New Poll: Focus

I’ve implemented a new polling system, to let you give feedback and improve interactivity. This poll is for members only. (Tech: This uses php+mysql+html+javascript+rpc+flash – the swf charting is from a library, thankfully)

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What should I focus on next?

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Jetpack Level Designers’ Forum

I created a Jetpack SubReddit as an experiment – we can try this as a forum to rate levels & talk about Jetpack:
You can get a link to a level by going to your profile page, then clicking on “permalink” under the level you want to post.

Graphic Examples

The Jetpack 2 graphics are mostly a blend from about 6 different artists, including myself. This means that there is quite a clash of styles right now: it’s a combination of different styles of pixel art, vector art, painted backgrounds, rendered textures, and filtered photographs. The time is coming to homogenize the graphics. I’m going to use my limited artistic skills, and advanced Photoshop skills, to move the graphics all in one direction, but I’m not exactly sure what that direction will be.

I like semi-realistic pixel art, and I’ve always wanted the graphics to go in the direction of Return to Dark Castle (but with smoother animation). If I had to describe this, I’d call it kind of a cheerful grunge. The main problem with doing all pixel art, is it’s easy to convert FROM, but not so easy to convert TO (if you have any suggestions, let me know). There have also been a few suggestions favoring a more blocky retro look.

Here are the options, in order by realism:

  • Rendered textures
  • Semi-realistic pixel art
  • Hand painted
  • Cartoon-style pixel art
  • Vector graphics + gradients

The question of which styles can get along is one I’m not good at answering. I’d like to think filters could be applied to the rendered textures & hand painted graphics, to make them get along with the semi-realistic pixel art. But I think the remaining cartoon & vector stuff has to go.

Of course, there are a lot of different styles of pixel art too, and these are beyond my ability to describe.

First, I need to cement to look of a basic looking level. I’ve deconstructed the tile graphics from what I think of as a pretty homogenous level. I’ve experimented with a few changes to see if this can help with the direction. Please let me know what you think of these experiments in the comments. Do you like this style?

1) Original

2) Rough pixelation (3x)

3) Tiles replaced with solid blocks

4) Tiles with seams – a blockier look

5) Tiles broken into tiny squares

6) Enhanced for contrast

Paper Jetpack – just for fun