Dunefolk Facelift: Redux 2.0

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ghype
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Dunefolk Facelift: Redux 2.0

Post by ghype » November 19th, 2018, 11:39 pm

-this thread is work in progress-



Introcution

To make things clear, I do not want to force my personal vision of Dunefolk upon anyone.

The goal of this project is to continue the work where Sleepwalker and thespaceinvade left 4 years ago. In order to understand their vision, I studied their art thread and am now able to present, what he/they had in mind when they were starting reworking Dunefolk sprites in 2009. The best for that is to give a short summary and timeline of the most important things from the original Art Thread.

Time Line
January 2009: Sleepwalkers first post

March 2009: Sleepwalker's last post, inactive for 14 months

January 2010: thespaceinvader continues working

June 2010: Sleepwalker active again, improves units based on DF's mostly established unit tree

Novemeber 2010: Sleepwalkers final Herbalist portrait, inactive for 23 months

February 2011: thespaceinvader inactive til Sleepwalker appears again.

December 2012: Sleepwalker active again, updates most of the thespaceinvader's sprites

February 2014: Sleepwalkers last update, both artists inactive since then
Animations
Rover (old) - concept attack animation by Girgistan
Rover (old) - 1st frame for attack animation by bumbadabum
Soldier (current) - final attack/defend animation by thespaceinvader
Herbalist (current) - concept attack animation by thespaceinvader
Soldier (new) - fully animated by Zoomo
But why is this needed?
_post_updates.gif
2s/frame. last frame 5sec
_post_updates.gif (113.09 KiB) Viewed 88 times
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Beginning
As you can see, Sleepwalker and thespaceinvader did a really great job bringing Dunefolk up to shape for standards at the time. You might see that even up till today we still use some of these sprite created around that time. The following updates will demonstrate the evolution and the explain the current state of the dunefolk faction.

Update #1
Between the beginning and the first update, Sleepwalker mostly improved thespaceinvader's sprites in one way or another. But it was this post, where he created his first sprite from scratch since a long time. And you can clearly see his improvement in drawing skills. This is the final "Firetrooper" we have in-game and the revised versions of the rider line is visible too, but I will ignore them for this analysis. So we had a new lv3 unit for the burner line, but a new version for the lv1 and lv2 were still missing.

Update #2
After some more time he reappeared with even better drawing skills and we got the first glance of the new lv1 rover and lv2 explorer which look really great. Furthermore, we got to see a new lv1 soldier and a spear unit which assumably should replace the old lv2 spear guard. But we probably are the most impressed by the soon-to-be mainline Dunfefolk Wyvern. So in addition to the missing units from the burner line, we also would be missing the lv3 ranger and the lv3 spearmaster.

Update #3
Now here something interesting happened. We got the missing lv3 ranger unit for the rover line, but we also received a new sprite on how a skirmisher could look like in a desert setting as the dunefolk are. He did not really stuck to the original material and interpreted the lv2 skirmisher in his own way. This is nothing bad since the sprite still looks great, but the lv3 harrier would be missing.

Update #4
Finally we got a the lv2 unit for the burner line. Those two unit would be mainlined as they were at the time, even though Sleepwalker never updated the lv1 sprite. We can also see some concept art for new units - an archer and something that looks like an assassin.

Update #5
This must have been the biggest, but also the most questionable update so far. It mostly fills all the missing sprites except the lv1 burner. We have the lv3 spearmaster which was mainlined as he was at the time together with the lv2 spearguard. We however never saw the new skirmisher/harrier or the new lv2 swordsman or lv3 bladesman mainlined. But why? You can see clearly, even if the new sprite are of high quality, they use different drawing style in comparison to the ones from the first updates. The sprites tend to be also much bigger as they should/could have been. They wield very exaggerated weapons. Eagle's comment or fabi's notice also mention they do not visually fit comparing to the old ones. They were either too "caricaturized" or too "cliché". Maybe he got discouraged after that or maybe he simple felt like he was done with Dunefolk after that big final update, but it was the last time we heard from him regarding dunefolk.

