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Author Topic: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.  (Read 1480 times)

JesterHell696

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2019, 02:30:02 am »

I mentioned Unreal World quoting Toady from a podcast a couple of years back where he was talking with the Unreal World guy about how much revenue increased on releasing to Steam. They didn't quote figures of course. And yes that's the sort of level we're talking about. Not Minecraft. Toady isn't "going mainstream". He's releasing his one-man indie project on Steam in the hopes to of a more stable income (with the help of a publisher who's paying for a tileset to make it a worthwhile product).

This is another one of those it is a relative things, IMHO a steam release means "mainstream" for indie titles as thats is where most indies title end up, its why I did the "mainsteam" pun to indicate that I see them as synonymous and Minecraft was originally developed by one man and I fully know why he's doing it that partially why I suggested it in the first place.

If I didn't know that I tend to suck at explaining thing I would think you where just being difficult and ignoring what I've said but it far more likely I just not explaining my position well, this is about making DF's steam release more successful as the majority of potential players will flavor a portrait they can see over a description they must read.

Since DF already uses genetics and has a detailed description system it is hypothetically plausible to translate that system from a written one into a graphical one and not a completely new feature, if DF is already going to redesign parts of the GUI and get sound and graphics support why not take this opportunity to add in what is one of the most potentially beneficial additions to make right be for doing a mainstream release? which imho is what a steam release is although I feel that you would prefer the term commercial release.


Now, if he's successful, it all goes to his head and he quits the passion project in favour of making something mainstream and marketable, that's fine and resources can be pumped into somehow competing with Microsoft. But he hasn't indicated that's going to happen yet.

Really man?

This has nothing to do with "going to his head" or competing with Minecraft after it was sold and everything to do with if you are going to commit to a course of action aka a commercial release for the purpose of funding your life and the continued development of the game your goal should be to achieve as much commercial success as possible with that release and Minecraft is IMHO the measuring stick for indie success.

I see big success as being able to sell out to a company like Microsoft, whether you do or not is up to you but that's the goal post for any type of commercial success indie or otherwise, getting offers from wealthy people/institutions to buy your idea, that is as they say how "you know you've made it".

I know this is not Toady's goal, big success/selling out, but if you're going to sell DF commercially might as well do it as well as possible and in my opinion that means not just aiming to release it on to a platform but adapt it to that platform so as to maximise your chances of success and since Toady has agreed to have an official tileset for the steam release I think that he agrees with that principle on some level.

I'll admit that a portrait system is not necessary but nor is a tileset or a sound track but each little thing you add improves the impression it'll make upon its release and you only get one first impression, if the first time loading up the game people are forced into reading half-page long descriptions many people that might otherwise like the game will be put off, I know it took me 5 tries before I stuck it out to learn DF because I really hated having to check every goddamn symbol, whats this? whats this? whats this? and I only stuck it out once I got a tileset and while I now play without one I never would have learnt without one.

I means whats the point of doing a commercial release, hiring artists to produce art assets to the game, getting a proper sound track if you're not trying to make your passion project into "something marketable" the whole point of the steam release is for DF to be marketed and sold, I personally think portraits could be the difference between having selling 150 000 units or 200 000 units and I'm pretty sure everyone involved would rather 200 000 sales so why not have a look at such a system?

But imho if it could increase initial sales by just 10% it would be worth it such a system because imho its expandability if its accessible to modders will mean wider appeal long term.
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"The long-term goal is to create a fantasy world simulator in which it is possible to take part in a rich history, occupying a variety of roles through the course of several games." Bay 12 DF development page

"My stance is that Dwarf Fortress is first and foremost a simulation and that balance is a secondary objective that is always secondary to it being a simulation while at the same time cannot be ignored completely." -Neonivek

therahedwig

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2019, 08:58:36 am »

Mind, it does sound like it's getting a bit of a philosophical discussion at this point; there's no way to prove it could increase sales by 10% :)

I think the best thing to say at this point is that it largely depends on what mephday thinks is feasible. For my part it's like 'yeah, that's a loooooot of work', and this is from experience with making paper dolls myself as well as the teensy little problem that a face is a bit more than the sum of it's parts, treating it as such will make it look super-janky :)

There's simplications possible; you could have smiley-faces with appropriate skin colors as a starter.
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Luckyowl

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2020, 05:20:04 am »

