Friday, October 6, 2017

LPC Character Creator Updates!


It's been a while. I'll keep the recap quick-- a lot of sickness, chronic pain, and ER visits were involved. Sometimes it's really hard to program when your head feels like it's caught in a bear trap. The pain's not gone, and I'm popping NSAIDs like they're Halloween candy, but I have been seeing a new specialist since the end of July. And even though I get exhausted pretty easily, the thought of a quick recursive method doesn't make my brain want to melt out of my ears anymore. So! That's good.

So let's talk about the Character Creator, shall we?

You'll notice that this screenshot doesn't look like the others a little further back in my blog. Truth is, the last version and my last approach were getting way too complicated for me. Manual buttons, categories, UI overflow, the sheer amount of all the sprite sets... it really adds up. I needed a better approach.

So, bit by bit lately, I've been going back to Unity and putting in a bit of work here and there. A new responsive UI. A scroll bar that appears when too many options appear. Cataloging everything with XML and dynamically creating the navigation menu.

More importantly, it's working. I'm able to put in major features more quickly and easily than I had with last version's code bloat. Yesterday it was the entire XML import and dynamic navigation system. Today I've finished all preview images and have the program disabling options that don't fit the current body.

So, here are my immediate goals:

1. QA all current images. This includes:
  • 3 body types (man, woman, child)
  • 3 skin colors (coffee, sienna, and ivory) / body type
  • 2 eye colors / body type
  • 2-3 hair styles / body type, x4 colors (black, blonde, brown, red) (28 sprite sheets total)
Add them all up, and this comes out to 43 sprite sheets. Which isn't a small number, but it's not unmanageable, either.

2. Add the animations back in. I'll need to redo a bit of work with the base animation, but the challenging part right now is thinking of a really good UI for it.

3. Expand the preview tools. Add a slider to control the animation speed, increase / decrease the preview sprite's size.

4. Restrict sprite options by animations needed. Because if you need to build a mage character, and your nifty coat disappears during the 'casting' animation... well, that's just not going to work. Select all the animations you'll need when you start and go from there.

Once I have all those things, I'll feel really good about starting to expand the library to the vast and awesome amount of work the good artists at OpenGameArt.org have spent their time and skill sharing with us. I'll also feel okay about releasing an early demo to the web. The heavily, heavily restricted library will only give about 150 unique characters, but playing with it's a start.

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