@GeoFlame That's not criticism if you just having fun and aren't objectively analyzing a game for all its elements.
We're talking about video games, not just games. The video graphics is a part of bringing the player into the world of LTTP and suspending their disbelief. You may be able to suspend your disbelief and ignore all the awkward sprite-work, but to say Bosman is purposefully looking for flaws when an unrealistic hexagon rock with an 8 marked on it is littered everywhere to break his suspense of disbelief, then you're too focused on what Bosman is saying rather than seeing what he's talking about in the game.
Take a look at LTTP rocks compared to three other games around its time:
There's really no excuse for LTTP to be lazy and draw rocks like that. Even if you say Mystical Ninja and Secret of Mana's art style doesn't fit Zelda's semi-cel shaded art style, the game I mentioned many times in this thread, Neutopia, a game preceding the SNES, has great looking rocks with that art style. You cannot look at all sprite-work of LTTP and say, "Everything looks likes what it should, just like those rocks." You just can't.
@Whoaness I'd refrain from declaring that the artist was lazy with their rock design. Especially when the choice of perspective for ALttP is clearly a game design choice, thus the design of the rock comes back to matching the game design, rather than "laziness". The artist had to accommodate for the fact the the game used a weird perspective.
I just went around to colleagues and friends of mine, and they said that the rocks and general look of ALttP looks fine (note, this is a mix of people who are amateurs, non-gamers, and experts on graphics. I showed them various images which illustrated multiple perspectives between walls and sprites, the rocks, etc. Most of these people had never played this game before, so they aren't tainted by bias for it specifically either.). I pointed out the problems with the look, and we came to a census that non-realistic styles allows us to buy into non-realistic effects. Most people are just okay with this look. So yes, people can say "everything looks likes what it should, just like those rocks.", as I've literally just asked people this question. I went around and asked people because I wanted to illustrate that it wasn't because "played it as a kid" when we played this game which is why we didn't see the problems with the look of the game. Non-gamers and people without bias were able to suspend disbelief for ALttP to the point where mixing perspectives is okay.
And generally speaking, video games always make short cuts. Including orthographic 2D ones. If I were to put on my "critical eye", I'd point out things like the lighting in most pixel art is wrong, or even the orthographic projection itself does not match what I would expect looking down on this world. I'm sure there are many other issues in 2D games. But the world is presented in such a way that it's enough to suspend disbelief.
But, again, this is subjective. So if you have an issue with the look, then that's fine. Some people might dislike the look of orthographic projection too, and that's equally fine. In my opinion, I think Bosman is being genuine. As I've said before, I could imagine that it'd be difficult to "unsee" this effect, and that is unfortunate since it ruins his personal experience.
One final thing I'd like to add, is that I think it's really awesome that ALttP experimented with this design. It's not like they didn't know what they were doing. They had made many 2D games prior to this. Orthographic projection is the standard way of going about it. But they deliberately went about it a totally different way to give the player a different experience (both visual and functional), and for that, I commend them.
@trugs26 You see that tree beside it. It looks realistic. Then look back at the rock. It's not realistic.
The artist could have took their time with trees but said "screw it" with the rocks. Who knows?
What we do have is proof that it just looks bad right now. We've already have proof of bad and confusing art (Agahnim) that has been criticized for ages, so saying this it's impossible to see this as anything but a rock is naive.
Bringing anecdotes isn't going to prove your point. I could say all my friends think the rocks are absolutely terrible to counter your point, but what does that even prove? Go outside, take many rocks, look at it from every possible angel, and you will not see what's in LTTP. If you do find a perfectly shaped orthagonal rock, send a picture to prove it.
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@Whoaness I'm more talking art style though. Your picture examples are good but a clear difference in style. The three other pictures are much more messy with its sprites, Zelda is much cleaner and crisp. Really not a fan of the grass or the colour of that Neutopia game, its not my style. But probably cause it has the RPG Maker look.
