Original monster models?

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MrFlibble
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Re: Original monster models?

Postby MrFlibble » Sat May 14, 2016 3:37 am

The hand-drawn Orc sprite from Summer CES '94 is a pretty cool find! Perhaps they should've stuck with the hand-drawn art, if only remaking it at a higher resolution. The artist who did that clearly had a very consistent style. I wonder if the unused sprites (including some of the outdoor standing NPCs) that are seen on earlier screenshot are preserved in any form.

On another note, it's interesting that the human enemy model animations show different robe colours. Perhaps this was also a planned feature that got broken? The omnipresent teal in the game sure is repetitive.

Also I don't remember the sorceror.gif character in the game.
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Phobos Anomaly
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Re: Original monster models?

Postby Phobos Anomaly » Wed May 18, 2016 4:05 am

Those pencil drawings are an interesting find, I never saw Daggerfall concept artwork before.
mjonesgraphics
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Re: Original monster models?

Postby mjonesgraphics » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:09 pm

MrFlibble wrote:The hand-drawn Orc sprite from Summer CES '94 is a pretty cool find! Perhaps they should've stuck with the hand-drawn art, if only remaking it at a higher resolution. The artist who did that clearly had a very consistent style. I wonder if the unused sprites (including some of the outdoor standing NPCs) that are seen on earlier screenshot are preserved in any form.

On another note, it's interesting that the human enemy model animations show different robe colours. Perhaps this was also a planned feature that got broken? The omnipresent teal in the game sure is repetitive.

Also I don't remember the sorceror.gif character in the game.


The orc sprite was mine. AS were the other characters from 1994 CES screens. Pixel artwork. Half the height of what Daggerfall eventually used. Most of the later NPC artwork was drawn large and scaled down. However in the initial stages of the game it was planned to have all the artwork pixel-pushed. And at the small size we were dealing with back then that was a good idea. Later most of the smaller assets were discarded. However the bald magician from CES '94 was from another game I was working on before coming to Bethesda. Core Design's Dragonstone. He's popped up in a few games I've worked on, usually under a pseudonym.

The robes were meant to be colour swapped. Creating more variation through code. It's why a lot of early assets were rather plain. To make that colour swap work.

I'm updating my website with some of this info before my brain dries up! It's still being worked on but might be some useful info in there. Working on updating the other ES pages too.

Mark Jones
http://www.mjonesgraphics.com
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Re: Original monster models?

Postby mjonesgraphics » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:02 pm

Gez wrote:Some of the high-res assets may have been reused for Battlespire, which initially was meant to be an expansion pack for Daggerfall before getting turned into its own thing.


The Battlespire models WERE based on the Daggerfall model in some cases. Extra model geometry was added and better texturing. Daggerfall was my first 3D project. I'd never messed with 3D programs before that, so by the end of it I felt I was in a better position to produce better art.

However, the revised models were still on the SGI machine, and networking was a bit odd. I had to buy myself a CD caddy so I could back things up myself. After Battlespire I believe the SGI machines 'went to be with Jesus', as Ken Rolston used to say. The 3D Max assets for terminator- SKYNET, and Redguard probably still exist if I were to guess. The MAX/PC combo was much more cost effective. And is still used at Zenimax I believe.

And as taking anything from Bethesda was/is a strict NO NO (Facebook- Oculus anyone?) I do not have any assets that cannot be found online (Which I consider fair game). I wish I did though, that Daggerfall intro looked REALLY nice in higher resolution. You could really see Marc Jackson's artwork in the book. That was lovely stuff.

Sorry... :(

Mark Jones (old Bethesda artist)
http://www.mjonesgraphics.com
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MrFlibble
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Re: Original monster models?

Postby MrFlibble » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:00 am

Dear Mark, thanks for this valuable information!

mjonesgraphics wrote:The robes were meant to be colour swapped. Creating more variation through code. It's why a lot of early assets were rather plain. To make that colour swap work.

That makes a lot of sense. The appearance of human characters as it is, without the different colours, is indeed less varied that that of the characters Arena. I wonder if the colour swap code is still there somewhere in the executable.

mjonesgraphics wrote:The orc sprite was mine. AS were the other characters from 1994 CES screens. Pixel artwork. Half the height of what Daggerfall eventually used. Most of the later NPC artwork was drawn large and scaled down. However in the initial stages of the game it was planned to have all the artwork pixel-pushed. And at the small size we were dealing with back then that was a good idea. Later most of the smaller assets were discarded.

On the topic of hand-drawn NPC sprites of different sizes, there's a data file in the game which contains unused sprites for those characters who have more detailed images (including some of the royalty, the bearded innkeep and the barmaid) in a size larged than their counterparts which actually appear in the game. I'm assuming that these are the original images which were later scaled down. Perhaps you remember why the larger sprites were included with the game data too?
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Re: Original monster models?

Postby mjonesgraphics » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:06 am

MrFlibble wrote:Dear Mark, thanks for this valuable information!

mjonesgraphics wrote:The robes were meant to be colour swapped. Creating more variation through code. It's why a lot of early assets were rather plain. To make that colour swap work.

That makes a lot of sense. The appearance of human characters as it is, without the different colours, is indeed less varied that that of the characters Arena. I wonder if the colour swap code is still there somewhere in the executable.

mjonesgraphics wrote:The orc sprite was mine. AS were the other characters from 1994 CES screens. Pixel artwork. Half the height of what Daggerfall eventually used. Most of the later NPC artwork was drawn large and scaled down. However in the initial stages of the game it was planned to have all the artwork pixel-pushed. And at the small size we were dealing with back then that was a good idea. Later most of the smaller assets were discarded.

On the topic of hand-drawn NPC sprites of different sizes, there's a data file in the game which contains unused sprites for those characters who have more detailed images (including some of the royalty, the bearded innkeep and the barmaid) in a size larged than their counterparts which actually appear in the game. I'm assuming that these are the original images which were later scaled down. Perhaps you remember why the larger sprites were included with the game data too?


As to the colour swap I believe we just gave up, and the character graphics that came later were simply rendered without the extra work of isolating the colours. So the design had the idea of colour swapping, but the renders themselves MAY not been fully implemented. It's been a while ;)

AS for the large character work I'm not sure. Perhaps a test? Daggerfall production got a bit, ummm, disorganized at points. They may simply have forgotten they were there.
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MrFlibble
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Re: Original monster models?

Postby MrFlibble » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:58 am

Thanks again!

Can you tell if the renders such as the main menu screen or the demo title/ loading screen were first rendered in high resolution and then scaled down, or rendered in 320x200 right away?

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