Doubts about Art Style for character sprites on the map

a3xgf

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I am starting to make the sprites for the characters of the project I am starting, but I would love to have an opinion about three choices I have for the character sprites on the map.

First of all, I am making them using 3D renders of my characters made on 3D, same with the portraits,faces, etc. I plan on use the same methods for CGs.

My skill on drawing persons from zero is quite lacking, so I decided to use this method. In fact, as long as I have a model made, I can make a new set of sprites very quickly due to having made a semi-automatized method to render all the required images, so if I need to fix something, I just change it in the model and render it again. I use XNView to resize all the render images and then TexturePacker to get the final tileset without needing to place them mannually. As long as you named them properly, they will end up on the correct positions. That saves tons of time.

The issue is that I don't know which style may be better to use. I can just choose as I feel, but I think it is good listening to the opinions of others, espcially people here that has knowdlege on the topic. Moroever, I can't say I am deadset for one of them, or I doubt I would be asking for opinions.


3D-like.jpg

The first one is taken exactly as it is for other things, just at 48x96pixels. It differs a lot of the usual RPG Maker aesthetic, but since I am plalning to make all characters, there won't be compatibility proble with preexisting. For maps I was thinking on draw them with parallaxes or something like that, not 100% defiend yet, but I want them custom like the characters. Luckly, i think I am better in that field than drawing humans from zero.

Chibi_tall.jpg

The second is chibi, but taller than usual, I have seen games with this size of characters.

Chibi_example.jpg
This one is the most similar to a clasic chibi I managed to make, but since its source is a 3D model (a modified one to look chibi, it is quite fast to make the change), it also looks different.

Initially, I was going just with the 3D-like as it would be different than most games, but after I decided to try the other two in a whim, I am starting to have doubts about what can be better.

Context of game, so you can have an idea of where the characters would be:

Modern+Fantasy. There are modern parts and fantasy parts intermixed. I will open a proepr thread when I have something to show. I don't even have a name yet... The plot is quite clear though.

The game will be heavily story focused, and have a lot of dialogue. There will be fights and exploration too, but it will depend on the moment of the story. There will be different development depending on choices though. If it wasn't because I felt the VN model too constraining regarding gameplay, I might have chosed so instead, but cutting off the exploration and fights didn't seem good for me, even if they aren't available at some parts. I already published novels before, but for the next story I had in mind, a game fit it better, and I have worked of this in the past, although I only enjoy it if I am the one writing the story besides making the game, which didn't happen when working.

I am confident on the narrative for the game, but in the end, games first enter by the eyes, and you then remain for the gameplay/story, so I am putting a lot of focus on the artistic aspect. I think i will be able to continue forward once I can make a decision on this point
 

Thefirelion

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In my opinion, the second option is the best of the 3. I see the first option very stretched, and the third option I see very "squashed".
 

a3xgf

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Thank you very much for your opinions :yhappy:.

I guess you are right. The last one is squeashed because it is resized with aspect change, I couldn't make the model more chibi without breaking it. The first one was the initial one, but once in a gamescreen it felt strange, so I decided to try new ones, and based on what you say, I might have made a good choice on trying.

Chibi_tall_nooutline.jpg
I also have this version without the outline that I put on the other. That outline is a simple effect made with photoshop.
Any opinions on outline VS no outline?
 

a3xgf

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I'd say without the outline. less 'heavy' that way
You are right. I tried adding it and didn't notice it was still there when I sent the screenshots, but better without it. It is also less work as I needed to add it afterwards.
 

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If you wanted to use the first one, you might want to look into 2.5D assets. That's usually where you want to be for more realistic characters. PVGames stuff is pretty good for that. I've had great results mixing Daz3D stuff with it.

But I'm in agreement with the others, if you're going to use RM tilesets then the second one is the best by far. Not that I would ever advocate using tilesets.
 

a3xgf

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If you wanted to use the first one, you might want to look into 2.5D assets. That's usually where you want to be for more realistic characters. PVGames stuff is pretty good for that. I've had great results mixing Daz3D stuff with it.

But I'm in agreement with the others, if you're going to use RM tilesets then the second one is the best by far. Not that I would ever advocate using tilesets.
Well, I am planning to make the maps by myself, so I can choose style for them.
I want to avoid using default things from RP. That is for sure. I don't want my project to become another clone with the same graphics as n number of games.

