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Exile Squadron - Space SHMUP from One Bit Studio (J_C)

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by J_C, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    I think it is time to create a thread for my next game. So...*drumroll*.... let me announce Exile Squadron my space shoot 'em up.

    It is in development for 20 months, and I'm planning to release it this summer. As for the gameplay, I'm aiming to get the feel of the old MAME shmups, with some inspirations from modern ones like Jets 'n Guns.

    Opposite to my first game, this one is coded, drawn and hopefully composed by me, so it quite a challange. I can't show you gameplay or ingame screens just yet, but I hope I will be able to do it in a month.

    For now, I'd like to get some feedback on the cover art, specifically for the title style. I created 4 versions, would you tell me which one you like the best? A-B-C-D? Enlarge te picture, because the difference is in the title logo.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Nekot-The-Brave Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Nekot-The-Brave
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    A
     
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  3. AdolfSatan Erudite

    AdolfSatan
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    Love playing these kind of games with my friends, so definitely looking forward to see what comes out of this.

    Now, on the cover:
    It looks bland and generic. You're playing with the same colour scheme and effects that everyone's been doing since the whole retro vibe hit the mainstream. First thought that comes to mind is "Jeez, another dev trying to make some cash on the latest trend".
    But putting that prejudice aside, the logo itself is bad. All of the four versions; I wouldn't be able to pick one I like best, because I don't like any.

    I get you tried to compensate for the difference in size amidst both words by increasing size and kerning in "EXILE"; but it isn't working, and having both words distanced so much makes it feel lopsided.
    If the idea was to give it a sense of dynamism, you could have achieved it by shifting the weight towards the right side. Alternatively, you could have centered both words to give it more gravitas.

    Quick paintjob to ilustrate my point:
    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]

    I still do consider it to be a bad logo, though.
     
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  4. Tarantulos-Eduardo-Sanchez Arcane

    Tarantulos-Eduardo-Sanchez
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    Turn the lasers from pink to red.

    Trust me.
     
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  5. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    Thanks, I'll try to do some more versions, with other title placement. Unfortunately the art in the background will stay, because it was created by some other guy, who can't work on it anymore. I wouldn't be able to draw something like this by myself. :)
     
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  6. AdolfSatan Erudite

    AdolfSatan
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    Well, it's not that the artwork is terrible, but there are some minor adjustments that could make it better. Its two main issues are clutter (too much info + everything in focus) and softness (everything is sitting somewhere amidst the middle grounds of the brightness spectrum). Both can be easily solved by stacking focus and manipulating the contrast, to a more dramatic flair. Spider's idea of shifting the lasers towards red isn't bad at all either.
    Here's a —very quick and sloppy— shop to illustrate my point.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    Not saying my version's necessarily better, just bouncing some ideas. Hope it helps!
     
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  7. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    Every feedback helps. Thanks. :) Do you think using some depth of field effect to put the forefront in focus would help?
     
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  8. Tarantulos-Eduardo-Sanchez Arcane

    Tarantulos-Eduardo-Sanchez
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    What I dislike about the original cover art is you have this perilous situation but the colours are too warm and welcoming which takes away a lot of the urgency. The edited picture above from Hitler is more effective and tells you what you need to know.

    If I was browsing through shmups on Steam, which I'd never do because I suck an unprecedented amount of dick at them, but let's say I was Asian and blessed with Jackie Chan reflexes, I'd see the initial cover art and think it's another retro neon '80s thing that at this point has been so done that it needs to take a vacation in a volcano. It doesn't pop out to me, it doesn't grab me.

    Now if I see the edited picture from Hitler, I know right away what I'm getting into. I know these fuckers want to kill me. This is not a game to mess with, it's an urgent situation and it demands you come help. Check this... 1991, video rental store named "Fabulous Movies" ran by Indian immigrants, I roam the game aisles and see that shit looking at me wedged between Paperboy and Excitebike? I'm grabbing it. Taking off, see you in 4 days for the return, Kumar.
     
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  9. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    1. Find a female avatar. Think Angelina Jolie in sky captain & world of tomorrow or something. More flesh = better.

