Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

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aquileia
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by aquileia »

Dugi wrote:not even those were made.
Though you can't see them anymore as they somehow got erased, the standing animation was completed:
http://forum.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php? ... 30#p545878
In this post, Blarumyrran added the animation to the level 2 unit - as he clearly indicated (why else should he talk about the rotating sword?)
pauline
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by pauline »

JETREL, I can´t stand the sight of your last post any longer without acknowledgment.
I'm just a regular player without skills, but:
Thanks and thanks and thanks again for you "singlehandedly making everything" regarding the major part of unit animation.
I´m deeply impressed ! I had no idea ! ( ... as of many other background facts regarding BfW :? )
I didn´t know about the hiring of professionals ! Who pays them ?

Since I'm here, my notion as a common user:
When playing a campaign, I always think that an unanimated unit is a bug.
So, I can understand Dugi´s concerns (without the knowledge to judge his arguments)
and I agree with Adamant14.
Also, I personally don´t like over-sized sprites (for the same reason I´m not fond of most Asian cartoons).
A horseman fighting a dragon about 8 times his size seems odd to me, even in a fantasy game.
Actually, I took "standard rules" (suggested by ChaosRider) as a given.

Nevertheless, I highly appreciate the work of the art contributors,
and specially – since there seem to be not enough qualified or seriously willing free collaborators -
admire their endeavor to not only improve mainline but also provide sprites/animation "per order" for UMCs.

Grateful, pauline
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taptap
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by taptap »

Dugi wrote:
AFAIK none of those dragon sprites are in any mainlines campaigns so its pretty silly to argue about which ones get to be in trunk...
That was just an example. Liberty's Rogue Mages used to be animated in 1.8, but they aren't animated in 1.10. Horseman's advancements and Cavalryman and his advancements are animated in 1.10, but in 1.11.7, the most probable future of wesnoth, they aren't. This affects many mainline campaigns. This problem is not to be belittled.
The mages look so much better now. Isn't it better to make animations for good sprites you plan to keep than to waste effort on placeholders?
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Dugi
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by Dugi »

@Jetrel
I am not trying to deny the work you've done. You've done a good job indeed. I am merely complaining about some aspects of your management.

You're telling that the I am mistaken when telling that units without animations are replacing animated units much more frequently than animations are added to unanimated units. You claim that the cases I wrote of are exceptions. Yet, you provided no counter-examples, cases when animations were added to units that lacked them. Because I would like to believe you, I have decided to search through the changelog and write down all changes to the animations of units for all versions after 1.7 (I think that the trend I am complaining about didn't exist before that). Here is the result:

Code: Select all

1.11.7
   * Full animations for the Dwarven Thunderer line.
   * New standing animation for the Dwarvish Berserker.
   * New north-facing standing and attack animations for the Loyalist Spearman.
   * New ranged attack animations for the Dark Adept line.

1.11.5
   * New scorpion baseframe (replaces old image set)
   * New skeletal dragon baseframe (replaces old image set)
   * New cavalryman line baseframes (replaces old image set)
   * New elven cavalry units baseframes (replaces old image set)
   * New paladin, knight, grand-knight, lancer baseframes (replaces old image set)
   * New giant mudcrawler baseframe and animations (replaces old image set)

1.9.10
 New animations
     * Goblin spearman run se
     * Merman fighter attack se

1.9.2
     * New (unanimated) sprites for the Rogue Mage unit line.
     * New (unanimated) sprites for the Dwarvish Miner.
     * Standing anims: Fencer, Spearman, Dwarf Guard.
     * Idle anims: 2 for the Spearman.
     * Fixed drakes flying or not flying over all the correct terrains.
     * Units: New base frame and animations for Mudcrawler.

1.9.1
   * New animations: Merman Hunter ranged animation and defence, Warrior se attack and defence, Drake Flare and Flameheart leadership.

1.9.0
     * New (unanimated) sprites for Owaec.
     * New animations (not yet including leading animations) for Drake Flare and Flameheart, Dwarf Lord ranged attack, Dwarf guard melee attack, Dwarf Pathfinder idle, Ruffian attack and defend, Spearman s and se attack
In total, since 1.9.0:
17 units without animations were added, replacing old ones.
25 new animations were added in total.
2 new animated units were added.
4 units that lacked animations got them (last time on 1.9.1).

I think that the numbers speak clearly.

