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Old 04 March 2016, 15:07   #41
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Nice Shinobi 2016 remake !
Just one thing, where as the original Shinobi version background doesn't disturb me, this enhanced version shock me a little bit.
Perhaps by making the background darker or less precise ?
What about adding shadows on sprites ?
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Old 04 March 2016, 15:54   #42
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Just one thing, where as the original Shinobi version background doesn't disturb me, this enhanced version shock me a little bit. Perhaps by making the background darker or less precise ?
It has been the main complaint regarding Shadow Gangs, it's now top priority to fix. There is more details regarding this on the game website news section.

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What about adding shadows on sprites ?
If the game crowd funding is a success, this might to be one of the many enhancements that can be done.
But not convinced yet about shadows, will need to see them at work as they might cause some disturbance to the action.
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Old 04 March 2016, 19:56   #43
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I like the big graphics, it breaks the repetetiveness in the tiled background a bit. But I hope you will be replacing the mural with the girl, she's famous for being famous and this is the sort of stuff they love to send DMCA take-down notices and other stupid stuff about.
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Old 04 March 2016, 22:37   #44
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I like the big graphics, it breaks the repetetiveness in the tiled background a bit. But I hope you will be replacing the mural with the girl, she's famous for being famous and this is the sort of stuff they love to send DMCA take-down notices and other stupid stuff about.
Thank you, tile background need more work and we are trying to find a solution for it.

For the girl, we'll remove it for sure and replace it with a more safe for work picture to avoid any issues.
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Old 05 March 2016, 04:06   #45
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First of all, good work so far and I wish you all the best in your effort!
I just want to share with you my 2 cents of advice based on what I've saw at your demo and pics. I apologize in advance for being overly critical but I do that in totally good faith and constructive spirit (hoping I won't discourage you by doing so). Here it goes:

Backgrounds: Instead of trying to "fix" those somehow as they are, I'd propose to start thinking seriously about a fresh redesign and taking a whole new different approach. As I see it, current backs need to be a lot more on par with your main character sprite (artistically wise) and be remade fully hand-painted instead of this current underdetailed, stiff and poor photoshop bevel & emboss take that includes a simple layer of texture applied on top. Furthermore current designs are too blocky, rectangular and repetitive while they lack proper variations, depth and a free hand drawing quality that would make them less linear.
So, you see it's much more than just applying a "dirty", less clean and less smooth layer. The problem first and foremost lies with the designs themselves, not the finish.

Parallax and layering: While this is not absent from what I saw in your demo, I feel you need to invest a bit more in it and introduce additional layers of complex background (while at the same time make more clever use of colouring, bluring or fading to achieve a better effect). Creating foreground will also elevate your result to a much higher level. Weakest layer of your parallax backdrop (in terms of quality) are currently the clouds.

Sprites design: I have to admit that you've done a wonderfull job with the main sprite as well as with the ninja enemies. Unfortunately other enemies and npcs are not of the same level of quality and seem very very different in terms of design, shading, colour and detail.

Animation: While the main sprite design is top notch, all moving animations suffer tremendously. Characters seem to have extremely limited moving and attacking frame loops. I'd propose to split your characters in different parts (hands, heads, legs, torso) and move those independently in order to make your animations look more fluid and alive. Making every moving and attacking loop longer by adding more frames is a must and having the parts seperated will help you a big deal to achieve this effortlessly. Extra anims for when your character and enemies stand still (instead of being completely frozen) is an additional cool touch.

Effects: Another weak point. All effects I've seen so far are quite limited. Bullet impact like sparkles and blood, gunflashes, melee attacks and other particle fx need to be added or enhanced largely. The destructible backgrounds and broken windows are a really cool touch and work nicely coding wise, but (as it is the problem with all backgrounds) the actual gfx used looks... eer, not so good... Same deal goes with the "inflating" prison cells.

