Tips on Sprite creation in the Hexen game/engine
(Just some topics to keep in mind, I'll add more as I remember them)
There are some points that I would like to leave a bit clearer:
- When making a new sprite for hexen, you must first study the original ones, and try hard to make it with as much resemblence as possible with the existing ones. This is important because with today?s tools, there are effects (like Blur, for example) that will make the sprites look completely different than the old Hexen?s ones (that appear much more hand made).
- Be aware of the colors you use to make the mods or new sprites: in Hexen, the only colors allowed are the ones from the original engine (Hexen?s Palette). Even though the WAD itself will accept any graphic in 256 colors, the game will convert the graphics automaticly, something that can really make the sprites look completely artificial. You must realize that every sprite should be according to the Hexen?s Palette in it?s final stage, so you can have a precise view of how it?ll look in the game.
- Study the proportions of existing monsters and player?s sprites when you are about to make a new NPC. Hexen?s monsters have in general small height comparing to the width. Take the Ettin, for example: it has huge shoulders and a big torso, but have tiny legs, that doesn?t fit into his overall body proportion. I guess this fact is due to Hexen?s engine low resolution, where the creators had to make detailed monsters in such a small sprite, so they wouldn?t look like giants just to have the details. So they somehow distorted the proportions of every sprite (even the Chas serpents, the Warrior or the Cenaturs have small legs and big torsos), focusing more on the head and torso, and less in the lower body (probably because it?s a First Person Shooter and the legs won?t be seen as much as will the upper body in the player point of view).
This is important for the sprite creation: since we are focusing in humans, it gets hard at times to draw them ?solid? enough to blend in Hexen?s world, without having to be ?fat? and small ? if you draw humans the normal way, they will look way to tall and thin in the game, so you have to take care with those proportions.
- When making new weapons graphics, you have to take great care on how the animation goes along, because the weapons sprtes are in your face, and if the frames doesn't fit togheter, lack in flow or have something wrong, the player WILL notice and it will make the fun of that weapon decrease...