(answered)Too many sprites...?

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o v e n
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(answered)Too many sprites...?

#1 Post by o v e n » Thu May 23, 2013 8:58 am

EDIT: HOLY COW, thanks, everybody. I'm looking into all methods linked and mentioned. As for the game itself, it is still just a baby demo that runs for maybe one minute of gameplay so I can work out things like layout, menus and sound. Itty bitty baby demo, nowhere near completion. My only worry was the sprites I already had worked on with mah co-conspirator were pretty large saves and had to be scaled down on their own. I am definitely going to utilize some image-safe file compression, though.

Thank you, again.


The one thing that always enthralled me with VN/dating sims (or even games like Persona and Harvest moon, where the illustrated sprites that came with the dialogue were independent from the actual character avatars) was studying the different expressions of the characters as you interacted with them. It was worth it to give a rude response and labor the reloading to a nicer choice just to see the facial expressions and overall reaction of any given character. Many an hour in the load screen for many a Bioware game (because I can't stand playing the 'evil' path, I just can't) just to hear that awesome dialogue branching.

But in attempting to replicate that feel of variety and interest, I've run into a slight problem. Not just facial expression, but overall pose and eventually wardrobe will be an evolving matter-of-course through the game I'm writing and well... so many img files. @_@ One might even say too many.

Drawing and pairing and organizing the pics isn't a problem - I draw as I write to keep the expressions and special effects (wardrobe, injuries) current with the storyline, but wowza does that ratchet up the game's overall file size like nobody's business. I've settled for keeping the screen in a low res (800x600) but saving all in PNG so fullscreen doesn't butcher anything, but man. My question is thus: is it worth it? Will that much variance in character and change (not just main character, either, but side-characters and dynamic in poses and unlockable outfits) make up for the larger-than-life download time that is sure to accompany?

I mean, the player can only be engaged in the game if they can actually download it in the first place. @_@ Should I just... trim some of that fat? Re-playability is my main goal here, basically (and I won't budge from PNG because I'm an image snob), sooo - nix the crazygonuts expressions/poses, or the unlockable outfits? At what point does a player stop looking at the sprites and is just sort of zeroed in on the dialogue and narration? Would too-dynamic image changes actually distract from the story and speech, or...?
Last edited by o v e n on Thu May 23, 2013 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Too many sprites...?

#2 Post by EroBotan » Thu May 23, 2013 9:48 am

In my opinion, as long as you can still finish the game and not ended burnt out because of all the drawings then do it.

I don't think the majority of people will complain about the amount of poses being distracting .. I mean if they're annoying how can they're so popular in VNs and RPGs?

how big is it anyway?
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Re: Too many sprites...?

#3 Post by merdeamour » Thu May 23, 2013 9:54 am

I'm someone who's more drawn to the story than the art, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the art. I think having a lot of poses, with additional outfits thrown in would add to the VN's appeal, not decrease it said appeal. In my opinion, a game with an engaging story and equally engaging art would compensate for the large file download. (:
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Re: Too many sprites...?

#4 Post by nyaatrap » Thu May 23, 2013 10:09 am

It's rare to see who complains about size and quantity of images, at least, in my country (actually, it's none. people rather complains small size)
And you don't need to keep 800x600 in normal games. It's rather hard to get a performance problem in this size without special animation sequence.
Major problem of too many I can come up with now is:
・Amount of Layers in the game composition
・Amount of animations (it's too obvious)
・Time of drawing artists spend
・Time of scripting scripter spend

Btw, it's fairly easy to just reduce file size in script. I can tell you how to if you give me details.

Though I won't to have too many expression, because i'm a scripter, who spend many time on coding. I found scripting many expressions takes longer time rather than drawing them.

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Re: Too many sprites...?

#5 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Thu May 23, 2013 10:24 am

Bigger file size means more content. More content implies variety. Variety is appealing.

Make your game as big as is needs to be. If it's worth playing, then I'm confident those people with terrible internet connections will be willing to wait a little longer.

