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#121 User is offline Dario FF 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 10:21 AM

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View PostConan Kudo, on 29 December 2011 - 09:19 AM, said:

Honestly, I'd recommend writing the engine in C or C++, using cross platform libraries like SDL and OpenAL. Or if you need the full repertoire of APIs, then I'd recommend using Qt4. Though using a full toolkit like Qt4 for a game isn't usually done...


I'm gonna pitch in and be an Allegro fanboy, and add Allegro 5 to the recommendations. Sure, some people will say the requirements are a bit bloated given that it needs a GPU, but aren't XNA as well? Besides, you get cross-platform portability across Windows, Linux, and OS X without having to touch a single line of code(I just did a little game for a competition on their site, and it compiled fine across all 3 platforms), supports GPU acceleration using both OpenGL and D3D drivers, OGG playback and various other sound formats supported, and incoming in version 5.1, native support for fragment/vertex shaders and even video playback. Heck, it even ports to iOS, and an Android port is in the works.

You got every drawing, blending, input, sound playback, events, threads, routine already implemented in there as well. Here's a friendly link to the manual so you might consider it. All with distributing a library that doesn't require any external installers or ANY dependencies at all if you compile it right. There's also support for PhysFS integration, which allows your team to pack all game resources into a simple .zip file(you can change the extension), and read everything directly from there.

Of course it would be in C/C++ then, but seriously, killing cross-platform compatibility IS an issue to consider. How many people were asking for a Mac version of Fan Remix when it released? Distributing an A5 game on Windows just takes sending a single(or a few) dlls that don't take beyond 2MB in the same folder. Similar with the rest of the platforms, although you can leave them easy enough instructions to compile it on their own.

I know XNA and C# are great tools, but if your aim is to reach a wide audience as possible, I think I already pointed out what's better. (Cross platform compatibility + Easy and Light Distribution + Using open file formats such as PNG, OGG, etc.). How much people didn't even bother to download your pre-demo because of the requirements? Pretty sure it's a sizable bunch of people to consider.
This post has been edited by Dario FF: 29 December 2011 - 10:27 AM

#122 User is offline Conan Kudo 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 10:31 AM

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View PostDario FF, on 29 December 2011 - 10:21 AM, said:

View PostConan Kudo, on 29 December 2011 - 09:19 AM, said:

Honestly, I'd recommend writing the engine in C or C++, using cross platform libraries like SDL and OpenAL. Or if you need the full repertoire of APIs, then I'd recommend using Qt4. Though using a full toolkit like Qt4 for a game isn't usually done...


I'm gonna pitch in and be an Allegro fanboy, and add Allegro 5 to the recommendations. Sure, some people will say the requirements are a bit bloated given that it needs a GPU, but aren't XNA as well? Besides, you get cross-platform portability across Windows, Linux, and OS X without having to touch a single line of code(I just did a little game for a competition on their site, and it compiled fine across all 3 platforms), supports GPU acceleration using both OpenGL and D3D drivers, OGG playback and various other sound formats supported, and incoming in version 5.1, native support for fragment/vertex shaders and even video playback. Heck, it even ports to iOS, and an Android port is in the works.

You got every drawing, blending, input, sound playback, events, threads, routine already implemented in there as well. Here's a friendly link to the manual so you might consider it. All with distributing a library that doesn't require any external installers or ANY dependencies at all if you compile it right. There's also support for PhysFS integration, which allows your team to pack all game resources into a simple .zip file(you can change the extension), and read everything directly from there.

Of course it would be in C/C++ then, but seriously, killing cross-platform compatibility IS an issue to consider. How many people were asking for a Mac version of Fan Remix when it released? Distributing an A5 game on Windows just takes sending a single(or a few) dlls that don't take beyond 2MB in the same folder. Similar with the rest of the platforms, although you can leave them easy enough instructions to compile it on their own.

