Foray in the Forest (development thread)

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Nisaba
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Nisaba » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:14

Snortimer wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:38
[...] So the patching is all done then? Just the remaining animations, tileset and level design left? How exactly have you sketched out the levels that you already have?

Regarding my idea for the trees, this sort of thing, maybe?
Image
I tried to use the same type of shading gradations as in the Keen 5 title screen[...]
well, like Atroxian Realm this is a Source Code mod, meaning that I don't really work with patches. instead, with the help of NY00123, lemm and K1n9_Duk3 things get coded/implemented directly. Big shout-outs by the way!

a hand full of levels are designed by Mr. M., a couple were made by The Shifted One, one by Ceilick, one by Mark the Candy Junk, one by tulip. everything else is sketched by me on paper, mostly when I take a ride with the train... I'm really hoping to get Gridlock aboard, as soon as the tileset is set in stone.

You see, there are a lot of people involved. same goes for the Soundtrack (kvee, Kohntarkosz_, Mr.M, MOM4Evr, troublesomekeen? ← I'm still waiting yearningly for your tune), or sprite development (Zilem, Ceilick, XkyRauh), or graphics (proYorp, Dr.Colossus, Ceilck, Zilem, Gridlock, Roobar, Mobiethian, Jarno LV, Plasma Captain), and so many more... is gonna be a long credit list. I conciser myself as a creative art director with a fantastic team of skill, passion and splendid ideas.
and I'd like to invite you to put your name on this list as well. If you can, please finish your pixelation. I really like this sort of shading and I'd love to see the whole thing.
Image
Roobar wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:55
Between the two, I like the original the most because it's more simple looking and thus more keen-ish to me. The second one looks more over detailed and more Atroxian-Realm-ish.
thanks for the feedback. I see what you mean and my aim is to keep things style-wise as close to the originals as possible. but I do think that Snortimers version works really well. In my opinion, it feels more natural without being overly dotted. well balanced IMO.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Roobar » Tue Mar 26, 2019 16:23

Wow! I didn't realized up until now how many people are working on this! I thought only you were working on the graphics and the levels with some help for coding from others. What were those talks in this forum recently that people here tend to work alone? Nonsense. This is as much community project as it can get. Well, maybe people are making Keen 1-3 mods alone, but not Galaxy mods. Interesting... Oh well... Anyway.

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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 22:16

Snortimer wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:38
Regarding my idea for the trees, this sort of thing, maybe?
Image

I tried to use the same type of shading gradations as in the Keen 5 title screen. I'm more happy with how the left side of the tree shading came out than the right side
Maybe you could try to make the dithering more pattern-based and less random noise. I know it might be tricky to stick to a pattern and still get good results in such tiny areas, but I think pattern dithering would be a better fit for Keen graphics. I'm pretty sure every single image in Keen 4-6 uses pattern dithering. The original graphics were created in DeluxePaint, which I guess would have had some built-in support for pattern ditherng. I know the old versions of Paintbrush for Windows 3.x had something like that.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Snortimer » Tue Mar 26, 2019 23:20

Nisaba wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:14
...I'd like to invite you to put your name on this list as well. If you can, please finish your pixelation. I really like this sort of shading and I'd love to see the whole thing.
I... I think I can do it. It would be nice to contribute to a Keen fangame that actually got released for a change. :dopekeen
proYorp wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:31
There's mtPaint, which was developed with pixel art in mind, and has the ability to paint full dithered patterns with a single brush stroke.
Thanks, I checked it out. In the dithering menu mtPaint only has about half of the dithering patterns that I can see in the Keen 5 title screen, though. It's possible to add my own custom patterns, but also it's a bit inconvenient to do an extra click to open that menu every time to change to another pattern, rather than just have it on screen all the time with whatever two colours I've chosen. Is there a pixel painting program where the latter is possible? (or at least has some sort of shortcut to easily go up+down between patterns...)

