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I am still in the conceptualisation and early prototyping phase of a game that revolves around RPG/Bullet-time hybrid game where players compete in vs. style executing attack/defence moves per turn.

I am in search for art material/guidance to have symbols representing moves. For example a stick figure or a silhouette resembling a kick to represent a kick move. I am not really set on one specific style but would rather have something that covers a broad range of moves and be on the easy side to draw in not many strokes (yes player would draw the symbol).

Any guidance to get me started?

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My recommendation would be to put on some light clothes, take some martial arts classes and try to perform the moves the player-character is performing in real-life. Figure out how it feels to perform these moves. (or if that sounds too exhausting, at least watch some instructional YouTube videos)

What primary and secondary actions do you perform? How do you balance the momentum of your body?

Then try to translate those actions into simple gestures. A straight punch might be a straight line. A kick might be a more curved movement. An uppercut might be an up-down movement representing pulling back your fist and striking in an upward motion. A throw might be to reach for your enemy (forward-motion) grab them (draw a small circle) and pull them over (large arch).

I am looking forward to playing your game and showing my enemies the true strength of my kung-fu.

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Think about the associated object(s) that best represent(s) those moves, or a clever wordplay that can succinctly convey the information (keep in mind that word play will likely not translate into other languages, and this'll add extra work if you want your game to be localized for some other country(or countries)). Some suggestions:

  • Shoe/foot for kicks, rotated and presented at an angle to convey the motion of the action
  • Circular suburban residence for "roundhouse" kicks, note this is likely an english-only functional symbol
  • Fist for punches, simplified and cartoony as deemed necessary (think pacman gloves, for example)
  • Open hand for chops, think a "paper" move from rock, paper, scissors. Rotate and angle as necessary to convey action, much like the shoe

I am not sure how broad of a range of moves you'd like to represent, which is why I included suggestions for both kicks (general) and roundhouse kicks (specific), for example. Also! My suggested symbol for roundhouse kicks serves as an example of the visual pun technique that you may be interested in using, just remember again to keep in mind that this method is NOT language-agnostic.

Hope this helps! If my suggestions seem too complicated for the player to draw, you absolutely could do something incredibly abstract, like lines or basic shapes. If you choose to go down this route please reference Lost Magic, a 2006 game for the Nintendo DS; and Magic Cat Academy, a 2006 (COINCIDENCE????) game that's playable in web browsers. There is also, as I recall, a similar "draw things to do things" game made and published by Nitrome you can search for if you feel like the first two references I suggested are not enough for you to make a decision. :- )

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