I know XNA and C# are great tools, but if your aim is to reach a wide audience as possible, I think I already pointed out what's better. (Cross platform compatibility + Easy and Light Distribution + Using open file formats such as PNG, OGG, etc.). How much people didn't even bother to download your pre-demo because of the requirements? Pretty sure it's a sizable bunch of people to consider.


The main reason I didn't mention Allegro 5 is because the API is still not frozen for it. Other than that, it is an excellent alternative to SDL and OpenAL.

#123 User is offline Dario FF 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 10:35 AM

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View PostConan Kudo, on 29 December 2011 - 10:31 AM, said:

The main reason I didn't mention Allegro 5 is because the API is still not frozen for it. Other than that, it is an excellent alternative to SDL and OpenAL.


API is frozen since 5.0 actually(which had its final release this year, and some bug-fixing releases later). They're just adding features from 5.1 onwards now. Besides, they're not really the kind of people who would kill compatibility entirely in a minor version, as any minor versions tend to be backward compatible with the last major one. (4.0 and 4.2 api is compatible with 4.4 for example).
This post has been edited by Dario FF: 29 December 2011 - 10:36 AM

#124 User is offline Conan Kudo 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 10:36 AM

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View PostDario FF, on 29 December 2011 - 10:35 AM, said:

View PostConan Kudo, on 29 December 2011 - 10:31 AM, said:

The main reason I didn't mention Allegro 5 is because the API is still not frozen for it. Other than that, it is an excellent alternative to SDL and OpenAL.


API is frozen since 5.0 actually(which had its final release this year, and some bug-fixing releases later). They're just adding features from 5.1 onwards now. Besides, they're not really the kind of people who would kill compatibility entirely in a minor version, as any minor versions tend to be backward compatible with the last major one. (4.0 and 4.2 api is compatible with 4.4 for example).


Ahh, I wasn't aware of that. That is good to know, though.

#125 User is offline Elratauru 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 12:42 PM

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View Postdsrb, on 29 December 2011 - 09:21 AM, said:

Great! I've been saying this all a-
Oh. More gratuitous shininess that makes me want to do a Horatio Caine in case the sun hits the wrong angle and blinds me forever.

Sure, for absurdly shiny art, it's pretty damn nice, but it's still absurdly shiny, and I think that's what a number of us have been trying to steer all these purportedly HD projects away from! (Also, that flame makes no sense. Physics)


It was a quick example, though I said that maybe that would fit Sonic 2 art direction a lot more than Sonic 3's... Also, yes I know, I'm not a fire/particle artist...

#126 User is offline winterhell 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 12:49 PM

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In the beginning I was using Allegro 4 for 2D and it was good. Then I switched to OpenGL/C++ for 3D. It worked fine everywhere, but when Vista came out, my OGL projects suddenly either stopped working or were rendered incorrectly. Similar problems on other platforms started, like MacOS.
What should I use for 3D that is multiplatform and It's guaranteed to work everywhere in the next 5 years ? And please don't point me at engines like Unity but rather at an API .
For 2D only I agree probably Allegro 5 is a wise decision.

#127 User is offline dsrb 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 12:50 PM

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View PostElratauru, on 29 December 2011 - 12:42 PM, said:

It was a quick example, though I said that maybe that would fit Sonic 2 art direction a lot more than Sonic 3's... Also, yes I know, I'm not a fire/particle artist...

Yeah, as I said, it's pretty good in its own right! :) But it's too pristine and candy-like for what I, and I think (hope?) a few others, imagine S3&K would be like if done with today's technology, and in that respect it's basically just a slightly better done extension of the style this project currently shows—which is what a few of us aren't sure about. Even the small sprite looks as though its shading might have been meant to be more matte-like, although the small size and limited number of pixels makes it difficult to make any confident guess about the artists’ intentions.

