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Troels Pleimert

Library of Space Quest fan game assets

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I was going with "Fer-de" myself, too.

 

I like what you're saying, S_D. So I'll counter-counter with a 3rd idea. A library of Space Quest assets would, naturally, include a library of weird aliens, StarCon personnel, random Xenonian cities, robots, droids, blobs, creatures, what not. Any one of those sprites could be made the main character in any game.

 

My goal here was to build a library to make it easier for fans to create "interactive fan fiction" - stories set in the Space Quest world. Tangential characters could easily have games and plots of their own. One doesn't have to exclude the other.

 

Oh, and the library wouldn't be static. New "packs" could be added all the time.

 

I'm thinking, maybe, a tree like this:

 

Backgrounds:

  • Backgrounds

    • Space
    • Planets

      • Forest planet

        • In orbit
        • Forest clearing
        • Dense forest
        • Cliffside
      • Desert planet

        • In orbit
        • Wasteland
        • Skeletal remains
        • Cave
        • Oasis
      • Lava planet

        • In orbit
        • Geysers
        • Crack in floor
        • Lava lake
        • Lava mountain
      • Abandoned city

        • In orbit around planet
        • Abandoned street
        • Abandoned supermarket
        • Abandoned house
        • Abandoned post office
      • Metropolis

        • In orbit around planet
        • Street
        • Supermarket
        • Housing/apartment
        • Shuttle station
    • Space stations

      • In orbit
      • Landing bay
      • Bridge
      • Quarters
    • DeepShip

      • Bridge
      • Shuttlebay
      • Quarters
      • Transporter room
  • Characters

    • Roger
    • Aliens
    • StarCon personnel
    • Citizens/Xenonians
    • Fierce creatures
  • Items

    • Weapons
    • ID cards / keycards
    • Household items
    • Tools / machinery
    • Plants, fauna and sticky stuff
    • Sexually suggestive stuff (jockstraps and what not)
Edited by Troels Pleimert

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I was going with "Fer-de" myself, too.

 

Yeah, I read it as "Fer-dee", and interpreted it as an intentional term of endearment rather than a typo.

 

I like what you're saying, S_D. So I'll counter-counter with a 3rd idea. A library of Space Quest assets would, naturally, include a library of weird aliens, StarCon personnel, random Xenonian cities, robots, droids, blobs, creatures, what not. Any one of those sprites could be made the main character in any game.

 

My goal here was to build a library to make it easier for fans to create "interactive fan fiction" - stories set in the Space Quest world. Tangential characters could easily have games and plots of their own. One doesn't have to exclude the other.

 

Oh, and the library wouldn't be static. New "packs" could be added all the time.

 

Now you're talking!

 

So, each story/plot/item element could be a self-contained concept bit; a funny weird alien could have a name, a bit of backstory, associated inventory items, some written involvement in a puzzle concept, and some art assets to go with them. The writer dude (perhaps Troels in this particular case) could do a short paragraph or so on some particular alien (e.g., the one intelligent, studious Orat, ironically hiding & terrified of being eaten, etc) and attach that to an article for the new game asset. A fan fine-artist could build & attach a concept sketch, and another fan sprite-artist (or the same person with both skills) could animate her and attach the sprites. A musician could compose a short 4-6 bar theme to associate with that character, and attach the MIDI sequence.

 

And so forth. That really would be quite an amazing library to put together, even if it begins humbly.

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That would be really fantastic! Of course, game authors could choose to just only use the character sprite, or just use the music, and completely ignore the back story. But for those of us with true grit, we could create the building blocks for an entire expanded universe.

 

Now YOU'RE talking! :D

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Hmm... got me all hot and bothered now! But nothing to contribute. I better go replay all the games (and 5 & 6 for the FIRST TIME!!) ... and then the fan games, etc.

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Well, it'll be something to start another thread about if we take the idea further, and maybe some PMs. There could be some people to recuit on the AGS forums, too.

 

What we'd need to agree on:

 

* General style - comic book or cartoon style

 

* Resolution - 320x200, 640x400, 800x600...

