Inconsistency in the game's art style? A no-go?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MushroomCake28, Dec 4, 2018.

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Does inconsistency between custom art and RTP bother you?

  1. Yes! It hurts my eyes!

    21 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. A bit, but I can tolerate it.

    12 vote(s)
    34.3%
  3. Not really, I'm fine with it.

    2 vote(s)
    5.7%
  1. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    I will start off by saying that this is a serious question that affects my personal project, but it is more of a broader question that is meant to be discussed for every project in general.

    So this is an issue of people who, like me, can't draw or create pixel art, and are stuck using RTP and third-party assets. In that regard, I think it is useful to separate the question in 2 parts: one for the tilesets, and another for the characters/battlers.

    Question 1: For the tilesets, is having different art style alright for you?

    So let's start off with tilesets. What do you think of using different tilesets from different artist, mixing it up with the RTP? Now some third party assets are very close to the RTP style, and others are even edits of RTP. I suppose that would easier to accept? Now how about a tileset with a more noticeable art style difference? How about that?

    Question 2: For the characters, is having different art style alright for you?

    This is where it gets a bit more complicated. Unlike tilesets, it is relatively easier to get a friend to draw some characters for you, or even commission someone to do it. However, it is unlikely that you will get images for every character in your game, every npcs, etc. So many people would end up with custom art for their party members, but not for secondary characters and npcs. So here are some sub-questions:
    - 2.1: Does it bother you to see different art styles for the faces in dialogues? (custom art for the main characters, and RTP for NPCs for example)
    - 2.2: If it does bother you, would you prefer that the dev remove faces altogether from dialogues? Or would you prefer to have a RTP face version of the main characters, even if it clashes with the full body character art style?

    Now for battlers. They are a big part of many games, since the battle is usually a pretty important aspect. Some third-party assets have style very close, or even similar to the default RTP, so let's not take those into account.
    - 2.3: Do you mind having some battlers with different art style mixed with default RTP style battlers?
    - 2.4: If all the enemies have a different art style than the actor battlers, will it still bother you? (the art style is consistent between every enemies, just not with actors)
     
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  2. Poryg

    Poryg Dark Lord of the Castle of Javascreeps Veteran

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    Regardless of graphics type, I am against mashing up different styles together. If there are slight inconsistencies, you can always brush them off somehow if you play with it well. But major style inconsistencies are a turn-off for me.
     
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  3. RetroExcellent

    RetroExcellent Pixelated Avatar of Chaos Veteran

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    Unless this is a theme in your game, like the DS game Contact, I would suggest not mixing and mashing, it causes a jarring removal of engagement in my opinion. Now mixing RTP and custom can work if the styles are similar, and I am all for that. Not everyone has time to make every single tile custom.
     
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  4. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    It would seem, for now, it's a big no-go for many people. I suppose people would prefer not seeing faces at all in dialogues than seeing inconsistent art styles in the faces.
     
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  5. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    For amateur projects, it's totally fine, and pretty much expected from anyone who doesn't just use RTP/store graphics, or has just one person do all the art for them.

    Now, if you're selling your game, then yes, you should have graphical consistency.
     
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  6. RetroExcellent

    RetroExcellent Pixelated Avatar of Chaos Veteran

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    I cannot draw line art for anything, so my game actually uses a bubble text script so that I do not need face graphics. You may consider a path along those lines, or just stick with pure RTP for now.
     
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  7. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    @RetroExcellent Another solution would be to show the currently speaking character's name on top of the dialogue box.
     
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  8. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    If it means for buying the game, then no. I can tolerate if it's a hobbyist/amateur project.

    Now to answer your questions.
    Generally, it's a no for me. Personally, this is why I prefer to stick to RTP and its edit because of consistency. All other custom style tileset doesn't have much library on them. I never like DS tileset because it doesn't match up with RTP. But if a game use DS style, please don't mix up with RTP as well.

    ragecomic0034.png
    Well, yes, maybe, or not really.
    I can tolerate the inability of the dev to provide the same style of the faces IF it's a hobbyist project. It isn't a major turn-off, but definitely reduce my experience of playing the game.

    The choice of message system doesn't bother me much. But I'd rather see no face at all if the faceset doesn't match up with the sprite. Unless I know in advance if it's still placeholder. Then again, it definitely reduces my experience.

    Inconsistency for enemy battler doesn't bother me. But inconsistency in actor battlers bothers me.

    Like, the enemy sprites are static and the actor sprites are animated. It honestly never bothers me. Some games also use an exaggerated gigantic sprite while the actor is a small sprite. It's fine with me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
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  9. D.L. Yomegami

    D.L. Yomegami Sanely Insane Veteran

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    Generally speaking, I'd prefer that related artwork stays consistent. That is, if this tileset is one style than all tilesets should be that style, and the same for enemies, face graphics, and so on. It does moderately bug me if that consistency isn't maintained, but I'll tolerate it if it doesn't make the game look like absolute garbage as a result and the rest of the game is good enough.

    There's one instance where I would tolerate an inconsistent art style even in a professional game: if the inconsistent art style is meant to make something look out of place. Like if the protagonist of the game is from a different world from the other characters and thus their face graphic is different from the rest to reflect this, or if the final boss is hyper-realistic when the other enemies are cartoony to reflect just how wrong it is.
     
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  10. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    @TheoAllen Lol that face meme gave me a good laugh.
     