Gameplay: Perhaps more important than anything else, I feel that the gameplay needs to make a step forward from it's inspiration. I get it that the idea is to make a Shinobi clone but -part from that- I feel that there is little originality from what I've seen. Literally everything, from the enemies, to attack patterns, moves and goal (saving the prisoners), even gfx and the set (well, except the main character) is a nearly 1-1 copy of the very first Shinobi game. I think it would be cool to expand your ideas a little bit and bring something different to the genre. There are many other games you could draw inspiration from (including Shinobi sequels).

Learn from the best: For each and every point I make above I'd advise you to take a close look at the Shank games (especially when it comes to modern art design and animation):
[ Show youtube player ]
[ Show youtube player ]
There is surely much room for improvement if you pay attention to the details underlined.

Steam green light and Kickstarter: I trully wish you to succeed here but I just can't stop feeling that the current work I've seen is too unrefined, basic or lacking originality to attract the needed attention. I totally get it that this current result is a work in progress and it will perhaps get a lot better given the proper amount of time and work. Still I think you'd have a much better chance of success if you had not rushed it in this early stage of development.
Anyway, I wish I'd be proven wrong and you guys will get the funding you need!
Whatever the case keep pushing forward. You've done a fine work so far and -I'm absolutely sure- you can get this into a much better shape
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Old 05 March 2016, 11:37   #46
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Thank you for your remarks and detailed feedback, very appreciated.
First I would like to say that the kickstarter will be delayed until after important issues that were raised get properly fixed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsak View Post
Backgrounds: Instead of trying to "fix" those somehow as they are, I'd propose to start thinking seriously about a fresh redesign and taking a whole new different approach. As I see it, current backs need to be a lot more on par with your main character sprite (artistically wise) and be remade fully hand-painted instead of this current underdetailed, stiff and poor photoshop bevel & emboss take that includes a simple layer of texture applied on top. Furthermore current designs are too blocky, rectangular and repetitive while they lack proper variations, depth and a free hand drawing quality that would make them less linear.
So, you see it's much more than just applying a "dirty", less clean and less smooth layer. The problem first and foremost lies with the designs themselves, not the finish.
Yes, by fix I mean complete redraw of the entire tiles used. (and I will make sure they are hand drawn this time).
I am not an artist, and understand very little in these areas. But I will get the background artist to read this post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsak View Post
Parallax and layering: While this is not absent from what I saw in your demo, I feel you need to invest a bit more in it and introduce additional layers of complex background (while at the same time make more clever use of colouring, bluring or fading to achieve a better effect). Creating foreground will also elevate your result to a much higher level. Weakest layer of your parallax backdrop (in terms of quality) are currently the clouds.
I thought the clouds look really good. I think it's because of the video that they don't look nice and sharp.
About the parallaxes, it will depend on the level settings, some levels will have more, some less.
The blue buildings will need more variety, and better details and this will also be one of the fixes for the next update.

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Sprites design: I have to admit that you've done a wonderfull job with the main sprite as well as with the ninja enemies. Unfortunately other enemies and npcs are not of the same level of quality and seem very very different in terms of design, shading, colour and detail.
Dan and ninjas are from the same artist. Gunman, knifeman and biker from a different artist.
Two different art styles, and two different outcomes in the end.

I tested around 15 sprite artists before settling on these two. The good news is that the ninja artist will work full time on the game if we get past the kickstarter, this will mean he will do all the renaming characters, as well as replace one weak one which is the gunman.
Knifeman and biker are ok by me, and will stay.

I would have kept only one artist to do everything, but then this game might take forever to finish.

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Originally Posted by Tsak View Post
Animation: While the main sprite design is top notch, all moving animations suffer tremendously. Characters seem to have extremely limited moving and attacking frame loops. I'd propose to split your characters in different parts (hands, heads, legs, torso) and move those independently in order to make your animations look more fluid and alive. Making every moving and attacking loop longer by adding more frames is a must and having the parts seperated will help you a big deal to achieve this effortlessly. Extra anims for when your character and enemies stand still (instead of being completely frozen) is an additional cool touch.
All our sprites are hand drawn, and I insisted from the start to not use any kind of skeletal animations.
Shank art style is very different from the style we use for the characters, and it will be impossible to animate properly like Shank unless we do some kind of skeletal animation which I am against completely.
I prefer to have less animations frames, but still keep the same artistic style like the ninja for example as he is the best representative.