@aquileia
Read the whole post, he was just creating a standing animation based on some magical flashes around the unit, which is IMO much easier to do than an attacking animation, because you don't have to edit much the unit's position (I might be a bit wrong, but the animation in speak is nowhere to be found, the post was made almost a year ago and it's still not committed).

@taptap
Placeholders can be done by many people, not only a group of chosen artists. I am not speaking for everybody, I would do some placeholders for them if I knew that they would be used until proper animations are made.
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bumbadadabum
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by bumbadadabum »

I'm pretty sure the changelog hasn't been updated properly. I don't see any mention of the Spectre or Skeleton, for example.
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Dugi
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by Dugi »

You're right, but neither the Spectre nor the Skeleton is the case I am pointing out, when an unanimated unit was given animations. Spectre received a whole new sprite, both baseframe and animation, and the Skeleton was animated before.
By the way, I also failed to find there any mention of the total rework of Saurians (somewhere in 1.9), but that's not the case either.
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Zerovirus
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by Zerovirus »

Dugi wrote:Maybe it did work in the past, but it's not working in present. Maybe the quality standards weren't so high. New units with no animations are replacing animated ones, assuming that somebody will animate them once, but I don't see it happening. They can be easily staying on some fork to be pulled when finished animating, but no, they're thrown directly into trunk. There was a nice improvement in spriting between 1.6 and 1.8, but the change from 1.8 to 1.10 contained besides many improvements also a replacement of animated units by non-animated ones (and 1.12 seems to be going to replace even more of them).
(I consider myself largely retired from Wesnoth at this point, but here's what I figure the thought process in the art-development team's heads is.)

Wesnoth is, as always, a work in progress run by volunteers. Keeping volunteer contributors happy means actually /making use/ of their contributions, instead of sticking them in a fork where nobody will ever see them. The baseframes being replaced would have been replaced sooner or later due to being out of style compared with modern sprite standards; there's no point in shafting potential contributors instead of trying to make it as easy as possible to get their work in-game.

1.12 /is/ probably going to replace a lot more units (don't quote me for exact details on that one). This was going to happen sooner or later; old assets just don't match the quality expected nowadays, and as far as making headway goes, we might as well get it done sooner rather than later. Complaining about the lack of animations may be a reasonable issue from the audience's standpoint, but- let's be honest- right now Wesnoth doesn't have quite as many skilled artists actively working as it did in the past, and anything raising the bar for artists to contribute is probably just going to end up slowing down progress as a whole instead of redirecting the flow of energy to something you prefer better. The usual adage about putting your work where your mouth is comes to mind, as well as the one that goes 'Wesnoth is made by the developers for the developers, not for the audience, which is incidentally a side-consequence of having a damn good game'.

Ultimately, it's not like you can just order volunteers around to do what you want them to do. If a volunteer is stuck between not contributing at all or having to devote an order of magnitude more time to fully animate a sprite, chances are they'll end up going with the first one, and then we wouldn't have any new artists at all. The best thing you could do would be to incentivize contributors to animate instead of simply complaining about the necessary measures to keep contributors on the project- again, perhaps through monetary measures or status indicators.
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by Dugi »

Revision of my observations, based on the changelog:
If a sprite is committed with no animation, it is very unlikely to be animated.
When an unanimated unit becomes animated, it usually comes also with a wholly new baseframe.
Animations are traditionally added to units that in a desperate need of them.
Zerovirus wrote:Keeping volunteer contributors happy means actually /making use/ of their contributions, instead of sticking them in a fork where nobody will ever see them.
If somebody creates a good animation, it can be put into trunk together with the new unanimated sprite on the fork. New contributors do not have commit access, so this does not complicate their life at all.
Zerovirus wrote:right now Wesnoth doesn't have quite as many skilled artists actively working as it did in the past, and anything raising the bar for artists to contribute is probably just going to end up slowing down progress as a whole instead of redirecting the flow of energy to something you prefer better
The bar is pretty high already. Only really high-quality animations are accepted, so that only a few chosen ones are able to push their animations into trunk. That's why I suggested to accept some lower quality animations if there are none.
Zerovirus wrote:This was going to happen sooner or later; old assets just don't match the quality expected nowadays, and as far as making headway goes, we might as well get it done sooner rather than later.
This makes this issue even more pressing.
Zerovirus wrote:Ultimately, it's not like you can just order volunteers around to do what you want them to do.
But you appear to be expecting that some people will come and animate all the units that are left unanimated. And it's obviously not happening.
Zerovirus wrote:If a volunteer is stuck between not contributing at all or having to devote an order of magnitude more time to fully animate a sprite, chances are they'll end up going with the first one, and then we wouldn't have any new artists at all.
Yeah, because it's so awesome when an animated unit is replaced by an unanimated and never to be animated one whose baseframe is as much as 10% better. There is so many UMC projects that would welcome any sprites, even unanimated ones.
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lipk
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by lipk »