    2. Graft it into your covers.

    3. Profit.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    You forgot the 4th point. Prepare for lawsuit.
     
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  11. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    The key word here is "think". I dont say you have to find an exact likeliness to Jolie or the captain sky uniform, do I? For one thing, I also dotn think that black uni go well with your starting image. Something white or blue would be better. Jolie is just what pop up in my head first.

    Honor Harrington would fit better but most of arts about her has her washboard status. Not my cuppa. Twenty years and we only got this. You should check "honor harrington cover" on google to see images about a female captain/commander in star ship command.


    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Berekän #11231 Patron

    Berekän
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    I'd go with C personally but the differences are so minor I don't think it even matters
     
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  13. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    You need a chick with big boobs on the cover. Like have the plane fly in between her breasts.

    [​IMG]

    I'll take my 15% cut form your profits now, thx.

    Show Spoiler
    Or else my bot army will rate your game on Steam!
     
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  14. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    [​IMG]
     
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  15. AdolfSatan Erudite

    AdolfSatan
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    Yeap! That's exactly what I meant. Just make sure to stack different levels of blur/focus to achieve a better sense of depth, and make sure there's a clear line guiding the eye.

    Being named Adolf doesn't necessarily imply a homage to der Führer, mister.

    [​IMG]

    Show Spoiler
    I mean, in my case it does, but you shouldn't go around making assumptions like that.
     
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  16. Tarantulos-Eduardo-Sanchez Arcane

    Tarantulos-Eduardo-Sanchez
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    You're right. Hitler kind of ruined that name for everyone else. It's a great first name, but it's forever forbidden now. He should've realized he had a memorable, great first name and done the Stalin thing and go by Tom or something.
     
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  17. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    So, two other versions I did. Darker colour, red lasers, new title placement. The bottom picture has some blur around the edges. I dunno, I still like the sharper one a bit more, since I like the explosions and the asteroids. I kept the bigger space between the letters of EXILE for now, but I might change it later.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Viata Arcane

    Viata
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    Posting so I can follow this thread.
     
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  19. AdolfSatan Erudite

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    Viata there's a watch thread button, yanaw.

    Looks much better; I still think there's room for some deeper blacks, tho. We're in space, after all.

    On the blur, you could reach a compromise. The blur around the edges isn't quite working because it has no real reason to be. You gotta justify it before applying, if you gonna put it to use.

    For example, you could set the ship and its hit wing as focus point 1 with 100% clarity, and the asteroids/explosions as focus point 2, with say, 95%.

    That doesn't mean every single point of said objects should stay in focus. You could achieve a sense of speed and urgency by adding movement blur on the parts I painted turquoise in the reference picture.

    Furthermore, as the eye focuses on moving objects, those larger and static in the background tend to fall out of it. The planet, the station, the furthest ships, and the asteroid belt, should feature a heavier amounts of blur in varying degrees. In turn this will make points of interest jump out by virtue of the contrast.

    If you do end up using this technique, bear in mind that it's always better to have too little than too much. Keep it as subtle as possible.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    Thanks, I'll do my best to incorporate this into the cover.

    Hey, aren't you a graphics designer by any chance? :D
     
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  21. AdolfSatan Erudite

    AdolfSatan
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    Used to. Grew up amidst the world of classical painting and worked with photoshop when I was younger. Nowadays I only do it for my own enjoyment, but it's always fun to shoot ideas back and forth with other artists on the net.

    Isn't there a painters thread on the Public Library? You should probably post this there as well to get other opinions than my own, in case they don't visit GG too often. The more advice from differing sources you can get, the better.
     
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  22. orcinator Savant

    orcinator
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    Why the fuck are people telling him to put an ADULT woman on the cover of a shmup?
     
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  23. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    I'll check it out if there is some other thread.

    For the meanwhile, new version, with some added blur here and there and darker black for the space.
    [​IMG]
     
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  24. AdolfSatan Erudite

    AdolfSatan
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    Did you use blur with hard/no feather or smudge tool for the explosions? The transition looks rather abrupt. I still feel like the planet and enemy ships in the distance are too detailed, but the progress here is astounding when you compare it to the original.

    Inconsistent in their behaviour as one would expect, /ic/ can be very helpful sometimes. You should consider posting there too for critique.

    EDIT: Sorry about random/senseless ratings. I keep clicking the buttons by mistake.
     
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