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Badge/icon changes, demotions, other set changes, etc

AuthorMessage

Brian
Posted: 26 Feb, 2017 23:27
Last Edit: 28 Feb, 2017 02:29
On the subject of images..

My personal preferences and guidelines:
Badges & General:
• Use bits of in-game screenshots to construct a badge or something iconic(for example, in SMB3 I used some images from the game's manual)
I could have edited these further to reduce grain/increase quality.

• Make sure the game is running in the correct aspect ratio and isn't stretched or skewed horribly.
Examples of improper aspect ratios:

Examples of proper aspect ratios(more below):

If you can't fit the entire character in the 64x64 badge, then focus on a different part of the subject, such as a face, or lower the game/window resolution to 1x native. If it looks alright, you can zoom out a bit further below native resolution(maintain aspect ratio!), like this:

Sometimes it's really difficult to deal with certain images, so just try your best.

• Disable bilinear filtering in the emulator, usually in a display or video menu and enabled by default. It blurs the game. Depending on the game and situation, an HQ4x filter could look okay, but the native pixel art usually looks much better and official.

Here's examples of how HQ filters can negatively affect a badge:

Notice how the outlines seem spotty, fuzzy or screwed up while other parts look sharp; it's very inconsistent in comparison to the native pixel art.
Example of bilinear filtering blur:

Bad aspect ratios or improper or low resolutions can result in the same thing.
In this case, there could have been bilinear filtering, but it also could have been a small screenshot they tried to upscale, or they just uploaded a tiny screenshot that got resized. You can increase the game's window size/resolution to get a better screenshot of this, or you can make sure to preserve hard edges and aspect ratio when upscaling in other software like Photoshop.

• Disable all pixel filters or use a simple filter that looks the same:


• Use a 64x64 resolution for your badges to ensure the output matches the input, otherwise it will be resized or stretched when you upload it. At the very least, make sure it's a perfect square.

• After making sure your aspect ratio is correct, change the emulator's window size relative to what you're taking a screenshot of.

Small sprites look better at 2x-3x window size, and if you want to capture a lot in one badge, such as a large enemy or character, it will look better at 1x window size(native resolution). Here's examples of this:


• Edit the badges appropriately(fitting the game's theme) to customize the badge and make it better fit the achievement if you're up for it(just a bonus). You can add art of your own or arrange assets from the game to form a fitting badge. Examples:


Example of this gone a bit wrong:
The text doesn't fit in with the rest of the image.

• If the badge feels too empty or basic, try adding a border or something with a thematic or fitting color. Any kind of border--solid, dashed, dotted, glow, etc. should be fine. Examples:

Also the Pokemon set I screenshotted above.

• Avoid using images completely unrelated to the game or theme, such as this:


• Toggling rendered game layers can help you screenshots the assets you want.

You can usually assign them to hotkeys to toggle them faster.
(Tools> Customize)


Game icons:
• A lot of the same info from above.
• If the game has leaderboards, go for a 96x96 badge resolution, because that's the size that is shown on leaderboard pages. Example:
http://retroachievements.org/leaderboardinfo.php?i=169
• Use an image that's actually related to that particular game...

I haven't actually followed all my guidelines since the beginning, because they developed over time and most of the times I neglected them were in my old sets--my newer sets have much better badges. I would like to change a lot of my badges, but it takes a lot of time and I haven't got to it.

There's a lot more that can be said, and I'll probably edit this a few times, but I'll leave it here.
Should this get posted to guides or something?

popoki
Posted: 27 Feb, 2017 14:56
This kind of post is why we should have stickies.

kdecks
Posted: 27 Feb, 2017 17:53
Last Edit: 27 Feb, 2017 17:59
Games I have change the badges:
from to . Reason: The high contrast makes very hard on the eyes. Used a close up of manual game art.

from something that looked kinda like this (was just a image of Bill, but without ground or a bullet) to . Reason: felt visually basic and had room for improvement.

from an image very similar to , but very pixelated and much further zoomed out. to Reason: subject was too small, pixelation distortion.

Also, on both Zelda and Contra I made a number of different mockups of badges and polled players in chat on which they felt were most appropriate and looked best.

ENZYME1
Posted: 07 May, 2017 23:33
Not sure when the Castlevania games icons were changed, but I see that they are all attempting to match with the site's default (and they don't match) CSS. I think that's when it gets a little too far, since all RA users already have access to customize the site's background when logged in.

Salsa
Posted: 10 May, 2017 13:48
I've changed these Castlevania icons. The main goal was to make them sorta unified (to clearly resemble games of one series/franchise). The attempt to match it with default layout was secondary, although I mostly just wanted to use a dark background.

deividokop
Posted: 12 Oct, 2017 03:23
im pretty bad at icon designing/image creation and all around creative stuff, so im always open for such improvements - I do see a point tho about the complains of changing without notifying the original creator and things :)

kdecks
Posted: 08 Nov, 2017 06:31
Last Edit: 08 Nov, 2017 07:03
It's been pointed out that badges are stored in a accessible place on site. Example: http://i.retroachievements.org/Badge/04161.png

So if you're updating badges there's no need to save copies of all the old badges to another site like imgur. Just take note of all the old badge numbers and list them in a thread topic. This is important as it's showing your work. In cases where reverting work is necessary it will be straightforward and no ones efforts are lost.

An perfect example of how to present changes to badges: http://retroachievements.org/viewtopic.php?t=612&o=17

mentifisto
Posted: 08 Nov, 2017 17:10
Why not, like a wiki, have an interface that displays logs of previous edits?

kdecks
Posted: 09 Nov, 2017 00:42
Until we have a wiki-like system we'll need to make do in this way.

ENZYME1
Posted: 25 Dec, 2017 09:04
Slightly off-topic and more of a technical issue, but raising it here may bring some attention to the problem with the current/last version of RANes (0.013)

The overlay is not showing the badges when achievements are earned in real-time, they are popping up blank (just getting the orange block of text, but not badge display)

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