Maybe they can do what they already do with CDDA tileset, "UNDEAD PEOPLE,CHESTHOLE." Where their sprites are define by their description. I mean you would have to drop  stuff like eyebrows,nose,eyes shape, and anything small. Only defining  skin, hairstyle,hair color, and eye color. Sure it won't  be super detail, but at least, females will have separate  sprites from males, and it makes it Will be easy for us to identify what civ they are from off the bat. yeah I heard their are arguments like they will all look the same, but c'mon, you got tilesets where everyone looks the same with profession defining clothes.
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Shonai_Dweller

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2020, 03:39:32 pm »

Maybe they can do what they already do with CDDA tileset, "UNDEAD PEOPLE,CHESTHOLE." Where their sprites are define by their description. I mean you would have to drop  stuff like eyebrows,nose,eyes shape, and anything small. Only defining  skin, hairstyle,hair color, and eye color. Sure it won't  be super detail, but at least, females will have separate  sprites from males, and it makes it Will be easy for us to identify what civ they are from off the bat. yeah I heard their are arguments like they will all look the same, but c'mon, you got tilesets where everyone looks the same with profession defining clothes.
Pretty sure that's exactly what's planned for the new tileset.
Take a look at the official thread:
http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=173474.0
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JesterHell696

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2020, 10:03:16 pm »

Mind, it does sound like it's getting a bit of a philosophical discussion at this point; there's no way to prove it could increase sales by 10% :)

I agree, I was getting a bit out there, its just that I know people that like the stories DF generates but are unwilling to put up with its problems and one those that I hear a lot is the graphics, since DF is already getting a tileset, soundtrack and presumable a UI overhaul before Steam I thought that one area that could use that extra presentation is the true stars of Dwarf Fortress, the characters.

I think that what DF is really about is the stories of the dwarves living in your fortress, their lives, their loves, their hates and making them more "visible" to players as characters is important and one of the best ways to do that is with a portrait, its like the difference between talking to someone face to face or over the phone where seeing who you're talking to helps "humanise" them.

I think the best thing to say at this point is that it largely depends on what mephday thinks is feasible. For my part it's like 'yeah, that's a loooooot of work', and this is from experience with making paper dolls myself as well as the teensy little problem that a face is a bit more than the sum of it's parts, treating it as such will make it look super-janky :)

I disagree, mainly because it is no more work then the total goal of DF, would it be lots works? yes but compared to the stated goals of DF's multi-decade development its nothing really, I think that a"janky" portrait is preferable to a written description for the general public and a janky portrait can be refined over time to be less and less janky but the written description is done and dusted for the most part.

If Warsim: the realm of Aslona can do this,

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

And Princess & Conquest can do what I posted above,

Kobolds
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Humans
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Insects/ants
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Skeletons
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Ghosts
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Cat Person
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Dog Person
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Then surely DF as one of if not the most ambitious games to ever to be made should be able to have something right? especially if they're trying to go, at least on some level, commercial.

There's simplications possible; you could have smiley-faces with appropriate skin colors as a starter.

Got to start somewhere and just having a system in game that allows for portraits to be pulled up is the first step and if Toady and Threetoes continue to develop DF for the next 20 years then those portraits can be improved upon and expend over those 20 years, its just that IMHO if they ever are going to include a portrait system of any kind they want it in for the initial steam release, if its now or never I vote now.



Also while it is not related I've never liked nor agreed with the phase "more then the sum of its parts" because nothing is ever more then the sum of its part.

A band is just the sum of its parts (singer + guitarist + drummer = band ect) the reason bands often fail when they change a member is that a new member has a different "value" resulting in a different "sum".

A human is a sum of their parts (brain, heart, lungs etc, = human) people that get organ donations often experience changes in preference to food, music or other activities as their "sum" has changed.

A face is just the sum of its parts (eyes, lips, shape, colour ,etc) and sufficient plastic surgery can completely change a face.

Its just a question of in how much detail you consider each part as to whether you think there is "more" in the "sum" but I am one of those people that believe human beings are just self-replicating meat-machines and that all existence could be explained by a sufficiently complex mathematical equation so as far as I'm concerned "more" does not exist and the idea of "more" is just the result of missing data.



Maybe they can do what they already do with CDDA tileset, "UNDEAD PEOPLE,CHESTHOLE." Where their sprites are define by their description. I mean you would have to drop  stuff like eyebrows,nose,eyes shape, and anything small. Only defining  skin, hairstyle,hair color, and eye color. Sure it won't  be super detail, but at least, females will have separate  sprites from males, and it makes it Will be easy for us to identify what civ they are from off the bat. yeah I heard their are arguments like they will all look the same, but c'mon, you got tilesets where everyone looks the same with profession defining clothes.

