Unit Appearance Diversity

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turin
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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by turin »

Even if you get the code for this functional, I can think of a million things it would be more worth it for our artists to work on. The issue is not the code. The issue is that the idea requires an absurd amount of work for negligible benefit and will actually look worse in certain ways.
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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by beetlenaut »

turin wrote:The issue is that the idea requires an absurd amount of work for negligible benefit
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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by scienceguy8 »

Idea abandoned for the time being. I finally came to my senses. Wesnoth's rendering engine is well over my head when it comes to C++, and it is obvious that we do not have the manpower for such a project at this time.

However, could I offer a compromise of sorts? Give the rendering engine the ability to juxtapose additional, separate images on top of or behind unit images. This would allow someone to modify a sprite on the fly. While it would not allow for a sprite to be customized fully, it would allow additional items to be added to a unit given a certain set of circumstances. Basically, it would allow a snow coat to be put on a unit.
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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by Turuk »

scienceguy8 wrote:However, could I offer a compromise of sorts? Give the rendering engine the ability to juxtapose additional, separate images on top of or behind unit images. This would allow someone to modify a sprite on the fly. While it would not allow for a sprite to be customized fully, it would allow additional items to be added to a unit given a certain set of circumstances. Basically, it would allow a snow coat to be put on a unit.
Hmm, but would this still not require large amounts of sprite work? Even if you are only drawing the coat, each unit has a different shape, meaning that each unit would need it's own coat drawn for it. Are there any sprite artists that want to spend the time doing this?
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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by zookeeper »

scienceguy8 wrote:Idea abandoned for the time being. I finally came to my senses. Wesnoth's rendering engine is well over my head when it comes to C++, and it is obvious that we do not have the manpower for such a project at this time.

However, could I offer a compromise of sorts? Give the rendering engine the ability to juxtapose additional, separate images on top of or behind unit images. This would allow someone to modify a sprite on the fly. While it would not allow for a sprite to be customized fully, it would allow additional items to be added to a unit given a certain set of circumstances. Basically, it would allow a snow coat to be put on a unit.
You can already do that. At some point someone had a thread about doing that for some RPG thing, where units could equip different swords, helmets and so on.

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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by Turuk »

I think your best bet, as mentioned before in this thread, would be to come up with a demo so that we can all see what it is that you want to do, and how it can be implemented into the engine.
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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by jonathantan86 »

One suggestion that could be tried is to make this "unit generation" *external* to Wesnoth. That is, have a separate application that allows you to select types of clothing and generate a few sets of images including animations (and possibly WML) for a unit. The programmer wouldn't have to know about Wesnoth internals; he/she just has to have a library of images and generate other images from them.

scienceguy8: If you're going to do this, you don't really need 2600 sprites. A simple proof of concept would be to take one animated unit and de-frankenstein all its consituent parts (in all its still frames and animations). Then make some code that can put them together again, varying each image slightly as you do so (maybe colourshifting them by a random amount).

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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by thespaceinvader »

But you'd still need to MAKE each part separately for each and every frame of the animation. So, for instance, if you wanted to make a swordsman who had 2 options for each of head, torso, arms and legs; discounting the idle animation (which we really shouldn't, but meh), you'd need a set of frames for each part which could be joined up. So, ten heads, ten torsos, ten sets of arms, ten sets of legs. 50 individual images. Each taking between 10 minutes and an hour, given a good pixel artist. At worst, that's more than 2 straight days (without sleeping, of course) one one single set of 2 possible variations. And that's also discounting the fact that that unit isn't quite animation-complete - it still needs north-facing frames.

And that's ignoring the fact that it's quite difficult, as a sprite artist, to work in that manner - on individual parts. It's much easier to work on whole images.

All that being said, you're welcome to try. If you can get something working, and get all the images together, I'm sure people would be more willing to listen. But it's worth remembering that the one decision made in-game to have multiple variations on a unit image (outside of male/female) - the Walking Corpses has been regretted, to some extent. It added a massive amount of extra art work for very little reward.
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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by scienceguy8 »

I would like to make one correction to thespaceinvader's post. If you made 2 variations each of head, torso, arms, and legs, ignoring the idea of variable flesh tones, you could generate 16 different combinations of units, not two. But it still is a lot of work as I have finally realized. The only way I could think of to possibly streamline the process is to have one sprite artist create a base unit and animations, then split it up into its component parts, then send those component parts to other sprite artists who would each do one variation of the unit. In the unlikely event you had five sprite artists, that would be one baseline original concept, four variations, and 40 different unit combinations if I have done the math right. Impressive, visually stunning, but still perhaps too much work considering we only have about 5 good sprite artists. That's why I am amending my idea to preserve one concept I liked and thought would not be nearly as much work: adding to the unit's base appearance under certain conditions. It is not required, but does give scenario creators some new ways to polish their campaigns.
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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by TrashMan »

Something like that (mix and match) is FAR easier to do with 3D than it is with 2D.
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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by deoxy »

TrashMan wrote:Something like that (mix and match) is FAR easier to do with 3D than it is with 2D.
Actually, the problem isn't "2D vs 3D" at all - it's pixel resolution. This is SPRITE art, where the placement of each individual pixel has noticeable affects on the whole piece. In general, 2D art is easier than 3D, not harder, we're just used to full models that we can add an object to, using very advanced and powerful modeling tools.
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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by Max »

deoxy wrote:Actually, the problem isn't "2D vs 3D" at all - it's pixel resolution. This is SPRITE art, where the placement of each individual pixel has noticeable affects on the whole piece. In general, 2D art is easier than 3D, not harder, we're just used to full models that we can add an object to, using very advanced and powerful modeling tools.
if someone created a sufficiently detailed 3D model, using software like blender - and used this to create all the sprites? I'm not really convinced that this wouldn't work well - at least for large sprites as in wesnoth.

How did all the commercial games create there sprites back in the 2D days? Some had really smooth animations. I'd imagined that using a 3D model takes more times for just a couple of frames, but pays of if you need much more. I would also assume you need less skills to create sprites using this approach (things like anatomy are already built in the base models)

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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by thespaceinvader »

To quote a great actor, money dear boy. It's much easier to get large amounts of good quality work of any sort, but particularly drudgy work like this would be, when you pay the workers...
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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by Dave »

Max2008 wrote: How did all the commercial games create there sprites back in the 2D days? Some had really smooth animations.
How many had anywhere near as many units as Wesnoth?

But besides, in commercial game development, artists are relatively cheap. In Open Source game development, they are relatively expensive.

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Re: Unit Appearance Diversity

Post by zookeeper »

Max2008 wrote:How did all the commercial games create there sprites back in the 2D days?
Some used 3D models, some used drawn pixel art.

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