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Hi

 

i 'm thinking a lot about it lately, if i should use message busts in my game or something else. I'm trying different techniques the last couple of days but i cannot decide quite yet. I do like the graphic busts but i do not love the message window that much.

 

So maybe something else? I currently came up with this:

busts.png

 

Opinions? What do you think?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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I like the idea of having speech bubbles, but it seems like it'd be a huge pain to set up unless you used static images or something. Message busts are nice if you intend to use message boxes, but I'd argue that having a unique dialogue system is much more interesting than having a commonly used one.

 

By the way, nice map. You're giving my city atmosphere mapping a run for its money. :P

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You're right Vincent, it IS a huge pain to set it up exactly because they are static images. It's a pain to set up their positions in the map, i've done that through test-play.. hmm a little bit more to the left.. test-play.. another 5 pixels to the right and 10 pixels down.. test-play.. well you get the idea.

A real pain indeed, but it's not that important if it's gonna add to the game's atmosphere. It's called love  ^_^ 

 

It's not about the dialogue system being interesting; it surely ain't more practical than the default one. It's all about atmosphere.

 

Thanks for the map comment, i got the hint ;)

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I like the idea of having speech bubbles, but it seems like it'd be a huge pain to set up unless you used static images or something. Message busts are nice if you intend to use message boxes, but I'd argue that having a unique dialogue system is much more interesting than having a commonly used one.

 

By the way, nice map. You're giving my city atmosphere mapping a run for its money. :P

^ This.

 

Considering its modern theme (I'm assuming that's what you're going for?), I think that style would fit it more than busts and message boxes.

And as Vincent said, "...having a unique dialogue system is much more interesting than having a commonly used one."

 

Judging from that screenie, personally I'd say not to be not to bust, for the stylistic look. Unless you particularly liked the busts and think that putting them would be an improvement despite dialogue systems.

If anything, maybe change the background color of the speech bubble a bit.

 

Also yeah, that map is great on the atmosphere :D

Edited by Eien Nanashi

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Thank you for replying on this Eien!

 

Yes, you're assuming right, i am going for a modern/lightly scifi (later on) theme. Thing is if i'm going to use the bubbles i surely won't be using busts. It just doesn't fit together. And yes, i think you've got a good point about the bubble color, although different characters use different bubble colors, maybe i should make it less dense; perhaps i a little more transparent?

 

My only thought is that through the bubble system it will be really hard to show the characters emotions as clear as with busts. Not impossible, but hard.

 

Thank you so much your kind comments on the map! I'm glad you guys like it! :)

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Options you can have to give your character emotions some more life can include having several animations for the character's sprite and/or by using icons that appear above them when something happens.

 

As for improving the speech bubble I agree with the idea of having a bit more transparency, maybe even have some less flat colors (maybe throw in a gradient effect) just to give it that extra bit of eye-catching depth. For something that is just a sample of what you're working on though, it's impressive and is making me question how I intend to tackle dialogue expression.

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I'm down for this if you can make it work. Seconded on the colour scheme, though. At the moment it looks like a superimposed image, mostly because of the clashing palette. I'm also worried about the use of still images. It means that you have to be fully aware of where every NPC is on the screen at all times, which isn't always possible; you've doubled your work if the player is able to start a conversation with an NPC from either the left or the right. You could probably save yourself some time if you draw yourself a grid and make a list of which pixel sites line up with which tiles... unless the size of the bubbles also change. Also, unless you're combining these with transparent text boxes (again, doubling your work) having an image file for every single line of dialogue will cause your file size to explode.

 

In other words, quite the task you've set for yourself.

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I was always a fan of busts, mainly because I got tired of seeing the faceset box everywhere I go. It definitely is better to have something unique in a sense, because with busts you can capture a better image of what your character looks like. With facesets, all you have is just a static image (in essence) with maybe a couple of emotes. But full body busts that capture poses and all of that bring an extra block of life in terms of foundation and concreteness. The speech bubble system is underused, in my opinion, and I'm surprised not many people use it. It's clean, it's out of the way, and it can still look good if you put forth the effort. Plus, there are many many more things you can do with a speech bubble system than you could with a regular textbox (put it above treasure chests to make it look like YOU acquired something, not appearing as though the game collected it, for example. Or having like a textbox fly in from the side to make it look like someone is talking while they're running very fast across the screen. Things like that.). It just adds an extra layer of immersion in games.

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@Vincent:

Options you can have to give your character emotions some more life can include having several animations for the character's sprite and/or by using icons that appear above them when something happens.

 

As for improving the speech bubble I agree with the idea of having a bit more transparency, maybe even have some less flat colors (maybe throw in a gradient effect) just to give it that extra bit of eye-catching depth. For something that is just a sample of what you're working on though, it's impressive and is making me question how I intend to tackle dialogue expression.

Yes, thank you Vincent, that is actually a good idea for letting people know how the character feels. :) It's also a good idea to throw a gradient effect into the bubbles! I'll check it out!

 

 

@Enneagon:

I hate to admit it, but of course you're right on most the things you pointed out.

... It means that you have to be fully aware of where every NPC is on the screen at all times, which isn't always possible; you've doubled your work if the player is able to start a conversation with an NPC from either the left or the right. You could probably save yourself some time if you draw yourself a grid and make a list of which pixel sites line up with which tiles... unless the size of the bubbles also change. Also, unless you're combining these with transparent text boxes (again, doubling your work) having an image file for every single line of dialogue will cause your file size to explode.

