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2011/06/21

Note To Self (Art Scale)

Herein I justify the current scale of Flare's art. I'm writing this because I get tempted to scale the art up often. Here are reasons why it's not a great idea, and that I should continue on my current path.

Concern: Tiles are 1.5m on a side. That's weird. Maybe it should be 1m instead.

  • 1.5m is pretty close to 5 feet, the same scale used in U.S. D&D battle grids. Perhaps 1m or 2m scaled tile sets could be used without it being too obvious.
  • 1.5m gives a pretty good combat range on many animations. For tile/turn based games (e.g. tactics or roguelikes) this scale gives a pretty good visual combat (weapons are in range to connect). 1m squares means human combatants are close enough to touch each other and weapons extend too far. 2m squares means short weapons sometimes don't reach.
  • 1.5m on a side tiles means a 32x32px square directly facing the camera is almost exactly 1 sq. meter. This is perhaps more interesting for judging scale!
  • At 1.5m tiles, an adult human with long weapons can all fit in a 128x128 sprite. If the switch is made to 1m tiles, the sprites could not each fit in 128x128.
  • Additionally at this scale, larger non-boss creatures can nicely fit into 128x128 (see the minotaur). Need a boss creature? Go ahead, use 256x256!

Concern: high-res graphics could require nicer-looking, more detailed 3D models

  • Nothing stopping me from doing more detailed models now. Some details would show up even at the current scale (more than you'd think).
  • The current scale is a good trade-off between ease of creating assets and detailed required.

Concern: other games use larger graphics!

  • This scale is almost identical to Diablo, Baldur's Gate, and Fallout
  • These games had great-looking art at this scale.

But... but...

  • Flare's engine should allow a high-res pack, with all the assets rendered at double size.