Loads of things to do this week! Next week’s target is to create a prototype ready enough for testing by other people, so this week is pretty much a preparatory phase to get as much in as possible before hand.
My first observation of this technique is firstly that the tile repetition makes the whole scene look horribly boring, and secondly that the square tiles inevitably make the scene look very angular. I noticed that the repetition is not so obvious in places where there is a lot going on. When there is a lot of space and the occasional rock jutting out, the repetition of small details are a lot more emphasised. So my first objective is to limit the amount of plain tiles used throughout the pattern.
For a little insight into how other developers are tackling the problem, I went to the DevLog section of the TIGsource forums and clicked on the first link for a random example. I’m worried that if I keep going back to the same sources, my game will appear to be a mimicry of another game…
By pure coincidence, I landed on a pixel-art style game that uses a similar rocky tileset! The game is called Out There Somewhere, and has recently been finished.
Here, there is only one rocky tile which is regularly repeated throughout. There is a slight variation in some of the edge tiles etc, but the pattern mainly consists of one tile. Towards the bottom of the image, after the tile has been repeated 3 or 4 times, the pattern gradually breaks apart and becomes a simpler pattern, but in an organised way unlike the random pattern I had tried to create. This really helps relieve what could potentially be an over-complicated, messy design, and somehow doesn’t look “blocky”, despite this game also using square tiles.
To resolve my problem, firstly I felt that the rocky tiles should fit together more seamlessly in the first place. I’ve seen a technique used for create seamless surface textures for 3D models which I though would also be appropriate in this situation- I split the rocky tile into 4 and offset the design so I could work on the joining parts in the middle. The result is this, which has been changed very little, but looks a lot more seamless than before:
After feeling happy with this, I went on to create the “middle” tile to connect the rocky tile to the simple, block colour tile. I created one of these tiles for each side of the tile, so it can be used anywhere in the design. I thought about using a lighter colour for this, but preferred the darker colour as it attracts less attention!
There are still a few tiles I need to make to completely eliminate the unnatural-looking square edges, most of these are edge tiles to avoid too many straight lines. I’m also going to create some edge tiles for grass and some random patches of grass growth to dot throughout large areas of the same pattern.
Also, looking back at my learning agreement I’ve noticed that I mentioned that some sound should be in place by now, which is something I haven’t really considered yet… Like the graphics, I’m OK with using placeholder sounds as this point, as I mainly want to ensure that I get good, working sound throughout this project.