Author Topic: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply  (Read 27389 times)

Offline Leflair

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The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« on: September 13, 2012, 08:13:08 pm »
I say this project doesn't have nearly enough new pixels going for it yet. Let's do something about that shall we?


Here's something I've been working on the last couple of days:

The Veronian (there's a homage hidden here), a three-eyed and mouthless alien with some bug-characteristics:


Main sheet with "alternative" sprite variants boxed in yellow (that I haven't really settled on yet) and pink boxes marking showcase or comparisons.

Threat-wise I'd place them somewhere between the Snakeman and Muton, with a few low/high outliers in stats and gimmicks. Only the commanders and leaders have limited psi-ability (worse than a Sectoid) but they are all very resistant to psi-attacks.

Running animation, front and back:


The first angles I did so probably the most wonky.

Death animation(s):


A couple of ideas here, might want to edit a frame to have the collapse be a little more gradual. Not sure.

#1 Terror unit, the Iron-maiden (working name):


Might look better shortened a little and a bit too tall and broad (death frame) anyways if 32x40 is an absolute limit for units.

A flying coffin that is powered by human life-juice, likes to zip around and shoot people in the face on its free time when not abducting civilians for the Veronians sinister experiments.

Defense profile: Tough exterior with the front being the weakest, squishy insides and slim profile for an overall rather survivable terror unit.
Mobility profile: It's fast and can fly so it's highly mobile with good energy regen.
Attack profile: The armament is a slightly more rapid firing heavy laser, not super powerful but accurate.

#2 Terror unit, the Mobile Assault Fortress [The MAF, is a working name] - Only got a concept for this but leaning towards a non-flying one-tile terror unit a step up from the Iron-Maiden on the "oh shit, it's a terror unit"-scale.

Only got some doodles on it so no sprites yet. Tougher but a much slower, non-flying version of the Iron-maiden. A little more alien looking, will see if I can fit it within the frame limits.



Once I'm satisfied with this set I'm going to start ripping it apart and make something with PCKVIEW that's importable. OpenXcom aint done yet and I have even less clue about the programming side than I do about the graphical side, but I feel there's plenty of potential for cool new stuff if OpenXcom rips the interior open and allows easy modding and adding entirely new sprites (and species).

I also got some doodles for reworks of the Snakemen, Mutons and some terror units. Either to serve as new species or to replace the old ones.


Criticism and improvement suggestions to existing sprite work is always welcome, it's easy to become blind to your own work (and getting those damn legs looking decent in all angles is a story unto itself).

 

Offline luke83

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2012, 10:17:45 pm »
Hey mate, they look rather interesting , cant wait to see the, packaged into the correct game format so i can use them in game.

Offline Leflair

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2012, 11:35:12 pm »
Another version of the Iron-maiden:


Tried chopping off a bit of the long one for the death frame (upper right) and showing it behind the thing for some added volume (upper left), looks so-so. Hard to work with straight edges in the diagonal when working with sprites at this resolution.  Might not be all that noticable at "100%", but the game resolution will close up and the diagonal jaggies become a lot more noticable.


At 200%

I tried another idea I had for the Iron-Maiden, more of a egg shape.

First version to the left, looked rather unremarkable so I added some doors and other detailing (right version).

Last three are various death frames for the egg version, the left one being my first attempt were I haven't added door wreckage or similar like in the rightward two versions.

The interior shows some "ribbing", going for a bit of a fishbones/rib-cage/stuffing look - the purpose is to keep the human in place once inside.

I guess the "upright" version might work as a sort of "died and sank into the ground like a lead weight after the hover engine cut out, but will need some work to not look weird. Egg serves as a nice headstone for the corpse that way though!

The two rightward version are just different lighting, darker is better to not draw as much attention to a mere corpse - living/active threats should should look brighter (I believe you see this effect with the muton corpse for example).

The heavy egg, or at least the upper part, have semi-collapsed unto itself and isl eaning over, with one of the doors stuck into the ground just behind the corpse that was thrown free.
The bright liquid is the animating fluid to keep the human alive inside. Should probably darken that up a bit too for the Death Frame.

I might change the corpse pose for the egg to more of a "thrown forwards" position, might look better with that concept.

Maybe add two long "arms" coming out of the interior, nestled around some limbs of the body to show how the Iron-maiden catches its' victims and give a little more connect between the fore- and backgrounds.

Offline moriarty

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2012, 12:12:11 am »
nice piece of work... a new race, complete with terror unit, in matching colors :D can't wait to see more ideas.

Offline michal

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2012, 08:08:33 am »
Wow, good work :D I think i like second iron maiden more.

