Announcing Project Ironfist, new HoMM II mod

The old Heroes games developed by New World Computing. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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Bloax
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Postby Bloax » Mar 21 2012, 12:33

Man, that "kobold" looks really silly. Image

But yeah, good luck and less buggy code you you. :v

How do the sprites look, by the way?
Because I'm curious to take a look.

I oughta post a bit more often, heh.

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Postby Kivoss » Mar 21 2012, 16:29

Just send you a message about a arist request. Hope I can join your team :)
Here is some of the stuff that i do for the Succession Wars Mod:

http://melindar.deviantart.com/#/d4iu20k

You can browse through my gallery as there is more work. :)

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Postby Bloax » Mar 21 2012, 17:08

Kivoss/Melindar/whatever - Now that looks really nice! :P

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Postby kittens2 » Mar 22 2012, 4:14

What is your opinion of this elephant sprite, good (and mostly new) friends? Image
Aside from the fact that there probably aren't enough frames in the walk cycle.

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Postby Bloax » Mar 22 2012, 5:19

The shape is good, but something is really off as of the moment.

And yeah, it does lack some walking frames.
Image

You probably know this already, but the biggest problem is definitely the paralyzed joints. (Are your shoulders frozen when you use your arm? ;x)

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Postby Pitsu » Mar 22 2012, 12:07

I'd like to clarify how many colors will there be. If I am not mistaken originally H2 has 256 colors, which sets some limits to color/tone uses. Will this limitation stay in the mod?
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Postby kittens2 » Mar 22 2012, 13:22

Bloax wrote:The shape is good, but something is really off as of the moment.


Thanks for the critique. Do you mean off in a technical/anatomical sense or a more intangible sense? Should the base image in the first frame stay roughly as-is or is the problem with the basic design/shading?

You probably know this already, but the biggest problem is definitely the paralyzed joints. (Are your shoulders frozen when you use your arm? ;x)


Well, the front legs also bend the wrong way entirely which probably doesn't help. I'll make a detailed walk cycle from scratch as soon as I'm satisfied that I won't need to completely redo the legs.

Pitsu wrote:I'd like to clarify how many colors will there be. If I am not mistaken originally H2 has 256 colors, which sets some limits to color/tone uses. Will this limitation stay in the mod?


I for one have not heard of any plans to expand the palette. It would require a pretty large amount of work and images with 8x8x8 color, for instance, would look out of place anyway. If you're interested, the actual palette looks like Image.

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Postby Kivoss » Mar 22 2012, 15:02

On no... :/ I haven't used this palette for my creatures that means I have used different shades... Does this mean that the work that I previously did cannot be used? Hmm if so then I'm guessing I will have to use the palette for my work from now :)

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Postby Pitsu » Mar 22 2012, 15:38

Kivoss wrote:Does this mean that the work that I previously did cannot be used?


No, you can change the pallette later. If you have used higher colors before then converting it to lower colors is just like converting it to grayscale - you throw away some info, but it may still look good. I used to convert photos of friends into hero portrairs and in most cases if not direct conversion then a play with brightness, hue and other parameters led to satisfyling results.
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Postby Kivoss » Mar 22 2012, 15:45

Okay, great to know :) Nice it works just used Paint and convert the image from PNG to 256 colours. I cannot believe I was so stupid xP

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Postby Pitsu » Mar 22 2012, 16:16

Err, if you just choose "save as 256 color" option it creates its own 256 color palette, no? I think you need to get the correct palette first and then use GIMP or any other program that allows custom palettes for conversion.
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Postby kittens2 » Mar 22 2012, 16:29

The palette is very suited to the typical style of pixel art with saturated, primary colors; there's a lot of variation in luma but very limited selection in chroma. It should be relatively easy to convert your sprite art to the palette automatically or at least relatively painlessly, because you're forced to make good discrete contours by the limited space even if not by the color palette.

