Is there any plans to to add texture packs, or something like them? No offense intended, but I really don't like the pseudo 8-bit textures the game has now. They're just really bland. Especially when compared to the fantastic soundtrack being made by Curtis Schweitzer.
Sure - basically, you can make a simple mod that replaces the texture atlas. Modding is still in its infancy and lacking docs/tutorials, but the basic thing you need to do is:
However, this won't get you higher-res textures! To do that, you'll have to reorganize the texture atlas, potentially splitting it into multiple textures, and maybe turning on fancier image scaling.
I would also be very interested in feedback about what specifically you don't like about the graphical style. It's definitely been a constant on Greenlight comments that people often like the game but hate the graphics. Obviously I'd be keen on closing the gap between what the graphics are now and people's expectations.
Finally, shall I move this topic over to the modding forum?
(Developer reply! Woooo!)
You can move the topic to the modding section if you think it's necessary. I've never really done any modding on games before, but I think even a simple recolor of the textures would be an improvement.
Anyways, after some thought, here's some of the things I don't like about the textures:
The colors - All the colors in the game are green-hued. The wood has a yellow tint to it, the sky is purple, the fire is pale. I don't know what else to say, it's just generally gross-looking imo.
Spritework looks lazy - The crew look like stickmen, their legs don't even move when they walk, the fire is just squares, the animation is generally really simple.
The airships logo - What is that even supposed to be.
Anyways, I just got this game, so I'll be sure to say if I notice anything else I don't like about the graphics. Thanks for the reply, hope this helps!
...And the clouds are rectangles!
Thanks, this is really useful feedback. I will definitely look into the colours things - I hadn't considered that, and it may be a question of shifting the hue/saturation of everything by a few points.
As for the spritework and clouds, yeah, it's incredibly lazy right now. Actual animations and things like guns pointing in the direction they're shooting are absolutely planned, but just not in yet.
Thanks for the modding tips, but how do I change the the backgrounds of the sky, ground, and ships? I don't see them with the rest of the textures. I don't see the fire texture either, just the flamethrower one.
Also, maybe you should consider hiring an artist to do higher-resolution sprites for the game? I don't think I'll really mind once you're finished cleaning the sprites up, but it would certainly do the game justice. (Like hiring Curtis Schweitzer certainly will.)
But that's probably a decision that can be made much later in development, if at all.
Oops, didn't realize the ship backgrounds are the same as the armor overlay.
I've though some more about the graphics of this game, (and I find this strange to say, since I've never had anything against pseudo 8-bit) but I think one of the problems is that the sprites have such a low resolution.
The sprites are so small, that you just can't fit in much detail, shading, or decent animations. At their best, I think they would just be "decent," but not "great". Just because they're too small to make them look nice.
The armor tiles don't look bad... but look at the crew members. They're the bare minimum size that they could be while still looking human.
You mentioned that you plan on adding smooth lighting, but how good will that look if the sprites are too small to display it well?
So, maybe a step toward improving the graphics would actually be blowing them up 2x, smoothing them out, and fleshing them out from there.
If I'm wrong, please correct me.
Personally, I like the graphics as they are - small and not excessively detailed. I guess I'm in the minority, though.
The colours, I agree, could use changing. As they are, they look somewhat weird.
I like the fire, I feel that it fits in well and I don't see why it wouldn't be squares. It's stylized - so what?
I also agree on the crewmen - they may be simple and it may be hard to add things to them, but you could at least animate them.
Also, the term pseudo 8-bit made me giggle a bit. Terminology, Slimy, terminology. :P
Pseudo 8-bit is probably fairly accurate. :)
So the clouds, sky colour, and particles (such as fire) aren't images, they're just specified in the code. If you want, I can add you to the modder programme and you can have a look into changing their values in-code.
Pseudo 8-bit is fairly accurate!
There is a certain charm to extremely small sprites. (I was going to use "Delver" as an example, but they updated their graphics since I saw it last. :o) So what makes that game's original graphics charming, and this game's not imo? Well, I'm not really sure, actually.
But, airships is a game where big airships shoot at each other, catch fire, and explode as you fight for world dominance. Soon, this song will be in the game's soundtrack. I guess the graphics are just underwhelming now.
Midshipman, Engineering Corps
I think that it's really a matter of preference. I personally like all the graphics as they are currently(as with most things, I'm happy with anything BUT solid colors, as I've always had in my games :P). Also @Slimy, that song should be put in at the end of invasions/end of the game/main menu.
@JavaProphet: The epic song he shows a preview of at the end? I think it would be wasted on anything except a huge battle. Maybe it could play when a battle has a certain number of ships in it. Something calmer but still ominous should be used for the main menu imo.
On topic@JavaProphet: But many of the textures are solid colors! The sky could be a gradient.
Also, I'm not sure I want to be added to the modding group, because I have no idea how to mod.
Edit: Ok, despite what I said about the dynamic lighting, I still got pretty excited when I read "the low red glow of steam engines" on the front page. :D
Whoa, while editing the spritesheet I upped the contrast. The whites are too bright and the dark colors are too black, but look at how much the shading stands out now.
I think David should try making the shading stand out more when he improves the graphics in Airships. Does anyone disagree?
I shall make a modding howto that would let you get started, and changing colour values is pretty easy without having to understand the rest of the code. I also have to admit that I really dislike your super-high-contrast pictures. I can see making things look more vivid and strongly textured, but not like that - it looks like a black and brown mess to me, and I sort of wonder if this is some major difference between our screens.
I'll have a poke at some colour adjustments myself in a bit. :)
I wouldn't be surprised at all if there was some color difference between our screens, but I do agree that the contrast is too much. I was just thinking that the way the shading stood out when contrast was added looked nice.
Weirdly, I have now noticed that the sky looks purplish, though weirdly the actual colour value has more green in than red. Hmm...
So it's probably that the wood colour is so greenish that it makes the sky look purple.
If you're thinking about not changing the sky color, I'll have to disagree. It definitely looks purple to me. Whatever green it has in it isn't enough.
Though, instead of just changing values, I think you should try to base the colors off of the real sky.
Another color idea: I think the fire in the game would look better if it was much more saturated - pronounced yellows, oranges, and reds. And for variation in the flames, some particles could turn from yellow to red faster, and others would stay yellow longer. Also, the smoke could be darker and thicker-looking. And I think the fire rises too slowly, but the smoke it turns into is ok.
However, I think flamethrower fire might look better if left mostly the same. A contrast between ship fire and flamethrower fire might look good. Maybe flamethrower fire could even be blue at the very tip, to look hotter and less natural than ship fire.
Edit: actually, I think pale, bright fire could look pretty cool with dynamic lighting, as long as it had more color after changing from yellow.
Bumb again for another idea.
You may have thought of this already, but the modules should have "depleting" sprites. Less coal in the pile, less ammo on the shelves, etc.
And there should be separate sprites for destroyed modules. Broken, overturned cannons, suspendium crystal turns to a pile of ash, etc. Instead of just making the sprite dark.
Yeah, that is absolutely part of the plan. It's a major thing I have specifically excluded for now. My list of extra art that is required:
This is generally slated for v6. I am happy to report though that some minor graphical improvements have made it into v4.1, which I am currently in the process of prepping for release. :D
(Also, keep up the ideas! At this rate, you'll make Captain soon!)