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2D "modular" assets creation tips

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Hello everyone,

 

I'd would love some tips from you (probably someone who has done something similar in the past) for the following:

 

Imagine you want to make e.g. character creator (in 2D - side scroller). The character is not always something anthropomorphic - the body can be of any shape and sizes. The character always has a main body part and you are willing to add some limbs, head/s, jaws, tail/s to the head or other body features (like spikes etc.). Each of this parts has some anchor on its parent module where it gets snapped when added. There are some prerequisites like what you need to already have on your body for you to be able to add new specific part. Each part will have its own animation for its actions.  After all there are dozens of possible characters you can create that way.

 

My question is - do you have any tips on how to create assets for this case (for the body parts) so they visually fit all together? Colors of the assets will be set programatically, but what I mean is - it's kinda hard for me to create e.g. legs when I don't know what will the rest of the body look like. Is it just question of trial and error? Should I create one whole possible character and then separate the assets from it, create another one and try if they fit with this one too?

 

The game isn't taking itself too seriously and creating comic-looking characters is from some point of view the point of it, but at the same time it shouldn't look too ridiculous.

 

Another way of interpreting the problem is via procedural generation of characters only with that it's not procedural generation as the player has the whole control of what's created. But procedural generation also uses many different assets to create them into a unique character.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

 

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My question is - do you have any tips on how to create assets for this case (for the body parts) so they visually fit all together? Colors of the assets will be set programatically, but what I mean is - it's kinda hard for me to create e.g. legs when I don't know what will the rest of the body look like. Is it just question of trial and error? Should I create one whole possible character and then separate the assets from it, create another one and try if they fit with this one too?
 

Planing is the key.

The fist thing any artist learns is that complex art needs to be planed.

 

My own approach:

Considering you already have your references, you already have a style and perspective.

 

My process for each of the following steps is to use simple shapes and guide lines to get my form. My light point for all images would be the top left, shading will be toon with high damp gloss look for fur if there is any.

 

My starting point would be the body, I would use the "Flour bag", consisting of a rounded cube and a circular bottom, I will keep them apart for more flexibility.

To keep options open I would make Thigh, Calf, Feet and also add in a Dogleg, that will cover most characters; these are just my bases so I don't start over each time.

Arms I will take basic human anatomy, I would also add a second set of legs if I know that there will be four legs types.

 

For eyes, mouth, ears and other small complex animated objects, it will depend on what my engine can do. For Unity I would make Key images and 1-2 in-between frames.

 

To determine what other body part I would need, I would consider what forms the character would have. I would first start with 2 forms, making both complete characters while mixing the body parts to see what looks I can get.

After the first two characters I will keep adding in one more, atlasing the sprites as need.

 

For color I would use a color mask, this way I can adapt the colors allowing for better mixing.

 

Animations will be made per character, using basic vector math to "adapt" the animations to other characters. In Unity the Humanoid re-targeting can be used instead.

 

Other artist would work different, the core will remain the same: Plan -> quick sketch -> refine.

At any stage if the art doesn't look good it will be destroyed and the artist will start over or from one step back.

 

 

After all there are dozens of possible characters you can create that way.

Remember this means you will need to make the art for dozens of characters, check that it all fits and making it work with your game.

 

Look up the game EVO for some old school fun.

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