Summary
Even if there were updated sprites for the soldier and skirmisher line, we haven't seen them to be mainlined yet. The new skirmisher and harrier also does not visually fit the rover line (though the old ones didn't either). The old burner line was probably considered good enough, even though Sleepwalker never actually updated that sprite. If you however compare them side by side and zoom in, you can see they are drawn very differently.

The point of this subsection was to demonstrate that we currently have large inconsistencies regarding the visual appearance of Dunefolk
What happened next?

Well ... for some time not much happened. The units which where thought to fid were mainlined, the others wouldn't. At some point, maybe 1 or 2 years after Sleepwalkers inactivity, there were two guys working separately on UMC Dunefolk sprites for two different projects. Now I don't really know who was the first but I will start chronologically on when the first post was made. The first is Oath of Allegiance by Kwanulin, and the other is The Golden Age by ForestDragon. Both expanded these units on Sleepwalkers style but never planned to make the fid for mainline.

The most visible changes probably happened in Kwandulin's version of the soldier line. He took Sleepwalker's lv2 swordsman and lv3 bladesman, which at the time where to quit there for mainline, and reworked them in a more appropriate style. Sleepwalkers line was very inconsistent within the lv ups of the soldier line, where as Kwandulin made sure that the lv2 and lv3 were more familiar to the lv1. If we want to see more Dunefolk updates coming to mainline, than Kwandulin's approach sure is the right direction. The following display shows how much better Kwandulin's soldier line looks in comparison to Sleepwalker's/thespaceinvader's original sprite or Sleepwalker's update.
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_post_comparison.png
_post_comparison.png (30.35 KiB) Viewed 64 times
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This is the point where my work stats ...
Jetrel's guidance on dunefolk update

Before I actually show my updates, I want to reference one last important post, which was made by the "Art Dircector" Jetrel regarding the visual update of Dunefolk back in 2009. There are few things he points out, which are still valid today and hence want to shortly comment on them.
A few of those sprites are wearing very saturated, primary-colored outfits. If at all possible, it's probably best to avoid any colors that can be confused with team colors
One major problem of the original sprites was that they were very colourful and there was consistent colour palette for the units to create some sort of unity within the faction. Upon reworking, I stumbled upon that many new units work with a set of lighter shade of green and one set of darker shades of green - which I also stuck to. There was a danger that it would be too close the green TC but I find it currently is not the case. If however you say it is too close, that could be fixed.
it's artistically a bad idea to be too strict about limiting yourself to precisely one historical culture. Just as our "loyalists" are vaguely european, it's actually a very good idea, in terms of visual variety, to work in any interesting costume elements you can think of that vaguely apply to an arab-flavor army
I find this very important to keep in mind when we work on updating the faction design and unit sprites of the Dunefolk. On a personal note, the armour choices of design should be interesting int he first place, but maybe not as exaggerated as the one from Sleepwalkers last sprites.
Remember that "looking cool" is your primary objective.
Well this one might be self-explanatory, but the simplicity of this statement makes it so much more powerful. So yes, one of my main goals where to make pleasant to look at, or in Jetrel's words - to make them look cool!
Update: Soldier








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Last edited by ghype on December 10th, 2018, 4:51 pm, edited 54 times in total.
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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by ghype » November 19th, 2018, 11:49 pm

-this post is work in progress-
Last edited by ghype on December 10th, 2018, 1:22 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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holius
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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by holius » November 20th, 2018, 8:25 am

This is very interesting art work for the soldier. I have one suggestion to offer about coloring : keep loyal units white / pale grey, and make all liminal (dark) blue. It would help make users better understand the 'alliance of city and desert tribes' aspect of dunefolk faction. Other dual alignment factions are so easy to remember which unit is loyal or chaotic, it should also be easy for dunefolk.

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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by ghype » November 20th, 2018, 11:34 am

that is some good point you mention.
giving units of the same alignment the same colour will definetly make this faction more meroable.

however, alignments will change in the balance process, so that will have to wait until then end
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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by ForestDragon » November 20th, 2018, 11:45 am

ForestDragon here. I'd like to tell you that I'm not actually the one who made the dunefolk sprites (Kwandulin did), so it's probably a good idea to edit the posts.

