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Messages - Leflair

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Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« on: September 21, 2012, 08:23:39 pm »
I've readjusted all the legs so that they are "one pixel" "down" compared to the Muton, and the Veronian torso the same to match-up. Might adjust more downwards.

And this to get some visual ques to figure out the arms  :P

The top arms should be the models "left arm" (from its perspective) but I'm not sure what's going on with the bottom row, the dark areas would indicate that they are arms on the "other side" of the body, facing away from the camera and they appear to be unarmed like the top row? But they don't seem to quite line up...  ???

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« on: September 19, 2012, 08:07:53 pm »
Here's an example of how the Y-level will make things... trickier

The blue line shows the height difference between the current complete models depending on their movement frame.

Depending on which set of "four" movement frames for the legs, you got to track either the inner or outer leg that stays "solid" while the other leg moves. (see pink line)
This becomes a bit tricky with the "bug legs" of the Veronian and the pseudo-depth perspective on the inner leg, which quickly gets "compressed" as hell but I might get away with having the "solid" leg be one-pixel off from the center-line on occasion while the other one moves in the foreground.

The red line shows the height difference between the different frames of the Muton legs (and torso), a total of 3 different levels, with 2 of the leg frames sharing the same one (the left most ones).

As you can see from my current (remake) of the leg animation, the only place to compensate for that height difference is the "free" moving leg, while keeping the 3 midriff levels in mind to get it all to "glue together" correctly later (for the Muton, the other animation sets differ with the Y-level stuff).

Not only that, but due to the "hunch-forward" look of the Veronian, the midriff will at different times be covered by the arm closest to the "camera", which is why I've added some dark purple in the top layer of the mid-riff on the legs - which should mostly be hidden by the arm (Which should impose itself above all other pieces depth) while in animation and should come across as "shadows" when not. I hope that works as I think it does...

This is how it looks "fixed" (I think)

Adjusted all the running animations accordingly, with some new frames too where the legs didn't work right:

Still need to check so that the different "torso's" line up correctly with their lower bodies - and do the arms.

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« on: September 19, 2012, 07:14:45 pm »
You mean arm "motion" while moving? Yeah, most of the arms are frozen (copies) currently (with a few exceptions), will take on properly animating that after I'm done with the rest of the frames.

The largest bulk of frames are actually arms, due to having both "unarmed" and "armed" states.

To quote moriarty:
Take a look at my list here: the sprites are for the most part in groups of 8, for the 8 different facings possible. the order is always the same, and can be seen best when looking at the legs or torso: it starts facing "away to the right" (which is "north" in-game, as seen in the mini-map - the "camera" sits southeast, looking towards the northwest), and then turns clockwise.

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« on: September 18, 2012, 09:38:01 pm »
The conversion job so far:

Played around with the upper torsos to see how best fit the individual arms later, as you can see I left some of the shoulders "in" on a few of them due to the minimal differences between that part on the various arms - may have to reconsider that when I flesh out the "unarmed" arm frames.

Due to how the unched over body covers most of the arm "away from the camera" I might not actually need to modell the complete arm for those frames, just what juts out of the elbow.

I wasn't satisfied with how the diagonal front legs turned out in the first draft so I redid them to better work with the games way of animating it. Might still require some changes, although this is at 300% zoom so it might not be noticable if a few pixels are a bit "off" here and there once ingame.

There's still some height differences between the Muton and Veronian, due to how the legs are structured on the Veronian (Humanoid vs "bird/bug legs"), most noticable on the full model rotation and the diagonal running comparisons. May require some modification - or it might turn out that the legs work better overall with one of the other alien models. The diagonal arms may "bob around" less than the Mutons due to the more compact motion set.

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« on: September 18, 2012, 08:09:56 pm »
Ah, missed that part when I read your post! (I guessed the same after though so  :P)

I believe Mutons might be the closest fit as far as Y-position goes (for the legs at least), but we'll see.

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« on: September 18, 2012, 06:32:45 pm »
Tell you what, I'll assemble a first version with the focus on just getting all the frames in the proper order and then if things looks funky with the weapon handling I'll adjust things accordingly.

I still wonder how the (single) torso frame "knows" how to move up and down with the different leg frames, perhaps that too is tied to the Y-offset?

Here's an idea I knocked around in my head today at work:

The "Sectoman" (Yeah yeah I know :p)

Inspired by that comment about one of the remade snakemen heads making for a potential new species and the "Outsider" from the new XCOM game, I thought the idea of a universal "guardian" to be pretty cool.

Regardless of species it has a chance of appearing onboard medium and larger ships + bases, up to 4 units [in addition to the normal crew].

The chance of appearing is modified by difficulty.

So a Medium ship might get 1 [say 25% chance on beginner]
While a large ship may get up to 2 and a battleship up to 4 (same for bases). It might be none though, or anything inbetween.

It's tough as nails and comes with built in weaponry that doesn't run out of ammo (like the Sectopod gun), shielded against psionics with its only weakness perhaps being "slowness" and low aggression to keep it around the ship.

