Creating Creatures

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This is a guide to creating your own creatures for the Tuxemon open source monster battling game. We are pretty tolerant of designs that vary from these specifications, and we're always happy to help out with advice and feedback.

You don't have to do all of these steps yourself! Just post whichever you feel like doing in the forum, and we might be able to find someone to help fill in the rest.

This page is about designing a creature from scratch. See Completing Creatures for advice on adding to monsters that have already been designed.

Introduction

In short, the way to contribute a monster to the project is to draw or paint it, or to create pixel art of it (a "sprite").

There are no particular requirements for drawings or paintings, because they are not used in the game. Pixel art is used in the game, and so it should be 64 pixels by 64 pixels, with the monster facing forward and to the right.

More details and advice is below, but feel free to just dive in and start creating some monsters!

Design

Tuxemon are cartoony monsters. Some are cute, while others are fearsome or mysterious.

One trick might looking at creatures from other monster battling games, and thinking about:

  • What the creatures are based on: puns, obscure animals, animals with an elemental twist, etc.
  • How they are represented: How detailed are they? How are complex concepts communicated in simple shapes? How cute are they? Is there a difference between basic monsters and their evolved forms?
  • What is added to the monster to make it distinctive, appealing and iconic

blazeknight-94's tutorial describes six origins:

  • Logical associations
  • Shape associations
  • Cliches
  • Behavioural associations
  • Famous character tributes
  • Puns

FrozenFeather's eye chart could be useful.

Sources of inspiration:

Mechanical Conceit

It is also possible to start your design from the other direction: choose a mechanical role that you want the creature to play in battle, and then design it from the bottom up.

This is the approach of the Create-a-Pokemon project.

Name

There are no hard-and-fast rules for names, but consider:

  • Tuxemon on the same evolutionary chain often have similar names
  • Names are often based on puns or references
  • Names are often compounds of two different words

blazeknight-94's tutorial describes four naming conventions:

  • Pure word associations
  • Clever word associations
  • Anagrams
  • Saying misspellings

Type(s)

In Tuxemon, there are five types, and a tuxemon can belong to one or two of them.

Evolutions

A creature can have any number of evolution options. However, it will typically not evolve more than twice. For example, Botbot can evolve into Beaverbot, Fishbot, Petbot or Monkeybot. However, once it's evolved into one of those, it cannot evolve again.

An unevolved tuxemon is in its "basic stage". A tuxemon that has evolved once is in its "first stage"; if it has evolved twice, it is in its "second stage".

Evolution can result from the tuxemon reaching a certain level, from it consuming a particular item, or from some other criterion being satisfied.

Graphic Design

Although there is no direct use for illustrations in the Tuxemon game, artworks are excellent for developing the creatures, promoting the game, and serving as references during spriting.

There are many tutorials for drawing monsters. My preferred one is:

Also useful are:

Software

I use Krita, but others work in GIMP, Photoshop or other drawing software.

Sprites (Pixel Art)

With enough time and practice, anyone can make sprites. There are many free and open source tools available that you can use for creating sprites. Your first attempts at spriting may be met with criticism, but this criticism should be viewed constructively to help make your sprites better.

Sprites should ideally be done using the Tuxemon Default Palette (download it as a GPL file).

Alternatively, artwork colors can be converted to fit the Tuxemon palette by using the PySNESify utility, which will change each pixel color to its closest color available from the SNES/GBA era platforms.

Tuxemon palette.png

Sprites should be saved as PNG files. Do not save them as JPG files: they will lose quality. The PNG format is a lossless image format that will make sure that your images do not degrade in quality when you save them.

Software

I recommend Aseprite, but any painting program can be used.

Battle Sprites (Front and Back Sprites)

Front and back sprites are 64 by 64 pixels.

Light Source: Upper left corner.

Angle: The tuxemon should be facing the viewer, but at an angle so the left side of its body is also partly visible.

Techniques: Sel-out, Minimal Dithering, No Anti-Aliasing

Colour Palette: 16 colours selected from the palette, including white, almost-black and transparency.

Sizes

Although the total canvas is 64 by 64 pixels, only the largest tuxemon should fill up the entire space.