I can say that cause its the art style, I'm not looking for realism, in fact rarely play 3d games that just try to look realistic. Even sports games id rather it have interesting and strange looking characters with a cool art style.
You shouldn't compare game manual art to sprites, that's basically all the games. I remember all the character art for Final Fantasy hardly looked like the sprites, or the weird versions of Mega-Man. Though I did look through the Zelda manual many times, as more gamers should have.
I can point out what I think are off sprites in both Secret of Mana and Mystical Ninja, proportions of sprites are off and so on, if you want?
But I wouldn't call them bad cause its part of the art style. I love 2D games most of all and make my own sprites in my spare time. So I may seem more defensive then I mean to be, but I'm just very passionate.
My point was you see this rock from Zelda that I never gave a second thought about and ill point something just like that in tons of other games new and old but it doesn't make it bad, lazy or anything.
Look at movies, people will point out flaws in certain shots that you may never have noticed but it doesn't make the movie bad. People always make mistakes and you never catch everything no matter what you're creating.
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This thread is fucking hilarious.
@GeoFlame Art style only makes sense if the art follows the same style. It doesn't.
Trees in LTTP look like trees, flowers look like flowers, grass looks like grass, even the cactus looks fine. They aren't blocky with a basic shape. They are realistic looking, rounded, have proper detail to what it is. The rock is an octagon with some shading on the side and an 8 in it.
It's like when I talk about how some characters have eyes and other characters don't. An art style defines the standard of how all the art in the game, or any art, should follow. The lack of consistency is the lack of art style. Those three other games I picked are consistent in their art visuals, but not LTTP.
@Whoaness This whole thread is pretty subjective, and anecdotal studies are pretty good for getting a hypothesis or an intuition behind something. After all, I doubt anyone here is willing to figure how to do a proper study on such a matter. So I'd encourage you to ask your friends about the mixed perspective matter. See if they notice, and if they do, see if it breaks their suspension of disbelief. I find it quite interesting that most people (it seems to me, in my opinion) are okay with a style which blatantly mixed perspectives.
Regarding the art style, while I disagree with you, I don't really want to get into this as I find it less interesting to talk about. I'm sure I could go into all of the games you listed and suggest that the sprites look like something else, or don't look like the art booklet. Again, very subjective and it's a common thing for pixel art back in the day to not resemble the art book. And the consistencies issues seem like they're grasping for straws, since the other sprites you listed follow pretty distinct basic shapes too (trees=circles, flowers=5 rectangles in circle, cactus=cylinder, etc - it's not like they're really deviating from their primitive shape.). And even if we do conclude the rock is inconsistent, that's just one sprite example. Sounds tedious to go over this for all "out of place" sprites as it doesn't seem like there's many of them.
@Whoaness You kidding me, Mystical Ninja's characters don't match the background at all, they're bright and have a bit more of a cartoon look when compared to the environment art. Secret of Mana has inconsistent tree sizes compared to the characters sprites and the 3rd character doesn't match the rest having feet a bit to big. Plus the slimes in Secret have inconsistent cartoon faces compared to the other enemies. If you wanna talk missing facial features, how about the missing mouth and nose on main characters in Secret of Mana.
That stuff doesn't matter though nor should it, they are all solid fun games.
Yea the rock looks odd but its on purpose cause alttp has a few rocky surfaces that look just fine. So logically they could have used similar styles of rock but they didn't. Nintendo is always about game-play and ease of entry. Those rocks can only be lifted with the power gloves and the black rocks you need the titan mitts. They serve a purpose where those other games, its just a pretty background. Id rather see an example that actually matches the game. To me its like pre-rendered backgrounds in Resident Evil or FF7, they look better than other PS1 games that don't use them but its not the only option.
@trugs26 It's not subjective to talk about consistency. It's either consistent or it's not.
Have you looked at the LTTP? The tree is not a circle as it has shapes in its stump, the flowers have petals and are animating, the cactus has body with gradients showing different thickness.