Offline Leflair

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2012, 05:35:12 pm »
Something I'd like to see (if it's not already in) is fully modable percentages chances for the individual terror units appearing in a mission, so you could conceivably mix either all the terror units and simply have a far higher likelyhood for certain matchings - or - have rather long lists for each race with a few nasties with really low % chance of appearing.

How does that work right now? I know Mutons got two terror units, is it a 50/50 divide on the number of "terror unit slots" for the given mission/ship size?

I got plans...

Speaking of plans,

I think I just got some inspiration for a suitable Terror unit for my Ethereal rework (if anyone remembersAlien Brain's final speech)  :D

(A black rectangle is probably not copyrighted and could work as a nice little homage, but the "eeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeEEEEEEEEEEeE­EEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEE­EEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee­eEE" music probably is protected)
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 05:37:43 pm by Leflair »

Offline Leflair

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 11:10:05 pm »
And speaking of a remade Ethereal, here's something new for you.





Thought I'd show up a draft process here, minus my own prep thumbnote doodling.

--
First, the design aspects and themes:
--

My idea for a new Ethereal was to go for a slimmer and taller profile, while keeping the "overlord" feeling that the broad shoulders of the original had. The slimness adds to their underlying "braniac" fragility that the species has, yet the tallness and ornateness still emphasizes their great power.

I think the original has a monk or buddhist theme going for it with that brown/orange robe, which work well enough for creating a disconcerting aura (a little like the Black Monolith video) - but less so to give off the "these are the boss guys".

I picked a white colour theme to symbolize their pureness, they are the great lords of their empire and these guys don't like to get their own hands dirty unless they really have to - so when they actually show up on the battlefield I want to create that unnerving sense of "Huh, what is this?" by having something that really stands out from the other aliens. Which is also why I didn't go with the obvious "black = evil" theme, it would just look really dark. These guys think pretty highly of themselves, I figure - and want to present themselves as such too.


--
Starting the actual spritesmithing:
--

I started out with the leftmost white cloaked dude from scratch - no idea about the proper height or anything other than the general shape and theme I was going for.

Then I dragged out the original and took its measurements, increasing the height of the second leftmost white sprite.

For the fourth (or third new) sprite I started fleshing out the cloak and hood, at first picking a dark green for the folding to give a stronger contrast between the white fabric and shading. I decided on to widen the opening, creating this foreboding center of darkness in the model and constrast with the white parts. White exterior, dark interior. Simple message.

I kinda ditched that idea because the dark green clashed a little too much with the white, so the fifth sprite had more of a grey thing, and also a bigger hood.

I wanted them to erradiate a sense of looking down on the humans, which is the purpose of the steep slope of the rightmost two designs. The only difference being a barely noticable "dark aura" on the last sprite (would be more noticable against the battlefield background, too bad you can't do gradual transparency within the game).

--

Now, I'm not quite satisfied with how the shoulders are looking on the later models - the two last ones have less "sharp" drop between hood and shoulders which doesn't quite support the broad shoulderness that gives the main design it's Lordish "oomph". On the other hand, it does enhance the "looking down on you" posture. The jaggy cut between the main bulk of the cloak and the broader bottom is a little too sharp too, I think.

What do you guys think? It's still an early draft and I'm open to suggestions!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 11:18:44 pm by Leflair »

Volutar

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2012, 09:10:57 am »
Leflair, I must say, you have great skills very useful for this project, and beyond. I hope you will be somewhere around when project go to 2x sized sprites. I like this white ethereal. The only thing which strike the eye is black outline. This sprite should be looking nice in every environment, not only black.

Offline moriarty

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2012, 10:29:30 am »
I like the dark "aura" too. If only openxcom supported alpha blending yet... :) for now I think it might look weird when he's moving in broad daylight. although I'd have to see it in-game first, maybe it's not that bad :)

I also like your idea of the monolith terror unit... it fits the mysterious nature of the ethereals.
what would you use for an attack? a simple plasma weapon doesn't seem right.

maybe some kind of close-quarters-area-effect? a shockwave of sorts? currently, the game doesn't support these kinds of graphic effects, though... unless it simply unleashes an explosion on the square it sits in. which would also affect the monolith itself, though... but maybe it simply has extremely high "under" armour, because that's where explosive damage from the same sqaure is applied?

Offline Leflair

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2012, 11:32:09 am »
2xSprite size woulde certainly increase ones options! Trying to make a decent looking foot / hand with like 2 pixel's width aint easy  :P

As for the black "shadow", I think it might actually work even in broad daylight lighting as a sort of "wait, that's not right-" visual trigger. The Ethereal casts a pitch black shadow, spilling out from within its cloak, no matter which direction the sun is shining. Will have to see how it looks ingame (eventually) - I believe you can have a seperate "shadow" sprite, just like how hovertanks have their little plasma wake as a seperate thing - right?