The smallest creatures should occupy about 40 by 40 pixels, with small-to-medium creatures occupying 48 by 48 and medium-to-large ones 56 by 56.

Sizes.png

The back sprite should fill about about the same amount of the canvas as the front sprite does. Generally, the back sprite is of the head and shoulders.

The only edge that should be cut off is the bottom. For example, this sprite is incorrect because the left-hand-side is cut off:

20160730022548%21Nemo01-back.png

Great sprites

Many great sprites have been submitted for Tuxemon. Here are some examples:

Dune-pincher-front.png Dune Pincher by tamashihoshi. Notice how tamashihoshi didn't make the legs by copying one leg and using it multiple times. This should almost always be avoided, even for very small parts of the creature like eyes. In general, you should redraw each element.

Anu front.png Anu is very well put together by princess-phoenix. Because it's only a medium-sized creature, it doesn't take up the whole 64 by 64 pixels, only part of it. princess-phoenix has also made some parts more detailed and other parts less detailed: for example, the legs just end in points but the face is very complex. This suits the cartoony style of Tuxemon.

Hoarse-front.png rsg167's Hoarse is dynamic and interesting.

Sumobug front.png tamashihoshi's Sumobug is cute, well-proportioned and takes a concept - a sumo wrestler insect - to its natural conclusion.

Dracune.png Spalding004's Dracune is the cocoon of a blood-sucking butterfly, so of course it looks like a vampire hanging upside with its cloak wrapped around it! A very clever design.

Wooden-donkey-front-alt.png Leo's unnamed wooden donkey looks adorable, and has a lovely mix of colours. The leaf hat is a nice touch!

Tutorials

My preferred tutorial is:

Other good ones include:

Face Sprites

Face sprites are two frames of an animation, saved as two separate 24 by 24 pixel PNG files.

The face should fill most of the canvas, regardless of the size of the tuxemon.

The faces are animated, but it is okay for them to move by only a pixel or two. For example, to represent bobbing just move the image in the second sprite up by one pixel.

Generally, sel-out is not necessary for an image this size. A uniform almost-black outline is fine.

The light source, if one exists, should be by the top-left.

Typically, the face is drawn as if the creature were facing directly ahead, but the same angle that is used in the sprites (facing the left of the viewer) is also acceptable.

Examples

Sumoworm face 1.png Sumoworm face 2.png

tamashihoshi's face sprites for the unnamed prevolution of Sumobug is my favourite. It is an iconic face, with an obvious but appealing motion (the chomping of the mandibles) and the shading is really nice.

Dandicub face.png Dandicub face 2.png

Face sprites don't have to be elaborate. Here, the animation is just moving one pixel up and then one pixel down, to reflect the bobbing motion of the floating Dandicub.

Rules

A tuxemon's stats and other in-game rules are defined in a JSON text file in the game's `resources/db/monster` folder.

These are set to change, so I wouldn't worry about them at this point.

Other Details

At the moment, we do not describe or create cries, body shapes, egg groups, etc., for tuxemon.

On the wiki we do record a tuxemon's "species name" - a word or two that describes an aspect of their nature. It is used in the format: "The X Tuxemon", like "The Flame Tuxemon" or "The Dark Forest Tuxemon".

It's okay for multiple tuxemon - even unrelated tuxemon - to have the same species name.

Distribution

When you've created your tuxemon (or part of it), you should:

  • Upload any sprites and illustrations to the wiki
  • Post about it on a new thread in the forums

You might also want to post it on r/fakemon or on DeviantArt. When I do this, I include a little link back to the project so we can promote Tuxemon.

Directly adding them to the Tuxemon game

Upload the creature's JSON file to the `resources/db/monster` folder and the creature's four PNG sprites (two face sprites, front sprite, back sprite) to the `resources/gfx/sprites/battle` folder.

To test out your new creature in Tuxemon, you'll need to use the Tiled map editor to edit one of the existing maps in `resources/maps` and add an **event action** to add your new creature to your party! For more information on adding event actions and conditions to a map, check out the Map Editor Events page.

Fruitera add.png

Now when you launch Tuxemon, get your newly created monster and enter combat to see them in action!