 

* Sprites - how much aliasing? Shading? Detail? Probably worth a bit of discussion as the sprites that VSB ended up using got a fair bit of criticism

 

* Animation - again what style we'd want to use. More detailed animations with more frames would look better but would make things more difficult for fans to match if they need to add their own animations to the game.

 

* Facial portraits - I'm guessing the consensus would be for these, right? I tend to assume Sierra fans are nostalgic for these kind of things..

 

* GUI - well we didn't mention one. But we should probably include at least a default one that looks nicer than the AGS default that we could put in an AGS template file. Probably with the smell and taste (and listen?) icons in the icon bar because those are popular with fans and the ability to use most of those interactions on inventory items.

 

....could also add LSL7 style limited parser support. Would take an extra bit of coding and trickier to use but another thing that seems to be 'in' atm.

 

* Backgrounds - how much detail? Highly detailed backgrounds will look impressive, but less detailed will mean that people with less skills will be able to play around with them - if they're .pngs with, say, three colour tones for the sand it becomes much easier for people just messing around with MSPaint to make that sand a different colour and give it a unique look.

 

They need to look good but if they're TOO good they could become iconic and associated with a certain game. An idea that could be interesting is if we had elements on a blank, exploitable background that could be copied and pasted in any program onto other backdrop elements to create a scene. Say, we have the street iself of a future city. Then you pick buildings out of a file to put on that street. Then you paste THOSE over a backdrop of the cityscape and the sky. (Actually, desert probably would have been a better example but hopefully you get the idea)

 

* Sound / Music - something Troels didn't mention but I think fairly important. A bank of a few dozen stock sci-fi sound effects would be a big help, and I also think given the number of musicians in the Space Quest community a few generic tunes wouldn't be too hard. Say, two or three variations on the main theme, five or so ambient upbeat pieces of music, five or so menacing / disquieting sci-fi drones, five or so drama stings, a couple of 'action' pieces and a couple of death themes.

 

Oh that reminds me...

 

* Death- should definitely be part of the aforementioned AGS template to get put together, as putting it in a game means a fair bit of messing around.

 

 

Anyway, I really like the idea (especially since this whole Kickstarter thing has got me in the mood to make a fan game) and I'm happy to help out. I had also been planning to try and mess around with a rotoscoped Roger sprite but we'll see if that actually happens...

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* General style - comic book or cartoon style

 

We could create several packs. SQ6 blended 3D rendered models with cartoony graphics. I think it would be much simpler if we let artists do what they want, without it necessarily fitting into an established style, and letting the game makers sort out the cohesion. Mind you, it would be perfectly legitimate for game makers to take the sprites and backgrounds and what not, and tweak them with Photoshop to suit their style. I know I would. :)

 

* Resolution - 320x200, 640x400, 800x600...

 

It would be nice for amateur game makers, like myself, to have an established resolution which all the games would work at. 640x480 being SQ6's resolution, I think that one would work pretty well. But that's me being an egotist. Really, AGS scales, and sprites could be drawn in any resolution.

 

* Sprites - how much aliasing? Shading? Detail? Probably worth a bit of discussion as the sprites that VSB ended up using got a fair bit of criticism

 

I think you're right here; there needs to be some consistency as to the level of detail in sprites. Backgrounds, you can fix in Photoshop. But sprites are tougher, and it's jarring when they're all over the place in a game.

 

That said, I'm gonna go back to my idea of doing "packs." So an artist could do a bunch of sprites, all in the same style, and another artist would be free to do much more detailed (or less detailed, for that matter) in another pack.

 

I think we just need to get the ball rolling and establish a style idea for the first pack, then worry about all these luxury problems down the line. For the record, I thought the VSB sprites were great. ;)

 

* Facial portraits - I'm guessing the consensus would be for these, right? I tend to assume Sierra fans are nostalgic for these kind of things..

 

At the very least, characters should have a "talking" animation, i.e. ingame talking sprite. For those of us dedicated to being awesome, talking portraits could be added. In fact, a sprite animator could do the ingame sprite itself for a character, and another artist could add to that pack by doing the face portrait for that character.