Thank you for mentioning PV Game, they have cool things, so I have bookmarked them. Still, I want to try to make them myself first because that is the only way the results match exactly my imagination.

A 2.5D style is an option from the beggining, I can draw it or render it from a real 3D scene if I make it on 3D first, with parallax it shouldn't be too difficult to make. Still, I have nothing regarding maps for now, the one in the images is the default of the engine because there is nothing else. I mean, I have ideas of what to do on each scene, but I haven't started to plan it on detail since I have been focusing on the style of the characters first.

The third choice is pretty much discarded now, is the one I liked the least and it seems everyone agree. Probably I will go with the second unless surprisingly the first one fits the maps better after I make them. I need to model the standard one anyway for expressions and such, and extracting and mounting the tilesets is very quick with the system I mounted. Good thing that I need less than a minute to create the chibi from the original, so having to make them isn't going to slow me down.
 

Trihan

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I'd say the second one is probably the best of the three for RM. There's something charming about having the slightly larger head in that style.
 

a3xgf

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I'd say the second one is probably the best of the three for RM. There's something charming about having the slightly larger head in that style.
Thank you for sharing your opinion! :yhappy:
It seems that the second is the one everyone likes the most, and now that you say it, the bigger head may be the reason. Most art for RPG Maker use this chibi style with big heards.
 

ImaginaryVillain

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Oh if you're just going to render stuff in 3D and convert it to RM, maybe you should also look into Daz3D, all the PVGames stuff was made in that. So you get far more options for angles and quality if you do it yourself.
Then again if you just become a $25 patron of PVG for a month you get literally all of his 60,000+ assets. Basically a fantastic deal, especially if you want to hand make maps but don't want to individually render every asset.

Personally I prefer a more stylized look and dislike chibi's immensely. I just think the second one matches the RM tilesets better. But since you're not using them, if you go with 2.5D I'd suggest the first character. Chibi would look awful next to assets like PVG's.

Of course if you go a more realistic route it pushes you into pixel movement, and then you'll have to delve into something like the QPlugins. A lot of work, though you get a much more powerful engine to play with over vanilla RM. Still not everybody wants to put in that kind of work. If you don't, ignore everything I just said and go with character two. :LZSwink:
 

a3xgf

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Oh if you're just going to render stuff in 3D and convert it to RM, maybe you should also look into Daz3D, all the PVGames stuff was made in that. So you get far more options for angles and quality if you do it yourself.
Then again if you just become a $25 patron of PVG for a month you get literally all of his 60,000+ assets. Basically a fantastic deal, especially if you want to hand make maps but don't want to individually render every asset.

Personally I prefer a more stylized look and dislike chibi's immensely. I just think the second one matches the RM tilesets better. But since you're not using them, if you go with 2.5D I'd suggest the first character. Chibi would look awful next to assets like PVG's.

Of course if you go a more realistic route it pushes you into pixel movement, and then you'll have to delve into something like the QPlugins. A lot of work, though you get a much more powerful engine to play with over vanilla RM. Still not everybody wants to put in that kind of work. If you don't, ignore everything I just said and go with character two. :LZSwink:
If I want to make scenes on 3d, I will probably use Blender to model and Unity to render, mostly because I have better management of these two in these areas, and using Zbrush looks like an overkill.

I like an anime-style, but I prefer not hyper-chibi like the standard on RPG Maker. If I wanted to go hyperreallistic, I would have picked Zbrush and made a 3D game on Unity, but too much work for a game I am not doing for the sake of money. I don't even know if I will open donations or not, I guess it will depend on the development, but I am making it with the mind of, I am doing becuase I want to do it. Same as when I write novels, and now I live from their royalties, so one can never know.

I will probably use paralax and give it more prespective than a standard game, but I don't want to go to the other extreme, I think a middle point fits better the story as it has modern+fantasy, and fantasy will have more weight later on.

I am working with MZ, so a lot of plugins aren't available, like the ones you sent. Persoanlly, I want to stay away from colliders, they are one of the reasons making 3D games is so tedious for me.

I am more interested in finding a way to emulate the plugin of MV that lets you use full frame animations instead of just 3 frames, but I don't manage to make it work on MV, less in MZ. I find it more impotant than colliders.