As for the Monolith, I imagine it as a nearly immobile (I don't think the game like it works now would support any form of "teleporting" unit). I guess it could slide around a little (and it would require some sort of TU pool to attack).

It's only offensive means (fitting the current available options) would be using some sort of highly powerful psi-attack. On its own the Monolith won't be wrecking your crew, but it can take control or immobilize any single one of your troops in a turn.

It wouldn't necessarily be all that tough (to balance out having one of the most powerful psi-skills/strength), which would motivate players to strike out and find it before everything goes tits up. One shot is all you need, but you have to find the bastard first!  ;)

Alternatively, it could be somewhat weaker on the psi-side but be armored like a tank. To complement the otherwise powerful psi-wielding but squishy Ethereals. The Monolith is just gonna sit there wailing away at your troops minds until you concentrate enough firepower to bring it down.

Wishlist:
I'd see it as a rare, 1-10% chance of appearing sort of Terror Unit - so having certain Terror units be really powerful would really add to the "oh shit!" feel when you bump into something you've never seen before that starts ripping into your guys.

Being able to program units to only use one, or heavily favour a, (psi-)attack would be great, in this case: Preferably Panic rather than mind control.

On the Psi-Attack side (and close combat), I'd like to see some sort of attack that could drain Unit Energy - like a non-unconcious stun. The unit just becomes unable to do anything until it gets a chance to regenerate energy.

Giving modders the ability to limit individual units psi-abilities in range instead of the current system.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 11:34:59 am by Leflair »

Offline Leflair

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2012, 03:00:16 pm »
Here's a first draft for a Snakeman remake:



I wanted to keep the general distinctiveness of the original, but I thought the original model looked a little too fat / buff compared to its stats. I wanted to create a frailer appearance.

For that I changed up the lower body to be more "pear" shaped, and removed some muscle from the arms. I also slimmed down the mid-riff. Made them look a little more feminine perhaps (Snakewomen?  ???).

I dampened the bright orange colour a little, to give them more of a camouflage look. Perhaps the species could get some terrain preferances in both combat and on the strategic part?

The first two remakes keep the "goofiness" of the originals mouth, with a slightly different take on the teeth and eyes. The original got some sort of giant unibrow going, creating a squinting appearance and, coupled with the gigantic teeth, draws the viewers mind towards an some sort of unfortunate racist caricature of Asian people. Probably not intentional, but I think having some beady eyes fit the snake look better.

The head I made smaller and flatter, giving more of a "hunched forward" look - like a snake waiting to pounce.

I increased its "armour" to cover more of the chest - removing some of the "snake boobs" of the original (a good thing?  :P)

I couldn't make up my mind about the "backpack" - it certainly adds a little more dimensional depth to the sprite and it reminded me of a flamethrower fuel tank, which could be kinda cool if the Snakemen got some incendiary weapons which would distinguish them from the other aliens. On the other hand, removing the backpack gave the model a leaner look. The backpack could also look a little like a big shield - and give the Snakeman a uniquely high rear armour stats. Might try another colour, the purple aint quite working out (blue like in the original is more complementary to the main orange/brown colour scheme).

Next two drafts I tried removing some of the goofiness of the original, removing the mouth outright and adding some "glowing eyes" for increased intimidation.

In the last draft I changed up the shoulder armour some more from the original, adding two small "horns".

« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 03:05:41 pm by Leflair »

Offline luke83

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2012, 03:07:36 pm »
Maybe its just me , but the last snakeman could look pretty good with a set of legs and be a completly new alien species.

 Some Jnr Snakeman could be good and some Eggsake sprite for a new mission type , just some thoughts.

Offline Leflair

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2012, 03:52:54 pm »
Did another draft:


Less symmetrical "tail" of my own design and I tried doing a "Cobra hood" (could also double as a cowboy hat with some modification  :P) for the rightmost Sprite + buffer arms. Perhaps a Commander?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 04:00:00 pm by Leflair »

Offline luke83

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2012, 04:13:20 pm »
Love the Cobra heads

Offline Leflair

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Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2012, 04:27:43 pm »
Fun fact time!


Did you know that a baby Snakeman can eat its own weight in human flesh per day until its fully grown?

Did you know that the Snakeman reproductive system is very efficient and reproduction can be asexual*, with each snakeman carrying up to fifty eggs inside its body at any one time?

Did you know that a adult Snakeman can lay over two thousand eggs a month and that the preferable hatching environment is in the moist yet still warm remains of human beings?

Did you know that the Snakeman and Chryssalid DNA overlap by 99.9%?




*100% parasitical!


The more you know!  ;)