 

* GUI - well we didn't mention one. But we should probably include at least a default one that looks nicer than the AGS default that we could put in an AGS template file. Probably with the smell and taste (and listen?) icons in the icon bar because those are popular with fans and the ability to use most of those interactions on inventory items.

 

Good point. Having a "basic Space Quest fan game" start-up pack for AGS is a good idea. One that's pre-configured to use a custom GUI, has Space Quest-ey type menus, and set to the right resolutio-- er, sorry, I'll shut up about the resolution now. ;)

 

....could also add LSL7 style limited parser support. Would take an extra bit of coding and trickier to use but another thing that seems to be 'in' atm.

 

OMG OMG OMG! I have no idea how to code for that thing, but I'm willing to learn!!!

 

* Backgrounds - how much detail? Highly detailed backgrounds will look impressive, but less detailed will mean that people with less skills will be able to play around with them - if they're .pngs with, say, three colour tones for the sand it becomes much easier for people just messing around with MSPaint to make that sand a different colour and give it a unique look.

 

They need to look good but if they're TOO good they could become iconic and associated with a certain game. An idea that could be interesting is if we had elements on a blank, exploitable background that could be copied and pasted in any program onto other backdrop elements to create a scene. Say, we have the street iself of a future city. Then you pick buildings out of a file to put on that street. Then you paste THOSE over a backdrop of the cityscape and the sky. (Actually, desert probably would have been a better example but hopefully you get the idea)

 

Again, packs. And I really love your idea about "build your own background" packs. And then you can add vehicles, people, signs, objects, what not. I love this idea.

 

* Sound / Music - something Troels didn't mention but I think fairly important. A bank of a few dozen stock sci-fi sound effects would be a big help, and I also think given the number of musicians in the Space Quest community a few generic tunes wouldn't be too hard. Say, two or three variations on the main theme, five or so ambient upbeat pieces of music, five or so menacing / disquieting sci-fi drones, five or so drama stings, a couple of 'action' pieces and a couple of death themes.

 

Definitely. If I didn't own the world's suckiest computer, I'd get on writing a couple of themes right now.

 

* Death- should definitely be part of the aforementioned AGS template to get put together, as putting it in a game means a fair bit of messing around.

 

Haha, yeah. We need a "icky stuff" pack. Like "squashed meat," or an "evisceration pole" with blood you can photoshop onto a character sprite. "Melted face" texture. A modular butcher's shop. :)

 

Anyway, I really like the idea (especially since this whole Kickstarter thing has got me in the mood to make a fan game) and I'm happy to help out. I had also been planning to try and mess around with a rotoscoped Roger sprite but we'll see if that actually happens...

 

Thank you so much for your great ideas! I'm itching to get in the fan game business myself, but my inability to draw, well, anything has always hindered me.

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Oh? I thought you were going to begin concept write-ups to provide inspiration to the artists, yes? Unless you mean to begin filling out the library with existing characters, locations, objects, background sprites, etc., before original in-universe locations, characters, objects...

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Yeah, that would be a good place to start. I'll set up an open invite on the AGS forums for art contributions soon, on the off chance that anybody has unused art that they're happy to donate and pitch the idea of the backdrops. Before that I'll draw up a list of what elements we'll need for the backdrops.

 

I can contribute a couple of things myself, as I can draw cartoon characters well enough so I can sketch, scan, colour and animate a few aliens and robots in the SQ6-style. I'm also happy to code the template in AGS.

 

Sorry for being quiet for a while but I've been kinda busy with work and a nasty recurring fatigue virus.

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Sorry I haven't been around. Still at Roskilde Festival.

 

I can start writing up new stuff once the festival's over, but in the meantime, there's a few basic building blocks we could start with. Like Roger, Bea, Xenon, a couple of starfields maybe.

 

Sorry again; will be back to full attention when the weekend's over! Thanks for your enthusiasm!