I feel like you haven't even watched the Settle It. Just listen to all the things Kyle points out and think about it.
@GeoFlame That's just a different colour palette to make characters stick out. They are still in the same 16-bit gradient art style. Colour brightness isn't defining the art style in Mystical Ninja. And about missing mouths and noses on Secret of Mana character, it makes sense because they all don't have mouths and noses. It is consistent with their character art.
If you don't know which guy I'm referring to in LTTP, it's the thief sprite that Bosman points out quite a lot in the stream.
It's good that you see the rock is bad. I'm not saying everything in LTTP looks bad, but there are a number of bad art. I would say Bosman pointed out 7-10 environmental sprites, and I also see issues in all of them. The rocks from Mystical Ninja and Secret of Mana are just examples of how rocks should look like, but if you took the rock from Neutopia and stuck it in LTTP with a bit of tweaking, it would look way better and it fits the artstyle.
@Whoaness The problem with Mystical Ninja is the characters are more cartoon looking compared to the background . Not just in bright colour but in the style, if I were to make sprites for those backgrounds they wouldn't be as big and would be a tad less cartoony. I wouldn't cause I like the look even if they appear to big compared to the rest, it doesn't matter.
And I have seen mouths in Secret of Mana, if you dig deep enough you'll always find problems. Its a question if you can look past weird looking people to see a good thing or if you need a super model to be happy. The answer is no it won't make you happy.
Lots of graphically superior games out there that are made for the masses but made ether with no artistic intention or made for anyone to beat requiring no real skill to beat. To me graphics are the absolute last thing I care about in a game, way WAY more important things that need far more attention. Like friendly A.I. and Enemy A.I.
@GeoFlame It's a background. It's not supposed to stick out more or as much as the character. It's stupid to do that and make the character blend in with the background, and it's not like the background environment can have caricatured face like the characters.
And you've seen 'A mouth' in the game, that bully at the beginning of the game. I've watched a 10 hour playthrough and everyone is consistent in their character style. Go and prove me wrong if you can find it.
Now to the crux of the problem in this argument, you don't care about graphics, and that makes you less qualified to criticize video game graphics if you never pay attention to graphical detail in all the games you played. Given your lack of understanding on why characters in Mystical Ninja are outlined to stick out of the environment, it makes sense. I suggest that you watch the stream again and listen to what Bosman has to say about the sprites that he points out and think about it.
@Whoaness It's a 5 hour stream - so I definitely might've missed some things Kyle had said. I didn't hear his comment on a cactus for example.
Sure consistency can be discussed in an objective sense. So I'll be happy to engage on this. In terms of consistency, what would you describe the art style of the environments in ALttP? Personally, I'd say it's comprised of simple shapes. The tree is still made up of basic shapes (circle for top, pentagon for stump, then sure, there are details around the trunk; though still quite simple in design, smooth and symmetric). the flowers are still made up of basic shapes (regardless of the animation, the style is primitive shapes); it's 5 rectangles, and I don't see your point about the cactus. It has a gradient from top to bottom (for lighting), and a couple lines to illustrate the wrinkled look of a cactus. Its style is still consistent as it is still a simple shape; a cylinder. The rock similarly has a gradient (light to dark for lighting) and some details around the side for texture, illustrating the jagged look of a rock but remaining consistent by using a simple shape.
This is as opposed to something like Secret of Mana, where the style consists of a lot more complicated shapes. For example, the tops of trees are shaggy and the trunk are not symmetrical, and the flowers or grass are comprised of multiple flowers with varying petal sizes and shapes. So the rock in ALttP taking the form of a simple shape does not really look out of place considering how the other sprites take on simple forms too. I can understand if you don't like the look of a certain sprite, such as the rock, but I don't think it's inconsistent. I don't see it as jarring among the rest of the sprites. And objectively, ALttP is comprised on sprites which take on simple shapes, so I don't see how the rock being an octogon is a valid criticism on consistency. If you placed the rock in Neutopia, it's jagged form would stick out more I'd imagine.