For the full game, we might add some animations frames here and there to make the characters less rigid.

Quote:
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Effects: Another weak point. All effects I've seen so far are quite limited. Bullet impact like sparkles and blood, gunflashes, melee attacks and other particle fx need to be added or enhanced largely. The destructible backgrounds and broken windows are a really cool touch and work nicely coding wise, but (as it is the problem with all backgrounds) the actual gfx used looks... eer, not so good... Same deal goes with the "inflating" prison cells.
Destructible objects gfx need the same treatment as the background, complete redraw. (As well as the debris)
Apart from the prison, which I really like the way it is.
Gun flashes need to be fixed.

Quote:
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Gameplay: Perhaps more important than anything else, I feel that the gameplay needs to make a step forward from it's inspiration. I get it that the idea is to make a Shinobi clone but -part from that- I feel that there is little originality from what I've seen. Literally everything, from the enemies, to attack patterns, moves and goal (saving the prisoners), even gfx and the set (well, except the main character) is a nearly 1-1 copy of the very first Shinobi game. I think it would be cool to expand your ideas a little bit and bring something different to the genre. There are many other games you could draw inspiration from (including Shinobi sequels).
There will be a lot of diversity in the gameplay for the full game.
Ninja transformation, bonus stage, different enemies with different attack patterns, very different from the original Shinobi will make apparition.
New enemies will bring new gameplay elements, (leave hazards in the ground that Dan will need to dispatch for example and many more)
As for the core gameplay and movements, I think I won't add anything.
Dan will use either punches and kicks, or the sword when transforming to a ninja.
And projectile there will be as well just two: shuriken and some other form of deadlier shuriken when in ninja form.

The reason is I truly believe that adding too much things will kill the excitement one can get from the game, and make every game run feels different.

For example the sms Shinobi, some new weapons were added but the magic of the original arcade shinobi is gone.

Actually no other Shinobi recreated the magic of the first one, they all added enhancements but the nice gameplay of the original is gone.
Even Shadow Dancer doesn't have the feel of the original Shinobi, I never liked the dog addition.

Actually in Shadow Dancer, they tried to improve Shinobi (bigger sprites, more animations etc...), but in the end, this was more bad than good (especially the bigger sprites badly affected the gameplay).

Original arcade Shinobi formula works, and Shadow Gangs will follow that formula (and improve on it if it won't destroy the magic, for example the added melee attacks for Dan are pleasant and don't drag the gameplay down).

Quote:
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Steam green light and Kickstarter: I trully wish you to succeed here but I just can't stop feeling that the current work I've seen is too unrefined, basic or lacking originality to attract the needed attention. I totally get it that this current result is a work in progress and it will perhaps get a lot better given the proper amount of time and work. Still I think you'd have a much better chance of success if you had not rushed it in this early stage of development.
Kickstarter is on hold now, as well as the demo will not be released with the current graphics we have for the backgrounds.
When the backgrounds are redone to satisfaction and other minor issues addressed, I will upload a new video and make the demo available.
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Old 05 March 2016, 17:28   #47
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I thought you were one of the artists, that's why I got into this kind of detail to tell you the truth...

Regarding clouds, if you're gonna go for full hand drawn backs then you'll definitely want the clouds to be hand drawn too. Mixing hand drawn stuff with non is a very bad move (if not done correctly that is). Generally it's the same principle with all gfx. You'd better have mediocre gfx but made in the same exact style than put together entirely different art entities in.

Same applies for charactrs as well. If I can make out the difference so easilly it surely is not such a good sign... Since you already have the designs ready, just getting your guy to redraw them (so as they look of the same style) is super easy. Oh, and knifeman is definitely (and absolutely) the very worst enemy design...