Things like 3D renderings or photographs would be another matter, because it's pretty much impossible to get good results by just mapping each color to a given palette color (which is more or less what Pitsu described). It can look good, but you'll generally either get a noisy/speckly image (like lots of the rendered town backgrounds) or you'll get bands/contours that are not shaped in an aesthetically pleasing way because they'd only be defined by the color thresholds rather than where they are in space.

There are some more complicated algorithms that can do dithering or other things but there's no magic bullet that will work well to convert an image that uses the full color space to such a specific palette the way a person would do by hand.

Kivoss wrote:Nice it works just used Paint and convert the image from PNG to 256 colours. I cannot believe I was so stupid xP


Do you mean MSPaint on Windows? I didn't know it was possible to get it to work with a custom color palette, or am I misunderstanding you?

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Postby Kivoss » Mar 22 2012, 16:37

I dont know if I did this right... I used windows paint and opened the image which was a PNG and saved it as 256 colours. Then all the colours changed a bit. Hmm...

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Postby kittens2 » Mar 22 2012, 16:44

Kivoss wrote:I dont know if I did this right... I used windows paint and opened the image which was a PNG and saved it as 256 colours. Then all the colours changed a bit. Hmm...


Well, unless you somehow informed Paint of the appropriate Palette*, it's pretty much impossible for it to have found the correct one. Presumably Paint either automatically generates a palette for your image or just uses some kind of default palette. (I only included that link because I thought it was pretty interesting for the sort of person who cares about how Windows 256 color mode works)

*i.e. the one I posted

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Postby Pitsu » Mar 22 2012, 16:52

To clarify if it is needed: let's say your image has 100x100 pixels. That means there are in total 10,000 pixels which all can have different colors. If you must pick only 256 out of ten thousend then there are many possibilities to do so. MS Paint "save as 256 colors" automatically choses 256 colors in whatever way it finds the best, but these may not match the Heroes 2 palette.
It is like a lottery ticket and your jackpot is to match the colors of H2. Luckily we know the "jackpot numbers" aka H2 palette.
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Postby Kivoss » Mar 22 2012, 16:58

Now its making more sense. Its good to hear that you know how to do such kind of things, because Im not good at programming. At all. I have done a lot of different arts for Heroes 2, so I will try my best in this project too. :)

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Postby Bloax » Mar 22 2012, 17:36

Talking about converting to palettes, this thing might be of interest.

Grab the "trial" (Actually Testing/Beta) .6.0.8 version though.
Here's the HoMM2 palette for it, which I just quickly grabbed from that image kittens there posted.

But then, open an image in it, then click on the folder icon on the right to load a custom palette, and your view oughta look like this.

Happy paletting!
Oh, and by the way. You can reduce the amount of colors (by 6-20 from 256 depending on your needs), then zoom in to a part that hasn't received much love.
Hold the left mouse button (that's the before/after button, very handy.), then find your way to a more or less "average" color, middle click - and voila, we have a new color in the palette!

Repeat until you're satisfied with the result, or until you hit the 256 limit.

As for what's wrong, well, the head looks a bit weird, and the shading looks a bit flat.
ImageImage
Those big things on their toes not really included, because I didn't feel like pixel art so early in the morning when I did this edit.

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Postby Kivoss » Mar 22 2012, 19:59

What do you think of this Kobold design?

http://kivoss.deviantart.com/art/Kobold-Design-291725278

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Postby vhilhu » Mar 22 2012, 23:51

Image
Public Domain (might not fit the actual homm2 palette)

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Postby Bloax » Mar 23 2012, 10:57

Kivoss wrote:What do you think of this Kobold design?

http://kivoss.deviantart.com/art/Kobold-Design-291725278


Very nice!
The only thing I'd suggest is getting rid of the very sticking out highlights on the face.
Gradienting (Eh, normal->bright from bottom->top) the solid slabs oughta both reduce and improve it.

Edit:

Blahblahblah, here's what I mean:
Image


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