In adventure mode you already get descriptions like, "fat fish dissector" or "thin mayor" but that's gone as soon as you talk to them and know their name and most people aren't going to remember that initial description or the DF language name, having a actual face to put the name to is something most people enjoy and even if faces end up repeating themselves it is IMHO still preferable to nothing but a written description.

But I am a visual person, no amount of explaining how to change gears helped me, it was only by watching someone else change gears that I learnt how.
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"The long-term goal is to create a fantasy world simulator in which it is possible to take part in a rich history, occupying a variety of roles through the course of several games." Bay 12 DF development page

"My stance is that Dwarf Fortress is first and foremost a simulation and that balance is a secondary objective that is always secondary to it being a simulation while at the same time cannot be ignored completely." -Neonivek

Luckyowl

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2020, 09:04:34 am »

Well Toady is trying to expand the graphic code, so if they don't do it which I don't think they will. You can get a team of artists to make possibly the greatest graphic pack to ever touch Dwarf fortress, but if you do don't wore yourself out, because it's going to be a lot of work. Most likely it will take 2 years to 1 year, depending how you pace yourself.
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therahedwig

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2020, 09:15:48 am »

Quote
A face is just the sum of its parts (eyes, lips, shape, colour ,etc) and sufficient plastic surgery can completely change a face.
No, it is more than the sum of it's parts. You would know this if you could draw, I have now determined you aren't a very good artist. In particular, the problem is ensuring the structural coherence of a face (which, you know, the plastic surgeon would have access to, while a 2d artist needs to create the illusion of it, so that example is moot), which in turn is necessary to ensure that the face doesn't tumble into the uncanny valley (which is what I was trying to imply with janky). A face that is sitting in the uncanny valley is faaaar more inaccessible and off-putting than any paragraph of text will ever be.
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Cathar

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2020, 01:56:12 pm »

Hey, just to interject something as I can somehow draw and I have a vague idea on how this could possibly be done, let me interject in this discussion

1°) Asking Toady to become a 2D artist able to make and combine assets in a hand written code is most likely wishful thinking. Like... that's not going to happen. You would have to hire people, and Toady said no afaik.
2°) There are anatomical rules to faces and you can generate faces with numbers and all. The problem in DF would be the absolute opposite : all faces would look alike. Somehow at least. Face structure in DF is based on your dwarfs genes, their hair is based on their culture, and most likely your dwarves will share both. Your problem would be twofolds then ; how to make all dwarves distinguishable from each other in one hand, while allowing your program to generate picture of FBs, night trolls, bogeymen and custom creatures ?
3°)With that said, a stonesense like improved visualisator would be NICE, but I'd prefer for it to be a fan project than to bother Toady with that. If this happens, I'd be glad to give a hand to produce assets.
4°) Alternatively, if someone can code something to extract values from the dorves in a format that could be pasted on FaceGen 3D, I'd be happy.
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Pillbo

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2020, 05:03:08 pm »

No, it is more than the sum of it's parts. You would know this if you could draw, I have now determined you aren't a very good artist.

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Shonai_Dweller

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2020, 06:54:22 pm »

Hey, just to interject something as I can somehow draw and I have a vague idea on how this could possibly be done, let me interject in this discussion

2°) There are anatomical rules to faces and you can generate faces with numbers and all. The problem in DF would be the absolute opposite : all faces would look alike. Somehow at least. Face structure in DF is based on your dwarfs genes, their hair is based on their culture, and most likely your dwarves will share both.
They did this in URR which worked well. Sadly that world has humans, while DF has dozens of playable races. It's not a game about Dwarves.

Quote
Asking Toady to become a 2D artist able to make and combine assets in a hand written code is most likely wishful thinking. Like... that's not going to happen. You would have to hire people, and Toady said no afaik

Kitfox could hire artists again, say to promote the Myth&Magic new version. They'll need Meph & Mayday to update for all the new stuff in that release anyway.

