Do you find value in using default actors?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by K2loid, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. K2loid

    K2loid Villager Member

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    Even if not for actual projects you promote to the public, do you like making concepts for the cast members just for the fun of it, nary an OC in sight?

    Personally, I get an intense rush of endorphins at the idea of having a big cast of literal actors, and when I flip through portrait assets, imagine the ways I could spin their design & build, like I am literally flipping through portfolios to cast my story. I never got that feeling with MV until I worked with it long enough it wore me down, like a student theatre troupe begging for funding.

    I'm primarily a character designer, a pretty solid character artist, and an equally solid pixel artist, so it would be painfully simple to design my own original assets that could shine in a game...but I just love the feeling of playing with actors, and I kind of want my first game to be just that.

    I haven't actually played games that seem to want to capitalize on this; usually if a game has this setup, it's just someone going through the motions of using the engine and experimenting, and then releasing the result, so I was wondering if my brain is just diseased.

    Inspired by my neurotic googling marathon where I tried to find out the RMXP default party names so I could use them when they showed up, because the idea of that kind of naming continuity makes me smile.
     
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  2. ImaginaryVillain

    ImaginaryVillain Map Event Specialist Veteran

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    The only one I know is Harold, probably because he's that dopey first character we all meet. I've even toyed with the idea of using him like Asagi from the Nippon Ichi games. Basically the character whose game was skipped over for better characters, and of course he's here to steal the game from the current main character. He's also only allowed to attack using default assets, maybe have the character complain about the game being corrupted by it.... Honestly, just a terrible idea. Obviously there is no secret Harold level. :hwink:
     
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  3. 8bitBartabas

    8bitBartabas Villager Member

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    I mean if you really wanna see an example of using the defaults and taking them to the next level I think vibrato's work is a great example and could make anyone want to use them.
     
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  4. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I used the defaults as a gag in my game, they show up as a troupe of dancers who perform in the starting town. The sign even says: Now performing, the Defaults!
     
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  5. doriantoki

    doriantoki Enjoying the Ritual Veteran

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    I think that just because they're used in every single game that visually they can be quite unappealing to those that are used to seeing them. This says nothing of the quality of the writing or the character themselves of course, but even that first sight of the default actors can be enough to deter some people. Which is a shame, but it's usually how these things work. This may prevent a player from delving any further, no matter how well written your character might be. If you're going to go that route, I would recommend a simple pallet swap, or a slight hue slider in Photoshop or the like to add some visual interest at least.

    actor1.png

    The default is on the left, and I did a simple hue slider to -20 on the right, and already it's a startling visual difference.
     
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  6. CraneSoft

    CraneSoft Filthy Degenerate Veteran

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    For me, they have value as...placeholders, easter eggs, cosplayers, human sandbags, sacrificial lambs/collateral damage, or simply as memes material. Defaults can still be fun in alot of ways as long as they know their place and not taking over center spotlight, even in actual projects you release to the public.
     
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  7. doriantoki

    doriantoki Enjoying the Ritual Veteran

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    I am sure we've all used them as place holders at some point in time. But like you said, I think it's detrimental to a project, especially if you want the writing and story to be taken seriously, when the default actors are used. They're just too recognizable, especially within the community.

    This spurred an interesting idea though. I remember back in the days of Legion Saga (does anyone remember this RM classic?) the creator either released an editable version of the game (I think it was the first), or I just happened to find one online. I didn't like that one particular character died, so I rewrote part of the story so that you would run into that character later, who you found out had run away and became a wealthy gambler. And he was now playable, wielding a double barreled shotgun. The battle sprites I had to create on my own. However, this kind of gave the character (it was a default actor, IIRC) a new life, as the frames were new. And it portrayed this particular actor in a light that no other player would've seen them before.

    Back on topic, I guess this ties into my earlier point of, if you're going to use the default actors, at least change their pallet. That, or make some adjustment to the sprite itself. This will at least be something visually new for the player that they've never seen before. Doesn't necessarily need to be anything drastic.
     
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  8. K2loid

    K2loid Villager Member

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    Strong agree in needing to change the design, but I think the primary reason it's such a turn-off is really more "it's just the assets RPG Maker gives you, are they even trying?"; hue-shifting Harold isn't quite good enough, especially if its the entire sprite, but like, using a Harold tallsprite or a slightly improved Harold sprite or a Harold sprite with black pants or a Harold sprite in a completely different art style just instantly circumvents the repulsion for me. The fact you'd go out of your way to make the actors look nice instead of popping open the perfectly adequate chargen tells me something.

    Basically with my design principles, since I really am making a game like this;

    [​IMG]
    I don't HAVE to change Actor2's design even though she's the most important NPC in the story, but I want to, so she looks like she belongs where she is. Harold looks exactly right for what he's doing in the story, so I want to keep 99% of his design. Also it's Harold. Either way I'm perfectly satisfied with any decision because like...they're not going to look anything like the default game assets, and I have an original protagonist? Why not?

    I think this insistence on the value of the actors has a lot to do with being in Vocaloid fandom for 11 years, now that I think about it.
     
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