Glad to see someone's actually working on the dunefolk, btw.
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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by The_Gnat » November 20th, 2018, 10:34 pm

holius wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 8:25 am
Other dual alignment factions are so easy to remember which unit is loyal or chaotic, it should also be easy for dunefolk.
I absolutely support this suggestion I still never can remember who is what :lol:
ghype wrote:
November 19th, 2018, 11:39 pm
This post discusses why and how the Dunefolk sprites should/could be updated.
Artwork

Awesome to see some work on the Dunefolk and I really like the new soldier line it looks far superior! :D

I have to say I really appreciate all the contributions everyone is putting in to make the Dunefolk a better faction! And really appreciate the work you have done to combine all of this together into a coherent comparison!

As for the changes I agree with all of them! In particular I agree the rider line needs some work especially the horses. The lvl 3 Marauder's horse looks too similar to the alternate line and similarily the white wind rider's horse looks frail and weak ;) (also I really like the mask on the Cataphract) The lvl 1 horse rider also is a bit out of place with the only brown horse. ^_^

Also the spearmaster looks great but could use perhaps a bit of modification to the helmet because it looks a bit smaller than the lvl 2.

(P.S. do we have a new sprite for the lvl 4 War master?)

Also I really like the adjustments for the skirmisher 8)

Units

I see the potential for adding extra complications to the balance if we add in another lvl 1 but other than that I really like the shift away from the soldier line. :)

Honestly it made no sense at all for the skirmisher to loose his axe and ranged weapon completely and for the soldier to drop his sword and grab a spear. This mod to the line is much better but probably should be discussed in a different forum :D

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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by Pentarctagon » November 21st, 2018, 7:58 pm

Given that the authorship of the images was not completely clear originally, I feel I have to ask: Does Kwandulin know his sprites are posted here? And relatedly, if edits are needed, is there someone who would be willing and able to make them?

edit-
As far as actual feedback:
  1. Regarding consistency, A1 shouldn't be the only unit in the line with a non-greyish colored sword.
  2. It's also a little weird that A1 is the only one in the line with TC on his shield.
  3. C3's spearhead seems to be bent for some reason.
  4. We would need a new Warmaster sprite as well, given the changes to the rest of the line.
  5. E2.5's horse should be changed to either white or dark grey to match up with every other mounted unit.
  6. Hopefully I'm not opening too large of a can of worms with this, but are female variations a possibility? Particularly for the units that aren't in full armor.
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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework - to Gnat

Post by ghype » November 22nd, 2018, 10:57 am

The_Gnat wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 10:34 pm
As for the changes I agree with all of them! In particular I agree the rider line needs some work especially the horses.
as mentioned the mounted units will get a complete overhaul sooner or later, in a complete different session.
The_Gnat wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 10:34 pm
Also the spearmaster looks great but could use perhaps a bit of modification to the helmet because it looks a bit smaller than the lvl 2.
yes, as mentioned too, that unit could need some work. personally, i don't like the shield of it. not at all.
The_Gnat wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 10:34 pm
(P.S. do we have a new sprite for the lvl 4 War master?)
that will be most likely a campaign units. once we get sofar I could make a lv4 of it. I think Kwandulin has a potential lv4 sprite for it but I don't think it fits.
The_Gnat wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 10:34 pm
I see the potential for adding extra complications to the balance if we add in another lvl 1 but other than that I really like the shift away from the soldier line. :)
adding a new units is something we discussed and we concluded that we should focus on balance the existing lv1 units first and then adding potential new unit lines. that means the concept of lv1 spear fighter for now is scrapped until dunefolk default is not completely balanced.
The_Gnat wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 10:34 pm
Honestly it made no sense at all for the skirmisher to loose his axe and ranged weapon completely and for the soldier to drop his sword and grab a spear. This mod to the line is much better but probably should be discussed in a different forum :D
I just wasnt sure if this should be discussed all-together with the other changes or if this can be discussed separately. currently we still talk about the liminal situation, my comment on advancement could disrput that conversation, but we will see.
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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework - to Pentarctagon

Post by ghype » November 22nd, 2018, 11:16 am

Pentarctagon wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 7:58 pm
Given that the authorship of the images was not completely clear originally, I feel I have to ask: Does Kwandulin know his sprites are posted here? And relatedly, if edits are needed, is there someone who would be willing and able to make them?
the only units I really took over from Kwandulin are A1 (including it's animations) and B1. C1 mostly too with a small edit and C3 had a lot more edits.
If it wasn't clear, B2 and C2 are completely made by myself more or less from scratch.

