Towards the end of this year’s 7DRL, I sat down and implemented some AI pathfinding in a new project, which resulted in this screenshot:
While I’m happy that the pathfinding works (see the line of X marks showing the path the cat would take to reach the player), that’s not what I want to talk about; it’s the tiles themselves.
I’ve been using Quale’s Scroll-o-Sprites as my tileset (which I really love). They’re bold and cutesy, easy to recolour, and released under a permissive CC-BY-3.0 licence. I’ve had a lot of fun colouring them up with palettes based on work by Design Seeds:
Much as I like these sprites, for a long time I’ve wondered about using my own hand-drawn tiles in a game. My last game project, Words With Monsters was illustrated with monsters that I drew by hand, and I really like the style I’ve arrived at. I spent a long time drawing and re-drawing monsters, and I’ve got a certain personal style down now.
I wasn’t quite sure how well this style would translate to significantly smaller tiles suitable for a dungeon crawler, though. So, last week I sat down one night and drew a bunch of little tiles while we watched Deep Space Nine, and then scanned them in this weekend. Drawing that small is really hard and I obviously need a lot more practise at it. But after I’d cleaned them up a bit in the GIMP and added some colour, I was pretty pleased with the result when I switched the tilesheets around:
Some of them are a little blurry, and the lines could be a little sharper, but that’s something I can experiment with. I drew them at about an inch square and scaled them to 42px square tiles, which seemed like a reasonable size. I tried scanning them at 72DPI and at a higher DPI and scaling down, but it didn’t make any appreciable difference; I suppose once the image is that small, a pixel is either there or it isn’t. There are various things I can do to the scanned images to clean them up and colour them, and figuring out that workflow for turning drawings into usable sprites is going to be a fun process of trial-and-improvement.