At the present moment, Jeedai is in charge of as much of the Character Sprite generation department as he feels he wants to tackle. Time being what it is, for now I'm just posting the discussion so far as it seem pertinate. Anyone who wants to chime in is welcome to...
Jeedai's PM reply from earlier discussions...
I did work on a Jink sprite over the weekend, but the hair is prooving harder to do right than expected. Basically I'll have to draw up the big puffy back end from scratch.
As long as you dont care who is used for a test, what about someone who's already done? I can loan out my Monsoon sprite, as she's my character. Or we can see if Embala is willing to lend her character, since she's also involved in this.
Or maybe we could bang our heads together and come up with a concept for a 'mascot' character specificly designed for the game.
Actually, I'm hoping for a few sprite sets if possible, just to tell different NPCs and characters apart.
A unique mascot would be awesome, but I don't know what it should be. If I were to draw one up (and still hope to, but the content is higher priority for me right now, once the current work project is done), it would be Troll themed. Have any ideas?
Non-unique thoughts for mascot:
-Two-Edge (a Proper Two-Edge would be an NPC anyway, and he is the master of games!)
-Picknose (as he is the main figurehead of Trolls as far as the Elves are concerned)
-A young Greymung (back before he became a Throne Wart, perhaps before he was king?)
-A preserver (I figure that unless I figure out a place for them in the game, they will be GM and Admin placeholders and NPCs.)
For a test Preserver sprite, it doesn't have to be to scale, I figure, and can be walking instead of flying if easier, it's just a place holder for now anyway.
For the bare bones basic test (test getting a game up and running if nothing else), Here's what I have been working on:
-A single map playing field with horrible placeholder graphics (four textures make up a background currently).
-A simple progression set of quests:
--Start as a Basic troll with nothing.
--Search or gather things of value
--Either gamble or drink away your gatherings, or
--find your hammer, start mining ore, and smelt metal
--make better tools, make things to sell, or otherwise improve status
--eventually try to best a guard blocking you from following one last tunnel, which teleports you to the beginning of the map (but maybe reset, with everything harder)
--repeat infinity (it's just a test, after all)
(and other random NPCs wandering around, not important, and all non-important NPCs can either be copies of the Player sprite, or whatever. doesn't mattter)
I have placeholder graphics for:
Mugs of brew
and various other similar things.
I don't mind making the paperdoll skins for these items, but they will have to wait until after the character is created (in the end, a basic character frame will have to be settled on so all items line up with all characters, but for now we will just worry about the basic test ones now and see what it looks like.)
As it sets now, the map will be tiny (the tunnels are only one troll wide or so, and the rooms are small), and I promise you when you see how bad it looks you will want to give up on me, but it's just blocked out in Paint to have something to look at.
After testing, keep in mind that the character scale might change to include more detail, as it will be easier to make very large pieces of map that snap together (and it will look better too). For example, the mines will be sections of tunnel that are stuck end to end, with minor changes to each section (ore spawns, debris, NPC and Item spawns, etc.) This would make the average tunnel about 256 pixels wide and say 1024 or 2048 pixels long, making the "traversable area" 128 pxls wide or so. A 30 pxl wide sprite would seem a little small, perhaps?
Somehow when we do settle on a scale and art style, we will also have to either make the tools and items race dependant, or we will have to play a trick and make all race's sprites the same pixel size, but play with the artwork to make them look larger or smaller than each other. This is typical in most games. As long as key points line up, it's all good (hands, belt hanging points, etc). Race dependance would either make some items require more work on generating images, or would make it impossible for one race to use another race's tools (Humans, and more importantly Treestump, would not be able to use a Troll's hammer or forge. Bows would have to be made for each race, as well as arrows, spears, knives, clothes, hair-pieces, shoes, talon-whips, head-pieces, tattoos, jewelry, other adornment... the list goes on and on).
It's true that some of this stuff is going to be race dependant anyway, but it depends on what level of roll play we want to allow. The more freedom we allow players to play, the more flexibility will be necessary, and the easiest way to gain flexibility is to reduce the variance between different things (presumably the same concept is used in Dolls... I'm just guessing, but the basic doll has basic sets of things like clothes, eyes, and whatnot, and all of these have to line up identically with the base figure to be usable with that base (to an extent). Correct me if I'm wrong?)
Uniformity would also have the benifit of allowing players to easily customize minute aspects of their characters, such as eye color, hair color, etc. If a basic Elf has an eye set, we can duplicate the eyes seperate from the head and do a set of brown, blue, green, yellow, white, grey, and coal black eyes for that head by simply copying the eye files and painting each set. Same with hair, skin, etc. so the players get:
say 4 eye colors...
4 hair colors...
2-3 skin colors...
4 hair styles...
8 different races (counting the different elf tribes, trolls and Humans)
which makes over a thousand different combinations for each gender, but we don't have to draw each one this way. We only have to draw say... 8 different body part sets (the eyes count as a set, the hair counts as 4 sets, one or two different body types, one or two different heads) for male and female for each race (of which, some things can be shared), and four to eight races (not all have to be done at once, of course!). If I'm doing my math right, that means we only have to do like 50 to 100 body part sets (duplicated to add more colors) to get 2000-4000 different combinations for the players, not counting what they can do with clothes and tools and whatever else we add.
If this still seems scary, don't worry, since we only have to worry about small amounts at first and new things can be added much later in updates and expansions, further reducing the work load.
For now, none of that matters, as we just want something to look at as we test other aspects. Keeping these things in mind will help us keep from having to redo some things later on, I think.