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Together in Battle - the next strategy RPG from Telepath Tactics developer

baud

Arcane
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Septentrion
RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I helped put crap in Monomyth
there's random pauses in the delivery all over the place
 

Craig Stern

Sinister Design
Developer
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
391
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Chicago
I got the portrait artists narrowed down to like a dozen painters before I realized that I really needed to just ask for samples--and I'm really glad I did, because seeing what they are able to actually produce within the constraints of what TiB's portraits require has changed my internal rankings substantially. A few samples remain to be delivered; I make the final decision tomorrow. :)
 

Craig Stern

Sinister Design
Developer
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
391
Location
Chicago
The first sample I solicited was of the recruiter, a key character you'll be seeing regularly during the game. Here are the samples I received (with Matt Pichette's original portrait in the top-left for comparison):

EwiDP83WQAQRrXh
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2018
Messages
48,984
Codex Year of the Donut
The first sample I solicited was of the recruiter, a key character you'll be seeing regularly during the game. Here are the samples I received (with Matt Pichette's original portrait in the top-left for comparison):

EwiDP83WQAQRrXh
#8(bottom right) is on a completely different level
#5(bottom left) is pretty good, so is #7(left of bottom right)
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2018
Messages
48,984
Codex Year of the Donut
The first sample I solicited was of the recruiter, a key character you'll be seeing regularly during the game. Here are the samples I received (with Matt Pichette's original portrait in the top-left for comparison):

EwiDP83WQAQRrXh
#8(bottom right) is on a completely different level
#5(bottom left) is pretty good, so is #7(left of bottom right)
more I think about it, #4(top right) is rather good too, but they did a poor job with lighting.
But definitely go with Georgi Minkov if you can.

8>>>>>7/4>5>>>>rest
 

Ninjerk

Arcane
Joined
Jul 10, 2013
Messages
14,311
The first sample I solicited was of the recruiter, a key character you'll be seeing regularly during the game. Here are the samples I received (with Matt Pichette's original portrait in the top-left for comparison):

EwiDP83WQAQRrXh
Based Minkov is professional quality. Movilla needs to push values and there's some weirdness going on from the necklace down (probably lots of portrait practice, but not so much with materials) but has potential. Grinin is probably my 2nd favorite just because you can see that he's studied materials with specular reflection and really made that necklace pop. Zakaria's would actually be nice for a flat artistic style. The rest have some pretty serious work to do in values, colors, and proportions.
 

Craig Stern

Sinister Design
Developer
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
391
Location
Chicago
Now, here's the second sample--a procedurally generated lissit variant.

I liked all of the recruiters to some degree or another, but I had a suspicion that these artists--all experienced with human portraits--would not necessarily take to non-humans as easily. I was right. Their attempts at lissit portraits really helped to distinguish them from one another! Here are the samples I received (Matt Pichette's original portrait is again in the top-left for comparison):

Ewij4FvW8AgXGop
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2018
Messages
48,984
Codex Year of the Donut
Now, here's the second sample--a procedurally generated lissit variant.

I liked all of the recruiters to some degree or another, but I had a suspicion that these artists--all experienced with human portraits--would not necessarily take to non-humans as easily. I was right. Their attempts at lissit portraits really helped to distinguish them from one another! Here are the samples I received (Matt Pichette's original portrait is again in the top-left for comparison):

Ewij4FvW8AgXGop
Minkov again, no contest.
Erickson/Manalon somewhere after, but it's very different from the original so it depends on what you're going for. Based on this one and the prior, they also seem to have issues with proportions. Trisha/Alec are decent too.
 
Last edited:

Ninjerk

Arcane
Joined
Jul 10, 2013
Messages
14,311
Now, here's the second sample--a procedurally generated lissit variant.

I liked all of the recruiters to some degree or another, but I had a suspicion that these artists--all experienced with human portraits--would not necessarily take to non-humans as easily. I was right. Their attempts at lissit portraits really helped to distinguish them from one another! Here are the samples I received (Matt Pichette's original portrait is again in the top-left for comparison):

Ewij4FvW8AgXGop
Minkov is a little dark for my taste but he still pulls away again due to his ability to render texture without losing the overall value scheme; Grinin and Zakaria have modeled surprisingly well but the lack of texture rendering makes them seem a bit "rubbery". The others have serious value issues (Grundza, in the pursuit of scaly texture, seems to have lost sight of the overall value scheme).
 

fantadomat

Arcane
Edgy Vatnik Wumao
Joined
Jun 2, 2017
Messages
34,227
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Bulgaria
Now, here's the second sample--a procedurally generated lissit variant.

