Graphic Hacks! - Workarounds for everyone

Discussion in 'Non-Maker Specific Tutorials' started by Avery, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. Avery

    Avery Sleeping Dinosaur Restaff

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    Hello o/

    This is Avery and today I am going to pretend I had no idea how to draw or pixelate. While doing so, I will face certain graphic problems most developer meet while creating a game and show ways to deal with them.
    Probably you already know some of them, but hopefully there is one or another tip that you might find helpful.
    Our example project „Amazing Game!“ will face all the problems that could happen graphicwise.
    Also those are quick examples that took me just a few minutes and as few skill as possible.

    I. Problem: „I can't draw a proper Title screen :/“

    a) The Logo:
    General: Less is more. Aim for something that is readable, clear and fits your setting!

    Solution #I: A generator
    It might sound stupid, but this is the easiest way to come to your goal. There are plenty of good generators out there that fit exactly the needs of someone who just needs his game title with some cool effects.

    A good example is cooltext: https://cooltext.com

    I created simply 3 Logos and arranged them with copy&paste in Gimp. Everything else was made by trying different options in cooltext.
    [​IMG]

    Make sure the generator you use has terms you are fine with!

    Solution #2: The workshops

    There are plenty of people in the workshop section helping you out with logos. Stay nice and reasonably and someone will help you out soon!

    Solution #3: Step by Step Gimp Tutorials

    I could write plenty of tipps for that here, but other people did as well, and so you should find a tutorial for the effect you aim for easily!
    Here is a list with several good suggestions:
    http://www.tutorialboneyard.com/gimp-logo-tutorials/

    b) The Screen itself

    „I want my heroes with those specific looks to face the evil overlord on my screen. They should look exactly like that and I can't pay.“
    Stop, stop!

    Solution #1: Very very simple
    If you have a good logo, maybe with a graphic element like Final Fantasy you can easily just put a gradient or plain color in the background for a clear, professional and appealing look.
    For our amazing game we need to think of something that is a good symbol for the game itself and search for a fitting graphic part now.

    There are plenty of sites with public domain pictures, for this example I used https://www.oldbookillustrations.com

    Now I ask myself: What is a good symbol? Here I went with a flower. So with my genrator logo and nice stock image I am already done, if I want it like that:
    [​IMG]

    Solution #2: What existing could fit?
    But maybe you don't want to keep it that simple, another good thing are landscapes. Have a good idea where your game takes place? Maybe there is an important castle or forest or town? Again, there are so many good stock images!

    [​IMG]
    This is a picture I also got from a site with public domain photos, and wit some filters, a title name and maybe color adjustment we have an awesome background for our titlescreen.

    Plus, there are many sites with public domain images from really good photographers, giving you high quality images with a good omposition to work with.

    The downside is that you might have no luck if you have something specific in mind or if you fantasy world can't be resembled by photos.

    Another good and reliable source is opengameart, where people post non-engine specific resources, but here you just have to be really lucky to find what you have in mind. On the other hand, you find so much totally different stuff, that you might find soemthing that works well though it is not exactly what you wanted first:

    https://opengameart.org/content/bowl-of-warm-goblin-stew
    This is supposed to be a bowl of goblin stew in a game – but it also could be a part of yout title screen, if your game is about someone who makes a huge journey and has to eat and stay in taverns pretty often. Or maybe your game is about cooking?

    https://opengameart.org/content/wrong-move
    Maybe you have a tactic game, then this is something to work with. Or your game is about a huge war between kingdoms. Or you are a soldier of the king working to help him fulfilling his plan...

    And so on. Give it a try!


    Solution #3: The one that always works!
    BUT THOSE STOCK PICTURES DO NOT SATISFY MY SPECIAL NEEDS!!! ;___;

    Okay, okay, calm down. There is one last but good and always working solution:

    Map it.

    You will need scripts or plugins for this option.