What you said about reimagining is perfectly correct, but it might take something a bit different; that's all I'm trying to say. I'm not questioning your artistic ability, here! (And as for the flame, I meant how it almost looks upside down, with tails at the apparent source rather than at the end! The actual design is fine—for this particular style. :P)
This post has been edited by dsrb: 29 December 2011 - 12:52 PM

#128 User is offline Elratauru 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 01:11 PM

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View Postdsrb, on 29 December 2011 - 12:50 PM, said:

Yeah, as I said, it's pretty good in its own right! :) But it's too pristine and candy-like for what I, and I think (hope?) a few others, imagine S3&K would be like if done with today's technology, and in that respect it's basically just a slightly better done extension of the style this project currently shows—which is what a few of us aren't sure about. Even the small sprite looks as though its shading might have been meant to be more matte-like, although the small size and limited number of pixels makes it difficult to make any confident guess about the artists’ intentions.

What you said about reimagining is perfectly correct, but it might take something a bit different; that's all I'm trying to say. I'm not questioning your artistic ability, here! (And as for the flame, I meant how it almost looks upside down, with tails at the apparent source rather than at the end! The actual design is fine—for this particular style. :P)


Yeah, the main problem about S3&K Style is that the concept art is pretty simple-shaded:

Posted Image

Gallery:
http://info.sonicret...ckles_Enemy_Art

Maybe with a few more metallic touches, and less shinyness than my example they may be able to come up with a similar style... But again, the sprites used a lot more contrast than that...

#129 User is offline Walnut 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 01:15 PM

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View PostConan Kudo, on 29 December 2011 - 09:19 AM, said:

View PostDario FF, on 28 December 2011 - 08:55 AM, said:

I say don't worry about the artwork too much at the moment, focus on getting up a playable engine that is able to replicate the original gameplay decently and handle anything you need for all the levels. You wouldn't like to see running into a problem which means you have to entirely rework your map's save data because you had to add sequences or something. Also, don't merge the game logic with graphics rendering at all. Heck, you got XNA available, who says you might even have the idea of making it 3D later!

...


View PostYuzoboy, on 28 December 2011 - 11:14 AM, said:

...
I also commend your use of XNA, my experience with it was good, but felt it was a bit slow for a feature-ridden game. Take into account the feedback and go about it with your own well though-out direction, will be interesting to see the level of quality you can produce with this project:)


View PostIrixion, on 29 December 2011 - 02:39 AM, said:

...
You could bundle XNA Framework with your release, or have an extractor do all of the work. Complaining about having to install that is like bitching at having to install VB6 for xm3smps, which Tweaker didn't do by the way.

So, if you can't get rid of the XNA dependency then just bundle it in some way.


Okay, first: XNA is a bad choice. XNA immediately limits you to Windows Vista and Windows 7 and makes it difficult to port later to other non-Windows based platforms when you want to do it later. And you will want to do it later. It is also bloat. You don't need all of XNA. Heck, for a Sonic game, you don't need ANY of XNA. SDL works well enough because it's just a 2D game with some 3D layering if needed.

Second, requiring the .NET 4.0 Framework is just awful. If you required .NET Framework 2.0, that's fine, but .NET Framework 3.0 and higher is unacceptable.

Third, despite common belief, .NET works just like the JVM. It's only faster because it doesn't render everything by itself, and lets Windows render stuff for it.

Fourth, open source if possible. More people can freely contribute to an open source engine, and it benefits more people in the long term, too. Writing a game engine is freaking hard as hell. Nobody should have to reinvent the wheel if what they need is potentially available for use. Of course, I don't think that's something that Retro people really understand, since that's something that is more appreciated in the programmer's realm rather than the artist's realm.

Honestly, I'd recommend writing the engine in C or C++, using cross platform libraries like SDL and OpenAL. Or if you need the full repertoire of APIs, then I'd recommend using Qt4. Though using a full toolkit like Qt4 for a game isn't usually done...

