Spriter: Real-Time Sprite Imposter System

Discuss modding questions and implementation details.
User avatar
MasonFace
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:28 pm
Contact:

Spriter: Real-Time Sprite Imposter System

Post by MasonFace » Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:49 am

I've been working on a Unity Asset for a little while now that can emulate the aesthetics of a sprite from a 3D model in-game. I believe with some high quality 3D models to replace the original NPCs, creatures, etc., this utility's flexibility and level of customization can create the look to suite nearly any user's preferred taste.

For now, it's called "Spriter" (I could really use some suggestions for a better name! :D ).

It may be more easily explained by the video: [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwndXT2 ... nxw03c010c[/youtube]

If you want to give it a try and play around with all the settings, you can download the brand new demo here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Y-xv6s ... sp=sharing (Sorry, Windows only at the moment).

Also, if any of you are working on any 3D models for DFU and you're willing to share, I can create a custom demo for you to play around with your model in the scene if you want.

Anyhow, let me know what you think.

User avatar
Jay_H
Posts: 1767
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:54 am

Re: Spriter: Real-Time Sprite Imposter System

Post by Jay_H » Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:11 am

Originally Daggerfall was going to use hand-drawn art for nearly everything, but the lead artist decided to do some covert work creating 3D models and scanning them into 2D to make good-looking sprites. That's the very short version of how Daggerfall's enemy sprites came into being, which look very different from the townspeople.

In this topic, we're going right back to that original science :D Let's see what comes of this!
Try over 140 all-new quests in the first Daggerfall Unity Quest Pack.

User avatar
King of Worms
Posts: 932
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:18 pm
Location: Scourg Barrow
Contact:

Re: Spriter: Real-Time Sprite Imposter System

Post by King of Worms » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:09 am

Jay, I read the notes from a Daggerfall artist. Besically the dude who posted these high res assets which never made it into the game!
http://web.archive.org/web/199612201703 ... /features/
You can see they have bigger resolution, but also consist of more frames.

What he said was, that the fluctuation of ppl responsible for a sprites and gfx in general was huge. And thats why there is this inconsistency in the art.
Plus that they started to experiment with 3d (just like in this thread) somewhere down the road, to speed things up.

This whole development process of Daggerfall was very turbulent, we are very lucky it got released. and its a miracle it worked :)

PS: That site is down :/ WHAT A PITY :( This was his homepage I believe and the daggerfall section http://www.mjonesgraphics.com/dagger.html

PSS: Heres a interview with him https://en.uesp.net/wiki/General:Mark_Jones_Interview

User avatar
MasonFace
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:28 pm
Contact:

Re: Spriter: Real-Time Sprite Imposter System

Post by MasonFace » Sun Dec 16, 2018 3:10 pm

What he said was, that the fluctuation of ppl responsible for a sprites and gfx in general was huge. And thats why there is this inconsistency in the art.
That definitely explains the disjointed nature of the Daggerfall artwork, especially comparing NPCs to Enemy Sprites.

I'm hoping that this asset can help with that, granted that we have 3D assets to replace the NPCs and Enemies with. In my demo video, I put together many models of various quality level by different authors, and once the Spriter asset is applied, the disparity between the different art styles of each object seemed to shrink - they looked more like as if they were created by the same person. Not completely, but much closer.
Plus that they started to experiment with 3d (just like in this thread) somewhere down the road, to speed things up.
Just a quick note to clarify: The Daggerfall enemies were sprites pre-rendered (baked) from 3D models, much like what Kamer is working on https://forums.dfworkshop.net/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1580
In contrast, this tool that I'm developing makes a 3D model appear to be a sprite in real-time. There is no pre-rendering and no sprite texture atlas generated. It is all done on-the-fly. As such, it can take into account the world lighting and render that onto the sprite. With pre-rendered sprites, the animations that were baked were all the frames you had. With this tool, anything that the model does gets displayed on the sprite imposter, so custom animations are no problem. And if you want the enemy to swap weapons, that's no problem either.

jayhova
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:54 pm

Re: Spriter: Real-Time Sprite Imposter System

Post by jayhova » Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:30 pm

Mark Jones talks about the 3D dragons done for Daggerfall. Man, I'd love to see those show up. I really like the idea of the villains you fight actually having equipment and using it against you and seeing it rendered.

Alexander DeLarge
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:51 pm

Re: Spriter: Real-Time Sprite Imposter System

Post by Alexander DeLarge » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:00 am

For the sake of visual consistency, it's really nice to have a tool like this. I really, really like this project.

charlieg
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:12 pm

Re: Spriter: Real-Time Sprite Imposter System

Post by charlieg » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:16 pm

This is the future of Daggerfall. (I hope!) :shock: :o

User avatar
Jay_H
Posts: 1767
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:54 am

Re: Spriter: Real-Time Sprite Imposter System

Post by Jay_H » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:08 pm

King of Worms wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:09 am
This was his homepage I believe and the daggerfall section http://www.mjonesgraphics.com/dagger.html
That's it! You can still read it on the Wayback Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/201806011200 ... agger.html
For a long time the skeletons in Daggerfall were hand-drawn. Players of Daggerfall may notice the strange mix of hand drawn and rendered characters. Originally after some disappointing experiments with 3D characters in Arena it was decided to use 2D for Daggerfall. After some new tests were done with the SGI's and Alias, 3D was again chosen. By that time over half the monsters had been drawn in 2D and so we set about creating them. The mesh was bought because of perceived time constraints. It was thought building the model would take too long. The average time for each monster was about one a day at that time. The 3D mesh was somewhat expensive, hence the amount of times it appears in the game, Lichs, Skeletal warriors, zombies, demo death sequences, Battlespire textures!
Try over 140 all-new quests in the first Daggerfall Unity Quest Pack.

User avatar
MasonFace
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:28 pm
Contact:

Re: Spriter: Real-Time Sprite Imposter System

Post by MasonFace » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:14 pm

That's it! You can still read it on the Wayback Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/201806011200 ... agger.html
That's a very interesting read. I especially like that he called attention to the Druid model:
What these animations show is the effect of light coming from the druids' staffs and interacting with the clothing. This get somewhat lost in the in-game animations.
With my tool, if we had a model of the Druid, we could simply add a point light in the illuminated part of the staff model and the resulting sprite would receive dynamic lighting from the staff much like the original baked sprite but potentially at much higher resolution so it can retain all that lighting detail that was lost in the original in-game animations. Of course the point light would also illuminate the surrounding world geometry too, which would look really neat in a dark dungeon.

User avatar
King of Worms
Posts: 932
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:18 pm
Location: Scourg Barrow
Contact:

Re: Spriter: Real-Time Sprite Imposter System

Post by King of Worms » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:38 pm

Yes Sir :!: ;)

Post Reply