Recently, I moved on to spriting key frames, since I was tired of having the old stand-in sprites from the abandoned engine. This last Saturday I set out to draw roughs of all eight main characters in their sprite template form, and love how they all came out even without converting them to pixel art. Some of these characters I could never imagine in-game but now I have a side-by-side comparison and everyone looks amazing together. I seriously can’t wait to see what parties Shadowdawn‘s players will set up, just to see how they all mix 🙂 Here’s what I’ve started working on right now, as Arashi’s down idle sprite, frame 0:
It took awhile, but I feel like the sprites have found their style for this game. These flat colors don’t even look bad but once I add lighting effects it gives them a very well-rounded, 3d look. Let’s just say, it’s nice to have Ket in the game not looking like a still frame from a shrunken 6-year old portrait.
The biggest addition to the engine this week was finally implementing my “attachments” code which never existed in the original engine, so Actor sprites can have layers of other sprites on top of or behind them. This allows me to separate weapons into their own sprite sheet, as well as Ket’s wings, keeping the amount of work in animation down to a minimum. As a result the engine supports changing equipped weapons and how they look! This also may extend to readied tools/special items, as they can appear in the player’s free hand to add more interactivity to the world; at the very least, I want to have essential items like lanterns appear on the character for immersion. This also gives me incentive to make decorative items to let players customize the look of their characters a bit further, which is something I had always planned to add. Ethan and Laura are also scheduled (with low priority) on my to-do list to have custom wardrobe elements beyond the palette swap “outfits,” so Ethan can choose to forego his suit jacket for a sleeker, more adventurous look, and Laura may remove her large cloak which she uses to hide the fox tail indicative of her curse.
Lastly, I am seriously considering adding a 9th main playable character to round out both the setting and the balance of the cast as potential party members. As an introduction to the world of Lexis, one major race has never been represented, so I figure adding a traveler from that continent might be another way to give a glimpse into the scope of the setting. As I have yet to fully introduce all the current main characters to my readers, this may be a moot point, but it still is invigorating having a new angle to approach the story from.
Thanks for reading, and see you next time!