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"Stock alike" style guide?


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Can we try to avoid hijacking this post about the internal workings of squad? I just wanted to get some feedback and maybe gather support for squad to release some style guidelines, or as mentioned by others maybe a community style guide if squad is not interested.

I know people can get defensive about stuff they feel is unfair, but maybe take it to private message if it's not relevant ?

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21 hours ago, hoojiwana said:

Hopefully I can answer some of the questions raised in here!

No style guide exists because the art style has been constantly evolving and changing due to the fairly large number of different artists who have contributed;

  1. The original art made by Squad staff whose names I do not know off the top of my head.
  2. The replacement art for those parts done by @NovaSilisko , who practically defined the artstyle that "stockalike" mods emulated (starting with KSPX the original thread is gone now I think)
  3. C7 made the original space plane parts, as well as some assorted science parts (lab, materials bay etc.), the Rapier and the Size 3 Kerboodyne rocket parts.
  4. Claira Lyrae (author of KSPX) then added some parts from the mod to the stock game (and some other art like a redone launchpad sans launch tower).
  5. Bac9 who made the majority of the Tier 3 space center and island runway revamp (dev blog already linked).
  6. Hugo Gutierrez redid the Mk1 spaceplane parts and made one or two other bits (monoprop engine).
  7. DanRosas and some other artists whose names I forget did the Tier 1 and 2 KSC as well as the destruction states and Tier 3 admin building.
  8. @RoverDude who has made some of the ISRU parts, the radiators and heatshields
  9. @frizzankcreated some IVAs, one of which is the science lab.
  10. And most recently we have @Porkjet who has redone (almost) every spaceplane part and is working on redoing the rocket parts.

With that many artists all adding their own touches to an existing game, its easy to see why there isn't a single stock style modders can easily follow. "Stockalike" mods all look a little different depending on how the individual artists wanted to make their parts look. My stockalike looks a little different to @Nerteas stockalike for example, mine is lower fidelity and less realistic. Both of ours looks different to the way @RoverDude has developed his style for his mods and for stock since he errs strongly towards lower memory usage and a brighter colour palette.

As for the future, we have Porkjet working on redoing the rocket parts for stock. How far he goes with that is entirely up to speculation, but even replacing the fuel tanks and engines will be a good step towards a unifying art style across all the parts, especially since there is only the one artist working on the project. Maybe he'll have the time to make a style guide or dev blog post-1.2 (or whenever the rocket parts are done), but for now it seems the mod community is left up to its own devices.

Thanks for the reply, I realized before I posted this that the art has changed due to multiple artists,  but the best way I could explain is say team fortress 2. There are guides for that stye regarding importance for silhouette recognition,  color pallet and such. 

 

What I think you can do is explain away some differences just because they are treated mostly as independent manufacturer, so a Ford may not look like a toyota, but they're both recognizable as vehicles. Their tires and rims may be very similar, the style of paint looks similar even if the trim and styling are not.

 

So let's take some examples.

Obviously there is a more hand painted style mentioned in that link I posted, and for now with 32 bit memory limits that works well,  a stretched texture with little grain looks better than a photorealittle texture streached. But I like what necro did with his fuel tank expansion, he used a lot of common textures, and used model detail to make the fuel tanks look like more than white clinders.

And more importantly,  his mods allow you to build a rocket system that feels tied together and coherent.

Back to team fortress2; like KSP it has items (guns vs space parts) that are clearly inspired by real objects, but they are simplified,a tad exagerated, with a stylized artistic look.

 

And the best part is, the user content takes its keys from this. Why this is important is when you see counterstrike weapon mods, they're all trying to be photo realistic,  based exactly on real life, but obviously mod authors all have different levels of skill and ability, so some look really good, and some look terrible.

 

 

I think KSP avoids this because it's easier for a novice to paint in a more cartoons style, but obviously there are some seriously talented artists who stand out even in a more stylized format.

 

But back to my main point; the point of this would be to provide common ground for multiple artists to allow for a coherent look.

 

For example, something simple like the look of docking parts and inter part crew hatches,  placement of handrails, valve handles,  footholds,  hatches,  lifting points, stenciling, Windows and cockpit lighting.

 

How much detail is too much, how to optimize the model for common geometry. How to handle glass or unpainted metal? 

 

More specifics,  what features should an ion engine have to identify it as an ion engine, what defines a battery or fuel cell? Monopropellant, okay it has yellow, what else? Girder styles and guidelines, style's for space station parts, styles for landable modules, science experiments,  stack vs surface attachment stylings, etc.

They key is not what makes them different but what ties it all together.

 

And for existing mods with huge parts counts, at some point you can just say hey Russian and American spacecraft didn't look the same. So I get that each artists will do his own thing.

