Reusing assets from previous works

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磯七ラスミ
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Reusing assets from previous works

#1 Post by 磯七ラスミ » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:57 am

I'm up for a fresh talk about this. Let's say you have good assets within a not-so-good VN or an unappreciated masterpiece (from the way you see) that you think can be reborn into something that achieve your goals. The assets word may point to a png graphic file, a full scene. Or a ripped character, renaming, relocating it and pretend his/her life before was never a thing.

Is this madness? Would work for you? Any thoughts?

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Re: Reusing assets from previous works

#2 Post by andalusian » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:10 am

as a player, if i see a game use an asset that i have seen in another game, it does bother me. i do not know exactly why. but ive seen other people share the sentiment.

but this sentiment goes more for graphics that feel specific - such as sprites for particular characters. it goes less for sprites for eg generic monsters, and even less for backgrounds, and a lot less for user interface graphics. it also goes less for reusing assets in a sequel.

EDIT: but from the developers perspective - i have seen many games get many negative reviews, because they "steal graphics". so if this is for a commercial work, it is very dangerous. you cannot argue with those people, even if you make it clear that you own the graphics in the first place and can do whatever you want to do with them, they use the word "steal". so it is wise to simply not do that.

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Re: Reusing assets from previous works

#3 Post by mikolajspy » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:36 am

If the next game is a sequel, then no problem.

But if new game is something completely unrelated, and developer is going to use the same character art, then I'd say it's sort of cheap, not to say lazy.
I feel the same about soundtrack and background art. If it's not a game series, then I'd prefer original content to not confuse players.

It also depends if the copy-paste assets fit in the game world and not stand out.
For example, take a look at Idea Factory/Compile Heart games - Neptunia series, Mugen Souls, Fairy Fencer F, they share some assets even though they're different title franchises, but it somehow fits in the world (mainly monsters).

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Re: Reusing assets from previous works

#4 Post by Rudje » Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:20 pm

For characters I'd avoid it unless it's a sequel, but things like generic backgrounds, sound effects and maybe certain UI elements would be fine if the projects share an aesthetic (because it's totally fair to not want to draw, say, Yet Another Anime Forest BG). Music, unless it's royalty free, I'd avoid reusing for similar reasons as characters. It's too immediately obvious, which is jarring.

And yes, accusations of asset theft are something to keep in mind, particularly if you aren't the original creator of said assets.

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Re: Reusing assets from previous works

#5 Post by Katy133 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:54 pm

Personally, I wouldn't do this for my own games because I like having the game's themes/setting effect the game's art style.

For example, the Disney films from their Renaissance Era each have a different art style (Aladdin's line art is based off of Arabian calligraphy, Mulan is inspired by Chinese paintings' use of negative space, etc).

The art style also effects the overall tone and creates an atmosphere, so what works for a horror film may not work for a comedy, and so on.
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Re: Reusing assets from previous works

#6 Post by Imperf3kt » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:33 pm

I've seen varying reactions to reused art.

It can be done and done well, but it is crucial to make it feel fresh.

I'll give some commercial examples.

Metal Gear Solid - third person shooter.
At its core, if you look closely enough, the first six games in the series (including Metal Gear 1&2) are clones of each other.
The assets are different and the gameplay is different, yet the story is nearly identical, just tweaked in the smallest of ways.
On the surface, each game feels completely different, but study them close enough and you'll see they merely used new characters and changed the setting. The core objective is identical in every mission - including themes and character personas.

What was reused? The story.
Did it work? Yes.

Now lets take another game (sorry, don't remember the name)
It was an RPG created by a small team. They reused sprite assets and other art including music. The only thing that did change, was the story.
They did this for three games, but the three were not a series, they were separate titles.
I don't remember much about it, but by the release of the third game, their sales had dropped to almost non-existent.

Another thing that comes to mind is cameo appearances.
I have no examples, but in some commercial VNs, I've seen reused characters can sometimes work quite well. It all depends on how out of place or not-so out of place you make it feel and whether you keep or betray character personas.

RPGace is a software made by Bandai Namco (I think) that allows the creation of thousands of JRPGs which reuse EVERY asset.
Of course, you can make your own and you need to supply CGs, but games made with this software seem to be selling well (probably because most are made as porn)

Danganronpa is another example.
Characters and even art and music assets are reused with great success. Not all the reused assets are copy/pasta though. To spice it up, some of the music used different instruments or tempos, while being otherwise identical on the scoresheet. This made it feel fresh and new, despite not being so.
The gameplay is also the same, but it was given entertaining value by minor tweaks to the way players interacted with it.


To cut a long post short (because I lost my train of thought), reusing assets is a risky gamble but can be rewarding when properly pulled off.
The trick is either:
A) Making the reused asset feel fresh by subtle tweaks or clever use
B) Make the reused asset seem like it belongs.
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Re: Reusing assets from previous works

#7 Post by jisenjeon » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:42 am

As mikolajspy said:
mikolajspy wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:36 am
If the next game is a sequel, then no problem.
However, if it's a competely new game, then it would depend on what type of asset it is. Reusing sound effects or music isn't as noticeable as using the same art because they're not the main focus of a scene. If a creator uses the same sprites or background, then that would be a lot more noticeable. However, that doesn't mean it can't be pulled off.

It just depends on how the creator executes it.

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Re: Reusing assets from previous works

#8 Post by Mammon » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:10 am

Personally I don't particularly mind as long as it's not a show of laziness or the likes. For example setting up a kickstarter or patreon for a game that uses CC sprites with the intend to keep these in the finalised version comes off as lazy to me by default. But if they lauch the kickstarter to replace these placeholders with original art but added the CCs to give an idea of the characters or to make the demo playable, it might be worth my interest.

I think there's also a difference between mass-assets and using a few re-used assets from yourself or this forum. The CCs here have personality while those RPGace assets are traditional and bland by default to fit in with a great variety of different games and approaches. By being more simple those mass-assets seem more logical to be re-used several times in hundreds of RPG games, and the reader will more easily assume that the author simply doesn't has the software nor the skills to make the assets themselves. With VN sprites however, those sprites may have had direct character development bound to them that is completely disregarded with the new game or people feel like the author could've made/commission original ones themselves even if they were lesser. With backgrounds, because it's harder and less important to make, those issues aren't as prevalent. Because it's not a deciding factor, many people use CC backgrounds. Because everyone uses the same CC backgrounds, no one cares.
Imperf3kt wrote:Metal Gear Solid - third person shooter.
At its core, if you look closely enough, the first six games in the series (including Metal Gear 1&2) are clones of each other.
The assets are different and the gameplay is different, yet the story is nearly identical, just tweaked in the smallest of ways.
On the surface, each game feels completely different, but study them close enough and you'll see they merely used new characters and changed the setting. The core objective is identical in every mission - including themes and character personas.

What was reused? The story.
Did it work? Yes.
I have to disagree with this, a formula being reused is different to an asset. With an asset, it's literally using an already existing file as opposed to making a new one. When reusing a story outline you'll still need to write the actual script. Even if you were to copy the pacing and events, that would compare more to using the same base sketch outline than using the same sprite. I'm not saying that this can't come off as boring, lazy or repetative, but not in a reusing assets way.
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Re: Reusing assets from previous works

#9 Post by mitoky » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:39 am

For myself, i wouldnt want to resue the assets. I think aside of sound effects i wouldnt do it.

Another occasion which i think would be ok is if the game simply plays in the same city as the previous game (so not a sequal, but same universe) since then it makes sense to use some of the backgrounds when locations of the other game are visited.
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