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  11. megumi014

    megumi014 Veteran Veteran

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    I mostly subscribe what has been said before, I'd prefer not mashing different styles, but I just wanted to add that about the tilesets I wouldn't mind the different artstyle if it had very different locations on the game and matched the story: for example an rtp tileset on one city and another set for another city that is foreign or another only for dungeons.... of course not everything would work, but I guess with creativity I would like it.
     
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  12. Gameisfun

    Gameisfun Not an artist Member

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    Ah, my turn to beat the dead horse! :D


    Generally, no.

    Well it depends on what you are going for, really. If you purposely decided on doing different are style meshing together, it can work. If the inconsistent look of the tileset is so meshed up together, it can look consistent, if that make sense. Lets say you wanted to use VXace rtp character sprites and MV rtp character sprites and have them get together for picnic on FES tileset, it will definitely look bad. However, if you intended to do that, say the story calls for VXace characters are gnome people and MV characters are giants walking through FES world.... But that's a whole lot of mess to go into.



    If they are sitting at the same table staring at each other, no.
    if they are in different rooms, such as title screen or menu, maaaaaybe.

    Yes. :D

    Personally, I would prefer it removed all together. I get the feeling RTP gets a bad rap, so if you can, I believe it is best to steer away from it all together if you have custom assets to work with. However, if RTP is all you got, it is nice to have a visualization of who is this character we are traveling with on their journey. BUT, consistency! consistency! consistency! MY EYES! :D

    Hm, you know something that always gets me is when I see those front view monster portraits being used for side view against our heroes, it gives me the vibes we are fighting giants or something.

    If every enemy is a monstrosity, BUT consistent on their side of the screen, I think i can work with that. We are fighting monsters after all LOL :D
     
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  13. Finnuval

    Finnuval World (his)story builder and barrel of ideas Veteran

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    My personal take :
    Characters should be the same style
    Tiles should be the same style (unless it's meant to be totally different for example having a dream sequence, then changing the style of the tiles can actually work in your favor)
    Enemies should be the same style

    However characters don't have to be the same style as enemies etc. as long as they fit together and it's not worlds apart... That's my two cents :)
     
    #13
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  14. l8rose

    l8rose Neeeeerd Veteran

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    Question 1:

    It all depends on how different different is. I don’t mind things like the FSM, Town of Seasons, etc all paired up with default but not with Time Fantasy as that’s just too different. Now if the game has a “stage” where it’s required to be different (like say a dream or mental realm) then it would be more alright. Otherwise, got to have things looking cohesive.


    Question 2:

    2.1: Again, goes with how different is different and just who is having the different art styles. Having the main characters drawn one way while the NPCs drawn another might be a bit of a headache but sometimes it does make it clear that these people are the Main ones and those are just the others. Cinderella Phenomenon has a good example of this with shadows/silhouettes being used for the non important NPCs while everything else is darn pretty.

    2.2: Not really. Having a face added is just the dev spoiling us players. It’s not necessary thing as long as I can easily tell who’s talking. That being said, if you’re going non-rtp for busts/faces then I think it should be that way for all of them unless the art style being used is really close to the faces from the generator. Otherwise it feels like a bit of two games mashed together.

    2.3: No unless they’re drastically different. If the artwork is similar enough then it’s good but if you’re using… pixel battlers with hand drawn and then the rtp stuff… it gets really freaky looking.

    2.4: No as that’s kind of how it is with the RTP stuff anyway. The Enemies don’t look anything like the player SV Sprites. That being said, having it match up would be significantly better but doesn’t really bother me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
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  15. Markus I.

    Markus I. Master of None Member

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    Depends on the threshold of the difference - for instance, I'm having to cope with a problem with my assets because whenever I draw new lines into tilesets, portraits, etc, there's a slight difference in the "crispness" between RTP assets and my custom ones, regardless if I try my best to copy the methods of painting. However, the effect is small and can only be seen properly in zoomed in images. Despite that, it is within the threshold I find acceptable (can't say for everyone else, though). Now, if we are talking about, let's say, using DS style characters and RTP styles in the same project? That's a no-no for me, then.
     
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  16. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Coming from someone who actually used a variety of different art styles in their earlier games...no. Don't do it unless they at least look similar. If the difference is great enough, it's going to make the game look ugly even if the actual artwork is decent.
     
    #16
  17. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    You can get away with a little more than you might expect, but not with wild inconsistencies.

    Don't try to mix DS-style pixel art with RTP pixel art with Vector Art. You can probably get away with using, for example, Celianna's Jungle tiles or Nightmare Land tiles in a game with mostly RTP art, even though the style's a bit flatter than the RTP - but ideally, you'd want to keep them on separate maps where the distinction isn't easy to see, only mixing and matching where absolutely necessary to present a concept. A talented Photoshop artist could probably figure out a set of filters to reduce (though not completely eliminate) the visual inconsistencies without taking too much time (or money), though. You can certainly get away with RTP faces mixed with Character Generator faces, even though in an ideal world you'd avoid the Char Gen entirely.

    You get more leeway with resources of different types from each other. For example, busts can be a completely different style from the map tiles, and GUI elements can be different from both. There's something to be said for consistent art direction throughout your project, but as long as each type of resource is pretty consistent, you can definitely get away with it.

    Also, keep in mind that if your project is simply a hobby, and is being released for free as one person's passionate effort, people will be pretty forgiving about visual consistency and art direction. I'm no artist at all, and I remember I made some crude graphics in GIMP for technology like PCs and Robotic Toys that weren't available in Ace's RTP when I released a cute, fun little free game. People still enjoyed the game a lot, and actually seemed to appreciate the attempts at custom graphics.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
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