With the teams desire to try and be more faithful to the 16 bit era and use less, if not any, obvious transparent effects. This meant ditching the smoke effects we have and trying to come up with something more in keeping with our aesthetic. Ribbon particles seemed to be a cool way forward and so I have thrown something together and am quite happy with the result for now. The video is not the greatest quality unfortunately, Youtube Fu is not my strong point...
Cheeky yawn from our hero, not as impressed as I am with the new effects!
We are rolling with particle effects still as hand animating everything is going to take a very long time and has the added problem of always looking exactly the same, the chaos of a particle system is much more natural. We could get around that a bit (and have done with other animated items such as wall torches) by giving each instance a random start frame so if we have multiple torches in one scene, they aren't all flickering in time with each other!
Other items to receive a bit of a buff are the doors. We felt they looked a bit too slim, unreadable to the player and when open didn't have any sense of depth as they kept the same 'lighting' as they opened or shut. At 8 frames, opening and shutting also felt a bit snappy when in reality, our hero would probably open and shut doors with a bit of care so as not to be discovered.
I went back, basically binned the entire animation for each door (always hurts to do that!) in each environment and redrew them, giving the door more vibrant, brighter colours when shut (and therefore appearing closer to the camera) as well as being twice as thick. I then "painted it into the background" with darker colours as it opened up, giving much more sense of depth so the player didn't feel like it may still block their progress. I also extended both open and shut animations by 50% so more frames had to be drawn and added secondary motion such as the handle "chases the door" as its opened or shut and rattles as the door ends its swing open.
Old Palace Door | New Palace Door
Up next is probably making the night sky a bit more dynamic, as the dawn and sunset shots make it feels very flat and dull right now but that will be something for another post. Any feedback or criticism is appreciated!