Easy solution to graphics - The Sims 2?

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bardsmanship
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Easy solution to graphics - The Sims 2?

#1 Post by bardsmanship » Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:44 am

The hardest part to making a ren'ai game for myself, and I suspect for many more like me who've absolutely no talent in art, is somehow coming up with backgrounds and character art good enough for a game.

So I guess this idea is for those who don't mind more realistic-looking (as opposed to anime/manga-looking) art in their game. With the huge popularity of The Sims 2, there's a whole ton of custom content out there for anyone to be able to create sets/backdrops that can serve as backgrounds for a game just by downloading and assembling the items. You can even, if you want, create beaches, forests and other natural scenes.

Creating characters this way is also possible, though not really compatible with games as games usually use separate images for characters and backgrounds.

Together with ALICE, hopefully this will help some struggling artist out there to get past the graphics hurdle and proceed to the actual game-making.

Some examples of what can be done:
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

What do you think?
Last edited by bardsmanship on Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#2 Post by PyTom » Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:52 am

Two things:

First of all, if you can design and build custom objects, would it be possible for you to create some sort of green-screen object? That is, an object that is colored and lit in a single color that does not appear in the character's clothing.

If you can do that then you could just have the character stand in front of it when you take the picture. You could then edit out the useless color, and have character art that you could use in a game.


The second thing is a potential downside. Who owns the rights to the characters? If it's the owners of the Sims, then there may be something that says you can't use their work in your own game.

That being said, it would seem there's alot of potential in this method. (And similar methods using programs like Poser.) Of course, many of us prefer the anime-style art, for aesthetic reasons, and because the more cartoony a character is, the easier it is to identify with them.
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#3 Post by Guest » Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:25 am

PyTom wrote:Two things:

First of all, if you can design and build custom objects, would it be possible for you to create some sort of green-screen object? That is, an object that is colored and lit in a single color that does not appear in the character's clothing.
Hmm, I don't know about that since I don't create custom objects myself, so I'll leave this for someone more qualified to answer.

That said, I think the part about creating backgrounds for use is more suitable than for character art. Drawing and colouring backgrounds takes up a lot of time; using the Sims 2, it's a matter of finding and downloading the desired objects to create the scene, arranging them and taking a screenshot. Of course, one can also proceed to make adjustments (e.g. adding tints) to create the ambience they want, in Photoshop.

For those that don't have The Sims 2, you could always scout around for people in popular Sims 2 forums like ModTheSims2. Because creating background art this way is so much easier and simplified, I'm optimistic that the turnover rate (and production rate!) will be much better as well. In fact, I myself would gladly volunteer to help if I weren't in my final year now.

If anyone is interested in using this method and wants to know where to get good content, I'll be more than happy to provide you with lots of excellent sites. Or if there's any object in particular that you need, I don't mind looking around on your behalf either.

Or if anyone would like more examples on what can be done, just say it. I'll post more screenies for your viewing pleasure :D

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#4 Post by Glasskitten » Sat Mar 25, 2006 4:29 pm

If I ever make sufficient progress on a game to need backgrounds for it, I might ask. =^_^=
I always liked games like that provide a person with an unlimited supply of potentially useful artwork.



Edited for minor grammatical inconsistency.
Last edited by Glasskitten on Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#5 Post by RedSlash » Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:59 am

I believe there would be legal issues using Sims characters in your game.
Shoving legal issues aside, you can prob try Soul Caliber 3 too. It has some character creation system. There's also that free (or was free) 3D character creation thingy discussed a while ago, AIKO I believe it was called. If you're really looking for the easy way out, you might as well purchase a copy of Enterbrain's renai simulation tool.

In my opinion, I think everyone whos looking to make character art should give it a try themselves! I would personally give it your best shot regardless of what it turns out. With much practice, you may find yourself getting good at it! It's hard and difficult alright, but its worth the effort.