When I talked about skeletal anims I did not meant to embed this in the code. Artist can export any animation of the full character in seperate frames. The only extra work (coding wise) is just to add those extra frames. Believe me, it's gonna make a HUGE difference. Even pixel art from the early 90s has more frames than your current result (and those had severe Ram restrictions to take into consideration)... Have you ever seen a frames sheet from Metal Slug?
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Old 05 March 2016, 19:59   #48
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I thought you were one of the artists, that's why I got into this kind of detail to tell you the truth...
I am the game programmer and designer, and we have 3 artists (2 sprites, and one for the backgrounds).

Quote:
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Regarding clouds, if you're gonna go for full hand drawn backs then you'll definitely want the clouds to be hand drawn too. Mixing hand drawn stuff with non is a very bad move (if not done correctly that is). Generally it's the same principle with all gfx. You'd better have mediocre gfx but made in the same exact style than put together entirely different art entities in.
Yes, for sure they will need change to match the new background style.
Art in this game will need direction. I provided the initial template to build the game on (the ninja style and sprite), but I can't keep up with the art side all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsak View Post
Same applies for charactrs as well. If I can make out the difference so easilly it surely is not such a good sign... Since you already have the designs ready, just getting your guy to redraw them (so as they look of the same style) is super easy. Oh, and knifeman is definitely (and absolutely) the very worst enemy design...

When I talked about skeletal anims I did not meant to embed this in the code. Artist can export any animation of the full character in seperate frames. The only extra work (coding wise) is just to add those extra frames. Believe me, it's gonna make a HUGE difference. Even pixel art from the early 90s has more frames than your current result (and those had severe Ram restrictions to take into consideration)... Have you ever seen a frames sheet from Metal Slug?
The sprites are not pixel art, they are digital art (this is what I have been told).
And their size is big (around 200 pixels in height).
The problem is that these sprites take a lot of time (and money) to make.
Adding more sprites, will mean adding more money and prolonging the time things get done.

One of the previous artists did skeletal animation for the red ninja, but the result was bad.
Sure the animation was smooth, but the sprites looked bad.
The technique used was make a 3d model, and export animations png. An example is here:

heberger image

other discarded sprites:

hebergeur d image


h├ębergeur image gratuit




h├ębergeur d images gratuit
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Old 04 April 2016, 00:12   #49
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I thought I'll give a new Shadow Gangs update.

The game is being updated every day, the new backgrounds are under way and they will look nothing like the originals. They will be very detailed and will have an extra parallax layer that will add a lot of atmosphere to the game.

[ Show youtube player ] is now my inspiration in relation to the backgrounds variations and amount of static object, so expect a completely different and better looking backgrounds.

Other fixes are related to engine fixes, 3 checkpoints instead of 1, new knifeman with a new flying attack type, better AI, fixed camera, some prone guys will now stand up when Dan is near (not all will stand up!) and many fixes and new features have gone in.

I leave you with Dan in ninja form, hope you like it:



and the end boss of one of the games mission (yes, Freddy!):


Development is still going on, stay tuned!
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Old 04 April 2016, 00:13   #50
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The almighty Freddy in a Ninja game? Unbeatable.
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Old 04 April 2016, 15:22   #51
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The almighty Freddy in a Ninja game? Unbeatable.
Thanks, I think I will make an escape sequence for Freddy before he dies.
I am not comfortable having him dying in the game.
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Old 05 April 2016, 14:14   #52
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Loving the direction this game is taking. Can see me getting this on steam or whatever as long as Mac version

Shinobi is one of my all time fav games
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Old 05 April 2016, 22:58   #53
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Loving the direction this game is taking. Can see me getting this on steam or whatever as long as Mac version

Shinobi is one of my all time fav games
More to come! The end result will be more varied than Shinobi, and introduce new gameplay elements and enemies (after the kickstarter), while still retaining Shinobi solid gameplay foundations.

There will be a Mac version (as well as a Linux one) when and if the game is done.

