Multiple Tertiary Characters

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Auro-Cyanide
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Multiple Tertiary Characters

#1 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:47 am

Not so much looking for a solution as a couple options. It's somehing I have been mulling over.

Lets say there is a part of the story in a VN where the main character/s are interacting with 3 or more tertiary characters. This is the only time these characters ever turn up, but the interaction is more than 1 or 2 lines. What is the best way to approuch this, in your opinion (Please state reasons if you can)?:

- Show all the characters.
- Show one character who will be the main spokesperson for a group. All lines not spoken by them would be off screen.
- Don't show any of them.
- Other?

I'm mostly looking for things that you would like or would irk you as a player, don't worry too much about the labour involved. I'll be looking for a way to get a balance between effect and effort.
Last edited by Auro-Cyanide on Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#2 Post by LVUER » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:06 am

Use a common sprite for all tertiary character (differentiated only by gender and occupation), like those used in RPG. Like Student Boy A, Student Boy B and Student Girl C... (both student boys have similar sprite).
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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#3 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:11 am

LVUER wrote:Use a common sprite for all tertiary character (differentiated only by gender and occupation), like those used in RPG. Like Student Boy A, Student Boy B and Student Girl C... (both student boys have similar sprite).
I'm using a doll sprite, though I add elements to them to differentiate them. So you think all sprites (with more than a couple lines) should be shown on screen at all times?

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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#4 Post by Camille » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:23 am

Also I can always rewrite scenes so there's less tertiary characters. XD

I actually played this one VN where all the tertiary characters had only sidesprites. So we might also go that route? Because then it'd be a lot easier to make up a few hairstyles and whatever for variation without making so many different full sprites.
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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#5 Post by LVUER » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:10 am

Auro-Cyanide wrote:
LVUER wrote:Use a common sprite for all tertiary character (differentiated only by gender and occupation), like those used in RPG. Like Student Boy A, Student Boy B and Student Girl C... (both student boys have similar sprite).
I'm using a doll sprite, though I add elements to them to differentiate them. So you think all sprites (with more than a couple lines) should be shown on screen at all times?
If all sprites are unique, it could be a bother since reader/player could think they are important characters. IMO, you should give them a generic sprite (and generic name) or just don't show them at all (off-screen characters). But that's just me.
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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#6 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:03 am

Camille wrote:Also I can always rewrite scenes so there's less tertiary characters. XD

I actually played this one VN where all the tertiary characters had only sidesprites. So we might also go that route? Because then it'd be a lot easier to make up a few hairstyles and whatever for variation without making so many different full sprites.
It's mostly Masaharu's scenes so far because I think the teritary characters are really important in helping to set them up, so I have been tossing up how to deal with it. One of the main things is I don't really want to have that many not-so-important people on screen at the same time ESPECIALLY if I am using dolls. It would be crowded and obvious.

Not using any sprites feels like a bit of a cop out and might make the dramtic scenes less dramatic. Though it is fairly common in VNs.

Using just one sprite is an option I have been toying with, but I'm wondering if that would just get confusing for the player.

I hadn't thought of side sprites. Might be an option.

For something so simple it's rather complicated o.o Might be another way to approuch it all together. The scenes themselves are important to the overall story so I want them to come across naturally, so I was seeing if I could guage how people would feel it SHOULD be done.

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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#7 Post by Joey » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:14 am

I think the one way not to approach this would be to show every single character on screen; I think LVUER has a point, if I saw so many different-looking characters I'd think that they're important rather than just Student A, B, C etc. If you've already made different bodies/hairstyles etc. for your doll base though, I think showing them would be fine, but maybe you should black/dim out their faces (I've seen this done somewhere) so it's obvious that they're never going to appear again. I think it'd be a nice touch, especially since it seems like you've done a lot of work on them so far :'D

As for me if my partner can't churn out sprites for tertiary characters, I'm just not going to show them on screen... But then again I don't have too many scenes like that, so my situation's a little different huh. :<
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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#8 Post by LVUER » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:22 am

Just like Joey said, what I mean generic sprite is sprite that could fit to everyone, usually being faceless or wearing hat/helmet that obscuring their faces and hair (the only distinct feature for a person in anime style drawing).

In most anime, manga, and games, you instantly know which character important or not by seeing their faces and hair. Characters that wear helmet or something obscuring their faces (except for a very cool mask) or worse, being faceless, could be safely labeled as 'unimportant generic characters that you could safely ignore'
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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#9 Post by Camille » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:28 am

Just to clarify... We already have very generic looking sprites for these tertiary characters and they don't have names. It's pretty much like Student A, B, C, already, so I think it'd be obvious to the player that they're not very important/memorable characters.

The problem is... For example, we have scenes (important and dramatic ones) where one of the main characters is talking to 3 side characters at the same time. That's why Auro's asking how we should show these 3 characters because they're all there at one time. It'd be extremely confusing if all three of them looked mostly the same and appeared at the same time, I think. ^^;
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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#10 Post by Anna » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:52 am

I had a problem which was somewhat like this too.

The way I solved it was having two (but one should do) representatives of these characters who had unique designs and names. When the tertiary characters said something, their text appeared but they didn't. I made sure these two representatives did more than the others and deserved to have a face, the others weren't shown because a) it was too much unnecessary work, but mainly b) it would make the player think they would play a larger role.

Anyway, you can also make it so that they're named after what you see on their generic sprites, if you really want sprites. Such as 'short haired girl' 'freckled boy' whatever you want that's easy to link to the generic sprite. Using those 'names' are better than 'Student A' and 'Student B', because they actually tell you something about the students, thus making it less confusing.

If all of that doesn't work... rewrite it to have less tertiary characters ^^;?

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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#11 Post by kaleidofish » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:21 am

The way I would do it is to pick out one of the tertiary characters - the one that said the most or was the most "representative" of the group (to borrow Anna's word choice) - to be in the forefront. If none of them stick out more than the others, then pick the lucky character at random. The other two would be behind that person, represented by silhouettes.

That way, there's the illusion of having more than one character there, without the worry that their "dollness" would be too apparent. The tertiary characters would speak as they normally would. It'd be less confusing for the player, too, than just having a single sprite on the screen that represents three people.
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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#12 Post by SusanTheCat » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:10 pm

I like @kaleidofish 's idea about showing one, and having the others be silhouettes. If you combine that with side images for who's talking then it becomes visually clear who's talking and the main screen isn't cluttered with too many sprites.

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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#13 Post by Kura » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:45 pm

Having one "representative" sprite for all the tertiary characters sounds like the best idea to me. The silhouettes could work really well too, especially because they could still give the impression of a group. Maybe it could also work to use doll sprites and just position them with one visible in front and two partially hidden behind the first one? If you can't entirely see them, that would help to suggest that they're unimportant characters.

It might look odd using side-sprites for the tertiary characters if side-sprites aren't used any other time in the game.
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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#14 Post by Anarchy » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:32 pm

I think I like the idea of not showing them as actual sprites, but having unique side-images. I think giving them sprites would give off the wrong impression that they're actually going to have a significant role in the story.

Of course, this is if you're already using side-images for all the characters.

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Re: Multiple Tertiary Characters

#15 Post by Endorphin » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:45 pm

Hmmm... Yes, kaleidofish solution sounds nice.
If sihouettes look to hard you could just size them down and blur them a little - might looks a little more threedimensional.

I don't know about the side images - guess it would look nice?
Might really look a bit confusing at first if you don't normally use them but it would be easier then the full sprites, I guess?
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