Posted by: frostare | October 5, 2011

Khold’s Communiqué – Presentation

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The average reaction to an ugly set.

My first article on the Bunker is going to be about one of the most important things I value in a moveset: presentation! I know many do not share this view, and that’s fine. You can still take something with you from this article no matter what perspectives you have, hopefully. Remember, this is all my perspective on things, so you don’t have to follow it to the letter, but please at least consider my points.

The reason I value presentation so highly is that even though this is a contest primarily for designing movesets, and not the way they look, these are written works. Since you have to actually read these movesets (unless you have Warlord or Junahu tell you about them on Youtube), the way they look is crucially important. When we eventually evolve to the point of actually making our own models and hacks, if that ever happens, this will be less of a goal, because we will be driven to more practical movesetting methods. Until then, this is an issue every MYMer must face on some degree.

The first, most crucial element of good presentation (a term I use to cover every aspect of what we know as “organization”) is a good, clean, interesting picture for the character. Yes, this is the most important element. A picture sets the tone for the moveset itself and the character. With a picture, you can subconciously give the reader clues as to what you want them to think of your character, such as what they look like, how they fight, and what their personality is. You can also give them an idea of what the moveset will contain. Let’s use an example.

No larger than a waddle doo.
Waddle Doo.

This here is a Waddle Doo, a common Kirby enemy. Now, just from that picture, some things about the character can be inferred- that it is a mook (generic enemy that is in plentiful supply), that it is small, and that it uses electricity of some sort to attack. We can also infer that its moveset will feature said electric attacks (or Beam attacks, as the power Kirby gets from sucking the poor guys up is called), that Waddle Doo will be weak, and that he will be quite small. See, even someone who hasn’t seen the character before will have some ideas and expectations of your moveset before you even begin!

It’s not only important to have an image that represents the character and moveset. The image has to be clean. Solid color (especially white) backgrounds in images against SWF’s almost-black grey background is very bad. Stray pixels and a bad job at making the image background transparent are also bad. What you need to do to fix this is download a program such as GIMP (which is free) or Photoshop is a must. Microsoft Paint is BAD. Please raise your right hand and say the following aloud five times: “I will not use Microsoft Paint to edit images.”

Thank you. If you don’t know how to make the background of an image transparent, which is likely if you had to download one of these programs in the first place, you can do one of two things: look up a quick tutorial on Youtube or Google, or PM the image to me (Kholdstare) on Smash World Forums. I’ll happily fix your images if it means getting rid of that god-awful white box. To go back to my example, see how neat and nice that Waddle Doo image is? It’s clean and has a transparent background. Follow this example.

The third most important thing when choosing an image for your character is official art or renders of your character. Since this is ideal, and more likely than not you won’t find one of it, look for a non-cluttered screenshot of the character. Fanart is the last thing you should resort to.

The last note on the picture is the size of it. Large images are very bad, because they stretch the page and draw too much attention to it while it’s disproportionate to the moveset itself. Small images are bad for the opposite reason – you want to see some detail on the image and have good proportions for something that’s going to headline your moveset. Try to shoot for medium size (about 200 pixels wide by 400 pixels tall).

After the most important element is covered, the second most important element is a first impression. This is a hard concept to nail down, but you want something new and appealing to the eyes. I will use Junahu as an example. His movesets, which I consider the absolute peak of presentation perfection, always have interesting new things to present, such as Linebeck’s specials looking like old sea scrolls. Use something interesting and appealing first and the reader will remember that the most. It’s much like a yearbook cover, if I may use a personal example. A friend of mine from another city wanted to see my yearbook from last year, and when I took it to him, the first thing he did was look at the cover (which had a unique texture) and rub his hand over it. He opened up the book and read it, but every now and then he would go back and feel the cover again.

To add something that goes along with that, your first impression should set the theme for the moveset. If you’re writing a moveset for a retro character, use retro, computer fonts for the opening and specials, and then use minor but still computer-like themes for the body (like Courier New). If you need a font resource, go to http://www.dafont.com and download some you like by searching the categories.

The third most important thing is color. A color scheme is crucial for a pleasing read. One of the most common complaints in a moveset is the color choice. Remember, this is a dark background on SWF, so use light fonts. Dark blues, reds, and purples are generally bad. Pick one calm color for the body, and a bolder but still pleasing color for the bolded parts. Hexadecimal colors are much better than SWF’s default colors; you can find some at this website: http://html-color-codes.com/ . Simply copy the number in the color box you like and paste it to replace the BBCode color word. For instance:

[color=”Red”] POOTIS [/color]

Replace Red and you have…

[color=”FF6666″] POOTIS [/color]

And you’re done! In addition, pick colors that match colors on your character, and try to use a maximum of three colors: a calm one for the body text, such as a pastel; a different but matching color for the move inputs and names; and a different shade of the move name color for the headers. You could vary this up by making the header color similar to the body text but the move names and inputs different. If you have any special symbols in the headers or move names, make them a different color as well. If you would like a good example of how to do this sort of coloring well, any of KingK.Rool’s Eeveelution movesets (from Make Your Move 7) come immediately to mind.

Finally, the last thing I have to reccommend for your moveset to be the best it can be presentation-wise is proper and appealing formatting. This applies to two areas: BBCode and image movesets. I will cover how to make an image moveset in another article, but to have proper BBCode is also a reccommendation that most MYMers that have gotten to know the community’s standards require. You have a few things you can do to the text itself.

You can change the color, you can change the font, and the size, firstly. Leave the body font the way it is in terms of actual font and size. If you want to be unique, use Palatino Linotype or Times New Roman fonts. Do not use crazy fonts for the body. Don’t change the size either- we do not want to read large body text. However, you can change the move headers and section headers. Shoot for Size 3 for move names / inputs, and size 5-6 for section headers. The name of the character, at the very top of the moveset, should be size 7.

You should also bold these. Bold everything but the body text. As for custom fonts, remember the reader must have the font you are using installed on their computer to see it. Most users have the default SWF fonts that are provided (like Times), but many may not have fonts like Monotype Corsiva or Stencil, so keep that in mind.

And that’s pretty much it for general presentation! Please keep these in mind when making a moveset’s organization, because we do have to actually read these, and the better the reading experience, the more enjoyable it is to read. In future articles, I will cover how to make an image moveset and the basics of good writing style! Thanks for reading!

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Responses

  1. I think it’s worth noting that if you want to use an uncommon font for headers, you can just make the header an image.

    Anyhow, great article, Khold. (y)


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