It seems right that I at least let him know his work is incorporated into this project but I would be the one who did all the changes and I would do them of course.

Pentarctagon wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 7:58 pm
  1. Regarding consistency, A1 shouldn't be the only unit in the line with a non-greyish colored sword.
  2. It's also a little weird that A1 is the only one in the line with TC on his shield.
  3. C3's spearhead seems to be bent for some reason.
1. I even consider giving them complete different swords, maybe something like B2 and C2 since they are more realistic. Maybe a bit thicker and shorter, but art style so it is consistent

2. point, I will fix that. (for that I will probably remove the TC from A1 since it has enough TC already)

3. C3 will get a lot more edits, if this line doesn't get scrapped at all ( we wills ee)
Pentarctagon wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 7:58 pm
We would need a new Warmaster sprite as well, given the changes to the rest of the line.
that can be done as well.

Pentarctagon wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 7:58 pm
E2.5's horse should be changed to either white or dark grey to match up with every other mounted unit.
As mentioned, the mounted units will get a complete overhaul after we are more or less happy with the infantry.
Pentarctagon wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 7:58 pm
Hopefully I'm not opening too large of a can of worms with this, but are female variations a possibility? Particularly for the units that aren't in full armor.
Its funny that you ask it, since I am the one who opened this thread: Female Wesnoth
So yeah, once we have the final line up for units, I will gladly do female variants too.
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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by Kwandulin » November 22nd, 2018, 4:49 pm

Sprites are made by sleepwalker, mine are just edits of his work

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Edwylm
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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by Edwylm » November 22nd, 2018, 5:54 pm

I hope that when you do the mounts that the basic cav would be that of camels, horses were prized in more sandy desert because they didn't do so well compared to camels. seeing horses for heroes or leaders would likely be the only units to have them.

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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by ghype » November 23rd, 2018, 12:35 am

Edwylm wrote:
November 22nd, 2018, 5:54 pm
horses were prized in more sandy desert because they didn't do so well compared to camels.
thats very correct, camels did so much better in everyway than horses in deserts. But since we assume no longer are in deserts (when they left the old continent) it wouldn make sense for them to continue to use camels. Horses would be more useful for them in Wesnoth then camels, don't you agree?
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Edwylm
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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by Edwylm » November 23rd, 2018, 1:19 am

Well their description from what I read is that they still live in the desert. However, as you mentioned when they moved though wesnoth. Which I do not know when they traveled though it. Wesnoth could have been a arid wasteland at the time.

It wouldn't make much sense of abandoning a well known pack animal which has served them well. Unless they stayed in the climate based outside of desert/arid climates. Also if horses and camels never met before the dunefolk arrived would add a advantage in warfare. In real history enemy horses are known to run away from camels when first encountered.

Though another note while traveling though wesnoth, clans of dunefolk could use horses more than camels if the climate/land is right to maintain the animal. In a way you could possibly create 2 factions within the dunefolk.
The horse would be viewed more of a exotic animal for more desert clans.

Also another note when Europeans were exploring Australia they used camels due to camels were more efficient for the outback climate compared to horses.

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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by Edwylm » November 23rd, 2018, 5:00 am

Here is something that I quickly edited to show that camels would look a bit nicer compared to the current horse units. If you want I could help create the camels.

note i simply edited the quesnoth's dustbok.
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ghype
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Re: Dunefolk Visual Rework

Post by ghype » November 23rd, 2018, 12:30 pm

yes I totally agree with every historical fact of yours. I just never saw a full armoured rider and full plated camel as the piercer lines wants it to be.
I could maybe see the rider line on a camel, but that would create inconsistencies with the raider line and with the entire faction too since you'd have one horse line and one camel line.
Also, the camel has different terrain properties, means it would have a different movetype which could complicate balancing DF a bit more, don't you thin?

Nonetheless, your modified Quenoth mount looks pretty good. So if we agree on a solution using camels, your sprites would be a start point for it.
I am just not convinced that camels could work for Dunefolk as they wished them to be...
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