the recolored monster sprite/battler gimmick

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by jonthefox, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. Vox Novus

    Vox Novus Knight of Whispers Veteran

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    Ah, the old palette swap huh? It was born out of having limited budgets and resources to make use of in game development companies. Outside of those reasons I think it can serve a purpose in a game to denote monsters of a similar family relation. It can give the player some ideas of tactics they need to use to overcome the monster if they have fought a monster in the same family before. For example a "slime" monster being resistant to physical attacks or being slow to act. Typically with palette swaps you also change the elemental alignment of the monster to.
     
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  2. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @Wavelength  Maybe we should petition yanfly for something like that?  Dude's already got a program that lets you Frankenstein's monster the crap out of ICONS... He could prolly do it with sprites too, if he cared enough.


    In all honesty, I'd love something like that, to mitigate my own issues with the art stuff for game design.  I literally have no talent in drawing on PC, using the art programs, and I lack the patience to try to figure out how to do something simple that takes somehow days to learn (GIMP hates me and never does what I want... with hour long tutorials for simple processes, I long since gave up on the program being useful to me at all).


    I actually like the style of the RTP battlers (I know, I'm weird, and probably in the minority here), but I also think it would be nice if we could get several more packs of battlers in that same style.  Like, the last couple games have been missing some of the basic critters like wolves and such.  I mean, you get a two-headed demon dog thing... or a werewolf... but no just... plain wolf.  There are just simply a lot of gaps in the monster battlers that come with the RTP and that usually remain later in the lifecycle, which requires you to find someone halfway decent at mimicking the RTP to even fill in the gaps.


    But, yeah, there's nothing more immersion breaking for me than artistic dissonance where one creature doesn't look in the same style as the rest...  Much as I loved Final Fantasy Endless Nova, a LOT of its battlers had that problem, where some looked like super realistic and some looked cartoony.  Some looked really sinister and others looked like comic relief.  It also felt a little weird when compared to the super cartoony looking sprites for your characters.


    Much as I hate the graphics of Final Fantasy 7, at least they were consistent across the combat system.  Characters matched the artistic style of the monsters, in combat and out of combat.  So, monsters outside combat looked all anime cutesy... but inside combat, looked gritty and brutal like the characters.


    Artistic Consistency, I think, is the most important thing to keep in mind in terms of graphics of your game.
     
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  3. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I adore the RTP battlers in VX Ace; I'm less keen on the MV battlers which are well-made but far too cutesy for my tastes.


    Anyhow, I agree with you that there are some gaps in the library that would be really nice to fill with similar RTP-style battlers, and like you said one of the difficulties is that trying to mimic another artist's style has got to be pretty difficult.  One of my thoughts would be that it would be nice to have multiple RTP sets (which would also help as far as being able to choose your game's tone with default resources - e.g. using earthier, more realistic sprites for a gritty sci-fi game), giving potential artists a wider set of styles they could try to match, but obviously that would require a lot of investment which might be better used to create a single, richer set.  I dunno.  Any ideas for how to solve this conundrum?


    Even if there was a huge, complete library of RTP battlers, I feel like there would still be something lost in seeing the same monsters in game after game (which is a really good parallel to the original idea we were discussing - it feels a lot less special when you see the exact same monster sprites over and over even if they've been palette swapped).  I guess that's part of the reason that kind of Frankensteinian monster creator would be really nifty.
     
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  4. XIIIthHarbinger

    XIIIthHarbinger Part Time Super Villain Veteran

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    Another thing that I failed to mention, when it comes to recolors, is that you need to ask yourself why is this recolor necessary. Both game play wise & story lore wise.


    For example on one of my first projects I felt I didn't have enough enemies to chose from, so I started making reverse images & palette swaps. However I quickly went from lets add some variety, to


    71987363.jpg  


    Before I knew it I was working toward seven hundred different battlers & still going, more enemies than I was going to have maps to encounter them on; & I didn't have a reason for about 75% of them. When I took a closer look at that project I had done the same with most of my assets, so I ended up recycling it.  
     
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  5. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    You can solve that issue with "too many enemies" and "enemies need to be recolored constantly" by simply only adding a new monster when it's needed, and then giving it skills only when it's created.  I found the Database was enough work in "pre-planning" without having to plan every single monster and every skill of every single monster.  So, I just leave the vast majority of the monster and monster skill sections "incomplete" and then add to them as necessary, so that I'm not making more work for myself than absolutely necessary.