I also knocked around having a even beefier version with lower % chance of appearing, just for that extra "That doesn't look good-" factor.

Ideally OpenXcom could have a seperate category for a "guardian" class of unit, just like terror units that simply slaps on a randomly (or tied to species) unit for when the aliens are on the defensive to spice things up.

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« on: September 17, 2012, 10:44:00 pm »
Working on converting the Velarian to something usable ingame but I am running into some issues:
Is there a max roof on amount of frames for one "movement"? For example: When walking the game seem to use about 8 frames (+1 idle frame)

My own draft got like 18 frames + 1 idle for the same - Do I need to cut out some frames for the game to parse it correctly?


8 Frames, 4 for each movement - The other 4 are just mirrored versions of the first set
The frames also move up and down about 2 pixels (I guess to create a faux sense of movement)
It's a bit interesting because there's just 1 single front torso part, which makes me think that it somehow automatically moves up and down with the leg parts between frames? Or do they in practice clip through it? That shouldn't look right, but it's hard to know without directly comparing it ingame.

My old animation looks like this

And a new one that "matches" the Muton one, sans the pixel jump


The other issues are "unarmed" arm movement and weapon positions.

The Muton got a pile of arm movements for each angle and a set too for holding weapons for the various angles - within the current game modding limitations I can't just throw in a gun on my own sprite sets and create a file for weapon positions from that - I need to match it with an existing set (and replace it) and that's proving to be the most difficult part, siffling through the unassembled standard aliens to find a decent match.

The Veronian is slightly taller than the X-Com soldier (and I can't exactly replace that either) and the other closest match is probably the Muton, which got some funky beef-cake arms where I'm uncertain on how the final gun position rests. I've yet to find the default "standing still holding a rifle" arms. Maybe I'm overthinking it and it won't even be noticable if most of the hands are covered by the guns? Still, don't want the guns to hover clearly above the hands either.

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« on: September 16, 2012, 01:19:49 pm »
Yeah, something like that could be cool. A Chamelon type terror unit could be pretty... well, terrifying  :P

I still want some teleportation and "jump" movement mechanics. Could make some pretty cool units with that.

Floater remake, draft 1:

Took some inspiration from the new XCOM with this, having both a "standard" Floater and a "Heavy" Floater.

The Floaters are pretty much the weakest units in the game, short of a few scenarios where the AI can use the aliens greater night vision + flying mechanics to its advantage (usually on Superhuman difficulty).

What makes the Floater so weak is really its lackluster terror unit (the Reaper) - the AI has trouble enough using the Chryssalid, let alone a four tile large close combat unit like the Reaper.

So why not throw in a "Heavy Floater" packed with built in weapons and greater stats than the standard Floater in general? ... A Flying Muton if you will  :o

Did some different takes as you can see, the Standard Floater I wanted to look a little goofy and grunty like the original, but more cybernetic (with perhaps the hint that the Aliens make Floaters out of any suitable material they can find - including abducted humans) - A smaller profile to make up for their general weakness, and perhaps improved armour as well (still a low Health count though).

I kept the Floaters flying disco-ball, but remade it a little. It's even more a torso stuck on top of a flying ball now.

At first I experimented with a "Mono-eye", a single red eye - but with the limitations of the Sprite size I couldn't make it look right (more like a "mono-square") so instead I took a page from my first Heavy Floater draft and gave them three eyes. Eventually I would take the main body from the Heavy Floater too, with some modifications, the bright armour of the first one did look a little "off" to me.

The Heavy Floater was hard to pin down - I knew what I wanted with it, bigger and tougher - but how to translate that into practice? Bigger Shoulders and head was a given, and I slapped some heavier armour on the cest as well - buffed up the arms and got a pretty decent look. Eventually I settled for slimming down the lower body a little too, for a less "pudgy" appearance.

Some experiments with visually mounted arm weapons as well, I mean - why not stick a tank weapon on it if you can? No need to bother animating the proper weapon handling then either.

The last draft for the Heavy Floater I tried sticking some "chest tubing" on the front, to break up the down-ward pointing "arrow" that the slimmer lower body created (kinda drawing the viewers vision to its... giant ball  :P) which made a it look a little buffer too.

The biggest problem was really breaking up how symmetrical the design became, I think the arm weapons did the most for that and for the final design that might work out for the best.


Another attempt at the mono-eye idea and a somewhat more eye-catching version (pun not intended).

With the third sprite I'm just taking an axe to the humanoid-ness by removing the head all together to make the standard Floater more unique.

I'm not sure on the arms, perhaps the standard Floater should have fleshy arms while only the Heavy Floater got the cybernetic arms - to distinguish the two further.

What do you guys think?

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« 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!  ;)

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« 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?

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« 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".

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« 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.

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.

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« 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!

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« 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)

Work In Progress / Re: The Leflair Sprite Sweatshop, Voxels need not apply
« 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.

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