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Author Topic: Graphics  (Read 7917 times)

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markhobley

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Re: Graphics
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2011, 12:20:28 AM »
Yeah. I don't think we should delay the graphics developer. They might not be involved in the coding. Let the coders go ahead with the coding and the graphics developers go ahead with the graphics. That way the coders can see what the graphics developers have done, and make appropriate provisions for implementation.

gudo

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Re: Graphics
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2011, 04:41:00 AM »
I'm going to try to find and extract the sprites and such used in the game. If I manage it, I'll post a how-to. Also, I do a tiny bit of pixel art, so if it seems easy enough, I'll try creating some suitable art (I think... the plants shouldn't be too hard :P) Again, if I make any progress, I'll post in .png.

As a question to the developers, how "original" does the modified files have to be to be compatible with our license? I'm going to assume we'll need to do more than mess with the hue, but would we be infringing if we kept the outline of the original file? Also, can we edit the original file, then save it or would it be better to start completely from scratch?

Alberth

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Re: Graphics
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2011, 07:01:44 PM »
My guess would be to start as anew as possible. Don't look at original graphics, create something completely different looking.
That way you have the best chance not to get sued for infringing copy-right, I think.
(For this reason I also don't understand why you want to decompile the copy-righted original data, but that's me perhaps.)

As for creating animations, I was thinking to perhaps have a language for expressing animations. In that way a artist can make his sprites and describe how to compose them to an animation, while a coder can parse the file with a computer, and automagically convert the graphics to a format usable for the program.
A simple form of such a language could be
Code: [Select]
animation doctor_walk_NE {
framerate=10;

frame #1 {
layer background ["foo.png" x=5, y=10, w=24, h=18 -> x=70, y=65];
layer ....
}

frame #2 {
...
}
}
An animation has a name (doctor_walk_NE), and properties such as framerate ans so on. Next come a number of frame, where each frame has a number (or name?). A single frame has a number of layers.
I have little idea what you really would want there. I just wrote a number of layers from the back to the front, giving rectangles from the source file that should be copied to some position in the game.
I can imagine that you want other information there, for example some form of 3D coordinates, so the game can do Z-sorting of sprites. A coder of the game might be able to give more details about what is needed by the game.

testjones

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Re: Graphics
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2011, 07:59:07 PM »
the problem is really one of the scale of the graphics involved. i really don't think anyone's going to get in legal trouble for modifying the old sprites - and asking someone to recreate everything from scratch is a mammoth task which would probably involve years of working many hours a week (it's a huge game); you'll never get off the ground. if anything, modifying the old graphics and then building from there seems a more productive approach.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 08:25:22 PM by testjones »

Alberth

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Re: Graphics
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2011, 05:59:08 PM »
Perhaps you are right.
On the other hand, say you are halfway or so, and an angry email comes in, threatening with a lawsuit unless you remove the graphics, since they contain copyrighted pixels.
What would you do then? Throw all your work away? Now that would be a waste of effort.

In my view, originality should be good enough to defend the graphics in court should the need arise. Doing work under the assumption that nobody will notice or bother enough to send that email does not seem a not very good way to start.
I do hope it will never be necessary to defend the created graphics in that way, but who knows what happens in the future.


If you re-use those graphics, how much time will you gain, and is it worth it?

I suck at painting pixels, but in my coding I prefer quality over quantity. If you give me the choice between making some changes in existing code, or writing new code that I can make in the way I like it, I'll take the latter any day, even if it takes much longer. In that way, I can reach the best possible quality.

Whatever choice you make, the project will take years. The point however in my humble opinion is to have fun while doing it. If it takes more time, who cares? You'll have fun for a longer time.

So rather than time, I believe you should optimize for surviving angry emails and for fun for the people doing the project.
I cannot do pixel art, but by making a language that makes entering animations easily, I hope to help a bit.

Edit: One way to make the project more feasible is by making it possible to have the new graphics gradually replace the old graphics. In that way, the progress is much easier to see by everybody, and you may get more people drawing.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 06:01:13 PM by Alberth »

testjones

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Re: Graphics
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2011, 09:49:50 PM »
OpenTTD is a much much simpler game to remake graphics-wise and it has more widespread appeal than CorsixTH (no offense- it's just a more well known franchise), so replacing the graphics piecemeal is a valid strategy there. Theme Hospital is a much much more complicated game in terms of animations, etc., which means that it's a better plan to mod the existing game than start from scratch. Complete graphics replacement is a good long-term plan but not feasible until the community is much much larger.

The game is essentially abandonware, so I think the chances of getting a letter are pretty low. When is the last chance that a modder has gotten a lawsuit launched against them for a reskin? I think the legal hurdle of reconstructing the game code has been passed and that was far more likely to be actionable.

If anything, simply distribute the graphics packs separately, not through the Corsix website.

I am actually a pretty big fan of the 'slowly replace old graphics with new graphics' approach, since I feel like no one is particularly going to miss the old graphics anyhow once we have better stuff coming in.

One good idea would be to try to at some point (I am not a good from-scratch pixel artist, so I probably could not do this) create a template from the normal male and female patients, then the doctors/handymen/nurses etc, which would then allow an artist to draw more clothing styles over it.

Alberth

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Re: Graphics
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2011, 06:54:59 PM »
OpenTTD is a much much simpler game to remake graphics-wise and it has more widespread appeal than CorsixTH (no offense- it's just a more well known franchise), so replacing the graphics piecemeal is a valid strategy there. Theme Hospital is a much much more complicated game in terms of animations, etc., which means that it's a better plan to mod the existing game than start from scratch.
No offence taken at all. I agree animations in TH are very different in nature. Even in OpenTTD it took several years to create a free graphics base set, it will not be better here :p

Complete graphics replacement is a good long-term plan but not feasible until the community is much much larger.
When is 'much larger'? What if that never happens?
In my opinion, 'large enough' is when there is someone that wants to contribute. No sooner and no later.
It would be nice when a good path for adding the contributions to the game is ready and waiting then.

The game is essentially abandonware, so I think the chances of getting a letter are pretty low. When is the last chance that a modder has gotten a lawsuit launched against them for a reskin?
'abandonware' does not exist in law, it is just a term that people use to justify that it is not so bad what they do.

If anything, simply distribute the graphics packs separately, not through the Corsix website.
That seems like a wise precaution. In fact, I think that should be possible in the first place. In that way, one can 'shop' around for different animations and merge and combine them in any way one likes.

I am actually a pretty big fan of the 'slowly replace old graphics with new graphics' approach, since I feel like no one is particularly going to miss the old graphics anyhow once we have better stuff coming in.
The only difference in opinion we seem to have is how to replace the graphics.

I would like to propose the following solution for that.
Instead of loading just one graphics set, allow loading many partial sets, where graphics loaded later override graphics loaded earlier. In that way, the game stays complete (start loading the graphics set from the demo or cd), one can publish animations one at a time if you like, and people can chose what they load depending on their preferences.