Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify each original tile for each game

Post by DarkAle »

Gagster wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 16:53
Just a small work-in-progress update regarding the ship world map in Keen 5

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The small cylinders on both sides may look a bit off compared to the rest of the ship that uses dithering, but overall the process of making the whole ship world map in 256 VGA recoloring is moving forward in a nice pace.
Wow. It's so realistic. Good job
Commander Keen 13 viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6802
The Armageddon Continues:viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6979
Commander Keen 14 in development viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6837
My Keen 5 Levelpack viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6256

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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify each original tile for each game

Post by Gagster »

World map in Keen 5 redone and recolored, check page 2 for the updated tilemaps.

Enjoy.

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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by gerstrong »

Awesome, I love it! :love
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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by Gagster »

I learned something new regarding the VGA color palette (at lest news for me), which gives me an opportunity to remove the last of the dithering in Keen 6 once I modify the standard VGA palette I'm currently using in Aseprite:

http://www.shikadi.net/moddingwiki/VGA_Palette

I was naive and thought that the 256 color VGA palette only had the ability to use the default colors, but as I read here "VGA allows 256 colours to be displayed at the same time out of a possible 262,144" and also "unlike EGA games which rarely changed the palette, almost all VGA games alter the palette to their preferred group of 256 colours". That can explain why I felt the VGA palette was lacking to some degree.

Now it seems like I with good consciousness can create my own VGA palette for use with these tilemaps, and thereby get all the red- and turquoise colors I was sorely missing. One of the red colors I have used from the default VGA palette is too bright in my opinion (used on the sides of the red metal wall/floor tiles in Keen 5 to replace the light- and dark red dithering), so I think that will be changed to a less bright red color once I've made a custom VGA palette.

As many of you may have seen with the red rock tiles I recolored in Keen 6, I made them darker. That's because I lacked a light red color to remove the dithering on the light parts of those tiles. After creating a new and more suitable VGA palette, I may want to make those tiles as light as they originally were (they are very dark now).

In my Keen 4 tiles I made the earth tiles darker than originally (at least the brown colors), but in this case I liked the darker coloring; it looks like it was raining for a long period before Keen landed in Shadowlands.

So one might ask; why am I so obsessed with the VGA palette, and don't just go for 32bit colors on my tilemaps?

I believe that having less colors makes it easier to recolor these graphics, because otherwise I might by a mistake have 12 different green colors that's 98% identical on the tilemaps, and they look identical on my gaming monitor (TN panel). Other than that, it would be cool if these tilemaps could also be used on a potential source port of Commander Keen 4-6 with proper VGA support added, compiled to a MS-DOS executable, being run on original hardware like on a 486DX2 at 66Mhz, and make it look like how a hypothetical official VGA release of Keen 4-6 would look like if Wolfenstein 3D didn't become that popular.

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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by gerstrong »

Well, I like the approaches.

The more wet earth look pretty good on Keen 4, especially the backgrounds with the torches.

With Keen 6 I had the impression you wanted to go a bit more colorful having darker tiles. It looks fine to me, because it is different, but making it brighter sure makes it even better.
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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by Gagster »

I have now done major updates to my Keen 6 tilemaps, now with an improved color palette. Fixed most of the remaining dithering, including world map (some improvements there as well). The red ground texture has its original brightness now, as I now have added more red colors in my palette to compensate for previously lacking enough light red colors.

I'm not sure if the extra colors are 100% VGA compatible in its 256 color mode, but I suppose it's close enough in regards to the info I have gathered.

I have also done a very minor update with the Keen 5 tilemaps, as I have adjusted one of the red colors (I think it was too bright before).

