Romanticist

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Shaz

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You could have them very similar, but just give them different coloured hair or clothes. If you're going to recycle exactly the same sprite, I'd suggest just making them "filler" NPCs who give you information and talk about seemingly random stuff. Don't involve any of them in giving or completing quests. That way it won't be as confusing to players, and they may not notice it as much as they would if they had to remember what they looked like to go back to them later.
 

The Mighty Palm

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Never once have I batted an eye at filler NPCs looking the same, dont see any reason why anyone that could be replaced with a walking signpost deserves a custom look.
 

Romanticist

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Never once have I batted an eye at filler NPCs looking the same, dont see any reason why anyone that could be replaced with a walking signpost deserves a custom look.
How about when there are two of the same sprites on-screen at once? Does that bother you?
 

Philosophus Vagus

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How about when there are two of the same sprites on-screen at once? Does that bother you?
Not really, whose to say they aren't just identical twins. Maybe in whatever fantasy world the game takes place in identical siblings are a lot more common than they are on earth. Even far more modern mainstream games do this blatantly. Been playing kingdom come recently, can't tell you how many times I've run into the same damn footsore dude in the exact same outfit begging for bandages or shoes...even when I just gave him a brand new pair of boots a couple miles down the road, yet here he is unexplicaby in my path once more, shoeless, begging for bandages and shoes.
 

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I think if nobody minds it in Dragon Quest 11 then you don't have to worry. DQ11 does ofcourse have modular villager NPCs with a slew of pallete variations. But it's the same idea as switching heads and colors on a spritesheet for variation.
 

Kes

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I would recommend at least a partial recolour job in GIMP or similar. It's not hard to change a blue coat to a red one, or yellow hair to black. It doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming, but it does improve the visuals, imo.

Though if you're using the Looseleaf generator, why not do it there?
 

TheoAllen

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How about when there are two of the same sprites on-screen at once? Does that bother you?
Not really, in fact, it could easily "represent" people. Old dudes use the same sprites because they're representing old dudes. Or any other type of people, like, you're stereotyping it.
 

dulsi

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I think of this as a polish issue. If your game is not close to complete, wait until later. I do think it looks better to have unique sprites but it wouldn't bother me to see them repeated. I agree with @Kes that if you have the time some color variations would be good. If however that go over your budget, don't worry about it. (By budget I mean time and money. If you decided you have spent as much time on the game as you want and didn't get to making unique sprites then ship it and move on.)

It's crazy how games made by large teams of people in the 90's were excused when recycling sprites, but now solo devs today are expected to make a wide variety of sprites and tiles. Then again, RPGs were a LOT harder to make back then.
You have a large team. You have all the people who created RPG Maker. You have all the people who made any sprite or tile packs you use. I think the bigger reason they reused them in the past is because of space restrictions. This could be space on the disk/cartridge but also things like the amount of sprites they could keep in memory and also the number of colors available.

I've been developing Color Monsters on the Pocket Arcade/Tiny Arcade. I've got 8x8 pixel sprites. I've restricted the color to black and white due to the storyline. It also has more restrictions on memory than you typically have for an RPG Maker game. So making unique sprites is pretty much out.
 

Romanticist

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dulsi

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I didn't think of that either. How about SNES games? They still had restrictions, but not as much. Or even DS games. Or PS1.

So if I were to make a GBC type of game on RPG Maker, would you suggest making tons of unique sprites, since I have no restrictions in RPG Maker like the GBC does? (I want to make a little GBC styled game haha)
SNES still had a fair number of hardware restrictions. I don't know much about DS but I suspect you could do a lot more with that. PS1 you had a lot of disk space but it was slow to load. You had to decide how much load time is acceptable. (One of the Crash Bandicoot games completely filled the CD. During the end of development every bug fix required them to tweak code so that it generated slightly different instructions which might be smaller to allow them to accommodate the bug fix.)

For making a GBC type game on RPG Maker, it depends on what you mean. If I were making a GBC type game, I would restrict myself to the colors available on the GBC but not the number of sprites on the screen. I'm not sure what I would do with sprites and tiles. I think I would probably use higher resolutions for the sprites and maybe lower resolution for the tiles but I'd have to test it to see how it would work. I would probably use unique sprites if I had the time. If I allocated say a month or a year for development and didn't get uniques sprites, I would consider dropping that feature.
 

Milennin

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If it's like random villagers or soldiers, I don't care. For more important characters, I want them to be unique.
 

Jellicoe

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I have no idea where to post this. I thought game mechanics design, but this is more of an art thing. But then again, it is also related to game design... Er, let me explain.

In a lot of old RPGs, NPC sprites were often recycled, even on the same map (especially in GB and NES RPGs). Since I am currently using Looseleaf characters however, and since 48x32 is far more detailed than 16x16 sprites of old games, it becomes far more noticable when I reuse the same few NPC sprites. But I'm struggling with the idea of having a plethora of shoddily-made, practically randomized NPC sprites that are only used a few times in the game, rather than having a few memorable but samey-looking NPC sprites. At the moment, I have a little bit of an in-between between these two extremes, but I'm leaning more towards having few NPC sprites (and a lot of the more random ones that I do have, or ones that stick out too much, I haven't even used yet, and am considering throwing them out and not using them at all).

How do you design NPC sprites? Do you think it is offputting to see the same NPC sprites in the same map, or in consecutive maps? Does having the same NPCs per map only work with less-detailed sprites?
I would make filler NPCs have hats, or bonnets so it could give the illusions that perhaps they are different characters
 

Onism

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I prefer to have each sprite have their own look, even if it's just a filler npc.

That being said, I don't put too much effort into it- I'll change a couple of aspects: a different hairstyle, a different hair colour, a different skin colour, a different outfit, maybe a hat, etc. Doing this provides me with enough differences between people to suit my needs.

I use SV sprites instead of face graphics though, so that probably helps, as you don't see as much detail?

Topics like this always make me think of when I had an Inn that two identical twins ran. There'd only ever be one at the counter, and they'd demand you say which of the two you thought it was. If you got it right, you got half off your stay.
 

Diarist

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I think in my old old game I pretty much used the same few generic townspeople sprites everywhere, but there also weren't too many towns or places with people either. There was a midgar-style big 'city' you spent some time in but all the maps were really small sections of it and mostly uninhabited areas. Then when you got to the overworld there were towns you could visit here and there that had REALLY cookie cutter NPCs that said nothing of any relevance at all. I think I just really didn't care, and implying I can even start my newer project I'd like to rectify that overall.
 

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