Yeah, because it's so awesome when an animated unit is replaced by an unanimated and never to be animated one whose baseframe is as much as 10% better.
Whether you prefer crappy but animated sprites or better quality unanimated ones is a matter of taste. I don't want the old rogue mages back, not even with their horrible animations.

I'd also like to point out that most of the units you're complaining about are campaign-specific niche units. Dwarvish fighters or skeletons have a way bigger impact on the appearance of the game than Owaec, for example. Your "statistics" don't consider that aspect.
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by Dugi »

lipk wrote:I don't want the old rogue mages back, not even with their horrible animations.
Rogue mages aren't the only case. There are the also paladin, knight, grand knight, lancer, cavalryman line and elvish riders (ten units in total!). You can't speak about any horrible graphics there.

Owaec and Rogue Mages (and Fire Dragon to some extent) might be campaign-specific units, but they are good examples that units left unanimated will remain unanimated (over three years passed since they were added and nothing).
Last edited by Dugi on November 27th, 2013, 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Adamant14
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by Adamant14 »

An other example, the Elvish Scout.

What was wrong with the Elvish Scout?
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iceiceice
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by iceiceice »

Nothing's wrong with the old cavalry, and if you want to include them in your campaigns you still can. But the new ones are definitely an improved base frame.

Actually I'm kind of happy that the cavalry are getting new base frames, because I think the animations could be improved. Especially the death frame -- I always thought that the horseman is such a dramatic unit, sometimes a match can come down to whether a horseman charge is successful. So it should have a death animation that is dramatic, rather than the horse just falls over on its side. The horse should rear up, and the rider should tumble off the back, perhaps with the horse falling on top of him.

I thought about trying to make this animation once. There was one time I was riding horses with my father and a branch from a tree got stuck in the saddle and poked the horse very hard, cause the horse to rear up this way. I saw it ahead of me from about 20 ft away, I remember it quite well. At some point I gathered some youtube links that could also be used as a reference -- if I can find them I will post them here.

Anyways I've not done any sprite work before, nor can I be considered a competent artist in any capacity, so I probably shouldn't actually attempt to make this. Imo using gimp/photoshop properly is at least as technically involved as C++ or anything else. But it would be cool :)
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by Dixie »

I admit I've glossed over some posts, but about your numbers, Dugi, you have to keep in mind that, aside from the exceptionnal scorpion and dragons, all the other replaced baseframes have been replaced because they have one thing in common, they ride horses. It's the horses that have been changed. The old puny and starveling horses with bent legs have been replaced by proper steeds, fit to carry a fully-armored rider to war. There have also been some tweaks to the rest of the unit, of course, but these are much more anecdotal.

Also, they might not have been added to the game yet and don't seem to appear in your excerpts of the changelogs, but some work has been done on the mounted units animations, and it is a considerable improvement imho. Also, I am linking jsut that post, but there are other animations if you sift through the thread.
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Dugi
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by Dugi »

dixie wrote:The old puny and starveling horses with bent legs have been replaced by proper steeds, fit to carry a fully-armored rider to war.
The old ones weren't so bad. Some of them looked even better than the new ones, their only major difference is the style (and I don't think that the new ones look better).
dixie wrote:Also, they might not have been added to the game yet and don't seem to appear in your excerpts of the changelogs, but some work has been done on the mounted units animations, and it is a considerable improvement imho.
The horseman unit himself was replaced already in 1.10 and was animated when created. He wasn't the case in speak. The problem with units replaced by unanimated sprites didn't include the Horseman, but did include Lancer, Knight, Grand Knight and Paladin.
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Re: Where does this evolution of sprites lead?

Post by Adamant14 »

And the Elvish Scout, Elvish Rider and the Elvish Outrider. :mrgreen:


By the way, I've noticed that there are sprites for a run animation for some units. :)
Currently those are unused, but they do look amazing.
When will they be used in game?
Is there a thread somewhere here in the forums?
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