Creating Unit Art
Here's the information needed to start doing units art for Wesnoth. Please update the wiki with links to examples and other tips and tricks realted to unit art. This page started from this forum thread.
Basic unit image specifications
Wesnoth can only use two kinds of graphic files: PNGs, or JPEGs. JPEGs aren't suitable for unit images, because they're can't store transparency data (and are lossy). Because of this, we always use PNGs.
- Final format: transparent PNG
- color depth should be 24-bit (8 bits per RGB channel). This may be listed as "PNG-24" or "8-bit RGBA".
- be aware that "Indexed color", "color map", or "PNG-8" is a different format. Although it might work in a buggy way, we strongly recommend you not use these.
- size is 72 x 72 pixels (it can actually be slightly wider, and can fit in the area of a hex and it's immediately surrounding tiles, but try not to do this if at all possible, because it has performance and graphical glitch issues).
- All but exceptionally large units should be contained in the hex (the white in the attached template)
- Compare the size of your unit to the size of similar existing core units
- Light comes from a specific direction (for shadings and highlights)
- Unit must look in the lower right direction
- Units are centered horizontally
- Unit's feet are positioned around 55 pixel from the top, lower for taller units if necessary
- Shadows at 60 opacity, dark blue color (see Creating Shadows Under Units).
- Outlines should be used, made with a darker, but similar colour to what they're surrounding, this makes the unit feel bigger then the amount of pixels you'd use for the same with a black outline. (Black outlines not welcome anymore)
- Use consistent names for your files, beginning with the unit name, so that they are kept together when browsing the files. Try to imitate the naming scheme used for mainline units.
Unit animation specifications
You can have as many frames for animations as you like, and in fact, for any given cue, you can have more than one animation, which will be randomly chosen by the game. Images and animations must be done for:
- normal image (1 frame)
- attack for each type (at least one frame, about 6 frames is optimal)
- directional attacks (generally are desired for any attack that's a straight motion, rather than a slash. I.e. spears and thundersticks)
- defense (can be split into ranged and melee animations)
- magical attacks should have 'special effects'
It is important that the unit moves its feet when doing a melee attack. During the attack the unit will move from its own hex to the hex it is attacking. If you don't have foot movement in your animation, the unit will be "sliding" toward its target, which looks bad.
Additional Notes and examples
- Test early with different backgrounds. Go to your game terrain files, pick, say, 3 terrains, preferably with different colours, and have a look what they look like against the background, because that way if you have used alpha channels, it may look better in game than as the average standard sprite.
- Test your unit early in the game. Replacing an existing unit graphic with yours is the fastest way (be sure to make a copy of the originals so you don't lose them.)
- If you are animating a horse, you should base it on this example of an horse animation