XNA's not that difficult to port, it just does a lot of the lower level stuff for you. For the most part you could take the logic and move it over to whatever you want without too many issues... You'd just do more coding that XNA saved you from doing in the first place. Also, I'm not totally sure why you'd harp on portability and bloat and then suggest SDL over OpenGL but that could be my own biases

#130 User is offline Dario FF 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 01:18 PM

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View Postwinterhell, on 29 December 2011 - 12:49 PM, said:

In the beginning I was using Allegro 4 for 2D and it was good. Then I switched to OpenGL/C++ for 3D. It worked fine everywhere, but when Vista came out, my OGL projects suddenly either stopped working or were rendered incorrectly. Similar problems on other platforms started, like MacOS.
What should I use for 3D that is multiplatform and It's guaranteed to work everywhere in the next 5 years ? And please don't point me at engines like Unity but rather at an API .
For 2D only I agree probably Allegro 5 is a wise decision.


Ogre3D is a cool engine and handles most of the complex stuff for you with the little time I spent learning to use it, and it can also be integrated with Allegro 5 since you can just give it the display A5 creates as the render window. Pretty sure you can even use the 2D Allegro 5 routines on top of it. Ogre3D covers you for doing a simple 3D engine with just its own API, but it does have its own Mesh format and Material. Most of the files are human-readable anyway, and there's plenty of plugins for every popular 3D editting suite out there to make mesh exporting incredibly easy, with the skeletons and animations as well. Commercial games have been done with Ogre3D, a quick example I can mention is Proun.


From their features page:

Quote

Platform & 3D API support
* Direct3D and OpenGL support
* Windows (all major versions), Linux and Mac OSX support
* Builds on Visual C++ and Code::Blocks on Windows
* Builds on gcc 3+ on Linux / Mac OSX (using XCode)


I should mention that Ogre3D on its own just has the basic features of what you would need for a 3D engine. Any stuff like input, sound, etc., should be handled by another libraries. That's where Allegro 5 can pitch in luckily.

My only gripe with it is that the entire API is C++-based, and I never like a library pushing down my throat to design my program around that. But given that you seem to be used to C++ already, I don't think that'll be much of a problem.

If using an already made engine isn't the answer, Allegro 5 uses either D3D or OGL as drivers, so you can just use the regular OpenGL routines with it if you want.

Distribution of an Ogre3D game is a bit more bloated though, but doesn't require any other dependencies AFAIK. The current editor I'm building is using Ogre3D, and I must say it's quite a great engine to work with, even if my experience so far is really limitted. I would recommend waiting a bit for the 1.8 release though, since it's bound to come sooner or later, although there's a release candidate on the page.

#131 User is offline winterhell 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 01:30 PM

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The game DOES work on Windows XP , and the choice currently is either XP and up and having XNA and .net 4.0, OR Vista and up and .net 2.0 (ironically). But seems like nobody is using XP I'd ditch its support for less dependencies.

P.S. can I use Shader Model 3.0 on multiplatform Allegro 5 ? If yes then I'll consider it.
This post has been edited by winterhell: 29 December 2011 - 01:31 PM

#132 User is offline Dario FF 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 01:32 PM

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View Postwinterhell, on 29 December 2011 - 01:30 PM, said:

The game DOES work on Windows XP , and the choice currently is either XP and up and having XNA and .net 4.0, OR Vista and up and .net 2.0 (ironically). But seems like nobody is using XP I'd ditch its support for less dependencies.

P.S. can I use Shader Model 3.0 on multiplatform Allegro 5 ? If yes then I'll consider it.


It's Direct3D / OpenGL driver, and it will create the context for you. Anything that you can do with that, you can do it with A5. :v:

Shameless plug example:
Spoiler

This post has been edited by Dario FF: 29 December 2011 - 01:35 PM

#133 User is offline Clutch 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 02:10 PM

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This is going to be long winded and a bit behind. I apologize in advance.

View PostRelick, on 27 December 2011 - 04:49 AM, said:

So, how's this for a better Sonic? We haven't tried the 3D capture yet but this is the direction we are heading if the 3D thing fails:
Posted Image



Here's what I recommend about approaching character sprites for something like this:


If you actively approach this as a matter of just retracing the original sprites at a larger resolution you will fail.