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Well... even though I keep getting sicker and called in for more and more shifts at work, I've done some sketches, which I'll scan and try to turn into hi-res sprites over the next couple of days - they're Roger, Bea, Fester Blatz and the Doctor Manhattan-style Vohaul from Space Quest Incinerations. Which, erm, mightn't be in much demand but I'm not sure how to draw vanilla Vohaul. I'll come back to it. Also working on drawing a GUI.

 

Meantime, there are a heap of graphics on my harddrive from a Doctor Who game I never made. They need to be brushed up a bit and re-sized, but they could be other characters, and provide a style sample for the way I draw, which I think can be a decent fit for SQ6-style cartoon graphics.

 

Posted Image

 

As I said, not looking great right now. But there's some potential.

 

 

 

UPDATE: I've sketched The Two Guys, Keilbasa, Fester, Roger, Bea, Elmo Pug, Roger Jr, Xenosian Vohaul, Astro Chicken and I'm going to do Ken Williams to round off all the recurring characters I can think of. And then I'm going to try Stellar but she's problematic because

 

a) I suck at female characters

B) Her design is hideous.

 

I guess to keep peoples options open I should try a SQ6 and Incineration versions of the character. But I've been putting it off because it'll be difficult. And I also hate the character, which doesn't help.

 

Also, my scanner isn't working which is why I'm only TALKING about these sketches...

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Okay guys, know double-posting isn't popular but an update with images that are less bad. Scanner now working I've put the not-sucky sketches together into one pic. Hopefully you can work out who's supposed to be who...

 

Posted Image

 

Furthermore, to see what I'm like at turning sketches into sprites, which I have never done before, I got to work on that long-faced-and-wearing-wrong-uniform Roger, and brushed him up and res'ed him down. Result ISN'T very pleasant because his body looks twisted around (should have spent more time working on his pose) but I think it's presentable when you focus on the waist up. Remember, this is a quick job but feedback on the style would be nice. Going for a SQ6 style cartoon-with-black outline look. Also have not shaded yet.

 

Posted Image

 

All in all I've been pleased with how quick it was to knock up. Results would improve greatly with a better posed sketch to begin with of course :P

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Hey, Jared, that looks good! Roger's legs look a little short for his body, but we're on the right track. :)

 

I'm thinking in terms of new aliens, worlds and stuff to add to the pack. I'm gonna try to stay away from the clichés of building a whole planet with only one sentient race on it, and instead think in terms of what kind of creatures you might meet at a spaceport or spacebar, and what their wild, crazy stories might be. Sort of like, "Here's Mitch. He's a four-legged Winchian bootlegger who traffics in exotic liquor. And yes, he's heard every joke about his planet being called 'Winch.'"

 

(Of course, a bit longer descriptions, and stats like height, age, etc. But how far off the track am I?)

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Well... even though I keep getting sicker and called in for more and more shifts at work, I've done some sketches, which I'll scan and try to turn into hi-res sprites over the next couple of days - they're Roger, Bea, Fester Blatz and the Doctor Manhattan-style Vohaul from Space Quest Incinerations. Which, erm, mightn't be in much demand but I'm not sure how to draw vanilla Vohaul. I'll come back to it. Also working on drawing a GUI.

 

Meantime, there are a heap of graphics on my harddrive from a Doctor Who game I never made. They need to be brushed up a bit and re-sized, but they could be other characters, and provide a style sample for the way I draw, which I think can be a decent fit for SQ6-style cartoon graphics.

 

Posted Image

 

As I said, not looking great right now. But there's some potential.

 

 

 

UPDATE: I've sketched The Two Guys, Keilbasa, Fester, Roger, Bea, Elmo Pug, Roger Jr, Xenosian Vohaul, Astro Chicken and I'm going to do Ken Williams to round off all the recurring characters I can think of. And then I'm going to try Stellar but she's problematic because

 

a) I suck at female characters

B) Her design is hideous.

 

I guess to keep peoples options open I should try a SQ6 and Incineration versions of the character. But I've been putting it off because it'll be difficult. And I also hate the character, which doesn't help.

 

Also, my scanner isn't working which is why I'm only TALKING about these sketches...

 

The guy in a trench coat... he wouldn't be an Ogron, would he?

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