Just throwing thoughts out there. Feel free to suggest more specific details on the art style of ALttP's environments.
@trugs26 What you described at the tree as a basic shape, you just labeled multiple shapes for it. That's a very complex shape in comparison to the rock. Are you even looking at the rock? It's just an octagon. I understand you might have taken some drawing classes and know how everything in the world breaks down into simple shapes, but that doesn't apply for the finished image.
As for LTTP's art style, it's simply 16-bit art graphics for starters. The limitation of pixels gives all 16-bit games that look, but there are certain thing different for LTTP. It's a cel-shaded with two or three tones of color for objects and characters. The characters have anime influence that most likens to chibi art-style where the head is huge compared to the body. That's pretty much it. 16-bit cel-shaded art with Chibi characters. Nothing well defined in the environment as they just look like good or bad representations of real life.
@Whoaness The tree sprite is large, and has a functional purpose of being divided up. So it makes sense that there's a shape for each component. But just look at Secret of Mana and ALttP side by side. It's clear as day that the form of environmental sprites in ALttP are simple shapes.
@trugs26 Using the method you've been using, the tree in Secret of Mana is simply a cone on a cylinder. It's actually even less detailed than Zelda LTTP because trees in LTTP have very pronounced tree trunk details. Like I said before, everything in the world can be broken down into basic shapes, so that's not really the crux of the argument.
I was actually looking at the Android remake. Sorry, I should've been clear about that.
Yes everything can be broken down into basic shapes, but the point I'm making is that ALttP sprites are made up of very few shapes to approximate the entire form (as well as toon shaded, making the art style quite simple). In ALttP, few shapes well approximate the sprite, for example a circle well approximates the tree top in ALttP, and maybe 8 circles would approximate all of the boundary detail, whereas a the tree in Secret of Mana (Android) would require something like 1-3 reuleaux triangles for the general shape, and many more polygons to approximate all of the boundary detail. This gives SoM a highly textured and realistic form, and ALttP a more toon form.
In terms of the SNES version of SoM, you'll notice that the one tree you're talking about would actually fit well in ALttP in terms of shape, but not texture. Furthermore, there are many other tree varieties in SoM which vary a lot more in shape, further illustrating my point. For example:
The same point applies throughout the environmental sprites (flowers, rocks, etc.). ALttP sprites have quite simple shapes as part of its art style. On top of that, as you've mentioned, it's cel shaded with few tones, which the rock matches as well.
Whoaness last edited by Whoaness
@trugs26 Ah I was just looking at the trees I made in my earlier screenshot. Didn't think about the other parts of the game. Secret of Mana has a lot more art variation where LTTP only has one tree and a shrunken down version of the same tree. I wouldn't say the lack of variation can be considered an art style, but it certainly doesn't help LTTP in the case of having good art sprites.
As for the textures, I did say it was a cel-shaded art. You can't have detailed, gradient textures in a cel-shaded game. The shading is what makes these two games different. Simply being cel-shaded doesn't excuse that rock though. The Neutopia rock is actually fairly cel-shaded as well and looks more realistic than LTTP's octagon rock with an 8. I mean, what the hell is that 8 supposed to be?
Just posting the trees I was talking about from the SNES in comparison to your Android version:
@Whoaness So it looks like we're agreeing. ALttP's art style is simple shapes + cel shaded. The rock is a simple shape + cel shading. So in terms of consistency, it's fine. But whether or it's a good sprite is the part of the discussion I want to avoid (too subjective at this point, which I don't really want to get into). As for the 8 on the rock? I don't know lol.
@trugs26 Whoa dude, I didn't say "basic shape" is the art style of LTTP. I said that the shape of rock is egregiously lacking so much in shape detail in comparison to the tree and a lot of other objects in the world. I pointed out a bunch of objects that actually have great detail and look realistic.