Last update july 8th 2011
- Note that these are only guidelines, not hard rules. They are not yet fully respected in the main package, they are more an overview of what we would like to have as a general style in a 1.0 release.
- If you want your contribution to be part of a certain package (like the main-package or a special add-on/mod), discuss your idea with the community before putting too much effort in it, and send screenshots on a regular basis, so styling issues can be discussed before being spread over the whole model.
- If anyway possible, use blender for your creations and send us the .blend-files together with the exported models. Blender offers you the best tools and esp. for tracks, there is just no way to get around blender, yet. Most of our current artists use Blender and can therefor be a better help, if they get the data as a .blend file. Further note, that .blend files can really help us to improve and care for your models in the future.
- If often best to make it clear if your track is complete or if you still plan to improve it. We will show interest if we think about adding your contribution to our official packages. We will try to give feedback in that case and afterwards wait 'till you tell us your project is finished before we do another review.
General (for karts, tracks, etc.)
- The SuperTuxKart environment is generally meant to be light and/or colorful and/or comic-like (take the XR951 aliens for example; they sit there ominously but still have a comic feel about them).
- This does not mean you cannot do darker stuff, but they should remain caricatural in a way that makes them not too grim.
- Do not overdo the light mood though ;) Avoid putting too much different colours together on the same screen in a way that hurts the eye.
- The textures may be realistic, it is the mood and theme we want to be light.
- Avoid candy-colored, plastic-colored or plain-color textures
- Avoid using textures where you can easily see the tiling/repetitions. Avoid easy-to-spot repeating patterns. For example:
- Try to keep an appropriate balance between high-poly and low-poly. For instance there could be a style problem if you put a high-poly sphere next to a plain cube. Objects that are always seen from far should not waste vertices either.
- STK needs to run on a wide range of computers, and thus we need to avoid very high-poly stuff. Try avoiding using huge amounts of mesh - especially where you can't see the difference, or in places the user is not likely to (or plain can't) see.
Track guidelines for the official packages
- For the visual style, take inspiration from tracks like Minigolf, Island, Hacienda, Snow Peak, Darkhill Mansion which show approximately the style we are looking for.
- First and foremost : think about the shape of the track. Even if you are an experienced modeller and make a track that is very nice-looking, the nice visuals will be of no use if the track is boring to drive.
- Avoid making the track too narrow since this makes it hard to overtake other karts.
- Avoid making the track too long (over 1.5 minute is definitely too long - between approximately 30 and 60 seconds is considered appropriate for one loop).
- Always try to find an appropriate balance between straights and turns; too many straights may be boring, too many curves, especially very tight ones, will make the track hard to drive.
- For the main-package: Avoid using too much city/industry elements, instead explore lots of different, exotic and even unexpected worlds. Prefer known and coherant universes/worlds (fictive or not) over a bunch of colourful non-sense (i.e., use consistent themes referring to real-world places, stories, past civilizations, etc. use your imagination to come up with something original yet coherant :)
- Avoid very (and even moderately) steep slopes, as physics will have trouble with them.
- Try to avoid 'dead corners' in a track, i.e. places where a kart could fall in or get stuck. Examples are falling down into a corner from which no way out exists, or getting stuck on a fence with the chassis, when all four wheels are actually in the air.
- Avoid facades that look awful as soon as a kart leaves the road.
- Re-use textures from the main texture directory (or from existing tracks, though tell us which ones!) instead of creating new ones when possible. This helps keep the size of the game down.
- Keep the style consistent through-out the whole track.
- Make sure that you add a start line texture (checkered line) so that people know where the finishing line is. Preferably use check.png as a texture, but if it doesn't go well with the style of the track feel free to use a different style.
- Use sky planes/maps as much as possible. STK 0.7+ supports real skydomes/boxes so do not fake a sky by using a mesh.
- Integrate your track in the environment. No flying tracks unless they make a lot of sense. You better discuss your arguments before starting to work on such a track if you want it integrated in any of our packages.
- About checklines: they should only be used to stop major shortcuts (e.g. driving small circles around the start line crossing it over and over again). They should be places at places where the karts have to drive through, and they are not meant to stop short cuts (e.g. to avoid a kart driving straight through an S shaped curve). Use the terrain or physics (slowdown when being off track) for that. Make sure the check lines are wide enough that a kart driving off the road are still triggering it. Check lines don't have to have a visual representation in the track (see track exporter for more details).
Kart Guidelines for the official packages
- For the visual style, take inspiration from karts like Suzanne, Emule, Pidgin, Nolok which show approximately the style we are looking for.
- For the main-package: karts should relate to a certain open-source mascot.
- Ideas :
Gnu, Pidgin bird, SUSE chameleon, BSD beastie, firefox, thunderbird, blender monkey, KDE dragon(could be improved), Ogre, windowmaker panda, Perl camel, PHP elephant, snort pig, workrave sheep, XFCE mouse, python, adium duck, tortoiseCVS/SVN, cairo insect, mantis insect, etc...
- Ideas :
- Their style should be cartoonish and not to serious or futuristic.
- Avoid plain colors and plastic-looking karts
- Don't add outlines (those should be a feature in the engine if we ever feel like we want them)
- Keep roughly the same size as the Tux kart (to be friendly with the physics engine. especially avoid making it thin and tall)
Final notes on inclusion into main or add-ons
- The visual quality of SuperTuxKart has steadily improved from version to version. We thus have to say that unfortunately we can't accept everyone's contributions (but you may put them on the add-on site). Keeping the visual side improving is important to achieve a high-quality game. Therefore, in general only contributions from people with decent blender experience will go in. If you are new to blender, you are free (and even welcome) to try learning by making tracks; however it must be said right from the beginning that unless you learn very fast or have natural talent, your [first?] tracks will most likely not go in main. Note, however, that there is nothing preventing you from releasing your own add-ons on the forums, to share with others.
- Finally, a final note that, while not really related to art of style, does apply : some humility does help ;) e.g. please don't repeatedly post comments like "when will my track be added into the main package?" or so. This helps keep a better mood in the community in general ;) If your track is high-quality, we will surely see it and show interest. If otherwise, don't worry. Make new tracks, get more experience, and improve the track. And after all there always is the add-on site.
- Of course, while this is not a style issue, absolutely make sure to consider Licensing if you wish your work to be integrated into the main package (or add-ons).
- It's hard to give precise guidelines for songs but here are a few items to watch :
- Music in STK should not be too heavy or too electronic.
- The style of STK requires songs with melodies more than ambient soundtracks.
- Do not make songs too long since we try to keep the file size down. 2 minutes might be an example of a good length.
- Do not make the song too repetitive : a song that always has the same beat repeat over and over with only minor variations may be rejected.