Here are some screenshots:

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Edit: Usually I'm pretty confident with the direction I take on the tilemaps, but now I'm not quite sure if I like the gradients on both the shadows- and skies on the second image, and the red color I chose to color the climbable mountain on the world map in Keen 6. Some suggestions (if any) on what I can do differently here? Should I go back to the dithered transition between the blue colors on the skies, or maybe an other direction here? Originally this scene is heavy dithered because of the 16 color limitation of old, as seen below:

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Old recoloring from page 3 of this topic:

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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by gerstrong »

My honest opinion:

In the background, the part where you see the big space platform with the screws I like it a lot without dithering, like you have done it. It looks very clean. The space/sky part looks a bit strange to me. I think it can be dithered but you require more dithering and larger gradient bands. That way it should better match to the original artwork.
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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by Gagster »

Thanks for feedback, I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong here.

I'll try to change the sky up, maybe the same way as I did with some of the world map in Keen 5 (blend the dithering with an online tool to make it a smooth 32bit blue gradient, then import it in Aseprite and then make Aseprite reapply dithering again with a VGA color palette instead of 16 color dithering).

I have some ideas for what I didn't like with the red color of the climbable mountain; I might need to make it a bit lighter to better match the ground tiles on the world map. Now the red color of the climbable mountain (previously dithered) shines like blood in a weird way I think.

When I uploaded the latest revision of the Keen 6 tilemaps I recall being tired and not completely satisfied with the end result, but I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong.

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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by Tormentor667 »

The dithering is indeed much better and more seamingless

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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by DoomJedi »

I think dithering looks much better, I'm not sure anything needs to be changed.

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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by Benvolio »

I think this 256 colour project is really cool and nearly everything you've done looks great. I do agree, however, regarding the Bloogbae (sic) Recreational District background, that the original looks better.

However I would suggest you try dithering of a similar softness to the original, using the larger number of colours that the 256 colour depth allows.

It is really important that a gradient follows a smooth trajectory of change in hue, saturation AND lightness/luminosity (unless any of these parameters are remaining constant).

What is meant by this is that if there are, say, five colours, then each of colours should be exactly (or close to) one fifth as bright as the total change in brightness between the first and last. But additionally the hue should follow the same increments i.e. if the top shade of blue is pure blue and the bottom one is a little greener (cyan/teal) then ideally each of the five colours in the gradient should be one fifth greener than the one above it, relative to the final green-blue ratio in the bottom colour.

This of course may be difficult to achieve within the constraints of whatever palettes are permissible in the original VGA (if that is indeed what you are trying to constrain yourself to). But I think it is important in determining what looks best in pixel graphics. There are obviously fudges and optical illusions to be done with colours but I think these are harder to hide with large fields of colour such as a sky, rather than a tiny point item etc.

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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by Gagster »

Sorry to keep you waiting, I've done a bit experimenting with the blue skies now.

Image

I haven't applied dithering to the skies, but I instead used a few more blue colors just to see how it looks. I haven't as of yet done anything more with the turquoise colors on the floor of the background, maybe I'll experiment a bit more there as well?

Does it look better this way? The coloring of the skies reminds me of how the game Jill of the Jungle (VGA version) did it, but with a few more colors here because my palette is a bit modified. I originally intended to apply dithering after I had drawn the lines for all the blue colors, but after testing this out before doing so I wanted to see how it looked, and it looked very clean aesthetically in my opinion.

Edit: Removed some of the "banding colors" between the turquoise lines on the background floor to get a more consistent look.

Image

Changes has been uploaded and can be found on page 3 with the Keen 6 tilemaps.

Edit 2: Some slight adjustments to the coloring on the blue skies, updated on page 3

Image

Edit 3: Didn't like the purple-ish blue color at the bottom, so I changed it, updated on page 3

Image

Edit 4: Still too much purple in that color, updated again on page 3

Image
Last edited by Gagster on Wed Jul 29, 2020 13:43, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by gerstrong »

Much better :-)
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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by Gagster »

For the users here wanting to see a big compilation of how the Keen 4-6 tilemap updates look compared to the original graphics, here are some before & after pictures:


Commander Keen 4

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Commander Keen 5

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Commander Keen 6

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Re: Original tilesets for Keen 1-6, so that users can modify (custom recolored VGA tilesets for Keen 4-6 avaiable here)

Post by gerstrong »

Nice comparison pics. Would be something for the webpage...
Having fun developing stuff...

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