Don't focus on what a sprite would look like if it were higher resolution. Focus on the hypothetical: What would these artist have done if they had high-end hardware back in the 90s, or designed it now with the same gameplay?". The line between concept art and final game assets would blur quite a bit more. This is why, despite how I think Sonic 2 HD looks...alright now, I found it pretty staggering how much debate their was between whether or not they should follow the designs as depicted in the game, or as depicted in the concept art and manuals.

Posted Image
The original sprites are nostalgic, but they aren't perfect. There are loads of perspective flaws that blurry CRTs and imagination could hide, some even seem deliberate just so a player could judge what the hell he was looking at in the early 90s. Sonic 1/CD has a noodly arm and ball hand, and his torso is out of perspective with his head. Sonic 2 has all the problems of the first with some questionable shading choices. Even as someone who likes the sprites in Sonic 3, I can say his proportions are exaggerated and his massive hand simply doesn't work if you just retrace over it. To top it all off, the Genesis palette used in the games isn't always the best, often making things look dimmer or more saturated than they should, often with dull skin tones, grey in place of white, and reds that could be described as eye-searing.

On a personal note, you know what says "Larger, more appealing 2D Sonic" to me?

this.

Posted Image

Don't misunderstand me. Those graphics are small and this particular set of animations couldn't carry a game, nor were they meant to. They weren't designed for a game, they were designed for fun little cartoony breaks in an otherwise mundane slideshow. And that's why I like them. They don't look like game sprites. They follow a basic model and are fairly consistent about it throughout. Whether or not you like this specific interpretation of him, Sonic looks like a character who exists in the space, not an approximation of one.

Ideally, I'd look at Sonic art from around that particular era. Safe range is probably any Japanese art from Post-Sonic 2 to Sonic & Knuckles Collection inclusive titles (including Sonic Jam and oddball titles like Drift). Find a style to work with, and recreate the sprites from there. Follow the basic flow of the sprite animation and make sure it animates to work in the 3D space, but don't sacrifice aesthetic quality for the sake of being a pixel off to the original. I feel like that's missing the point.

Or you could go the full 3D route like Fan Remix/Generations, as that's been quite explicitly stated to be what the team was trying to replicate back in 1991 (hence checkerboard hills and origami trees with high contrast color). But please, don't just pre-render everything. It worked for Donkey Kong Country because it was replicating something that simply could not be done at the time. There's no such excuse anymore, and the Sprite/Polygon mixing is one reason I can't stand Sonic 4's visual style.


For an industry example that echos what I've been trying to say, The process of working on the original Earthworm Jim. Despite the miniscule resolution they had to work with, they approached it more like making frames for an animated film rather than a video game sprite. Jim had model sheets and animators required to stick to them so he'd maintain a degree of consistency. Even though the detail is lost and the game hasn't aged the best, you still see that level of work evident in the game itself. Jim's motion is fluid and believable.

Posted Image
More here.

Compare that to the HD remake which didn't involve the original staff.

Posted Image

It looks higher resolution, but what the fuck am I looking at?

Conversely, look at the Toki remake/remix:

It speaks for itself.

#134 User is offline Jayextee 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 02:14 PM

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What Clutch said for the sprites. OH GOD, WHAT CLUTCH SAID.

As an aside; going for a cel-shade cartoon look might not be exactly what people would have in mind for a S3K upscale, but fuck 'em. I say do it, even if only to put some welcome distance between the look of this and S2HD. ;)

#135 User is offline BlazeHedgehog 

Posted 29 December 2011 - 03:12 PM

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View Postwinterhell, on 29 December 2011 - 01:30 PM, said:

The game DOES work on Windows XP , and the choice currently is either XP and up and having XNA and .net 4.0, OR Vista and up and .net 2.0 (ironically). But seems like nobody is using XP I'd ditch its support for less dependencies.

P.S. can I use Shader Model 3.0 on multiplatform Allegro 5 ? If yes then I'll consider it.


I'm using XP. If I upgrade to Windows Vista/Windows 7 I'll lose my ability to capture video from game consoles as my capture hardware doesn't have drivers for it.

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