Monday, 27 August 2012

Monday, 27 August 2012

Animation Prototype

The last you heard from me about animation was when I was talking about the animation for a prototype, using cool round squashy dudes!

However, we've rapidly moved on since then, hopefully towards something you guys can play, so now we have REAL-SHAPED PEOPLE. I drew these to get an idea of how the animation works and to give us a timing template for when Kit comes in and redraws the art to make it awesome.

One thing I've learned about animating for games is how important it is to get a feeling of context while you're making the animation. For example in the past I would animate a walk cycle, a jump animation and a falling animation independently of each other, and feel perfectly happy with it. But when I saw it in the game, the walk cycle may be too slow for the rate the character is moving at, the transition from jumping to falling may be clunky, or the animation of the jump just doesn't feel as fast and energetic as the actual jump is.

So after that I would repeatedly hassle a programmer to put them in the game and see how they looked, then I'd go back to my desk, try to fix it, hassle the programmer again and again until I've iterated enough to have got it right. Then I decide we need a "landing" animation when the character hits the floor and the programmer throws his keyboard at me.

Argh, right? Wouldn't it be much better if I could just program a rudimentary controller so I can play back and swap between animations myself? This is where Flash really shines, I can get a test rig together in a matter of hours, programming and drawing in the same environment, and really get a feel for what the game may require. While the code I write in these animation demos most likely won't be used at all in the actual game code, I can at least give Max a good idea of what I'm likely to expect the animations to be and likewise help define the feel of the game earlier.

Here is a GIF of it! :D