    @Wavelength I prefer the style of VXA to MV, but they're still pretty nice in MV.  I would prefer just a more robust amount of battlers in the initial RTP and then maybe alternate sets you could get off the store... or "expansions" you could get to fill in the holes off the store.  Just putting a price tag on some of the battlers would probably be enough to keep them from "getting stale" as all the people who make a quick 5 minute game probably wouldn't be spending $10 or so on extra battlers before dumping their game on Steam.


    It really would be quite nice to have like a "monster builder" type application though.  Much as I don't mind palette swaps and do them frequently, it'd be nice to be able to do simple "reworks" without needing some Engineering Degree in an Art Program to make that happen.  I know if I knew anything about the art programs I use, I could alter my sprites in about 10 minutes whenever I needed to.  But, because I don't, I usually have to pay someone like $5 for their work and wait in a line behind other people waiting for theirs.


    I do like the "character creator" that comes with VXA and MV, and I've used that quite a lot (while also wishing it was just a tiny bit more expansive itself), and I've used Yanfly's "Icon creator" thing quite a bit as well in order to make icons that make sense for my game instead of the ones you're saddled with (and there are a small amount of things I wish I could do in that as well, but what's there is better than having to use what the program shipped with).  It'd be kind of cool if someone came along with a Battler Generator with a whole host of body parts you could strap to maybe the RTP monsters or something.  Yeah, it would be just as limited...  But, since I'm not an artist, I'd love more programs to mitigate the whole "I'm not an artist" thing during game creation.


    Otherwise... palette swap really is the most economical thing anybody without talent or drive can actually do with the program's art assets.  It's just a symptom of the limitations.
     
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  6. jackrabbit

    jackrabbit Villager Member

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    the best way to find out is to have your friends play your game. thats how I test mechanics and even to see if a game is any good. a minimal viable product if  you will
     
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  7. DarthVollis

    DarthVollis Moogle Master Veteran

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    I have never been a fan of recoloring sprites because it seems lazy unless and I state this in my opinion if the recolors have the same traits and actions as its cousin that is a no no. Make the recolor act different. It would be like in the movie Gone with the Wind if Scarlett O'Hara actress played every role. Just imagine that. (Tried to pick a movie that everyone may know).


    Doing this will add some needed life in your game. 
     
    #27
  8. Waterguy

    Waterguy Veteran Veteran

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    ...Ok, this made me think of Eddie Murphy's old career...


    Are you saying it is ok if they act like their originals or that it is ok if they act different? Your message was a bit ambiguous...
     
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  9. Rayhaku808

    Rayhaku808 Chubbizard Veteran

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    A game called Toukiden (monster hunter wannabe) recolored a lot of their bosses. Same mechanics, same attacks, higher hp.... That's it. If recolors are to be done, I feel that each iteration introduced should add at least one or 2 things unique to that recolor. I'm talking about gameplay lol not visuals.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2016
    #29
  10. Waterguy

    Waterguy Veteran Veteran

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    ...Seriously?


    In Monster Hunter itself recolors are a big deal. There may not be a world of difference between a Rathian and a Pink Rathian, but those few differences make Pink dreaded.
     
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  11. Niten Ichi Ryu

    Niten Ichi Ryu Grey Lords Emissary Veteran

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    Monthy Python used to do that well. In "Holy Grail" they played 63 roles by the 6 of them.
     
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  12. kaukusaki

    kaukusaki Awesome Programmer Extraordinaire Veteran

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    Nee! 
     
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  13. Canini

    Canini Veteran Veteran

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  14. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I think this is beginning to get a bit spammy.  


    Please stay on topic.
     
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  15. Pine Towers

    Pine Towers Knight Hospitaller Veteran

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    Was it because of @Niten Ichi Ryu Monty Python reference? Just kidding.


    I think color-coded enemies serve plenty. If each colored slime deals and suffer damage differently because of its respective element attuning, it isn't a lazy design. But I think you can color-shift enemies and change it just a little. A green orc with an axe can be seem as quite different than a red orc with a sword, if one shows after a long set of time of the other as to avoid the player to easy perceive the general "samefullness" of the sprite, since it will focus on the different aspect - color, weapon and abilities. Just don't put then in the same battle group so the player can watch then side-by-side to catch all the details. And, depending on the scale of your game/stat mechanics, a monster that at level 1 is used as a boss can become a normal mook in level 10 without even having to change color. This shows progression to the player, who will think "nice! once a dreadful enemy, now I can take a group of this foe without much of  sweat!".
     
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