Characters moving on the screen!
Most of the work today went on tweaking the combat engine, but I started some graphics and animation as well – mostly to be able to better test the engine, and also partially as a break from engine stuff (because let’s face it, making people move on the screen is always more satisfying than seeing a proper arithmetic operation succeeding, even if the latter is still quite satisfying).
One of the interesting things coming up now is ethnic diversity. One of the important graphical features for this game is creating many different characters, in fact infinite different characters – due to the nature of the game, you might get a new member on your team after a while, and he / she might be with you for a long time, so I would want them to look unique and interesting. However, the graphical resources are quite limited of course, so I knew from the start I wanted to make a mechanism for generating random characters – take the existing bases, randomly add clothing, hair and accessories, and randomize all colors so that as much as possible, any one of the many characters in the game will look unique. After all, the game will feature a league with at least 10 teams, each team with 5-10 members, and new characters constantly available for you to hire. Also, when the contest is over maybe I’ll look into making a general tool for doing it and publishing it for the community – I’m sure many people would want an easy way to make a lot of unique characters.
I haven’t started the sprite combinations yet, but my basic color randomization is working. Working only with the bases, this mostly means skin color – and I love the results. Quite unsurprisingly, the characters submitted to the LPC art phase were almost all blue-eyed white people (much of it was probably caused by the base published in the LPC style guide, which I assume most people left unchanged). Of course I don’t have anything against blue-eyed white people, but I think some human diversity would be very welcome:
This is the result of randomly generating 10 characters from the bases, with random genders, skin colors and eye colors (I didn’t constrain it to natural eye colors, but maybe I should prevent getting red eyes, they look a little disturbing).
I hope to use the weekend for final tweaks in the combat engine and more work on the character sprites, and next week I’ll get serious with the team management stuff – which is really the main point of the game.