TO MAKE NICE AGI-ROOMS FROM PHOTOS
everyone and welcome to a small tutorial about how to
get backgrounds for Sierra-AGI-adventures from photos.
This technique is heavily used during the production of
our adventure "V", as it allows us to have actual
movie stills as rooms for our game. The only thing you
need (besides Picedit) is a program for editing pictures
and a great photo. This is already the first big issue,
because the quality of the photo decides about the quality
of the room.
most important thing when you choose your photo is that
it must not be too deep in dimensions: If the floor in the
photo covers some hundred square feet and you turn that
into an AGI-room, the scene will look distorted, because
the objects in the background get smaller the further away
they are, but the size of the player character stays the
same. In our example, I have chosen a photo from a fire
station in Los Angeles. You will notice that the walkable
area is really very small, just some inches to walk and
the rest is just background. That makes turning it into
an AGI-room quite easy.
you have chosen a photo, you have to make sure the proportions
of the photo fit the proportions of the player character.
Otherwise a door from within a photo will be twice as big
as the player character. This gives the scene a distorted
look. To give your room the right proportions you have to
experiment around with a photo-editing tool. In my example,
I didn't have to do anything, the photo did already have
the right proportions when I saved it as a 320x200 PCX-file.
Otherwise I would have had to make the photo smaller or
bigger. When the photo is made smaller, you will have some
areas in the PCX-file which are just plain white. This is
no problem, when these areas are not too big. In my example,
there's something missing on the right side of the picture:
have to use your imagination for what the photo might look
like in the missing area. When your photo has the right
size, convert it to a PCX-file with a resolution of 320x200
in 256 colors. You then have to copy the file into the folder
where you have Picedit. In my example, the file is called
no30.pcx. Start Picedit with:
your picture is called picture.pcx, so that you can have
the picture in the background when you draw your room.
Picedit, it is best to begin with the basic outlines of
what is in the picture.
try to give most of the things in the picture a black outline
for contrast reasons. But this is just my personal taste,
you'll have to experiment around with this. Sometimes it
looks quite nice to leave the outlines away, but if you
use no outlines at all, the scene will look quite weird.
I've done the outlines, I begin to paint some basic shadings.
As our scene is supposed to be a night-scene, I use mainly
black and grey for this.
the time to decide about some basic colors. As it's a nightly
scene, I've chosen the darker red as primary colour of the
house. I can then use light red for the area where the streetlight
is and brown for the darker side of the house.
there is only one area of the picture missing: the right
side where the photo suddenly ends. I've chosen to take
a normal city-skyline for that area, As I want the player
to be able to walk around the right corner of the house,
I had already painted the street leading around the corner.
For the skyline I simply draw some squares...
some of them with yellow...
the others with grey...
then I do some outlines again to finish the scene. Voila.
that putting the streetlight and the wires to the foreground
was in vain, because the player can't walk behind them.
The only important thing on that screen is the yellow square
for the corner of the house.Here is what the priority screen
you want to take a look at what the finished game-scene
looks like, you can download the first demo of "V"
there are quite a few other tutorials online about making
backrounds, how priority screens work, and writting logic.
Here are a few links to get you started on your understanding
of the AGI engine, as provided by Nick Sonneveld from Mega
How to make an AGI Game
Classics - AGI docs
(rooms, items, defines, doors, specs, tutorial
AGI Stuff by Juha Terho
friendly explanation of priority screens
limitations of priority bands and some workarounds
making of an AGI background picture
for Newbies by Nat Budin
AGI Games Pt 1 and 2
(logic and adding new code)
Ultimate AGI & SCI Web site
(mouse, 256, palette, specs...)
(using picedit, game design)
Craft of Adventure by Graham Nelson
(amazing tips on creating adventure games!)
(help file is useful!)
AGI help file
(by me, that's why it's at the end)