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Marscaleb

Thoughts on finalizing my visual style

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So, I'm trying to move forward with my project; with this game I'm creating.

 

One of the problems I have had with previous projects that never quite got off the ground was that I had a rather inconsistent visual style.  Looking back, I basically tried a little bit of everything, and some things looked good and some things did not, and it didn't exactly all look good together.

 

I've been going through a lot of iterations and efforts to understand what I am really capable of.  I have been getting closer and closer to understanding what my game needs to look like, and I'm at the point now where I need to finalize some designs and move forward.

 

...But I feel like I am missing something.

I feel like there is something I do not understand or possibly haven't considered.

 

There's a lot of things that may seem small, but have a big impact.

I'm developing a 2D side-scrolling platformer.  I feel satisfied with what I have set for the size of the player, but not I'm trying to finalize the proportions of the character.  This is going to have a significant impact on the style for the rest of the game.  I thought I knew what I wanted, but...  When I'm putting in these final tweaks I'm just not sure.

I want an overall cartoony design, but there is the matter of *how* cartoony do I want it.  How big do I really want the player's head to be?

 

I feel like there are implications with this subtle choice that I have not considered.

If anyone has any thoughts about the implications of how the player is proportioned, I would like to hear them.

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Give us a screenshot of the environment this character will be in.

 

As far as big heads in particular, big-headed characters generally look harmless - even if they are supposed to be evil, they tend to come across as silly or inept.  Proportionally large heads are often chosen when the artist wants to show facial expressions.  Do you want your character to display strong emotions and be seen as not-that-serious-or-dangerous?  If so, then sure, go with a big head.  On the other hand if your main character is supposed to be a serious badass, especially one who is doing acrobatic maneuvers, then you may want more realistic proportions.

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Of course, "big head" isn't just a binary thing. It's a range, so the question is less about "big head or not," but rather, how big of a head.

I was digging through some old files and I found something I put together several years back trying to analyze character heights. I re-arranged the order a bit to try to reflect body proportions. I thought I might share it in case someone else is struggling with this issue.

[attachment=34645:Composite.png]

Looking at it here, I am seeing so many different metrics that one could analyze beyond just their proportions.

And since you requested it, this is one of my early samples of trying to asses my game's art style. I've added two rough figures with two slight variations on head size that are the two I am debating between.
While I do appreciate thoughts on this, really I want to understand "for myself" what would be the better style. Hence why i really was just asking for thoughts on the subject, rather than specific opinions on my own style. Plus I figure the latter isn't really something fitting for this forum.)

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Actually asking for opinions on specific pieces of art, portfolios, styles, etc. is all on-topic for this forum, as long as it's somehow relevant to games.  Personally I strongly prefer the left of those two figures (the one by the snake). But the environment itself shows the same issue - the snake is chunky like a chibi character, but the fence, grass, and tree leaves are all delicate like a more realistically proportioned character.

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I also prefer the one in the middle.

I don't think any of them fit with the background, though -- mostly the snake.
That kind of highly stylised background, in my opinion, asks for something like 2 head tall character proportions like at the right end of that sprite comparison sheet you made. Try pasting some of those sprites on your background and see which ones you prefer.

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Well, if it is appropriate to post such pictures here, I might as well.

These are some shots of some various environments. For the most part they represent the visual style for the environments. I don't have a lot of the enemy art ready to go, other than the snake which you have already seen.

Be openly critical if you want to say anything about them.

The player characters and HUD elements are prototypes; ignore them.

[attachment=34682:Sample2.png]
[attachment=34683:Sample3.png]
[attachment=34684:Sample4.png]
[attachment=34685:Sample5.png]
[attachment=34686:Summer 2015-B.png]
[attachment=34687:Summer2015-A.png]

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