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#6 Post by Glasskitten » Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:25 pm

I have the Aiko thingy, which I also think is a good idea (better for anime art than Sims models), although my skill at posing and rendering characters may have to improve considerably before I am able to make full use of that resource.
(I think some things are easier to accomplish in the commercial Poser program than in the free DAZ renderer I am using...life would be so much better with unlimited wealth...not to mention unlimited time and talent...*grumble*)
Grand list of things not officially canceled:
Salt -- the heartwarming story of brain-eating space worms
Tangent -- an epic poem and/or novel about a borderline-autistic Martian imp and her relationship with God
Kittens of the Darned -- a grimdark soap opera about sexy catgirls (Indefinitely postponed until I learn to draw and color realistically)
The Other Mary -- the most perfect fic about the most perfect Mary Sue EVER
Rockheart -- a short story about a monster who kills everyone
Corrupted -- a completely different short story about a monster who kills everyone (late Worst Visual Novel Ever)
Checkpoint 36a -- the transcription of a short multi-ending dream about time travel and undead schoolgirls
In Which the Princess is Kidnapped -- an entry in the "ordinary girl ends up in an alien universe and tries to save it" genre
Pictogram Scramble: Magical Friendship Bunny Ivy -- a Flash game about a magical girl making friends (Indefinitely postponed until I learn how friendship works)

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#7 Post by Radhreni » Tue Mar 28, 2006 1:11 am

When you mention AIKO, do you mean the model and assorted premade parts for Daz Studio 3D?

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#8 Post by RedSlash » Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:45 am

Here it is (AIKO):
http://www.daz3d.com/shop.php?op=itemdetails&item=2866
Amazing! It's still free!

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#9 Post by Glasskitten » Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:38 pm

But only until the end of NaNoRenO of this year, apparently...=^O.O^=
Grand list of things not officially canceled:
Salt -- the heartwarming story of brain-eating space worms
Tangent -- an epic poem and/or novel about a borderline-autistic Martian imp and her relationship with God
Kittens of the Darned -- a grimdark soap opera about sexy catgirls (Indefinitely postponed until I learn to draw and color realistically)
The Other Mary -- the most perfect fic about the most perfect Mary Sue EVER
Rockheart -- a short story about a monster who kills everyone
Corrupted -- a completely different short story about a monster who kills everyone (late Worst Visual Novel Ever)
Checkpoint 36a -- the transcription of a short multi-ending dream about time travel and undead schoolgirls
In Which the Princess is Kidnapped -- an entry in the "ordinary girl ends up in an alien universe and tries to save it" genre
Pictogram Scramble: Magical Friendship Bunny Ivy -- a Flash game about a magical girl making friends (Indefinitely postponed until I learn how friendship works)

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#10 Post by absinthe » Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:42 pm

How the heck did you get such cute Sims? The best I've ever managed is 'not unattractive'.

On the legal issues, I'd point towards a game called 'The Movies'. Over the three years of development, a lot of the fans built up very high expectations of it being a 'movie making tool' instead of what it was, a game.

The game company reserved all the rights to their art and content. You could make a movie using their game, and you retained the rights to the story and anything else you brought to the table (custom backgrounds, music, etc.) but they retained the rights to everything else.

Which meant you could only distribute movies made with The Movies under their terms (essentially 'if it's for non-commercial purposes, go ahead, and we can yank anything you upload to our site for advertising purposes'). So you could make a freely distributed Ren'py game using clips created in The Movies, but you'd be constrained by the fact that part of your content is owned by someone else -- and that's a LOT of work to go to for an end result you don't even completely own.