 

In other words, quite the task you've set for yourself.

I do need to know exactly where every NPC (or the protagonist himself for that matter) is on the screen at all times. The grid solution is quite clever; but it ain't gonna work here because, you said it yourself, the bubble sizes will also change depending on the text size. At least i'm getting some idea of the character/NPC positions from Ace itself at the bottom-right corner. The map above is 30x15 (although only 20x15 visible) so if i want to place a bubble..say in the middle of the screen at X10 and Y8 i "only" need to multiply that times 32 and i know it's around 320x256. But yes, i doubled (if not tripled) my work there.

Also, the example map above is from a fully automated opening cutscene, meaning the player doesn't have to push the button for the text/bubble to change, but i will definitely, inevitable, make use of the transparent text box in-game. Again, you're correct about having an image file for every single line will indeed 'explode' my file 'number', but the size of it is quite small for each of them, so i don't mind about that.

 

Yes, quite the task indeed... massive amount of work there! But if people like it as much as i do, i'm up to it ;)

 

 

@Ari-Chan

...The speech bubble system is underused, in my opinion, and I'm surprised not many people use it. It's clean, it's out of the way, and it can still look good if you put forth the effort. Plus, there are many many more things you can do with a speech bubble system than you could with a regular textbox (put it above treasure chests to make it look like YOU acquired something, not appearing as though the game collected it, for example. Or having like a textbox fly in from the side to make it look like someone is talking while they're running very fast across the screen. Things like that.). It just adds an extra layer of immersion in games.

I like it too and i too wished there were more games which would make use of it. It surely has advantages but has also major disadvantages, so it's up to the designer developer to decide for himself. I think it also depends on the game theme as Eien correctly indicated... I like your ideas for it's use! and i'm glad you like it despite you being a busts fan! But i have to agree with you on that the player do gets a better idea of the hero/NPC with the full body busts. I'll think something out about that i guess...

 

 

Thank you all for replying! I does really help! It's very much appreciated! :)

Edited by Nestat

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You could always combine them, busts and speech bubbles I mean. Not for every bit of dialogue mind you. I'd stick to the speech bubbles for most things, and then if you have some dramatic or funny moment that needs some more emotion, throw up a bust (preferably slightly modified, with some type of background, outline, whatever to match the speech bubble visual theme) somewhere on the screen (doesn't have to be the default spot, and would be better if it wasn't) and have the speech bubble come from the bust instead of the sprite. Once the bust is gone, have the speech bubble originate from the sprite again.

 

Combine that with Vincent's idea about sprite animations for emotions and you've got yourself one robust dialogue system that while complicate for you, will really blow people away. In fact, I think it sounds so good I wish I had come up with it all on my own and could use it in my project...

 

 

 

Sorry about any typos, I posted this from my iPad, but I was definitely not in the bathroom having a William Shatner at the time. What? What smell? I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It must have been my dogs. Yep, that's it, it was the dogs.

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You could always combine them, busts and speech bubbles I mean. Not for every bit of dialogue mind you. I'd stick to the speech bubbles for most things, and then if you have some dramatic or funny moment that needs some more emotion, throw up a bust (preferably slightly modified, with some type of background, outline, whatever to match the speech bubble visual theme) somewhere on the screen (doesn't have to be the default spot, and would be better if it wasn't) and have the speech bubble come from the bust instead of the sprite. Once the bust is gone, have the speech bubble originate from the sprite again.

 

Combine that with Vincent's idea about sprite animations for emotions and you've got yourself one robust dialogue system that while complicate for you, will really blow people away. In fact, I think it sounds so good I wish I had come up with it all on my own and could use it in my project...

 

Pretty much how i've imagine it too Point! ^_^ Those thoughts crossed my mind as well! It sounds beautiful!

Oh dear God.. i close my eyes for a minute and imagine the whole project been covered that way. So much work to do.. i wanna cry.. (but i do not! really! sniff sniff..) Then i open my eyes again, return to reality and i'm like: Ok, let's get to work.

 

I know the sprite animations will be a pain too later on, but all things in good time. Have to worry about other things now...

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How about bust + speech bubble?

I mean show bust. Then speech bubble come out from the bust (not the charset). It would be lots easier to event. It will be trouble though if the npc doesn't have bust... So maybe for important scene only.

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I feel like you can do message boxes as giant character sprites. Or animations.

like there's lot of empty spaces proportional to that one message box. You notice those characters with $ behind their names? You can use those as a basis.

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I... i didn't quite get what you mean Mackintosh.. probably my bad English but, can you give me a more detailed explanation?

 

What do you mean "as giant sprites or animations"?

 

 

EDIT

Wait you mean like, taking a $Character template and putting the message bubble in there? Hmm, i got you. That way the positioning of the message/bubble would be much easier. That's a hell of a though man. I need to try this out to see if it conflicts with anything else i've got so far. I'll get back to you.

 

Thanks!

Edited by Nestat

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Just make sure you calculate how big the actual sprite is and set up the frames for the "Message Box Sprite".
You don't want the box to come out of your character's belly, you know.

And there's the option of arranging it according to an animation sheet. That would have you program a set of animations but in terms of file size, it might be easier.

Do you get what I mean?

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Yep got it... But there is a problem though. I already tried it out and it's more pain than it does good. Problem is the bubbles aren't all the same size and/or the same shapes. According the situation the bubbles appear either from the left/right/up/down side, so i guess i'll stick with the still images. Good thought though!

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