art is slow, but time is fast. for much of the previously-prescribed [unit of time since prior blog post], we've been quietly chugging along with art of all kinds, including concept art, tile art, character art, map art, life as art, and art of otherworldly entities as likely to hold you against the ground and stare coldly into your eyes as you burn to death as they are to nuzzle the top of your head and give you lill smoochies because who's the cutest little mortal creature this side of the ethereal void of existence??? you are!! oh, yes you are!!!!!!
but today we're only going to be talking about two of those things: map art, and character art.
mapping in reborn is fairly straight forward. gen 3 and reborn uses 32x32 pixel tiles, which are at 2x resolution so they are actually 16x16 tiles. this does not leave much room for detail, but it does make tiles very quick and easy to pixel on the fly. so we slap some tiles down, passability is automatically generated from them, aaaaand that's basically it. it's quick and fast to match gen 3, but it's also fast to produce a lot of maps unless you use a bunch of cliffs because you hate yourself which is great because pokemon games are all about exploration, and we really want to have a lot of different varies maps for you to explore!!!
mapping in starlight is the same in that we are still putting tiles down................................ but that's about it.
for one thing, the process of creating those tiles is much more time-consuming than before. our tile size is 48x48 which i used to feel like i was too big, but now that we've made the jump to 1080p part of me almost wishes they were bigger. only part. anyway, pixeling tiles of that size would take approximately much longer than for reborn since they are effectively 9x the size, so instead we draw the tiles out in smooth digital art, and shrink them down to the size we need.
this takes a while!
i kind of hate it!
once we have our tiles, we place them as normal. and then we spit the map out as a raw image file which we can separate in layers, do any kind of other visual editing work we need and re-import. this process is called parallaxing! it might sound like a lot of work, and it definitely is extra work, but the balance between [Extra Work] vs [This is fun to do and looks very cool] is tipped highly in the latter's favor.
After doctoring the map, we reimport it and manually set the passability per map, since we won't have tiles to do it for us anymore. This process is actually much quicker than it sounds! For a project like Reborn with hundreds of maps, it would definitely be less efficient than auto-generating passability. However, doing it this way is actually faster when we have fewer maps, and tRPGs definitely spend much more time on a small set of maps as opposed to an exploration-based RPG where you nyoom through them at the speed of speed-up-mode. It also means there will be very few passability-based tile errors!
In short, it is very much a map-quality vs map-quantity type of thing. Episode 1 of Reborn had about 80 maps in it. The Starlight demo had 3. While Reborn's maps are amazing by gen 3's standards, I have eagerly awaited the chance to do better.
So, here is an in-game look at the first map we've made for the intro!
In the near future, we'll be breaking down the process of making this map in a much more detailed fashion on our patreon, so if that kind of thing interests you, please consider visiting us there~
As one extra note, if you are someone who is skilled at digital art, or working on learning, and you think it might be fun to make tiles like this, maybe drop me a message! The mapping is very feasible, but the tiles are somewhat time-consuming, and we could perhaps use the help.
Of course, character art has also been a big focus lately! Since we're making the start of the game proper, there are lots of characters to introduce all at once. That means a lot of art has to be done all at once! Painful, but fun!
I won't be talking too much about this right now as I've already gone into detail on our patreon about these as well, but I will share two recently finished arts with you from characters who we'll meet early in the game.
First up is Raine!
Raine is our protagonist's best friend since childhood, a serious and mature angel from a rich and stern family. She is also an archer who uses ice magic to create arrows on the fly!
And then, the aforementioned protagonist...!
I'm sure you've all seen her somewhere before...
...And no, it's not Star! Star is our deuteragonist, a central character to be sure, but the real main character is--
We've seen her once at the end of the demo already. A studious young lady who always has her nose buried in a book, Aulyra wants little more than to serve her community faithfully! Like many protagonists, she has just a teensy-weensy case of amnesia, but unlike them, she has luckily had Raine and the rest of her community to kindly help her remember and readapt to her old life. As all angels ought to, she aspires more than anything else in the world to earn her wings rightfully and bear them with pride.
That will surely happen peacefully :)
That's it from me this month! Thank you for continuing to watch patiently as we march forward~