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Article - 'Choosing Graphics' by Angroth

An item about Graphics/Audio posted on Jan 14, 2004

Blurb

If you're having troubles picking your graphics or are about to get some graphics for your game, go here first.

Body

Consistancy
When you choose your graphics you want them to be consistant. This is pretty obvious, easy and makes the game look much better. All you have to do is make sure that if you use RTPish graphics that all the game uses them or if you use old final fantasy coloured type graphics that the style remains throughout. This can be hard for some people especially if you can't seem to get graphics that fit into your graphic type. Guess what? That's where spriters come in! If you can do it yourself then it's even better but if not ask around in the forums and you're bound to get at least one person to help you out with what you need. It may take a little while but it's much better to sacrifice a little time than make your game look crap.

Genre
The best thing to do before picking your graphics is choosing or noticing which genre your game falls into. Certain genres are suited better by different graphic styles. The best example would be a comedy rpg or game would be much better suited to either chubby children graphics or a weird mix producing a strange comedy theme. If you can devise your genre you can test out what graphic type suites your game's theme best.

Graphic Types
Below I shall list some of the graphic types I know of, if there are more please post them.

Character Sets
RTP: Simple genderless people. Medium complexity of graphics, could be more detailed but utilises a reasonable amount of colours.
Full Old School: Old Final Fantasy colours. Similar to RTP but much simpler, only consisting of low level detail and colouring. Can come with only left footstep and right footstep animation.
Semi Old School: Old graphics that have slightly sub-RTP quality, they always come with only left footstep and right footstep animation.
Tall Dudes: Basically super tall RTP people. I haven't seen many like this but there are definately some tall chractersets lingering around.
The Common Spriter: The graphics which aren't quite RTP but all good spriters produce this standard characterset type and quality. Sometimes more detailed than others.

Face Sets
RTP: Medium complexity of graphics. Chubby but made with many colours.
Old School: Basic face graphics with limited colouring.
Messed Up: Messed up faces(ets) in where the colouring is all messed up producing funky faces or badly important so you can't even see what the face is because not all the lines have come out properly.
Realistic: High level of detail. Similar colours to RTP but looks like the people are actually real and lifelike (my favourite).

Chip Sets
RTP: Medium complexity of graphics. Chubby and vibrant made with a reasonable amount of colours.
Old School: Basic graphics with limited colouring (usually darker colours).
Dreadful: Awful monotonal coloured maps.

Which One Is Best To Use?
I think this depends on many factors. Personally the RTP or anything slightly below it are very easy to draw for, whereas the more realistic graphics I would argue are better but can't be replicated to the same degree more basic ones can. So where does that lead us? To choose your graphics wisely. Graphics should not just be chosen but be chosen to fit with the rest of the entire game. Think of it as a street, and the graphics is one or two houses. If the rest of the houses aren't in the same style (music etc) then your street is going to look pretty weird and messed up.