Of course, I am also on trying to animate the busts. I can make the animations, I just don't know how to make them play properly on MZ. Again, for MV, I have found, but I have yet to test if I can adapt it somehow.

I have a variation of the chibi that has longer legs, it is somehow of a mix between 1 and 2. I did between my last raply and now to test how it looked.

Chibi_tall_extra.jpg
 
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ImaginaryVillain

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Wait... You know how to use Unity and yet you're here? Why? If I knew how to port my game to Unity, or Unreal.. I wouldn't even be here.:LZSwink:

Anyway, colliders in MZ aren't like in a 3D engine, you're just drawing flat boxes and other such shapes. There's no real need to worry about a Z coordinate, so it's infinitely easier. Plus QM-Collision Map actually draws colliders based on a picture, hitboxing with an eraser is pretty amusing. It allows for some "barely passable" maps in MZ, such as...


...And yes the originals aren't made for it. However Luna Tech has ported them over to MZ, well some of them anyway....
https://github.com/LunaTechsDev/Luna-QPlugins

As for your multiple character frame problem...
https://galvs-scripts.com/2020/08/31/mz-character-frames/
Galv's got a decent solution.
 

Trihan

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Wait... You know how to use Unity and yet you're here? Why? If I knew how to port my game to Unity, or Unreal.. I wouldn't even be here.:LZSwink:

Anyway, colliders in MZ aren't like in a 3D engine, you're just drawing flat boxes and other such shapes. There's no real need to worry about a Z coordinate, so it's infinitely easier. Plus QM-Collision Map actually draws colliders based on a picture, hitboxing with an eraser is pretty amusing. It allows for some "barely passable" maps in MZ, such as...


...And yes the originals aren't made for it. However Luna Tech has ported them over to MZ, well some of them anyway....
https://github.com/LunaTechsDev/Luna-QPlugins

As for your multiple character frame problem...
https://galvs-scripts.com/2020/08/31/mz-character-frames/
Galv's got a decent solution.
I know how to use Unity as well and I'm still using RPG Maker. :p
 

a3xgf

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Wait... You know how to use Unity and yet you're here? Why? If I knew how to port my game to Unity, or Unreal.. I wouldn't even be here.:LZSwink:

Anyway, colliders in MZ aren't like in a 3D engine, you're just drawing flat boxes and other such shapes. There's no real need to worry about a Z coordinate, so it's infinitely easier. Plus QM-Collision Map actually draws colliders based on a picture, hitboxing with an eraser is pretty amusing. It allows for some "barely passable" maps in MZ, such as...


...And yes the originals aren't made for it. However Luna Tech has ported them over to MZ, well some of them anyway....
https://github.com/LunaTechsDev/Luna-QPlugins

As for your multiple character frame problem...
https://galvs-scripts.com/2020/08/31/mz-character-frames/
Galv's got a decent solution.
Thank you!
I may take a serious look at those plugins, they may be what I need. I se Galv also have character animations that is similat and seems to fit even better.

I will check Luna QPlugins, if it isn't too bothersome to set up, I may use it.

As for why use RPG Maker knowing how to use Unity, it is because I feel the game will fit better on RPG Maker. Moreover, working alone, Unity would be too much work. It isn't the same making a 3D character for render, than making it optimized to play having n number of them on screen. Same with scenes and the props on them. Making good 3D things isn't hard, making them good and optimized is. Even a lot of commecial games made by big companies suffer from huge lack of optimization.

Both engines are different and have different purposes. Unity also have 2D mode, but sincerely, I have never used it, only the 3D one.

Unity is more of a generalist engine, so generalistic that you can make 3D movies with it, while RPG Maker is specialized for RPGs. For a RPG with anime-like style, RPG Maker seems a better choice unless you want a full 3D game, and not just 3d-like/2.5D. If I wanted a 3D hack&slash, I would have chosen Unity, but since it is a RPG with a lot of story, RPG Maker seems to fit better.

