So, there we were, sitting around our cave in Fallout Online: 2238, shovelling brahmin shit, abusing the slaves and crafting radios (great XP gain, BTW), but most of all, noticing how we all looked exactly the same. Well, except for me, being secure enough in my masculinity to roleplay a girl. XD

In any case, something stirred and inspired by the Warrirors Of Diversity we vowed to do something about it. Then we went out and punched cows ’till XP came out.

Later that day, however, we set out to find the easiest way to make good looking sprites. According to a post on NMA forums by Lexx, one of the 2238 developers, a Fallout player critter requires in excess of 10.000 frames of animation. Mother of God. One character type/model has to be represented in every possible combination of weapons and armour. Now make them walk and die and pick shit up. Now repeat that for all 6 directions that Fallout needs due to the hex grid… :\

It quickly became apparent that we would need to make some 3D models. As always, a man on unfamiliar ground quickly resorts to what he already knows, so I fired up Quake2, took a screencap of a dude and pasted him onto a FOnline screencap. Not completely happy with the result, I placed some Q2 player models in QuArK, screencapped ‘em and pasted them into the same image. They were in there, alright, but seemed out of place…

Here comes the semi important bit. The Fallout 2 palette is in fact 8-bit…ish. The actual amount of colours isn’t that important, as long as you have suitable software for the job. I used this guide here. After passing them through an indexed palette, they looked much more appropriate.

Now then, here is my proof of concept:

Concept stage is now pretty much complete. We now know how to get a 1 frame sprite from a 3D model. We know it kinda looks okay, but needs tweaking. By okay, I don’t mean proportions, perspective or postioning, much less style. This experiment was purely to see if a third party model can kinda blend in, palette wise and if extracting sprites from 3D models is a viable technique for us. Tick both.

Checklist:
- Single 3D frame to sprite
- Indexing colour on full bitmap to Fallout palette

To do:
- Rendering from an animated 3D model in Max to a suitable batch of images
- Batch process crop (could perhaps be done at render level?)
- Batch process palette indexing
- Find correct camera and shadow angle
- Batch FRM conversion, renaming and import
- Actually get a proper model or something
- Actually rig, animate and skin the fucker

Onwards!

2 Responses to “Making Fallout 2/Online sprites – Proof of concept”

FOnline uses a 3d engine.
Why don’t you just put the model in the game instead of rendering all those 10.000 sprites? They will change it anyway so you could consider yourself a pioneer then.

Hey there.

Yes, they are going to implement/have implemented the 3D engine. Not sure which, since I haven’t been active in so long. Real life got the best of me, I’m afraid. Still, it was a fun excersize and I learned something new. So far I’ve only contributed a few inventory graphics to FO, but will see what I can do to help when my schedules clear up a bit.

Cheers mate.

Something to say?