Although it shouldn’t really be a factor in my attempts at game development, I really rely on having a good-looking example ASAP as a way of maintaining interest and gauging progress when I am trying to make a game. I will blame my years of web development, which is a visual language right out of the gate that is almost 100% about using text to describe what a site looks like.
To that end, art annoys me. I am not very good at it despite “drawing” being something I used to do all the time, and up until I met someone in junior high who had drawn his own professional quality comic book, I had been considered a “pretty good artist” by my teachers and peers. Digital art is another realm entirely, and a world in which I simply could not gain a foothold.
Worlds colliding, I had always made an attempt to get “good art” into my game dev attempts early on, which meant scouring the Internet for decent placeholders that wouldn’t annoy me, because I could never create my own. I wouldn’t be able to ship with this art, of course, because it was all air-quote borrowed air-quote, and because it was all mismatched, which I guess was another nail in the coffin of my perennial game development attempts. How would I get pleasing, final art? I always deferred that aspect, probably because I always knew I’d never stick with the project long enough to have to figure it out.
This time, I come prepared.
I hesitate to open this Pandora’s Box because like the Sun rises in the East, like water is wet, and like how you should never argue on the Internet, every time I talk about a project before I have anything meaningful to show, I end up jumping ship. Still…
I am not a fan of pixel art. Why someone would purposefully make their project look as bad as it did in the days before we could actually make things look good is beyond me. Or, rather, it was until I realized that it is probably the one type of digital art I can somewhat manage. The enemy (pixel art) of my enemy (my ability to progress when tackling a game dev project) is my friend.
These are my first attempts at making a tileset. I’ve got some walls, a door with animated frames, and some floors. Things are looking OK; each tile is 32×32 which seems to be twice as large as every other tile I’ve been seeing on OpenGameArt.org and in every online tileset-making tutorial video on YouTube. I had tried 16×16 but I didn’t feel that I could cram the visual language into that small a space because now we all know how important visuals are to my ability to progress.
I may try again, though, since I’m running into an issue with corners. You can see them in the upper left corner where I’ve attempted to create the “L” shapes necessary to join two walls with visible tops. Aside from my highlights and borders being all wonky, I’m not sure if what I did is acceptable on a 32×32 tile. In Godot, I can draw physics and navgiational overlays on the tiles to prevent and recommend movement for both PC and NPC, so those corners could work, but do they look good enough? I am not convinced.
I really do like the doors, though, so I will salvage those in a new document. I will be opening up the canvas to more tiles out of the gate and will take what I’ve learned from this first stab to create better, more generic walls, and better, more varied floors (although I’m not hating my floor tiles so much). I realized this morning at 3AM that I should just create general purpose walls, to which I can add additional detail tiles on another layer to give them the visual differentiation I was going for here.