But, again, no artist working on the game has commented on the ease/difficulty of generating close-up faces for dozens of different playable creatures (plus procgen ones) so I'd be skeptical. They'll more likely be busy with all the new tiles.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2020, 07:02:03 pm by Shonai_Dweller »
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Egan_BW

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2020, 08:09:35 pm »

I'm not smart enough to contribute meaningfully to this discussion, but Mala had a project something like this a while back. This is the thread for it.
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Shonai_Dweller

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2020, 08:48:36 pm »

I'm not smart enough to contribute meaningfully to this discussion, but Mala had a project something like this a while back. This is the thread for it.
Yeah, that was an interesting project. Seems to have stalled unfortunately. Also, a huge amount of work for artists and again, only Dwarves.
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JesterHell696

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2020, 10:22:31 am »

Well Toady is trying to expand the graphic code, so if they don't do it which I don't think they will. You can get a team of artists to make possibly the greatest graphic pack to ever touch Dwarf fortress, but if you do don't wore yourself out, because it's going to be a lot of work. Most likely it will take 2 years to 1 year, depending how you pace yourself.

I honestly don't think it will happen either, its just something that fits into what they are currently doing and if they every were going to do it now is the time as it is something that would heavily affect peoples initial perception of the game, so I suggested it.

As for doing it myself I have to say I've never liked this response to suggestions, a simple graphic pack wont get what I'm suggesting, it would require a 3rd party program to read dwarves descriptions then inject the complied image into the DF window or a separate viewer, neither of which I like or want, I personally would like to see current 3rd part functionality from Dwarf Therapist, Legends Viewer and Perfect World, included in DF native so adding more 3rd party stuff is a no thanks from me.

No, it is more than the sum of it's parts. You would know this if you could draw, I have now determined you aren't a very good artist.

I'll start by saying I haven't done art in over a decade so its took me a while to find but here is one piece of my art from when I was still in high school.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I'll be the first to say it is not "good" but I would also say that it does proves that at least I could draw passably at one point so it not something I which have no understanding of out all.

In particular, the problem is ensuring the structural coherence of a face (which, you know, the plastic surgeon would have access to, while a 2d artist needs to create the illusion of it, so that example is moot), which in turn is necessary to ensure that the face doesn't tumble into the uncanny valley (which is what I was trying to imply with janky). A face that is sitting in the uncanny valley is faaaar more inaccessible and off-putting than any paragraph of text will ever be.

Yes, how you complete the equation does effect the result but the result is still just the sum of its parts so this "structural coherence" you mention is something I know about, some people would say that things like the passage of time time or method used to reach the result is the "more" but I do not personally agree as I see them as just variable parts in the equation.

(Jaw + lips x (Eyes + Nose) x Time) will result in a different "sum" then  (Jaw + lips x Eyes + Nose x Time) does but both result are the just the "sum" of their parts.

I personally take the fact that computers can recognise, change and even create faces thanks to machine learning as "proof", computers do not compute "more" only what is, its just a matter of teaching them how to add the parts together to achieve the desired result, which they can do a little now but they are getting better at it.

Note: I know that the definition of "sum" is just the results of addition but I have always used sum to mean result of any arithmetic and by that definition nothing can be "more" then the sum because that would require something from nothing.

Hey, just to interject something as I can somehow draw and I have a vague idea on how this could possibly be done, let me interject in this discussion

1°) Asking Toady to become a 2D artist able to make and combine assets in a hand written code is most likely wishful thinking. Like... that's not going to happen. You would have to hire people, and Toady said no afaik.

No, I was asking to use the artists that he has already hired to do the tileset for the Steam release, when I started this suggestion toady was afaik still at the time working on villains and had said these artists were waiting on him so I though that if he has already hired people so why not use them to try this why they wait.

2°) There are anatomical rules to faces and you can generate faces with numbers and all. The problem in DF would be the absolute opposite : all faces would look alike. Somehow at least. Face structure in DF is based on your dwarfs genes, their hair is based on their culture, and most likely your dwarves will share both. Your problem would be twofolds then ; how to make all dwarves distinguishable from each other in one hand, while allowing your program to generate picture of FBs, night trolls, bogeymen and custom creatures ?

Difference in hair styles, breaking colours up into finer increments to allow for closer shades, increased variability in genes, blemishes and/or scars etc, there are options to enable having enough distinction for recognition 4/5 times and as for FB's, night-trolls and bogeymen at first they can get handled like they are with the tileset, a dozen variants used as fill-ins but as the mains system expands it would need rotting, skinless, skeletal variants of the mainstream stuff for making zombies and stuff, that covers a a decent amount of ProGen critters as many of them are built using the pieces of mainstream critters.

