Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Freshly Squeezed Progress Report: Clothing Customization

While I didn’t write a report last week (strangely a 3-day holiday weekend sometimes results in less time to write than usual), since my last report I was working on hair customization options for the characters in The Explorer’s Club from The Dungeon Under My House, my second Freshly Squeezed Entertainment project.

Besides hair, I had to create clothing options, too.

Sprints 33 and 34: Pre-production and initialization

Planned and incomplete:

  • Revise character customization

“All that was left was finishing the hair customization menu and getting clothes options in there, and I would feel good stepping away to work on something else.”

I wrote that statement in the previous report, and as I am coming towards the end of this work, I’m laughing at how much I underestimated it even as I was weeks into the effort.

I am obviously not an artist by trade, and I also haven’t worked in Flash or similar tools in the past, which means I am not as familiar with what is needed to compose a character out of separate pieces of art.

I’m learning a lot as this work has continued, and I find myself needing to decide between making improvements now or leaving them to incrementally improve later. For instance, I’m getting less and less satisfied with the face shapes, eyes, and mouths as the rest comes together, but I’m leaving them as is with the intention to update later.

After I finished creating hair options, I started working on clothing, which required creating bodies for the clothing to appear on. After all, if someone is wearing short sleeves, you should see arms that would otherwise be covered up by long sleeves.

There were some funny missteps.

The Dungeon Under My House - bodies

In this image, I forgot to apply skin color to the pelvis sprite, and it looks like I’m creating a poorly-drawn reboot of the Rugrats cartoon.

Also, why are the arms so long? It forced me to figure out proportions better. When I had temporary rectangles and sprites, it didn’t matter as much, but now the characters need to look at least somewhat right.

Soon I created options for shirts, pants, and when I noticed everyone was still barefoot, footwear. Again, as I worked, I realized that there were better ways to handle some of it.

The face shapes sometimes cover up the details on the shirts, and so I think I need to make some of the faces have longer necks associated with them.

Also, right now, the pleated skirt only somewhat works because the sprite for the pelvis and the sprites for the legs only seem to look like a single item, and I didn’t have an easy way to do the same for a long dress because the sprites weren’t long enough to do so. I don’t know how wrong it will look when it is animated.

The Dungeon Under My House - new character customization

The Dungeon Under My House - new character customization

Anyway, the neat thing is that with the variety of colors, clothing, hair, facial features, and body shapes, each randomly-generated character has a greater chance of having a unique look.

The Dungeon Under My House - new character customization

But I do wonder if I need to put my thumb on the scales to encourage more differences. Do all three of these characters have the same hair stylist?

The Dungeon Under My House - Why do they have the same hairstyle?

At the moment, the characters can have socks, sandals, or sneakers. I’d like to provide a few more options for footwear, and then I can move on to something much more interesting and core to the game, such as experimenting with dialogue mechanics.

For now, though, I’m feeling satisfied that the characters have some personality coming out, as opposed to how they looked when they were just one of a handful of simple-looking floating heads.

Face and skin color customization

Thanks for reading!

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