Lot of figuring out was done in the past weeks. Mostly research and foresight against future bottlenecks, since it would suck to create hundreds of sprites and then find out a tiny detail I missed rendered them useless in the end, so I took the extra time to prep against that.
First thing was research. This meant downloading a truckload of spritesheet, tilesets, screenshots and other similar images that show tilesets in action on how they look ingame, how they’re structured, whats the pros and cons of each style…
Next up, I noticed there were multiple core styles of how the structure of a tile is set up and how the lighting works. There were multiple variables to consider:
- Outline vs no Outline
- Neutral omnidirectional lighting vs cinematic shading
- Round vs Square external shape
- Internal thickness
Each of these play an important part in terms of gameplay and aesthetics, depending on what the game’s design is supposed to accomplish. Like outlines make sense for a game with a zoomed out view and high speed scrolling camera, since an outline makes surfaces more visible to the human eye and gives clarity on what is solid and what is not.
Also omnidirectional lighting is best used for destructible block based games, since they rely on a seperate lighting system to create shading, unlike in more cinematic games, such as Super Metroid, where the blocks already have lighting pre-drawn into them for a better atmospheric effect.
All in all I came up with these primary types to draw:
2. Omnidirectional shading + outline
3. Cinematic shading w/o outline
4. Cinematic shading with outline
5. Transparent block
For each of those, I need 53 tiles to be drawn x3, for varying thickness and x2 for both square and rounded versions to cover for all possible cases. I may be missing something, so it may not be a final number, but generally that’d make 318 sprites that I need to draw. And thats only the beginning.
Type 1 is obviously the most complex and most comprehensive tileset, while Type 2 and Type 3 offer cheaper alternatives at the cost of simpleness in aesthetics.
On top of that, theres also the frosting system, which is basically a strip that can be layed over all the four sides of a tile to act as grass, grunge or topping:
I also did a more limited selection for the angled tiles, with the ones I felt most important to do.
I still have literally hundreds of sprites to draw and the ones shown here aren’t finished either, so it’ll take some time to get this stuff done.