Creating Tiles and Sprites
EUO is a tile-based game, meaning that the environment consists of small square graphic images, referred to as tiles. Graphics for avatars, monster and items are referred to as sprites.
The default resolution of tiles is 32x32 pixels and they are stored in ..\euo\pics\btiles20.32.png.
Sprites of avatars and monsters normally consist of 4 frames and items mostly of only one frame. The game handles low resolution (LoRes) sprites with 16x16 pixels and high resolution sprites (HiRes) with 32x32 pixels. For LoRes a space of one pixel separates each frame and for HiRes the space is 2 pixels wide. The default resolution for sprites is 16x16, though there are attempts to upgrade them to HiRes. The files are stored in the ..\euo\pics subfolder and are labelled btiles21.png to btiles27.png.
When creating new tiles or sprites save them in a lossless format like png. If you are using Gimp or similar professional graphic editing tools, take advantage of the layer function and save the files in the programs native format. It's usually best not to use a lot of movement in your sprite as it will probably look bad when animated.
The background color for every sprite should be pink. In the 8-bit RGB color model the values for red and blue would be 255 and green would be zero (RGB = 255,0,255). The game engine will recognize this color as being fully transparent.
Every sprite is surrounded by a black edge. This is necessary for the sprite to stand out from the background. The black edge should be completely black (RGB = 0,0,0). This is necessary, because the game engine can only apply a glowing effect to black pixels, which is needed for artefacts and named items or special monsters like a phase beast. Keeping this in mind, placing black pixels in the middle of a sprite should be considered beforehand.
For LowRes sprites, there are two possible ways to add the black edge around a sprite as can be seen in the following picture.
Recommended is the right version where the black pixels are only connected diagonal if possible.
Sprite weapon overlay
Player Avatars will display any weapon (and dual-wield weapon or shield) that a player wields. To make avatars that are compatible to this feature, it is necessary that the hand movement in the four frames matches the green boxes in the following pictures.
The game engine can dye certain pixel of a sprite. To apply this feature to a sprite the pixels that should be dyeable have to be true gray. Pixels are truly gray when the value for red equals green equals blue (R=G=B). To prevent gray pixels to be dyeable the artist has to change the value of either red, green or blue to be unequal to the others. This might be needed to enhance to quality of the dyed sprite.
Testing your work
You can test out your new avatar by using photoshop to open EUO\pics\btiles23.png; look for the 4 frames of your current avatar and cut/paste your new one over the top of your current sprite ingame (make a back-up first). Start the game and test out the random frame changing in-game.
1) Design and save your avatars/monsters at 16x16 pixels. This was the original size of all the avatars/monsters for the original game. It can be quite difficult to get the right look but in the end they are blown up to double their size in the game itself.
2) Stick to smooth colors/shades. Trying to design an avatar/monster with outlandish colors generally does not work at all. Try to make you color design fit that mold.
3) Design something that fits into the fantasy theme of EUO. Don't make an avatar carrying a pistol or a rifle. Stick to a medieval fantasy look/feel.
I myself have alot of stuff in the works, one of which is something that a few players have been requesting, something to make the night scene of EUO seem a little nastier. But, I will say one thing, making a good looking monster/avatar is not easy. I've sent stuff to Egg many times for him to send it back giving lots of criticism that he does not like this, does not like that, etc. And even the stuff he has used of mine was slightly altered to his tastes. A designer cannot let this stuff to get him/her. If you truly want one of your designs in the game, make it, post it and ask for criticism/comments. If you keep at it you too can have one of your creations in the game.
And one last thing: DO NOT SAVE YOUR FILES AS JPG! Use GIF or PNG format. Saving as a JPG really lowers the quality of your creation unless you use the highest detail level. Saving as a GIF or PNG keeps it exactly as you designed it. On the GIF style and designing with Photoshop (like I do), before you save, change the image type to Indexed (Image -> Mode -> Indexed), or use Save For Web (ctrl-shift-alt-s).
- GIMP http://www.gimp.org/
- Paint Shop Pro
- MS paint