I do like mtpaint's "colour protection" feature, though. Useful to make sure whatever I'm doing with the trees doesn't affect the black outlines or the sky.

If my installation of Microsoft Paint XP is opened in black & white mode, the 28 dithering patterns at the bottom seem to be precisely the ones I'm looking for:
Image
Unfortunately, it's only there for black & white...
K1n9_Duk3 wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 22:16
Maybe you could try to make the dithering more pattern-based and less random noise. I know it might be tricky to stick to a pattern and still get good results in such tiny areas, but I think pattern dithering would be a better fit for Keen graphics. I'm pretty sure every single image in Keen 4-6 uses pattern dithering. The original graphics were created in DeluxePaint, which I guess would have had some built-in support for pattern ditherng. I know the old versions of Paintbrush for Windows 3.x had something like that.
I WAS trying to make it pattern-based. As you said, tricky to get good results in such tiny areas, so I ended up deviating from the plan a bit. But I WOULD like to use a tool that makes it easy to make it pattern-based. I'll have to check out DeluxePaint (via an emulator, I guess?), thanks for the info. I checked out the old Windows 3.x Paintbrush, but it doesn't seem to have a dithering pallette like the image I posted above - it just dithers when you use the spraypaint tool, but it gets to the "fully saturated" dither very quickly...
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 23:48

Snortimer wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 23:20
I checked out the old Windows 3.x Paintbrush, but it doesn't seem to have a dithering pallette like the image I posted above - it just dithers when you use the spraypaint tool, but it gets to the "fully saturated" dither very quickly...
I think you had to edit the colors in the palette in Paintbrush (by double clicking?) and since all versions of Win 3.x I ever used ran in 16 color mode, instead of letting you select actual colors, the palette entry could be filled with a pattern of two (or more?) colors. Also, you might be limited to the default Windows color palette, which might differ from the EGA palette used in Keen (dark yellow instead of brown, for example). It's been ages since I used Paintbrush on Win 3.x, so my memory is a bit fuzzy.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Snortimer » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:00

Ok, I looked it up and I'm pretty sure that this 8x8 Bayer dithering pattern is what was used in Keen:
https://devlog-martinsh.blogspot.com/20 ... ering.html
Image
K1n9_Duk3 wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 23:48
I think you had to edit the colors in the palette in Paintbrush (by double clicking?) and since all versions of Win 3.x I ever used ran in 16 color mode, instead of letting you select actual colors, the palette entry could be filled with a pattern of two (or more?) colors. Also, you might be limited to the default Windows color palette, which might differ from the EGA palette used in Keen (dark yellow instead of brown, for example). It's been ages since I used Paintbrush on Win 3.x, so my memory is a bit fuzzy.
I haven't checked whether the Windows palette differs from the EGA one yet, but you're right about the rest of it. I just tried it out here. It's super-convenient to shade with ordered dithering patterns when they're right there in the palette.

Isn't there any modern program that recreates that? Or at least something that doesn't require me to install Windows 3.1? Hm. I also tried XPaint and GrafX2 (which seems to be a modern clone of DeluxePaint), but I couldn't figure out how to get what I want in either of them (I think it is possible at least in XPaint, but there's something I'm not doing right, and there's no manual).
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by KeenRush » Fri Mar 29, 2019 5:35

Just had to say that wow :eek those screens are gorgeous! As said, it's amazing what people can do with this palette. Good luck with the rest of the project; seems there isn't all that much left. Just reading about all that talent participating makes me even more enthusiastic.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by PixelKeen » Fri Mar 29, 2019 16:53

Greetings! Nisaba, a certain person who gave you tiles for your mod wants to let you know that even though he's left the forum due to some problems, he still follows everything that you do here. Great work and it won't be missed out!

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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Snortimer » Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:10

Hey, thought I'd give an update in case anyone else is curious about this graphics stuff.

