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Photography based scenes?

Anyone has experience creating a 2D game using photos as scenes? I am thinking of making a game of our capital city Budapest, which has a lot of beautiful sights and views, and it would be very nice to be able to create a game (maybe a detective story) using those locations. Unfortunately, I don't have the skills nor the resources available to redraw these scenes, but I have a good friend who makes very nice photos of such places. I guess the challange would be to get the perspective right, navmesh, and also to create the characters also based on photos.

Has anyone attempted or even finishes such game? Any tips and pointers?



  • edited February 11

    I don't have experience using actual photographs, but I too lack the skills to create hand-drawn graphics, so I rely on pre-rendered photorealistic scenes (created in Daz Studio) for my backgrounds, and the challenges are fairly similar

    The most obvious one in your case is going to be matching the Player (and any NPCs you might have) to the backgrounds. Are they going to be animated (as in Phantasmagoria), or just static photos? I'm able to use DS to create sprites that match my backgrounds in look and feel, but you'd need to work out qute early on what process you're going to use to create those characters

    The other thing to bear in mind, is that what may look like a beautiful photograph, may not work well as an actual game location. I'd be inclined to start with a rough storyboard, and work out how your characters are going to be animated and move around within the game, so that your friend doesn't waste time taking a load of great looking photos that don't turn out to work well in the game itself

    I've found that for my style of game, if a scene's perspective is too extreme, it may LOOK great, but the characters don't move around naturally in it. Sometimes you've got to go for fairly straight on looking scenes, with a nice wide "arena" for them to move around in. Having too many objects that they have to navigate around, while easy in a 3d game, creates its own set of challenges in a 2d game, where you usually need to create holes in NavMeshes, and cutouts of the object for them to move "behind". I've found that eight-directional movement, whilst obviously taking the most time to create, tends to look the most natural

    All of that only applies if you're actually having animated characters moving around the scene, of course. An alternative approach would be for a visual novel style, where you have mostly static characters in front of photo backgrounds (or even have a first person perspective where you don't have to worry about the player character at all). You could get a bit more creative with the photos in that instance, as you wouldn't have to worry too much about how your characters interact with the environment

    One final thing to bear in mind is the lighting. I can control that fairly tightly in DS, but in real life, photos may be taken at different times of day, and in different weather conditions, and those may not necessarily fit in with your storyline. Probably best to try and have them taken in fairly flattish lighting conditions, and then modify them later, either by tinting them (e.g. for nighttime scenes). That can be done in a number of ways, by modifying a copy of the photo itself in Photoshop or the Gimp or whatever, by simply colouring the sprite, or by using AC's TintMaps (which have the advantage that they also affect the characters moving around on them)

    Anyway, best of luck with the project

  • Thanks a lot! This already helps a lot! I would be interested to hear other experiences if there are any. :)

  • Assuming you've already seen the AC 2.5D Tutorial?

    It explains exactly how to do what you are attempting!

  • Thank you very much! Not sure how I missed that video, but this is indeed exactly what I was looking for! :)

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