I was initially going to wait a few more days to let a little more work build up for this update, but I doubt two or three more days will make it any less underwhelming, so I'll just get it out of the way and make up for it by fluffing it a bit with things that probably should have been included last time, anyway.
-I spent most of the last 5 days making a tileset. Unfortunately, work on such a thing is doubled by the simple fact that every single tile needs a normal map.
What's a tileset? Well, it's a grid of graphical tiles that make up the background. It's common in RPGs, isometric games, and other top-down, 2D games like Legend of Zelda.
This is what the typical tileset looks like. Well, actually, this is a fairly atypical tileset. Don't worry, I didn't make this. I downloaded it back in 2003 when I was a beginner and couldn't make my own graphics. (It's a good thing I never got around to using this tileset, it's god-awful.)
Contrary to popular belief, these things aren't quick and easy to make. They have to line up perfectly, which can mean you'll spend most of the day working and make only around 10 tiles or so. One small miscalculation or mistake can throw off numerous following tiles. And since I'm making normal maps, I had to do every single tile twice. Imagine how easy it is to mess up on a tile, well it's greatly more easy to mess up on a normal map. Even one pixel done wrong can ruin the entire tile. How does one pixel wreck an entire tile? Well, if it's not the right color, the light will shine on it in weird ways. It can range from negligible, to severe, to "the entire tile is bathed in shadow except the one single incorrect pixel which is lit up like a Christmas tree light in a cellar".
Here's kind of an idea of how much work goes into one single tile.
Step 1: Draw up the rough draft using pixels of a color that won't be used in the final.
Step 2: Color in the tile with base colors.
Step 3: Add extra details (cracks in stone, moss on brick, etc)
Step 4: Add texture where texture is needed.
Step 5: Is the tile part of a subset? (A building, the road, grass, etc) If so, check how it looks beside all other tiles in that subset to make sure geometry that needs to line up lines up without any awkwardness, and also that it's seamless with every single other texture that could possibly end up adjacent to it.
Step 6: Begin creating the normal map. (Each tile requires me to make 5 tiles. What it looks like with the light due north, what it looks like with the light due east, south, west, and directly in front of it.)
Step 7: Load the tile and all elements of that tile into shader software and check to see if the normal map looks fine no matter what angle the light is positioned at. (It rarely looks fine on the first try.)
Step 8: Go back to fix the inevitable mistakes.
Step 9: Repeat steps 7 and 8 until it looks good.
Step 10: Position the normal tile relative to where the defuse tile is on the diffuse set and save both documents.
Step 11: Move to the next empty tile space and start all over from step 1.
And before I move on, don't worry. I'm no beginner. I know that tilesets tend to not look so good. The tileset is just a base. I'm not going to be adhering to it too heavily, nor will I be using a single grid size for positioning.
-Finally managed to ditch the reliance on placeholder graphics, including the test enemy.
This dude's too cute to be a thug... but he'll be one of the lowest ranking baddies, so it's fine I guess. This is what will be displayed during dialogue screens if they aren't too hostile to speak to.
I managed to get a good portion of his game-world sprites done, too.
Much like the player character and holding guns, no matter what way he's facing, the white patch on his left arm will always be on his left arm, same with the stripes on his pants, and everything else on his design, right down to the red and brown undershirts.
-I made changes the the main character's closeup image.
-I fixed his down-facing, standing still, unarmed normal map. You guys don't really need to see the same orbiting light gif from before, but upgraded. Little has changed.
-I added in more walking animations for the main character. This includes walking backwards and walking sideways.
That's all for now. I don't want to reveal the scenery until it's ready for the lighting engine. But I'm hoping that, by next update, the lighting engine will be ready enough to post a screenshot or two of the game actually running, instead of inventory screens, and captures of the player character against a dark blue void.
It all depends on how smoothly it goes, and how few do-overs and debugs I have to do. Fingers crossed.