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Marscaleb

Sprites or Meshes?

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So I'm making a mod, and I want to use entirely original assets.  New monsters, new setting, etc.

One of the issues with that which I have been debating is if I want to use 3D models for the monsters, or sprites.

I have been leaning towards sprites, because Doom was really designed for sprites and they altogether feel better than meshes do.
But since I'm creating all-new artwork for my monsters, using sprites would require a lot more work than 3D models would, especially for adding monsters that are effectively visual variants.

So while I debate my little quandary, I thought I might ask other for their thoughts and opinions.  If we assume that I will be creating generally the same quality of art, do you tend to think that sprites or meshes work better?  And why?

One other thing I'd mention.  If I made meshes, I'd likely make them low-poly.  Since the textures I've been creating are low-res, I have a period aesthetic going on.  I'd need the monsters to match the world.

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I'm partial to models, because of the additional "realism" they deliver, particularly when viewed from above. [X-Y billboarding doesn't really do a convincing job.]

 

Models can also be defined with smoother animations than sprites (unless you use many, many frames).

 

One option to address your quandary is to create models, then extract relevant frames for sprites. You'd get the old-school look, while using a skill (e.g., model-making) that you appear to be good at.

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Sprites are very good at glossing over Doom's simple monster behaviour, which comes very apparent once you introduce 3D models. Ideally you should build physical animatronic models and key frame them with a turn table and camera, and then clean up the results to create palettised sprites. But you can get decent results with converting well textured mid-level polygon models. However you will need to become fairly proficent at bitmap art to tighten and recreate definition and detail. (Another advantage of sprites is the limited number of animation frames you need. The Pinky for example has 4 frames of walk cycle, a 3 frame attack, 1 frame stun, and a 6 frame death.)

 

If you really want to go the low-poly mesh route, then Quake would probably be a better platform to build for.

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