And as for custom critters that is a mod thing so portraits are a mod issue which is why I suggested (2nd or 3rd post) have the calling system be move to raws or something similar so that artists could work semi-independent of the Dev's and modders could mod in images for their custom races.

The Idea was heavily tied into DF's Steam release and the idea that if DF includes mainstream things like this it will appeal to a wider market, this will lead to more sales, more sales means more funds and more fund means the devs could keep the artist hired to keep expanding the system, which is why in one of my early post I said focus on the main four for release (dwarves, humans, elves, goblins) with one or two place holders for the rest of the critters, if DF Steam release is a success the portrait system can keep being expanded alongside DFs programming development and if not then it like tavern games it gets lost in limbo but if the portrait system is reachable by the raw then modders could if necessary expand it themselves but that would need the portrait system to exist first.

I mean Dwarf Fortress is a continuous project without a defined "end" why should its art be any different?

Some people carefully plan out their suggestion, think of all the edge cases and tries to account for it all themselves delivering detailed dot point etc, I just wanted to throw the idea at the wall and see if it sticks, either the Dev's will see the suggestion, think its reasonable and ask the artist themselves or they'll think its unreasonable and not ask, the choice is theirs.

3°)With that said, a stonesense like improved visualisator would be NICE, but I'd prefer for it to be a fan project than to bother Toady with that. If this happens, I'd be glad to give a hand to produce assets.

I prefer the system to be integrated natively if it is possible, I'm not a fan of all the third part utilities DF has already, I use Dwarf Therapist because the native labour system sucks but I would prefer DT systems to be native to DF and the same goes for Perfect World and Legends Viewer, I use them because the other option is DF's horrible native systems not because I like third part utilities.


But, again, no artist working on the game has commented on the ease/difficulty of generating close-up faces for dozens of different playable creatures (plus procgen ones) so I'd be skeptical. They'll more likely be busy with all the new tiles.

Now that Toady's posted about putting Villains on hold so he can start to work on the Steam release I definitely agree that they would be to busy, my initial suggestion was made before that announcement so the last I had heard before that was that the artists where waiting which is why I started the suggestion, if they where going to be waiting another 6 months then they could be doing/testing this while waiting.

It was also partially inspired by Kruggsmash as I had just found his channel and he is the most successful DF YouTuber I've ever seen and personally I can help but attribute some of that to the accompanying art, including the dwarf portraits which helped make the characters feel real imho.

This suggestion went from a very low chance to a no chance with that announcement.

Also I always though it would be difficult as busy work is hard work, I just thought its not difficult relative to DF's overall development goals, if DF itself is a continuous project then way not DF's art as well?


I'm not smart enough to contribute meaningfully to this discussion,

Neither am I really :p but that doesn't stop me  ;D

but Mala had a project something like this a while back. This is the thread for it.

Very interesting, A decent proof of concept if nothing else.



Anyway, I'm content to let this thread die, feel free to add its link into the Terrible Suggestions Thread, it was a 1/1000 and it missed time so to move on and focus on stuff other than this failed suggestion, still it was fun and I enjoy this little talk.  :D
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"The long-term goal is to create a fantasy world simulator in which it is possible to take part in a rich history, occupying a variety of roles through the course of several games." Bay 12 DF development page

"My stance is that Dwarf Fortress is first and foremost a simulation and that balance is a secondary objective that is always secondary to it being a simulation while at the same time cannot be ignored completely." -Neonivek

voliol

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Re: Paper doll portraits for the Steam release.
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2020, 12:13:55 pm »

It’s not a terrible idea for feature, although it has some complications regarding implementation.

...But either way, we’d need a face generator for ASCII/DF classic as well as the graphic Premium releases.

The aformentioned Warsim has a quite simple face generation mechanism. Each face consists of 7 or so horizontal slices, each picked randomly from a set decided solely by the species and which slice it is. The combination of these make for a stunning amount of possible faces. While many of these faces are funny, it doesn’t hold up to Dwarf Fortress, which needs to have control over the width of a nose when generating a portrait, without it affecting e.g. the ears. Warsim doesn’t really know internally what its faces look like, just which arbitrary parts they are made from.

Ultima Ratio Regum also has some kind of facial generation, and I believe it is truer than that of Warsim, but it also has fancier graphics than DF, with many more colors to choose from.

But as Warsim shows that ASCII (or even text-based) faces are possible wihout stretching DF classic’s capabilities, and URR shows that ”true” facial generation is possible within a tile-based environment, there is hope for ASCII faces within DF.
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