Custom Map Sprites, yay or nay-pros and cons?

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Since my game is going commercial I'm treating this as a commercial issue.
So I decided after a long hard think that I didn't really like the default MV sprites and that my preference would be to have custom taller sprites, still not sure what style to go with though. Anyway, made the biggest noob mistake ever and got some of my main characters done in a new style, playtested my game and thought, these look awesome, yes this is the way forward, then I ran into an issue...compatibility -.-
Example4.png
I realised that unless I planned on having invisible imaginary npc's, this was gonna be an issue and it suddenly dawned on me the scale of what I was trying to accomplish. That been said, my desire is still to go full custom sprites, I really, really don't want to resort to having to go with default chibi sprites. As a last resort I would maybe go with taller versions, but that would be last resort. This leaves me between a rock and a hard place, namely cost. I don't sprite, even basic edits are hard for me which means I will probably end up having to pay someone to do this for me, the question is, how do I go about this? The options I've considered are a custom generator, which I did speak to someone about and basically it's gonna be expensive, no surprises there, or have someone design all my map sprites for me which is once again going to be expensive. I suppose the question is, how expensive is a custom generator gonna be. Any ideas from sprite artists if you were going to design a generator in your specific sprite style?
 

kaiijuu

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Hey! I have a lot of exp with this right now. I'm an artist, so our predicament is a little different, but I have or am in the process of commissioning a few artists from this site and then a few from other sites as well...they are only doing my bad guys, since I am doing my own character sprites. I did even commission someone to do my on map sprites, and I just plan to edit/make the clothes & hair myself. But, again, I do art on a regular basis so it's a little different. It definitely gets pretty costly (esp if you want quality work...I think when I calculated how much money I intend on spending, it's over 1k USD :o!) so this obviously...I mean, since you plan on going commercial, you have to kind of think of what you want the end result to be like?

Do you want a game with custom sprites, or do you want something more default? I can def recommend some pretty great pixel artists if you do wind up going that route...though in my own *personal* opinion, I would just go the custom sprite route. I don't hate the default stuff, but those mv chibis leave a lot to be desired, compared to the ace or vx ones.
 

Tome571

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There is a stretching the RTP sprites that might be an okay middle ground for you, at least in the meantime for placeholders. Granted, you will probably have to do a bit of editing, but if you aren't going to go back to the RTP, it's worth using in the short term. I note this, having already responded to your crowdfunding thread, so I kind of understand where you're going with the project a bit...

 

sura_tc

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I've been making few (3) RPG maker MV games with fully custom sprites and titlesets.

You just need a lot of time making those. There isn't a quick way about it. I'd suggest staying away from RTP style also.

A custom generator would be really expensive.
 
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@Tome571 Yes, that's sort of what I meant when I said as a last resort I would go with taller versions. I don't mind using the default sprites as place holders till I get the custom sprites, but in a commercial game, I want to stay away from rtp as much as possible (just a personal preference on my part.) And it's not just my lack of artistic talent, but also time. As a single dev with family responsibilities, adding sprite edits to my list would probably burn me out.

@kaiijuu My plan is to go custom, probably along the lines of mack style since that seems to go better with the FSM tileset I use, so getting a base wouldn't be that hard. It's just everything else. Having a generator would mean I could just churn out as many npc's as I wanted and needed then.

@sura_tc I'm fully aware of a custom generator been expensive, that's sort of the point of this post to try and find out how expensive are we talking XD. Since we're talking about a big task,one other thing I need to take into consideration is that this is something I'm going to have to pay for in one go meaning I will need the money to pay for it before asking for it doing.
 
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l8rose

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I can't really say how much a custom generator would cost but there is always the Game Character Hub.

I use a larger sprite and then edit the pre-existing MV clothing and accessories to fit before using GCH's ability to output a variety of different colored sprites. Even if you did want a completely custom sprite, you should still be able to add the content in and create sprites that way. At least then if you are getting someone to make sprites for you then wouldn't need as many pieces. It'll be more time consuming then having a custom made generator with a few clicks but it would be a lot more cost effective.
 

Sharm

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Something that might be a good in between is to get a good existing base, hire someone to do a few characters using it, then do the work to take it apart and do small edits and recolors yourself to add a little variety. Just let the artist know that it's what you intend to do going in, they can make certain that each sprite they do is very different and they might be willing to separate things for you for no extra. If you do a search in the MV resource section for "tall base" you'll find some options, just make sure they allow for commercial use. Since the base exists the characters should cost less to make, and since you'll be doing edits and recolors yourself that will give you more characters for a lower cost than doing everything custom.
 
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@Sharm Not that I am opposed to getting my hands dirty but like I said in my previous post, I'm a single dev and time isn't my friend in terms of availability. I did speak to Kes via private message about this, well tbh it was more about where to post such a question like this and he suggested having a base that is free and having someone design parts for it which didn't sound like a bad idea. Am I in the wrong for asking how much someone would charge for a generator like that or is it simply a question too hard to answer?
I should also explain that part of my reason for turning down the DIY spriting is because come September me and my wife are due another child which is going to tie up my time even further, so even if it ends up costing me more, I would rather go with having someone do a, "for example - mack style generator" not because I'm too lazy to do it, but because I won't really have the time.
 