In Tokyo we can download 1GB in under 4 minutes, and I know some others have much faster speeds. Please don't even think about file size. Make your game how you want it to be.
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Re: Too many sprites...?

#6 Post by Tempus » Thu May 23, 2013 10:59 am

o v e n wrote:Drawing and pairing and organizing the pics isn't a problem - I draw as I write to keep the expressions and special effects (wardrobe, injuries) current with the storyline, but wowza does that ratchet up the game's overall file size like nobody's business. I've settled for keeping the screen in a low res (800x600) but saving all in PNG so fullscreen doesn't butcher anything, but man.
http://www.renpy.org/wiki/renpy/doc/cookbook/JCC << it might be worth looking into that. How large is the game's overall size thus far anyway?
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Re: Too many sprites...?

#7 Post by Desu_Cake » Thu May 23, 2013 11:11 am

Are you using composite images?
Since the large amount of images is coming from variations, it'd be the most efficient way to reduce image size.

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Re: Too many sprites...?

#8 Post by pwisaguacate » Thu May 23, 2013 11:35 am

I like to think that a 1 hour of gameplay to 150 MB ratio is okay. At 48 KB/s, that's a 1 hour download. (I download much faster than that, though at half of average Japanese speed.)

EDIT: Related to what Boomsickle just said, I remember during the dreaded dial-up times I could actually wait all day for an MMO without fussing much =D.
Last edited by pwisaguacate on Thu May 23, 2013 12:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Too many sprites...?

#9 Post by Boomsickle » Thu May 23, 2013 11:50 am

I'd be willing to download any file size as long as the quality of the art was high or it was a long game.

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Re: (answered)Too many sprites...?

#10 Post by o v e n » Thu May 23, 2013 12:15 pm

HOLY COW, thanks, everybody. I'm looking into all methods linked and mentioned. As for the game itself, it is still just a baby demo that runs for maybe one minute of gameplay so I can work out things like layout, menus and sound. Itty bitty baby demo, nowhere near completion. My only worry was the sprites I already had worked on with mah co-conspirator were pretty large saves and had to be scaled down on their own. I am definitely going to utilize some of dat image-safe file compression, though.

Thank you, again.

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Re: (answered)Too many sprites...?

#11 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Thu May 23, 2013 1:50 pm

I'm curious if the art style for your game will be similar to your avatar. Hope so.
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Re: (answered)Too many sprites...?

#12 Post by arachni42 » Thu May 23, 2013 8:39 pm

o v e n wrote:The one thing that always enthralled me with VN/dating sims (or even games like Persona and Harvest moon, where the illustrated sprites that came with the dialogue were independent from the actual character avatars) was studying the different expressions of the characters as you interacted with them.
I enjoy the same thing... although something I've really noticed is that expressions are context-dependent. An expression that seems to specifically mean "bored-but-too-polite-to-tell-you" in one scene will be somehow transformed to "quietly-angry-but-going-to-kill-you-in-your-sleep" in another scene. Basically, the same exact same graphic can mean different things in the context of different dialog. Don't get me wrong -- Persona 3/4, Disgaea, etc. do have a fair number of sprites, but the emotions they express are much higher in number. For example, I remember enjoying how much mileage they got out of P4 Yosuke's "yyyyeeeEEEsh" face. Most of the time it was used in a light comical manner, but other times it was used in sadness, anger, or frustration. Notice that it's really the same expression modified even for certain ... dramatic changes in wardrobe.

One thing that is important, though, is that every sprite is visually interesting. In those games I found myself admiring the sprites because the same sprites continued to be interesting to look at all through the game. Personally I think the biggest limitation is the amount of work it takes to do all the expressions/clothes, rather than file size.
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Re: Too many sprites...?

