png
 
The same relation holds for all other objects. You can use those plan views (the red frames and auxiliary lines) on the side to take "physical" measurements that you can compare between objects and make everything scale well, from a tree to a character to a castle.
You also need to make sure to use the same camera angle for all objects, but once you understand how to convert between plan view and orthogonal view, it'll be easier.
 
There's this thread here on the subject (specifically on J-RPG):
http://www.gamedev.net/topic/647023-j-rpg-game-style-graphics/
 
And some more information (technical, non-game related):
http://handprint.com/HP/WCL/perspect5.html#paraline

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The grass has too much contrast, leading to high frequency noise.
It's a matter of taste if you like this kind of detail or not, but the more important characters / house don't have it and appear less detailed.
Maybe the checkerboard shading on trees / shadows has smilar problem.

Remove the contour line on the bottom of plants to make them look growing from ground instead of seperating from it.

Eventually give the trees a spheric shape to look cute and the rocks a low poly look with edges and corners for more definition.

Characters are nice.

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Thanks for the notes, guys..

 

Maintaining perspective is a bit of an issue for me --- especially when it came to the trees. Though, I will say the trees I did hear are both a limitation of my abilities, and also a product of trying to replicate the old 8-bit/16-bit graphic styles of JRPGs. I will say that my graphics for this are very dated, plain, and old-fashioned, but that's the aim :P

 

 

Kryzon,

 

I'm not sure I fully understand your graphic, even after looking over the linked threads... If I rotate my images that way, is there something that should be happening with my images in relation to the guide you posted?

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Hello,
those sprites that you put in that scene represent objects that occupy space, that have depth. There's a camera looking down at them.

To make sure that the sprites always look great and have that top-down feeling, instead of drawing them freehand and tweaking by looking you can use that construction method with the plans.
When you use that method you end up with a sprite design that respects the camera angle that you chose for your game. Then you proceed to fill and shade that design.

The plan at the top is the "front view" of the subject. The plan at the bottom-right is the "side view" of the subject but tilted to the camera angle.
You can cross lines in the plans to find the position of features of that subject within the space occupied by the subject.

top_Down_Perspective.jpg

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Its a really good effort.

 

The few critiques I'd make are that in general the balance of brightness and color saturation between the desperate objects is somewhat off -- part of that is the perspective mismatch, and I expect it will improve just by fixing that but the overall effect now is that the elements I see onscreen don't *quite* feel a part of the same whole. The temple (?) feels somewhat out of place because it lacks detail present elsewhere and I also agree with the previous critique of the roofing. The grass I mostly like but it is a bit noisy and also has some bad interactions with the trees' dithered shadow effect where especially bright pixels are what you take through from the grass; I think it'd be better to properly darken the grass rather than using the dithered pattern shadow.

 

Aside from the trees, the natural elements fit nicely together, and the man-made elements fit well with the characters -- the wooden decking sticks out to me as matching the character detail and feeling exactly right. I think the biggest problem overall is that the natural elements and the man-made elements + characters don't quite mesh together.

 

The characters are nice and are well-done.

 

 

I do want to stress that overall things are good though, and its clear you have the skill and attention to improve what needs improving. Where you're at is more like a musical piece that needs a few tweaks and better mastering to bring it together than one that needs to be fundamentally reworked. Keep up the good work.

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In addition to what Kryzon said:

 

Make sure you don't put objects to close... happens with those trees. One reason besides the off perspective why the trees look so flat is that sometimes they are just too close to each other...

 

This makes it obvious the trees have no 3D depth to them. Make sure when you place them that you leave enough space between the trees. This is where a tile system of some sort could help while you build your level (that prevents you to place your tree inside the tile reserved for another tree).

 

The tall grass looks a little bit like a green squid... maybe emphasize the "grass blade" structure more to make sure it looks like grass and not something else. With such a low pixel count, you might need to over-emphasize it... maybe make the grass blades even bigger...

 

 

Other than that, looks quite decent. Certainly comes close to the quality of the 8bit/16bit crossover era (early nineties) JRPG titles like FF3 (NOT FF6 that got called FF3 in the west... that would be a different beast with its extremly detailled backdrops, especially during fights... sometimes I wondered if they digitalized photographical resources for that one).

 

Good job!

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Thanks for the encouragement everyone! I'm going to work on everything that was brought up :)

 

On the issue of the grass --- at least when it comes to the flat grass tile. I wanted a design that was randomized enough to eliminate the visibility of the "Grid" while also saving time --- even though it's just primarily one single tile used throughout, it's hard to see where one begins and ends. That is often a main concern of mine and I, eliminating the Grid, without wasting time and creating dozens of unique grass tiles.

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