Simon's blog

Tiles and Tilings

April 22nd, 2013

Some new updates for Owlboy!

For the first dungeon in the game, I made a custom tileset, but ended up reusing a few assets since it was mainly intended to be a quick tutorial level. Never really felt right though, with some tiles repeating a bit too much. While I feel like the color scheme worked nicely (some of the earliest dungeons I did tended to be a bit monotone,) I didn’t want the player to get blasted with the same looping backgrounds, so I decided to make an additional set to spice things up a bit.

Click here for the full image

The idea was to bring in some more colors into the mix. The dungeon had mostly gray, green and blue, so I worked in some yellows, browns and tied in some gameplay elements thematically by adding some red, dried up trees. While it’ll still remain to be seen how we’re going to use these in the game, these assets will definitely come to good use. I’ve been slowly adding more elements to the dungeons as we complete them, so I’m sure there’s going to be a few hinting posts in the future.

Next up is finishing a new move I’m going to keep a secret, and a new type of bird that is both a chicken, a pelican, and an axe.

Yes, I am serious.


A long time for ducks

April 13th, 2013

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard the announcement for a remake of the NES game Ducktales. In case you haven’t, this should bring you up to speed:

At the time this was announced I was knee deep in business meetings and randomly came across the news flipping through articles during a coffee break (I have a huge thing for coffee…)

By the looks of it, it seems like Wayforward has done an excellent job paying homage to the original game, but also the show that spawned it. I was surprised to see that they’ve added cut scenes with voice acting to it. While I used to watch the show in Norwegian as a kid (it was called ‘Adventures with Huey Dewey and Louie’ simply because that’s what made the theme song work,) I still recognise the voices for the American version. If they haven’t got all the original voice actors back to dub the game, they do a marvelous impression. Surprisingly the cut scenes don’t seem to bother me much. Making changes to a game can often feel grating, but as it stands I think it adds a nice bit of flavour, given that it doesn’t get overdone.

All that aside, it’s the project itself that intrigues me. Not just because it’s a remake of a game I grew up with, but because I was involved in its infancy.

In 2010 me and D-Pad Studio were nominated for an IGF award in Visual Excellence, and ended up chatting with a number of different people. We were approached by someone in need of artists, and told us his plan to pitch a number of remakes to Capcom. One of them being Ducktales on the NES.

We started talking and before long I was piecing together a mockup to use for this pitch. My idea was to start out with a redo of an old NES screenshot, bumping up the resolution to a 16-bit look to keep it somewhat nostalgic, but try to maintain the same color palette.

This is what I came up with:

Not my greatest work, but it got the idea across. The mockup was a redo of the Amazon stage in the first game with a slightly more functioning HUD. My plan was to highlight the option that you could do a co-op/competitive segment with Flintheart Glomgold. With the HUD smaller, yet keeping the two box design from the previous games, there was space for another player to join in. The mockup is kind of a mess looking at it now. I tried making the Amazon look more like an actual jungle while still keeping the tiles clearly visible, but when it came down to it,the thing was too rushed on my end and elements ended up being too flat or inconsistent. I did really enjoy the idea of trying to keep the high-contrast colors of the original game. you can see the comparison here:

If I were to do this again today, I would have made sure there was proper contrast between foreground and background, and given the ground tiles some proper character. For that matter, create assets that felt more in line with the originals feel. Still, it was fun to work at.

Obviously, since I’m showing you all this, no one picked this up. I’m assuming the idea was passed on around Capcom’s offices and eventually ended up with Wayforward. I was pretty convinced it wouldn’t happen given that the show was over and Disney might not wish to stir up attention for a cartoon they didn’t have plans to bring back. I’m glad I was proven wrong though.

It’s going to be interesting to see what’s going to happen to the game. The vision is different than mine, but then that’s probably a good thing. The 2.5D aesthetics actually seem to work nicely. I’ve noticed that they’ve made the more random Beagle Boy encounters into more of an event, which is probably a smart decision considering how quickly you could do away with them in the original. The fact that they’re adding in the money bin as a stage looks really exciting too. Of course, from my end, I’m really looking forward to their version of the Amazon, and seeing how it contrasts to mine.

Guess I’ll just have to wait for now. That, and listen to more moon remixes.



April 4th, 2013

Hello everyone!

I’d like to welcome you all to the new team blogs! This has been a long time coming. Over at D-Pad Studio we’ve been doing team blog experiments now for the past year or so. For those that remember, our old layout allowed for private updates not linked to the D-Pad Studio main page, but recoding the site a while back removed those options.

Since then, we’ve wanted to reintroduce the blogs, but had to make sure we did it properly. Not to mention do it in a way that made for easy editing. After designing a ton of different blog options, Henrik put in some extra time while I was handling meetings in San Francisco and pieced together the current version of the blog.

So what does this mean?

First off, this will be the place I’ll be posting most of my updates. Be it art, project updates, or thoughts on current events. This format is considerably easier to maintain, so I’m hoping to keep updates pretty frequent.

Experiencing bugs?

While we’ve done a good few tests, I can guarantee there’s a few kinks here and there that needs ironing out. If you can, leave a comment below if you’re experiencing issues viewing this website.

For now, here’s to a good start and I’m looking forward to some interesting discussions in the future.



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