 

But  for the community as a whole, it would be good for modders to have a common starting point.

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21 hours ago, bsquiklehausen said:

I feel like once we see some of @Porkjet's rocket parts in devnotes or Squadcasts or wherever, it'd be a reasonably safe time to attempt a community-made style sheet. Even without Squad's official support, I feel like a lot of modders have gotten close enough to stock style (you absolutely included, @hoojiwana) to contribute to a style guide. Since the art style is so disjointed at the moment, the guide would only be able to cover some styles of parts (I think we can do well with a section for Porkalike and for Claira-alike/old stock), and while it's imperfect, it's definitely not a total waste of time.

If some people want to start now with a Classic Stock style guide or a Porkjet's planes style guide, I personally think either would be extremely useful.

You bring up an Excellent point,  a style guide Doesn't  have to remove individual styles,  like my previous us vs Russian analogy,  you can just make them to allow coherence within an established  style.

 

So @RoverDude could list his own internal requirements for what he considers essential for some of the USI parts if someone wanted to say make some sea base parts to work with his otter submarine. 

 

If someone new to the community is looking to make parts that fit in well with established stock alike parts, then a comprehensive guide will be a good starting point, showcasing some of the more popular mod packs that try to maintain a stock friendly  look. 

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1 hour ago, Buster Charlie said:

If someone new to the community is looking to make parts that fit in well with established stock alike parts, then a comprehensive guide will be a good starting point, showcasing some of the more popular mod packs that try to maintain a stock friendly  look. 

It's a good idea but the catch is that people need to take time out of making mods (or working on stock) in order to create such things. It's already been pointed out that if someone is so inclined they can pick apart an existing style and copy it or build their own style from it without the need for a pre-existing style guide. It's what I've done for everything I've made with the exception of when I started out and didn't know what I was doing.

There's more to it than simple unification of styles as well; the act of examining other peoples art helped me develop understanding of techniques to replicate it, the act of asking myself why someone does something a certain why forces me to consider ideas I hadn't thought of before. All that helps me grow as an artist and I'm not entirely certain following a preset guide would give those same benefits. You may learn to do something but you may not gain any understanding as to why you should do it.

Edited by hoojiwana
Added final sentance.
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Stock-alike?

Aircraft parts should look awesome, and in fact futuristic, and should have excellent mass for what they do, and every strength/advantage.

Rocket parts should look awful, and be heavier with less capability than any aircraft part remotely similar.

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45 minutes ago, tater said:

Stock-alike?

Aircraft parts should look awesome, and in fact futuristic, and should have excellent mass for what they do, and every strength/advantage.

Rocket parts should look awful, and be heavier with less capability than any aircraft part remotely similar.

I agree, we should probably have a new mechanic to punish people for making spaceplanes without wings (aka rockets) maybe extra heating on all craft not containing an air intake?

 

Actually the beSt way to handle these non spaceplane heretics would be to remove all fuel thanks and add wing tanks as the only way to store fuel, and remove oxidizer, and probably nerf the LV-N vacuum  is too. :P

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18 minutes ago, Buster Charlie said:

I agree, we should probably have a new mechanic to punish people for making spaceplanes without wings (aka rockets) maybe extra heating on all craft not containing an air intake?

 

Actually the beSt way to handle these non spaceplane heretics would be to remove all fuel thanks and add wing tanks as the only way to store fuel, and remove oxidizer, and probably nerf the LV-N vacuum  is too. :P

Heh... (Couldn't land a plane at the island runway without 30 tries)

Edited by Andem
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  • 6 years later...

Necro post brought my attention to this thread, which echoes a question I've long had. I see several mods being labelled as "stock-alike" and I've wondered what the heck that means, as I can't much tell the difference between those and ones not so labelled. But then that's likely because I'm not very fluent in what makes an artistic style. :-)

 

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On 7/31/2022 at 6:03 PM, rmaine said:

Necro post brought my attention to this thread, which echoes a question I've long had. I see several mods being labelled as "stock-alike" and I've wondered what the heck that means, as I can't much tell the difference between those and ones not so labelled. But then that's likely because I'm not very fluent in what makes an artistic style. :-)

 

Look at mods made by, say, Angel125 or Nertea- they have their own art styles that are pretty different to stock parts. There are also mods that aim to recreate real rockets and spacecraft in as much detail as possible; while some stock parts (especially from the Making History DLC) are clearly based on real rockets, they’re not replicas.

It’s not just about looks, though: I’d argue that ‘stockalike’ also covers part performance as while some mods are balanced similarly to stock parts or have trade-offs to compensate for their superior stats in some areas, others are pretty blatantly overpowered compared to stock parts.

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