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Re: [Enigma-devel] New image for it_extralife

From: Ronald Lamprecht
Subject: Re: [Enigma-devel] New image for it_extralife
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2009 22:57:13 +0200
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20090605)


Thanks for all the feedback on this list and by email.

I did not want to take premature influence on this discussion in the hope of more and better alternative suggestions this way.

We did post this request to the list as we did not find a common aggreement on internal discussions in advance. But the opinions in this open discussion did neither deliver a clear favorite with a broad acceptance.

But we learned that some icons like the smiley emoticon are meanwhile overused and too strongly connected to bad experiences and others like the ankh are not well known enough for such a common item like the extralife.

We did suggest the yellow item basis because it fits on all existing floors, provides an usable background to simple black and flat symbols, and the round shape has at least some connection to the ball actors. The strong yellow color has been criticised by several people. Even though the heavy extralife usage in the supplied screenshot is quite unusual, the extralife image should not distract users. Thus I started searching for more decent images that nevertheless have a good contrast to all floors.

The 2.5-d-effects of the yellow disc are intentional. Enigma has been criticised for outdated images. Indeed many of the item images have been low resolution and flat and did not fit the much more elaborated actor, stone and floor images. We started improving the simple item images and more items will show effects like the cherry, bannana.

Thus we are not fond of a flat red heart symbol, especially not of one with +1 on top. Actually we do not favor a heart as it overused in cheap ego shooter games with a lot of blood shed. Our marbles do shatter without blood shed.

This leads us to the examination of the basic demands of an Enigma object image. What is more important, the visual representation or the symbolic connection to the object? Well, actually we never received a single request or criticism about the cherry being used as an item that makes marbles invisible. Just the spoon did once cause a request, because it is a local symbol of death just known to native German speakers. In fact it is one of the nice challenges of Enigma to investigate the features of yet unknown objects by playing and testing. So the visual representation is much more important and we should feel free to choose any image we like as long it is well recognizable.

What makes an image recognizable? Simplicity! A simple shape with smooth color transistions. We did experiment with a flat shamrock image. The shape has been much too complex and the monochrom color caused contrast problems on many floors. The complex shapes of an asclepius symbol and other suggestions are not well suited for lower resolutions, too.

Let us look at the extralife features. We have *one* item that resurrects shattered black and white marbles and pearls. The same item is the currency for a cannonball spitting stone and transforms to glasses on laser light.

Thus the old black extralife is either way not well suited for all actors. Ray did suggest to introduce extralife variants for the different actors and players using black and white extralifes. But we want a clear separtion of black/white color for colored actors and yin/yang for player related features. And the transformation and the spitter usage do not make the extralife a candidate for variants.

Concerning the spitter we do interpret the extralife as a "currency" that drives the spitter and not as the cannonballs themselves. Neither the old image nor any suggestion do symbolize the laser transformation of an extralife.

Under these preconditions I searched for a free usable icon and made a find with the battery image:


It is well recognizable and usable even in 16x16 pixel based resolution. It fits best to all existing floors and is very decent. Let us assume that the marbles and the spitters are driven by electrical power and the battery will symbolize these two usages.

Maybe somedays a graphics wizard joins this project and is able and willing to provide an even better image. Then we can switch the imgage again. But unless this event occurs we should take the battery and will thus be free to introduce black pearl actors.



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