From what I understand, if the program is a tool then your output is yours (say, a DVD authoring program) but if it's a game, it isn't. So I'd guess Sims content would be a no legally -- and even if it wasn't flat out no (say, because the game company is so lenient with modders), would you really want the chance that your hard work could be undistributable some day because of copyright issues?
My 2007 NaNo entry: Eidolon

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#11 Post by RedSlash » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:14 pm

But only until the end of NaNoRenO of this year, apparently...=^O.O^=
I remember it expiring long before that if Im correct. Maybe not.
So you could make a freely distributed Ren'py game using clips created in The Movies, but you'd be constrained by the fact that part of your content is owned by someone else -- and that's a LOT of work to go to for an end result you don't even completely own.
You wouldn't be able to incorporate clips using The Movies with Ren'py legally because mostly likely, the license in "The Movies" only permits you to use their work in their game and no where else.

Does anyone know what the licences is on AIKO? Is it freely distributable? Just wondering.

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#12 Post by bardsmanship » Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:47 am

absinthe wrote:How the heck did you get such cute Sims? The best I've ever managed is 'not unattractive'.
First of all, I'm not the one who made those sims; I posted screenshots from a site because the computer my Sims 2 game is on is spoilt. But anyway, the key is downloading GOOD custom content. The defaults (most of them, anyway) pretty much suck.
From what I understand, if the program is a tool then your output is yours (say, a DVD authoring program) but if it's a game, it isn't. So I'd guess Sims content would be a no legally -- and even if it wasn't flat out no (say, because the game company is so lenient with modders), would you really want the chance that your hard work could be undistributable some day because of copyright issues?
Actually, I would, and here's why:

1. If I make a game with Sims 2 content, I would never ever even THINK about profiteering off it. This is probably only me, since my main motivation for making games is to tell a story and not to make money.

2. Because my main motivation is to tell a story, I don't really care whether the content is perfectly legal or not. And I'm hopeless at graphics, so something like the Sims 2 would really help me overcome the graphics hurdle. Of course no doubt the best thing would be to draw all the backgrounds myself, but I have neither the time nor commitment to do so. Besides, my crappy art skills would never do justice to the scenarios and atmosphere I want to create in my game.

3. Like you said, there's actually only a very minute chance that a game created using Sims 2 content will come under fire by Maxis or EA, especially since it's not going to be commercial and I'll be labelling it a sort of 'fangame' anyway.

I know this idea's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it works for me, and I hope it works for others like me as well. For those who don't like it, there's always other avenues to turn to, like using AIKO and similar programs, or learning to actually draw yourself. :D

EDIT: Most of the posts so far seem to focus on the 'creating characters' aspect of using The Sims 2 as a graphical resource, although my initial intention was to bring across its potential in creating good backgrounds for games. I suppose this could be because the pictures I posted all had good-looking Sims in them, so let me try again: since so many traditional ren'ai games are schoolbased, let's have a look at a possible classroom scene, pulled off from modthesims2.com.

Image
Last edited by bardsmanship on Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#13 Post by uchuusen » Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:51 am

Hey everybody, I don't post much here, but this topic really interested me.
RedSlash wrote:Does anyone know what the licences is on AIKO? Is it freely distributable? Just wondering.
I'm no expert on this, but if I understand it correctly, I think you can use the rendered images for whatever purpose, but you can't distribute the actual 3D model (the file you open up in the 3D software).

I just downloaded the AIKO thing and DAZ|Studio, and after looking around the web for free stuff to use with it, I see that most free 3D stuff you'll find are okay to use for non-commercial purposes. So as long as you don't plan to sell your game, it should be alright.

I may end up using this myself actually, if I can ever finish a script.

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#14 Post by bardsmanship » Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:00 am

Hmm, since there's so much interest in AIKO, I guess I'd really like to know how creating characters in it is like. Do you have to do a lot of 3D modelling or is it more of a quick-n-easy thing like in The Sims 2? Because I really don't want to have to actually learn 3D modelling just so I can create good-looking characters.

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#15 Post by ShiraiJunichi » Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:00 pm

You are given the model, and you are allowed to move all the joints. It's not near as easy as the SIMs, but it gives you more freedom. From what I recall, the base of AIKO is free, but if what you to have clothes, facial expressions, and other stuff, you have to buy them, or create them yourself. I imagine creating your own 3D objects is quite difficult

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