The upcoming demo however will be PC only.
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Old 06 April 2016, 02:14   #54
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Glad to see improvements- I must admit I was bit underwhelmed when I saw the video.
Ninja Dan looks great. I think tsak was indeed correct about needing new backgrounds.
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Old 06 April 2016, 13:15   #55
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Glad to see improvements- I must admit I was bit underwhelmed when I saw the video.
Ninja Dan looks great. I think tsak was indeed correct about needing new backgrounds.
Ninja form was added due to popular demand
I didn't plan it at first, but I am sold to the idea and find it will add more to the game.

What you didn't like about the video (apart the backgrounds)?
This just the start and there tons of things that will be improved and added between now and the eventual full game (around 2 years development time).

I welcome feedback, and need feedback to make this game as good as possible.
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Old 06 April 2016, 21:28   #56
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I think the backgrounds looks too sterile and also needs more depth (the problem with most of the cheap flash games). And probably some better animations for the player character.
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Old 06 April 2016, 22:07   #57
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]Ninja form was added due to popular demand
I didn't plan it at first, but I am sold to the idea and find it will add more to the game.

What you didn't like about the video (apart the backgrounds)?
This just the start and there tons of things that will be improved and added between now and the eventual full game (around 2 years development time).

I welcome feedback, and need feedback to make this game as good as possible.[/QUOTE]
O.K. Iv'e re-watched the video. I think I did not like the backgrounds the first time around- the skyscrapers in the distant background were lacking detail and everything looks too clean- perhaps it's hindsight taking what tsak said into account.

I think it might get repetitive having to bash the cages all the time in order to free that distinctly Spanish looking dude. Could you draw a new prisoner sprite?
- What if whenever you free a prisoner the prisoner then attacks your enemies for say 30 seconds or until he/she dies. It would incentivise the player to bust open the cages.
Perhaps a beautiful even stereotypical blonde the kind you see in old games that you assume needs rescuing- when she's freed she kicks the enemies butt. It would fun and unexpected to do that. The prisoner can simply follow Dan around the map for a time.

What, if any additional abilities will ninja Dan have? Smoke bombs that confuse the enemies for a few seconds allowing Dan to slip in a few sneaky punches? Nunchaku?

Also if your planning more varied levels like fighting on top of a moving truck-or other cool set pieces then let the potential kickstarter backers know that you intend to do so. [ Show youtube player ] The demo video is fine but backers could get the impression that there's not much more to it than that. Some concept sketches showing ideas/concepts from other levels is a good idea. What ideas do ye have?

Will ninja Dan be available to play with at any time or will the player have to power Dan up until he transforms into a ninja? Could ninja Dan have a slightly faster speed, punching, kicking etc.
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Old 06 April 2016, 22:47   #58
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Quote:
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I think the backgrounds looks too sterile and also needs more depth (the problem with most of the cheap flash games).
This is being addressed now, with completely new backgrounds and an added layer of Parallax.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro-Nerd View Post
And probably some better animations for the player character.
Due to the way the animation is done, I don't think there will be much improvements in the character animation area.

Some extra frames can be inserted but overall, I foresee the final game to have very much similar animations as in the video.
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Old 06 April 2016, 23:18   #59
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I think it might get repetitive having to bash the cages all the time in order to free that distinctly Spanish looking dude. Could you draw a new prisoner sprite?
Yes, many more hostages type will be available, including blonde females etc...


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What if whenever you free a prisoner the prisoner then attacks your enemies for say 30 seconds or until he/she dies. It would incentivise the player to bust open the cages.
But Dan will need to free all the hostages anyway, or he can't go to the next level.
I don't think hostages will attack enemies, as it will be hard to make them melee attack the enemies, and it will be strange to have them using guns or projectile weapons.
But having them give some abilities to Dan, (like new magic attacks, life bonus, one time usage weapons (like a rocket launcher, gravity gun) etc...)

I think I will add an inventory to Dan where collected one off usage weapons will be stored. So they can help him in difficult situations.

I want them to be one off usage, as I really want to keep the challenge that Shinobi offered.

Quote:
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The prisoner can simply follow Dan around the map for a time.
He couldn't follow with the ninja jumps that Dan can do, I think this won't be implemented.