    The area you need will probably be ingame as well, so you already have the tiles or even the map. And now you just add what you feel like. Your heroes facing the enemy? Just put their sprites in the right positions on the map. Or let them sit on a campfire altogether. There are as many possibilities as you have with regular mapping as well!

    The best part about this solution is that you can make an animated screen easily, adjust details whenever something changes and with some overlays you can add more effects to yout title.

    Add some rain, falling leaves, sprite animations to get an „alive“ titlescreen!
    [​IMG]
    Okay, I know, this overlay is not free to use, but it shows what a good parallax map and an overlay can do together.

    That's it! By now you should have enough input to work around any titlescreen problem. :3



    II. Problem: „Noone answers my request for costum chars >_<“

    Costum chars are a lot of work and cost a lot of time, especially when you need Battler, Sprite and Face for the same person and mostly you need them for a whole party.

    Solution #1: Do a casting

    You maybe have read wikipedia articles about some movies and seen in the part about the cast how many actors changes from the planning to the actual movie. See your game as a movie, and maybe you wanted Hugh Jackman and Emma Watson as heroes, but they are too expensive. Do you cancel your movie now? No, you look around who else could do the job!

    There are plenty of sites with finished heroes, for Ace even more than for MV and most of them have never been used for heroes of makergames.

    Noone but you knows your hero was a long-haired dude with a specific styled armor in your mind. Maybe that one guy with medium length hair and a different armor but a face that totally expresses the personality you are aiming for does the job as well?

    Same thing goes for races and monsters – what is avaiable and what can you replace with something where sprites and stuff already exist without harming the game?

    Solution #2: Make a good use of Generators/Mix it up!

    Maybe, you found your perfect bust, but nothing else? Maybe you can get close enough with generator parts or online generators to create something matching for the rest! It does not have to be perfect to work with it. There is an easy rule: perfection needs either money or a lot of dedication. If you don't have or want to give that (which is perfectly fine as this is just a hobby!) you work with what you have and that doesn't make the result bad!

    Same goes with a face for a sprite and so on. For MV there are so many parts that you will probably come up with a result you are really happy with.


    III. Problem: „The chars I want don't have SV Battlers.“

    So what? Is that what makes a game entertaining? Really. Sure, optics are important, but you can have pleasing Optics without having battles with SV Battlers!


    Solution #1: Use a Front view system


    You battle can be as dynamic as a sideview one, sometimes it is even nicer to have a front view system because seeing the same animations over and over takes time, especially when your game has a lot of random enounters. It is not the graphics that makes the fight interesting, it is what happens there, the options, the attacs, the tactis and everything else!


    Solution #2: Use a system that uses sprites


    For Ace and XP there are several of them. They are animated, pretty and don't need extra resources! You wont have problems with searching for matching battlers, because you just don't need them!

    Solution #3 Paste your sprite in a battler sheet
    If you arrange them well and use sprites for everything, you just can use the default system but now with different sheets. The advantages are the same as with a system that uses sprites. It might require some editing, especially for the use of weapons, but it will work!
     
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  2. slimmmeiske2

    slimmmeiske2 Little Red Riding Hood Moderator

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    Very nice tutorial, Avy.
    That oldbookillustrations site is really nice. I do love looking at those old fairy tale illustrations~ :wub

    Regarding logo's/titlescreens:
    In case anyone’s looking for another good free stock site; at work we use Pixabay for pretty much all our flyers/posters/invitations. What you also can do is to actually use some of the RTP battle backgrounds. The title screen PandaMaru did for me uses a forest battle background, and it literally took me years to even notice that due to the filters. :awink:
    Also you can add some nice text effects in Word 2010.
     
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  3. KayZaman

    KayZaman Brother-Veteran Veteran

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    Noone?
     
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  4. Alkorri

    Alkorri Proofreading Penguin Veteran

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    Avery, this is super useful. I remember finishing my first game and had to flail around wondering how to do it until a kind soul helped me put something together. I will certainly take your advice under consideration!

    That first link to that logo creator is amazing :LZSjoy: Possibilities are endless.
     
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