Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Episode 51: Graphics and Tile Design part 1

Welcome to Roguelike Radio episode 51. This week we talk about Graphics and Tile Design in roguelikes.  Due to the length of this recording it has been split into two - the second part will be up in a couple of days. Talking this episode are Darren Grey, Ido Yehieli, Jagosh Kalezich (Cardinal Quest artist), Thomas Whetnall (Fuel and others) and John Attea (DCSS artist).

You can download the mp3 of the podcast, play it in the embedded player below, or you can follow us on iTunes.

Topics discussed in this episode include:
- The need for tiles for many players

- Functional advantages to graphics over ASCII
- Infra Arcana's silhouette/abstract graphics style
- Why mainstream games focus on graphics so much
- Appeal of pixel graphics, and their development advantage
- Having a distinctive graphical style
- John's experiences as graphics artist on DCSS, and his recent blog post about it
- Using a restricted palette and choosing colours wisely, especially in background vs foreground colours
- Recommendations on choosing palette size and tile size for a beginner artist
- Adapting the game to make the most of the graphics and using the graphics to their best effect
- Tweening, lighting effects, shaders, lighting and juicing as cheap ways to improve the look of the game
- Variance of scale in creature sprites and getting rats and dragons looking okay next to each other (important advice is to save some pixels at the top of the base human sprites)
- Getting feedback - TigSource Art forums are recommended
- Saturation levels, and using low saturation levels on background tiles

Useful resources:
- List of free tilesets on RogueBasin
- Diablo III graphics design blog (except I can't find this now...)
- The Art of Braid blog
- Colour Scheme Designer (this thing is awesome)
- Juice it or Lose it video

Join us next week for part two of this same discussion.


  1. Thanks for another episode guys! Can't wait to listen to it in my car! Really enjoy the release cycles you're practising lately!

  2. I'm totally taking notes. Thanks guys.

  3. another thing I can suggest when doing pixel art. the comment about picking a color and then doing a shadow and a highlight it a great suggestion. One thing I would suggest is adding a little bit of blue to shadows and yellow to highlights. The opposing Cool and warm colors really helps sprites pop.

  4. No graphical skill apart from 7 years of art school


    I can draw competently but pixel art is a completely separate skill. I've worked with some of the best and it's really not like drawing at all.

  5. Excellent episode. This one might be my favorite of them all so far.

    I'd love to read John Attea's article about DCSS's tile art but the link sends me to a deleted blog.

    Any chance we can get a new link for the article?