I tried Grafx2 and mtpaint (both highly praised today for pixel art), but neither has an easy way to get at those 8x8 Bayer dither patterns. mtpaint comes closest with its "patterns", but it doesn't have quite the right ones (EDIT: To be precise, it has half of them), one of them is misaligned, and it takes just a bit longer than I'd like to switch between them (if it had two hotkeys to go up/down between the patterns, it would be PERFECT and really convenient, but it doesn't as far as I know). There's supposedly a way to change the default patterns in the program, adding your own custom ones, but it seems to not be accessible in the Windows version (EDIT: it is, one has to modify this file then select the modified version in Image->Preferences->Paths->Default patterns, but I haven't yet understood how to modify it).

Long story short, I don't think there's a single modern program that makes this convenient (amazing as that is), so I ended up using Deluxe Paint Animation emulated through DOSBox, which I think was probably the original program the Keen art was done in. Here's an online emulated version:
https://classicreload.com/dosx-deluxe-p ... ation.html
Long-clicking on the checkerboard icon gives a selection of patterns remarkably similar to the ones in Commander Keen 4-6. Clicking with the left or right mouse button on the palette selects the two colours. I still wish it was possible to go between patterns with hotkeys, that would speed things up a lot, but this seems the best option available today.

Deluxe Paint Animation only opens images in LPM format, which is quite rare. The only program I found which could convert a modern image file format (such as GIF) into LPM is the DOS version of Pictview, which I'm using through DOSBox.

Anyway, here's some work in progress (I only started on the darker colours, haven't done the light green yet):
Image
If you look at the bottom two rows, you'll see the very patterns used in Keen title screens and backgrounds (except the one on the bottom right). This still seems to be the only pixel painting program where they're easily accessible. Also, clicking the right mouse button paints a solid stroke of the secondary colour, which is more useful than mtpaint's behaviour (where it paints the same pattern but in reverse).

The disadvantages of Deluxe Paint Animation are that there seems to be no way to protect colours (for example, so that I don't paint over the black outlines or blue sky) as in mtpaint, nor are there layers, and there's only one "undo".
Last edited by Snortimer on Mon Apr 01, 2019 23:51, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by szemi » Sun Mar 31, 2019 7:45

Wooo. Thanks for sharing, gonna try it out sometimes!
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Nisaba » Sun Mar 31, 2019 15:39

Snortimer wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:10
oh man, you seem to be going through a lot of trouble here.
thanks a thousand for you patience!

I really do hope that your research pays off and you come across a helpful solution that really accelerates the dither pattern process while maintaining control over outlines (via layers for e.g.)...
reading your review it seems that Deluxe Paint Animation is the program of choice for the moment. at this point big thanks for your detailed feedback on those tools.

... here's just a quick link list at a glance for everybody interested:
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Quillax » Tue Apr 02, 2019 15:38

Wow, I must say that those screenshots look really beautiful, I especially like the first one (that environment looks so rad)! The creatures look really cool, and the ripped and custom graphics blend with each other very well! I agree with those that said how amazing it is to see one make a work of art with only 16 colors (although, at a closer inspection, I noticed some dark colors in the first screenshot).

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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 21:17

Quillax wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 15:38
(although, at a closer inspection, I noticed some dark colors in the first screenshot).
Image
This one, right? But the way I see it, it's just because somebody painted over the bottom part of the image with a soft brush. The top part is still just standard EGA colors.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Nisaba » Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:05

K1n9_Duk3 wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 21:17
Quillax wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 15:38
(although, at a closer inspection, I noticed some dark colors in the first screenshot).
This one, right? But the way I see it, it's just because somebody painted over the bottom part of the image with a soft brush. The top part is still just standard EGA colors.
I have to admit that you're very attentive observers... well, I blurred the bottom section of the image, cause I didn't want to spoil too much. and then I realized that black fits the theme quite well. it's unforeseeable detours like this that can often further the creative process
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