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goldblaze

Different physical attributes for dragons

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What would be better; dragons with lots of differences in the same species(frills on one dragon, horns on another) or just minor differences(coloration and markings being the major identifier, with minor wing and snout size differences and stuff like that)?
 
The game is a 2d isometric survival-strategy game(think RTS with survival elements) with the dragons as protagonists, The race almost extinct and needs to rebuild after nearly being decimated by humans. The game is set in low fantasy medieval times, with magic considered dead.
 
The dragons can't be customized by players, are instead randomly generated at the start of the game.
 
The biggest issue in my mind, is with lots of differences is more work for a artist, and might feel unrealistic.
But only subtle differences might make it hard for a player to identify individual dragons, save for colors.
 
Feel free to ask questions if you need more info to help out. smile.png Thanks!
Edited by goldblaze

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You could add other signs other than different sprites. Some dragon could have fireballs that orbit around him, other could have a musical cue that plays when he comes into scene, some other could be related to a type of scenery, they could also have different sprite movements (not animation) that would make them look different without requiring more artwork.

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You could add other signs other than different sprites. Some dragon could have fireballs that orbit around him, other could have a musical cue that plays when he comes into scene, some other could be related to a type of scenery, they could also have different sprite movements (not animation) that would make them look different without requiring more artwo

Not enough magic for that.

We're not making a RPG, that would never fit.

That would raise costs astronomically, this is a 2d game, animations are the biggest cost hog.

 

What I want to figure out is should the dragons have subtle differences, or obvious, this is especially important because each dragon is randomly generated at the start of the game, similar to how games like rimworld does it.

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I just want to point out you used the term "might feel unrealistic" in reference to a dragon :) I dont see a reason you cant "do it all" - random color + random accents. If you get a funny looking dragon, so what? It's a fantasy creature :D

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I just want to point out you used the term "might feel unrealistic" in reference to a dragon smile.png I dont see a reason you cant "do it all" - random color + random accents. If you get a funny looking dragon, so what? It's a fantasy creature biggrin.png

Hmm, I get your point, but what I mean is, in this setting dragons are all one species, so if dragons look almost like a different species for each dragon, it might not look right, the game is also meant to be dark, harsh, dragons that look almost like different species might not fit with that?

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How many dragons do you start with? And do more dragons get generated as time goes on? If it's a finite set of dragons, you could just design a set of prominent features and when you generate the dragons make sure each dragon has one identifiable feature each. Another way I can think of is to name the dragons with randomised names and have the names of the dragons above their heads when selected etc...  

Edited by Mark Lock

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To make a larger number of distinctive looking dragons, would it be possible to use a few base body types and then have some assorted elements (Horns, fangs, claws, different head and tale types) that can be added to that base sort of like adding clothes and accessories to a basic humanoid sprite?

 

I do find that for me, as the number of unique looking human characters in a game grow, my ability to pick them out of a crowd diminishes unless there is something especially distinctive about the character. If you're going to have a relatively small cast of primary characters that the player interacts with then I say that it's those ones that you want to make sure are fairly distinct. Then if you have some population that are in the game as background extras, it might not be worth it to spend a lot of effort creating differences for them.

 

That said, for my hobby project I'll be trying to make all of the various characters distinct because I just think it's a cool feature that I want to work on and I'm not concerned with timelines and don't have other team members to be concerned about.

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How many dragons do you start with?

About 3-5 depending on game mode

.


And do more dragons get generated as time goes on?

Yep!


If it's a finite set of dragons, you could just design a set of prominent features and when you generate the dragons make sure each dragon has one identifiable feature each. Another way I can think of is to name the dragons with randomised names and have the names of the dragons above their heads when selected etc...  

Well, it's more like, do I want to use promonate features, like one dragon has a frilled head and spikes down his back, while another has a spiked head and a bludgeon tail, or do I want to be more subtle, like one dragon had large wings and a short neck, or heavy set body and a long tail, but they all have frills and a spiked tail, for example.

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To make a larger number of distinctive looking dragons, would it be possible to use a few base body types and then have some assorted elements (Horns, fangs, claws, different head and tale types) that can be added to that base sort of like adding clothes and accessories to a basic humanoid sprite?
 

That's the plan already, it's what kind of elements that I'm trying to figure out.


I do find that for me, as the number of unique looking human characters in a game grow, my ability to pick them out of a crowd diminishes unless there is something especially distinctive about the character. If you're going to have a relatively small cast of primary characters that the player interacts with then I say that it's those ones that you want to make sure are fairly distinct. Then if you have some population that are in the game as background extras, it might not be worth it to spend a lot of effort creating differences for them.

It does not help that my game doesn't really have 'primary' character in that sense, the game is very RTS like, so you'll have dragons joining up at random, you'll be convincing some of the dragons not already in your group to join as well. In addition, each playthrough will have the dragons you start with look different, that's where randomly generating each dragon element comes into play.

 

This is more a aesthetic issue, do I want there to be dragons with so many different attributes that it looks like there's several species of dragons, or make it subtle, make the race look unified, and base it on real world differences within species, mainly size and shape of certain parts of the body.

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This is a cool sounding game idea by the way!

 

Personally I'd go with several species. I feel it'd be more interesting for the player to look at and easier to create an emotional connection for each dragon because each one would look quite unique smile.png. Plus on some other level it may create an even greater feeling of all dragons banding together to survive! ha ha :).

Edited by Mark Lock

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