Quote:
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What, if any additional abilities will ninja Dan have? Smoke bombs that confuse the enemies for a few seconds allowing Dan to slip in a few sneaky punches? Nunchaku?
Smoke bombs are nice idea, It will be implemented.
Nunchaku mean Dan can use it as a primary weapon, whereas he has the sword as a primary weapon, so the Nunchuk won't be implemented (but some enemies will be using it)
The reason I want one primary weapon only is related to game balance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Browne View Post
Also if your planning more varied levels like fighting on top of a moving truck-or other cool set pieces then let the potential kickstarter backers know that you intend to do so. [ Show youtube player ] The demo video is fine but backers could get the impression that there's not much more to it than that. Some concept sketches showing ideas/concepts from other levels is a good idea. What ideas do ye have?
There will be moving platforms, elevators, fighting on top of trains/trucks maybe even airplanes.
Levels like a bridge, with falling in shallow water and fighting on it, ninja's emerging from water.
One level will be climbing the Eiffel tower.

I will make sketches and dress up the game levels and scenarios in bigger details before the kickstarter.

Quote:
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Will ninja Dan be available to play with at any time or will the player have to power Dan up until he transforms into a ninja? Could ninja Dan have a slightly faster speed, punching, kicking etc.
Power up mid level to get the ninja form. And if dead in ninja form, resurrect in ninja form. But if dead in UFC form, resurrect in UFC form until you get the ninja powerup which will be obligatory to get as it will be tied to a hostage.

But at the start of every level, you start in UFC form.
And bosses you get to fight in Ninja form ( apart Freddy boss where the fight I think will be in UFC form).

Ninja Dan will have faster plane jumps, and of course the deadlier sword to disptach hard enemies with one hit only, instead of 2 or 3 for UFC Dan.

Thanks for the feedback Adrian, some nice idea in it too
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Old 06 April 2016, 23:35   #60
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Yes, many more hostages type will be available, including blonde females etc...



But Dan will need to free all the hostages anyway, or he can't go to the next level.
I don't think hostages will attack enemies, as it will be hard to make them melee attack the enemies, and it will be strange to have them using guns or projectile weapons.
But having them give some abilities to Dan, (like new magic attacks, life bonus, one time usage weapons (like a rocket launcher, gravity gun) etc...)

I think I will add an inventory to Dan where collected one off usage weapons will be stored. So they can help him in difficult situations.

I want them to be one off usage, as I really want to keep the challenge that Shinobi offered.


He couldn't follow with the ninja jumps that Dan can do, I think this won't be implemented.
Yup, I understand. One off usage weapons/magics are a good idea and they should be easier to balance in-game like this, being limited.


Smoke bombs are nice idea, It will be implemented.
Nunchaku mean Dan can use it as a primary weapon, whereas he has the sword as a primary weapon, so the Nunchuk won't be implemented (but some enemies will be using it)
The reason I want one primary weapon only is related to game balance.

I understand, it could indeed effect game balance- glad you like the smoke bombs idea.


There will be moving platforms, elevators, fighting on top of trains/trucks maybe even airplanes.
Levels like a bridge, with falling in shallow water and fighting on it, ninja's emerging from water.
One level will be climbing the Eiffel tower.

I will make sketches and dress up the game levels and scenarios in bigger details before the kickstarter.

Good to hear.


Power up mid level to get the ninja form. And if dead in ninja form, resurrect in ninja form. But if dead in UFC form, resurrect in UFC form until you get the ninja powerup which will be obligatory to get as it will be tied to a hostage.

But at the start of every level, you start in UFC form.
And bosses you get to fight in Ninja form ( apart Freddy boss where the fight I think will be in UFC form).

Ninja Dan will have faster plane jumps, and of course the deadlier sword to disptach hard enemies with one hit only, instead of 2 or 3 for UFC Dan.

Sounds about right.

Thanks for the feedback Adrian, some nice idea in it too
No worries. I'm curious to see the next video with new backgrounds etc.
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