#13 Post by o v e n » Sat May 25, 2013 12:09 am

EroBotan wrote: I don't think the majority of people will complain about the amount of poses being distracting .. I mean if they're annoying how can they're so popular in VNs and RPGs?

how big is it anyway?
I guess I didn't mean distracting or annoying, but rather disregarded or redundant or to the point where a player is simply reading the text and clicking through, not paying attention to whether the character's face changes from one line to the next (if their "!!"face is in a pose that doesn't change from their "..." face - I tend to miss the change entirely!). The demo itself is not very big at all - the style of illustration is simple and cartoonish so it's easy to keep images small to make room for greater variety - I just foresaw that number ballooning exponentially the more story branches were created.

My only fear is finding a file host site that the game wouldn't be too big for, as it's going to be free and free to distribute and... hm.
nyaatrap wrote:
Though I won't to have too many expression, because i'm a scripter, who spend many time on coding. I found scripting many expressions takes longer time rather than drawing them.
Thank you for the info! And yeah, I draw as I write the story into the script - we have a finished story that I'm just adapting to the game pace - so as I need an expression/pose I'll draw it, add it to the appropriate folder, script it in and at the end of the 'chapter' I'll have written the file names on a pad of paper and just go to the top to ref the tags in. I'll sometimes do 'batches' if I need to, but I don't burn out this way.

It's not the scripting that seems to take too long so much as TESTING the game over and over. @_@ Always happy if something works on the first try. Gives me confidence to keep going. :]

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Re: (answered)Too many sprites...?

#14 Post by o v e n » Sat May 25, 2013 12:29 am

meredeamor wrote:
I'm someone who's more drawn to the story than the art, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the art. I think having a lot of poses, with additional outfits thrown in would add to the VN's appeal, not decrease it said appeal. In my opinion, a game with an engaging story and equally engaging art would compensate for the large file download. (:
:D !
I like story and art. Or rather, I can't necessarily create one without adding in/working on the other, or I'll lose interest pretty fast. Here's hoping the combination makes the game stronger!
TrickWithAKnife wrote: Bigger file size means more content. More content implies variety. Variety is appealing.

Make your game as big as is needs to be. If it's worth playing, then I'm confident those people with terrible internet connections will be willing to wait a little longer.

In Tokyo we can download 1GB in under 4 minutes, and I know some others have much faster speeds. Please don't even think about file size. Make your game how you want it to be.
I... temporarily forgot why I was worried. Then I remembered! File hosting sites. Not so much a problem with huge download as a problem with needing to use a free file host site, and there being a dl limit based on bandwidth or an issue not getting the game up at all or... and yes, the more time passes the less filesize and bandwidth is an issue with anybody - even filehosting sites. I'm old I have I old-person insecurities go away don't look at me. xD
Tempus wrote:
http://www.renpy.org/wiki/renpy/doc/cookbook/JCC << it might be worth looking into that. How large is the game's overall size thus far anyway?
That is perfect and beautiful and oh man thank you. I'll see what it does to a fullscreen stretch. I feel kinda like a fish in dead water here, I don't actually KNOW the filesize of the game thus far as it is on the computer at home, and I'm currently traveling (long time forum lurker, first time registrant/poster). So, yes! Half a file size reduction seem okay by me. (I do the same thing with sound files. mp3 over WAV because eeeesh.)

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Re: Too many sprites...?

#15 Post by o v e n » Sat May 25, 2013 12:44 am

Desu_Cake wrote:Are you using composite images?
Since the large amount of images is coming from variations, it'd be the most efficient way to reduce image size.
I guess I'd have to ask how that would work, exactly, in terms of saving space? Reads like a display effect. O.o
pwisaguacate wrote: I like to think that a 1 hour of gameplay to 150 MB ratio is okay. At 48 KB/s, that's a 1 hour download. (I download much faster than that, though at half of average Japanese speed.)

EDIT: Related to what Boomsickle just said, I remember during the dreaded dial-up times I could actually wait all day for an MMO without fussing much =D.
Ahahah, I remember waiting HALF A WEEK for an mmo and the other half of the week for the patches. I think it's that kind of ptsd that prompted this worry. :B

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