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characters in RPGs

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I am interested in learning how companies implement the graphics for players in RPGs. Specifially, top-down isometric games, like BG2, Nox, etc. They are able to portray the different clothes and weapons/armour each player wears. I cannot figure out a way to do that in a fashion that would fit in memory and not require me to create a huge matrix of animations. If anyone has any pointers for info on this, I''d appreciate it. Thanks, Steven DragonLore http://www.dragonlore.com

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I don''t reall know, but I think if you just create the animations for a generic character and simply draw the armor to fit that character, you could just animate the character, adding in the correct armor every frame. This is what I planned to do for my QB RPG before I canned it

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i agree with Peon. But, you can also change the colors i would suppose. but really the most is done with component images (i made that term up, dont know what its called). so you just have different parts of the image separate so you can change them! alot of games do this. like Castlevania: SOTN and alot of SNES square RPGs (i LOVE those games!)

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A lot of games use 3D models. Rather than using the model in a game such as a 3D game would they just render it and use the rendered images. One advantage over a 3D game is that you can use models with far higher polygon counts because you are just displaying the image and not rendering it. The biggest advantage is that when you get into many facings and animations it is a great deal less work for the artist. No matter how you come up with the images you are generally going to layer images like with paperdolls. It is far easier to draw 40 differant weapons than draw the character 40 differant times each time with a differant weapon. You have to have animations for each weapon to match the animations of the character. With differant colors you can just paint the image with a grey scale then view black as 0% and white as 100%. If the bit on the image is white then the color drawn is whatever color is assigned to the object. If the color is a grey such as (127,127,127) with 24 bit color then you cut all the components of the color in half. That allows you to still see the detail in the object such as folds in a cape. Rather than a grey scale you could use something like a red, green and blue scale for three colors assigned to the object. Which component on the object is non-zero tells you which of the three colors to use for the object and the value of that non-zero component tells you how to scale the color.

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Thanks, LilBudyWizer, and you other guys as well, but LilBW''s response was more to the point.

I''m generating my player images using Poser, then recoloring inside the game. However, applying weapons and armour on top of this seems to be getting the better of me. Poser has the ability to add clothes, and I probably have enough to get a little variety, but to make each movement, I have to apply the clothes, then I guess make the person invisible. This way I have the clothes/weapons as separate image files.

That doesn''t seem like something I can really do in my little one man job. I might just have to stick with clones-ville for now.

Just for the sake of argument, let''s say I did make this array of clothes and weapons all as separate files. Won''t it take an ungodly amount of memory to load those all in? I know I only need the ones that are presently being shown, but that could be quite a lot!

Thanks,
Steve

DragonLore
http://www.dragonlore.com

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Another problem just occured to me. Many movements, such as weapons swings, or even walking, have body parts covering other body parts. For instance, a sword swing might have your hand pass in front of your body.

If you draw the bare skin model, then put armour on top, you''ve likely just covered that aforementioned hand with your armour. I guess things get a little more tricky. I suppose the different clothes types do actually require the people to be in them. It is only the weapons, sheild, helmets... the outermost layer... which get drawn "on top".

Steve

DragonLore
http://www.dragonlore.com

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