Sharm

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It's just that making a generator has a lot variables. How many poses will the base have? How many bases will you have (male, female, child, hulking guy, mermaid)? How many options for each part (only one color for each, trim separate from base, lots of ways to layer the same piece, how many colors for each item)? How many parts will things be divided up in (one hair only,three separate hair parts,)? How will things interact (does the collar go over the jacket, what happens with long hair, do the boots go over or under the bottoms)? How detailed do you want things? How expensive is your artist? Until all these variables get defined, there's no way to give even a rough estimate. It does get cheaper the fewer options you have and the more similar you allow your characters to look.
 
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@Sharm Never knew they were so complicated...Well in that case I wouldn't be asking for anything special,(I probably should word that better!), the generator would only be for NPC's. So to answer some of your previous questions, I'd have 4 bases which would be male, female, child and old person. No poses, just walking sprites. I'd leave fancier things for my main characters. I suppose the biggest thing I'd be asking for a different variety of clothes and hair which from what you said would be where it gets complicated...
 

starlight dream

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It's hard to answer because the price would go according to the amount of generator parts needed.
It'd be easier, perhaps, if you knew how many NPCs you need, with what clothing types.
For example: do you need soldiers, common townsfolk, wizards, nobles, cooks, ghosts, scientists, etc...

The more specific info you have, the easier it is to look at your options and the prices.
If all soldiers can have 1 look with, let's say, 3 color variations, it'll be more convenient (+ less expensive) to commission 1 sprite with recolours.

The same goes for hairstyles. You can have 5 female hairstyles with recolours (cheaper to sprite instead of using a generator) or have 20 different hairstyles.

A generator for "all the NPCs" is too vague and in my mind it can translate to 100 NPCs when you're maybe looking for 30 or less. :)

It's good to have this question out there, maybe someone can give you exact price numbers for comparison.

Have you looked at the taller MV sprites available on these forums? There are various styles available from different spriters.
If one of them really fits your taste, it can give you something to work from if the creator allows edits. :)
 

OnslaughtSupply

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Coming from somebody with no natural artistic talent, 2 kids, a wife who works 50plus hours a week, and I work the same but weird hours just to make ends meet, you'll still find the time to work on your project and I know its not ideal but learning to edit some sprites and doing stuff yourself is gonna save you a fortune. It ain't fast or always pretty but it is very rewarding to say you are a "one man army". Good luck on your game and congrats on the up coming kiddo!
 

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Gave this some extra thought and IMO you'd be better off purchasing sprites instead of generator pieces. I understand that the generator "feels" like it'd give you more freedom to mix and match, but unless you have MANY pieces to select from, it's not worth it to go through the trouble of commissioning it, if the outfit, hair and accessory selection is small.

If someone approached me to make a character sprite, lets say a girl in a green dress. And they wanted the same sprite with a different dress color and hair color, I wouldn't charge the variation at full sprite price. I could even throw in color varieties for free.
Customizing the sprite directly, means I could give the same dress, small edits for very little, like 1$ extra, while the generator will leave you stuck with the pre-made options. And if you don't fully use them, you may not get your money's worth back from them.

Choosing to go with generator pieces could also limit you on the amount of artists willing to take that work. So you could have less options to choose among the prices they set.

Your custom-made character in the top picture, looks like a simple design. And the colouring style appears simple enough as well. It shouldn't be too difficult to commission similar characters. Just my opinion of course... ^^
 

Matseb2611

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One of the ways you can cut down on the costs and also on the time is to have someone only make a few base "versions" so to speak and then recolour them to create more variety. This is especially useful for all the random NPCs who don't really need to look like anything specific. So you could have for example the artist do a generic male in armour, a generic male in rags, a generic female in a skirt, and so on. Then you can take these generic ones and have different recolour versions. So let's say one generic male might be in grey clothes. You can then recolour that one to have brown clothes and it'd be another NPC, and then a third one can be say in green clothes, and so on. Saves on a lot of time for all these minor characters who don't play much of a role in the game.
 
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Oh wow, I didn't even know people were still commenting on this, I've even set it to watch thread and no notifications came up...
 

Vincent Chu

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Did you know that Schlangen's extended generator can be configured to make taller sprites for free? You'll still need to get extra clothing parts to match them though. I've not gotten around to doing that yet but I vaguely remember that there's instructions posted on how to set it for Pioneer Valley Games' resources. There's also some preexisting tall sprites if you search for them.
Also, sorry if this may be a bit off topic. You've probably seen some anime with old people being shrunken right? How about using chibi sized sprites for old people and children to make it feel a bit like anime? Maybe most of the young adults are at work and mostly the retired pensioners tend to be roaming the streets during the day with their grandchildren? That should save you a lot of tall sprites.
 
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I'm still considering my options. I think paying for someone to do a generator is probably a no go since I think the cost would be too much. If I ever win the lottery, I'll get a bunch of artists together and pay them huge $ to make a generator that does tall, mack, and any other sprite type that they can think of and I'll make it free for the community XD
 

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