Edit: I already applied Galv's Frame and animation script, and the result is what I wanted. i also managed to automatize getting the 256 images requires and mount them on a tileset automatically, so i won't die for each character. Sam difficulty as making an ordinary tileset now that I have configured it properly :yhappy:
If I manage to do the same with Dk Message Bust, It will all feel animated. Well, I guess the SV battlers no, but I don't even know if I will be using them at this point :yswt:
 
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ImaginaryVillain

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Huh, now that's something I didn't consider. I'm super new to playing with 3D models, and since for MZ I'm just using renders of the models, it never occurred to me the complexity of the model would be a factor. I mean it makes sense, just my inexperience in the 3D field. I'll have to keep that in mind in the future.

Honestly though, for all my "grass is greener" on the otherside with other engines. I'm sure it's not sunshine and roses in reality. Actually so far, I've heard nothing good from people I've talked to here about Unity (anecdotal of course). And of course I'm pretty much never going to switch at this point, not with almost all of the background work already done in my game. Still I like to ask people about it and Unreal whenever I get the chance. Just idle curiosity.

Also I forgot to mention https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?threads/taa_characterposes-v1-3-1.127418/ as another potential animation plugin. I've never used it myself, I have my own custom setup. But it actually looks pretty robust though unfortunately it still makes use of spritesheets.

I know how to use Unity as well and I'm still using RPG Maker. :p
Yes, yes. I have no doubt you like the rest of us will eventually be buried with a copy of the latest RM and a pile of unfinished games. :LZSwink:

//Goes back to sinking in the same boat. :kaoswt:
 

Trihan

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Huh, now that's something I didn't consider. I'm super new to playing with 3D models, and since for MZ I'm just using renders of the models, it never occurred to me the complexity of the model would be a factor. I mean it makes sense, just my inexperience in the 3D field. I'll have to keep that in mind in the future.

Honestly though, for all my "grass is greener" on the otherside with other engines. I'm sure it's not sunshine and roses in reality. Actually so far, I've heard nothing good from people I've talked to here about Unity (anecdotal of course). And of course I'm pretty much never going to switch at this point, not with almost all of the background work already done in my game. Still I like to ask people about it and Unreal whenever I get the chance. Just idle curiosity.

Also I forgot to mention https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?threads/taa_characterposes-v1-3-1.127418/ as another potential animation plugin. I've never used it myself, I have my own custom setup. But it actually looks pretty robust though unfortunately it still makes use of spritesheets.


Yes, yes. I have no doubt you like the rest of us will eventually be buried with a copy of the latest RM and a pile of unfinished games. :LZSwink:

//Goes back to sinking in the same boat. :kaoswt:
Just one game. Did you forget I'm the one who's been working on the same project for 20 years? :p
 

ImaginaryVillain

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Who knows, maybe one day you'll finish it and start another. :LZSwink:
 

a3xgf

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Huh, now that's something I didn't consider. I'm super new to playing with 3D models, and since for MZ I'm just using renders of the models, it never occurred to me the complexity of the model would be a factor. I mean it makes sense, just my inexperience in the 3D field. I'll have to keep that in mind in the future.

Honestly though, for all my "grass is greener" on the otherside with other engines. I'm sure it's not sunshine and roses in reality. Actually so far, I've heard nothing good from people I've talked to here about Unity (anecdotal of course). And of course I'm pretty much never going to switch at this point, not with almost all of the background work already done in my game. Still I like to ask people about it and Unreal whenever I get the chance. Just idle curiosity.

Also I forgot to mention https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?threads/taa_characterposes-v1-3-1.127418/ as another potential animation plugin. I've never used it myself, I have my own custom setup. But it actually looks pretty robust though unfortunately it still makes use of spritesheets.


Yes, yes. I have no doubt you like the rest of us will eventually be buried with a copy of the latest RM and a pile of unfinished games. :LZSwink:

//Goes back to sinking in the same boat. :kaoswt:
That one also looks good, but I already got Galv's one working... I mean that one is limited to idle, walk, run, and jump, which is kind of basic but complete, but the taa one allow more. Still, I am going to use animated bust to show expressions and such since the expressions are far more visible, so maybe for the small sprite that is enough. I may check if it can work in paralel, just for emotes not included on Galv's one. The frames + animation plugin combined created a very smooth motion that I like too much.

The main reason for not finishing games is continue to add them non-planned content you thought afterhand or changing engine when you are about to finish. Writing a base idea, developing it fully, and then make updates with the additions is far better. The game would be completed, and the rest would just be updates that wouldn't matter if really happen or not, because the game is complete without them.
 

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