Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Benefits of Dungeon Craft

I admit that I have never actually tried Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures (FRUA), which Dungeon Craft is based on (and emulates). In general, I have mostly avoided it because I do not want to work in DOSBox or use palettes. The low resolution of FRUA is both a strong and weak point, though, as although it seems a bit too retro for my tastes, it does mean that I would be able to finish the graphics for a game much faster than for Dungeon Craft.

Dungeon Craft, although as yet still incomplete, has quite a few things going for it, especially in terms of graphics creation - some of these points I will go through below:
  1. Dungeon Craft allows any size of combat icons, as long as they are in some multiple of 48 pixels (i.e., the smallest icon will be 48 x 48 pixels, which is twice the size of the typical FRUA icon (24 x 24 pixels)). This means that I can draw all monsters (even huge ones like dragons) to a constant scale, which tickles both my amateur biologist tendencies (I can draw all sorts of existing and extinct animals to the same scale) as well as my RPG nerd tendencies (I can also draw dragons, trolls, and so on to the same scale for comparison). The size is also a fairly reusable one - I can use these same images as 2-frame animated gifs, or just line them up together to make a cetacean sizes chart (for example - this is one of my "secret" dreams) - the ability to reuse images is always nice.
  2. Dungeon Craft allows various resolutions, but I use the 640 x 480 one. 640 x 480 is nice, because it is smooth and detailed enough that creatures look fairly realistic, but it is also easier to realistically achieve than higher resolutions such as 800 x 600 or greater. As I basically use pixel art as my method for creating graphics, higher resolutions means much more work, and so it is always nice to be able to find a good compromise between smoothness and workload.
  3. Dungeon Craft does not use palettes, meaning that artists can freely create PNG files as they like (well, except for alpha transparency). Palettes are a headache to play with, and it is always nice to be able to ignore them (I have used them in other game maker engines and found them a headache in general).

On the downside, all of this means that I tend to spend more time drawing animals and such than working on my game... but hopefully it will culminate with my game being more detailed and interesting in the end.

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