I liked all of the recruiters to some degree or another, but I had a suspicion that these artists--all experienced with human portraits--would not necessarily take to non-humans as easily. I was right. Their attempts at lissit portraits really helped to distinguish them from one another! Here are the samples I received (Matt Pichette's original portrait is again in the top-left for comparison):

Ewij4FvW8AgXGop
Minkov again, no contest.
Erickson/Manalon somewhere after, but it's very different from the original so it depends on what you're going for. Based on this one and the prior, they also seem to have issues with proportions. Trisha/Alec are decent too.
Yeah,slavs for the win.....as always :smug:
 

Craig Stern

Sinister Design
Developer
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
391
Location
Chicago
Minkov seems to be the only one that actually bothered pulling up reference images of an alligator. The others tried to match the original too much and draw from imagination.

The lissit are actually modeled on komodo dragons, so sticking to the original design isn't a bad call here! That said, Minkov definitely did a killer job.
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
Developer
Joined
Aug 15, 2012
Messages
5,671
Location
California
Looking solely at the quality of the image itself, I agree with the pro-Minkov assessment. But I question whether his rendering style fits with with the game's overall art style. I think Zakaria's flatter, less detailed approach is actually probably better in the context of the game's other art.
 
Last edited:

Jinn

Arcane
Joined
Nov 8, 2007
Messages
3,989
Wow, what an upgrade across the board! My votes will have to go to Erickson-Manalon and the impressive Minkov. I feel Erickson-Manalon has a very unique style going that might fit a videogame a little better than Minkov's work. Hard choice, but if I had a gun to my head, it'd probably be Erickson-Manalon just for that particular eye-catching uniqueness in style.
 

vazha

Arcane
Joined
Aug 24, 2013
Messages
1,941
Minkov's head & shoulders above the rest. Matt Pichette though needs to be shot in the head.
 

Tigranes

Arcane
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
10,198
Hey, this is interesting. Thanks for sharing the process. I would imagine it's also a question of whether these artists are drawing these versions at a similar rate time/cost wise, because you likely can't afford a superb but slow/expensive person to redraw everything?

Ultimately this game isn't meant to be a graphics-focused one, so I would say that many of these options look fine and definitely an upgrade. Minkov, Grundza, Movilla, the duo team, I can all see working. Pichette likely too similar to the originals.

I'm sure you've done this already internally but I would paste in the portraits into actual in-game setups like dialogue or inventory and see how they fit. Presumably you aren't going to redo the UI.
 

Craig Stern

Sinister Design
Developer
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
391
Location
Chicago
Pichette likely too similar to the originals.

Heh! Pichette literally did do the originals; I just included him for comparison's sake. :) These folks are all bidding to do the job on an identical budget (except for Minkov, who demands extra for reasons that may be apparent).
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
Developer
Joined
Aug 15, 2012
Messages
5,671
Location
California
Seems to have missed the personality that the original (and leading contenders) had for the character. Also, something about it is nagging me, like it's an overpaint of a photo of an actress or something.
 

J1M

Arcane
Joined
May 14, 2008
Messages
13,476
Listen up, snowflakes: RPG characters that aren't distinct from each other, don't have emotions, and don't react to player choices are boring as hell: you know it and I know it. So yeah, TiB characters are different from each other; they have reactions to player choices and in-game events; and they will grow attached to each other (which raises the stakes re: keeping your characters alive in combat). This is literally just a form of C&C, which exists in one form or another in all RPGs worth a damn. If you don't like it, you can always stop and go play as a bunch of identical man-sausages in Gears of War Tactics or something.
I don't understand why you would find a character whose traits and preferences are randomly generated to be interesting.

Also, since you are being incredibly candid here: I always had the impression your games were about telepaths with deterministic mechanics because you were a hardcore Christian that thought making a game about sorcerers and random dice rolls (aka gambling) would invite satan into your heart. Why telepaths instead of mages?
 

Craig Stern

Sinister Design
Developer
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
391
Location
Chicago
I don't understand why you would find a character whose traits and preferences are randomly generated to be interesting.
...
Why telepaths instead of mages?

The random generation is only part of it; what makes it interesting is seeing these characters grow and change. If I've done my job right, you'll find the characters interesting because they walk a line where they manage to be both coherent and surprising. It's not easy, and I expect to tweak and improve it for some time to come.

As for why I first picked psychic powers over magic...honestly, it's been so long that I don't really remember! But it's proven fruitful for enabling narratives that examine the weaknesses of human thought, a subject I've always found fascinating--so I've stuck with it.
 

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