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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 9:46 pm 
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I saw a review for a game on Steam the other day that got me thinking about something. It was for a furry VN called Major/Minor and the reviewer had a lot of negative things to say about the writing but for the art they only had one critique. It bothered them that so many of the characters had very asymmetrical designs (hair parted to the side, markings on one side of the face, one sided accessories) but only one set of sprites which flipped when they needed to be on the other side of the screen.

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I hadn't really thought about it before but I realized that is a bit annoying once you notice it. Kind of like when you notice an anime character's hair parts but has no canon direction because it's constantly flipped to be convenient for the scene.

For one of my future projects, I have a character with a tattoo sleeve. My intention is to draw her sprites normally, then have a second flipped set on which I move the tattoos to the other side, ensuring no matter which way she faces, her tattoos stay on her right arm.

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I consider it extra polish though, so I don't think I would think less of a game for having a minor annoyance like moving tattoos. It seems nitpicky to me to mention such a minor factor in a negative review for a VN when it's such common practice to just flip sprites without editing.

So I thought I'd ask on here. How much does a game noticeable sprite flips matter to you? Does it bug you when things don't stay consistent or do you just not care? Would you bother to have edited sprites for facing the other direction if it were very noticeable on your character like if they had a missing eye or a special marking on just one side?


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:12 pm 
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Flipped sprites aren't a deal breaker for me, but I definitely do always notice them. As a graphic designer, it does bug me... but it's a lot like a bad font bugs me. It won't stop me from playing a game that has a good story, but I will definitely pause and think "this doesn't look right"
Obviously if a character is mostly symmetrical on both sides, it's not that noticeable. But things such as tattoos or face scars should always be on the same side.

For the project I am working on, I can't afford to have two sets of sprites drawn, but I want to avoid flipping sprites at all costs. So I am going to do it so that only one character is on screen at a time and the camera moves between them. Much like it is done in Dangan Ronpa (example here: https://youtu.be/vEqyjId0uA0?list=PLGKJ ... fvD0zQOboD)


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:18 pm 
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To me its a deal breaker. Inconsistency is a major no-no for me. There's cutting corners and then there's cut'n crnr's

If a distinguishable feature is somewhere, it should stay there, not flip sides with the rest of the image.
In general, I find the practice of 'cookie-cutter' characters (including flipped generic sprites) to be very distracting and give off a very 'budget' feel.

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 3:42 am 
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Take my opinion with a grain of salt because I'm an overachieving artist, but IMHO if you're going to have scenarios where the character switches sides on the screen, it should already be in your plans when you commission the artist? I mean, I understand that sometimes that budget restricts a lot of things-- but honestly, two things: 1) is it REALLY necessary for the character to change sides of screen? and 2) how often do they do it?

I would be rather irked if a character is a prominent/main cast character that flips back and forth in that flip-the-art way, but I wouldn't blame the devs for doing that with a minor character. I cut most people some leeway because not all of them are artists themselves and not all artists are willing to draw so much. But IMHO it's still something that can be worked around without killing your budget. Have your list of sprites to commission to actually take into account this flipped situation.
Just make sure it's not a very... well-decorated character, honestly. Flipped sprites are already really noticeable when they're not decked in bling.

That being said, I'm only nitpicky with commercial VNs above a certain price. Flipped sprite is no dealbreaker for me-- what IS a dealbreaker, though, is crappy fonts LMAO
At least flipped sprites will still leave the VN readable.


Also, @ OP:
That sounds great, actually! Honestly that's a good way to do it-- it helps that your characters' bangs aren't parted on the side, too. Good luck!

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 10:08 pm 
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Depends on how blatant it is. I have less of an eye for detail, so I might miss things like which side a characters' hair is parted on until I've spent several hours with a game and have gotten used to seeing it a certain way.

Then, you have stuff like this, where you can immediately see the problems without needing any context:

Image | Image

This just looks amateurish and makes it really hard for me to take your game seriously.

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 11:54 pm 
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I know art is hard and expensive, so I can be forgiving if the character is more or less symmetrical, even tho it bugs me a bit. Like, hair and clothes are in my forgiving category.

But if the trait is very noticeable, I'll call bullshit. For example, I have a character who lost his right eye. I can't just flip him and his eyes! The same goes for the tattoos and scars.

So, yeah, keeping track on these things will make art more polished, which I appreciate greatly.

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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 9:50 am 
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Ha, yeah, I remember that happening with the comedy club character.

I don't consider it a dealbreaker, because I make games myself and I understand making decisions for cost purposes, but I do find it annoying if it's that obvious. If it's just a hair-parting type situation, though, I don't really care.

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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2017 8:36 pm 
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I always notice flipping, but it's not a big deal. Completely redrawing the sprite just because their direction is reversed is actually overkill IMO. Remember that you're in a primarily developer forum and that the majority of people just won't care or even notice.

I feel like partial redraw is sensible though. As in Kuiper's example, reversed text always looks dodgy. Noticeable character traits like scars, tattoos etc also should be reversed. Even reversing hair parts is better than completely redrawing and I'd imagine most artists would charge less for partial redraws.

As a background artist, I can't help but notice a similar situation with backgrounds. Backgrounds can be flipped too but they also have time of day variations. Often times those variations will look cheap if you don't change the position of the lighting based on the time of day, in much the same way that flipped sprites will look weird with reversed tattoos. But that doesn't mean you need to completely redo the whole background.

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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 12:36 am 
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If the character is shading with the shadow like in the example image, the shading will clash with the lighting direction of the background as well as the shade and lighting direction on the other character sprites on the screen that has not been flipped. Just another thing to be aware of when you do the flip.

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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 8:42 am 
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Divona wrote:
If the character is shading with the shadow like in the example image, the shading will clash with the lighting direction of the background as well as the shade and lighting direction on the other character sprites on the screen that has not been flipped. Just another thing to be aware of when you do the flip.


Most sprite sets don't really have logically consistent shading, tbh-- unless your artist is really dedicated, it won't really be a big deal. Cell shading in anime style, especially. Sometimes the shading isn't even consistent in one sprite :lol:

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