So, yeah, I have not had too much work done this week unfortunately. This has been due to sickness and the like. But enough about that, onto what has been happening as of late.
So after a successful alpha build we have now moved onto work for the Beta build. Originally we had planned to have more things in the game, such as a regular pick up that does not affect the player like with a power up. This is to give the player incentive to collect as many of them as possible to get a high score. We also had an additional enemy planned to give some variation in the enemy driven challenges given to the player. But due to time constraint and some general hinderance here and there we have not managed to pull this off.
So for now we are focusing on creating another enemy amongst other things. However, as we have not created an design for the enemy yet I have not had any design to animate for. Sure, I can do some general animations and ideas, but to really give each animation its own character I need to know what I am animating for.
So, what have I done with my time instead? Well, I just recently found out about the tweening function of animation! What does tweening mean? It means that the program gives you in between frames for the key frames you have created to give you more of an idea what you should draw in between different frames to get the wanted flow out of it. I know that this will help out a great deal in the future! Like the seaweed animation shown here, at first it had half as many frames and therefor had much more of a whiplash look too it making it seem like it is whipping in the wind rather than gently flowing and waving back and forth in the water.
I may not have an design to animate, but things needed for the environment that are not given character can be animated with no issue, so that’s why I can still animate whilst the others are working on other things. Now imagine a ton of these things in bulk all with differing hues, size and sharpness to them. I think that this alongside other planned set pieces will really give life to the water as you are swimming through! I think that it is important to have an area such as a huge body of water to be like this one big living organism that houses millions of all kinds of creatures and plant life.
So yeah, hopefully I will be able to get a lot more varied work done in the upcoming week. Me and my team seem to be working a lot better and faster under pressure as it is, so I think that we can pull this off! And once again, best of luck to all of you! 🙂
So moving along from last week’s post, have an updated Skip Swimming Animation!
Here’s some additional images for this week’s post:
Following the standard that we have set up for ourselves, as expected we are making sure that every thing looks like it belongs with the others!
As I was working with the animations the others were creating some other stuff in the meantime and as soon as I was done with an animation the others could pick it up, give it some line art and then finally color it. As I was working with the first animations the others were working on some other things in the meantime, such as some basic backgrounds and line art for the things in the game that does not require an animation. So ever since the start we have all had work to do to make sure that everyone can be productive at all times!
So since last time I have finished all of the major animations that are needed for an alpha showcase, but that does not mean that don’t have work to do! There is still a ton of work that can be done, such as other smaller things needed for the alpha as well as some animations that are needed for the beta.
One of the things I have made kind of goes outside of the work that we have planned for each of us. And that thing is the game’s first major power up, the mystical Squid Merman King Dave Scone’s (name pending) Magical Coin of Mystical Power (name also pending). The thing is that I am the one responsible for the animation as well as line art and coloring. I believe that this works out because there is currently no other item in the game that has an gold or metal texture in the game, which opens up a lof of design space. I could still follow the basic style made by the others to keep this in line with everything else.
This coin is also the first instance of where a secondary animation has been made. Meaning that an animation is made solely to enhance a certain aspect of another major animation. In this case it is a shimmering light that will appear around the coin to give it an illusion of shinyness and value, like expected of something golden. This also makes it so that it attracts the player’s attention so that they hopefully want to inspect it closer to see what it does. The player needs to figure out that this is something good and not an enemy in disguise or something out to hurt you!
To finish off I will give some insight on how I make the sprite sheets and why they look like they do. To make it as easy as possible for the programmers the sprites need to be the same distance from each other and stay within the same size grid to make sure that it animates properly when put into the game’s engine and sprite handler. At first I just put all of the sprites next to one another in a long row and tried by eye to put them with the same distance to each. This proved to be a long and tedious process that was not very accurate (who would have thought). So what I do now is that I put all the sprites each in its own layer and then stack all of them on top of one another. This is to make sure that they go along nicely when divided. This also gives the size needed for the grid to have each sprite in their correct placements. Hopefully that explanation was not too complicated or weird!
Good luck to you on your own projects! 😀
I am Maximilian Bergström of Space Shooter game project Group 4. I am currently the group’s main animator. Our group is made up of three programmers and tree graphics designers.
As for the set up that we have going right now we have chosen to divide the graphics into the categories animation, lineart and coloring. We have decided to do things this way to make sure that everyone always have something to work on and to make sure that the content that we create will be consistent with both visual design as well as general quality of the content. We believe that doing things this way will make sure that every thing that we make are made to look like they are supposed to be in the same finished product in the end. If multiple different people work on different things then the looks will differ from designer to designer.
To make sure that we are going to have something playable and presentable in time for the deadline for the alpha of the game we have decided to have one each of the most important gameplay elements needed to have some thing resembling the final product. When that comes to me as the animator I mainly have to have finished animations for:
The main character: Skip Legday.
One enemy type: A Swordfish
One boss enemy: A Mermaid Sea Witch.
The reason for each goes as follow:
We need some thing representing the playable avatar that will be the main controlled focus of the game. This being the main character of the game. This is to get a better feel for how playing as the main character feels. How he looks, how he moves and if he handles properly.
We need some thing to fight to show off the main shooting mechanic as this is a space shooter. Shooting at nothing does not seem as a satisfying experience. As the game also includes dodging enemies we need just that, an enemy to avoid. We picked the swordfish as it is one of the more complex enemies that we have planned for the game so far. This is to really test the limits of what the player can or can not do.
The game is also going to feature big boss enemies at the end of each level to really put the player to the test and give them some additional challenge.
What you can see in the featured image is the basic shapes of the animation for the main character Skip Legday. The reason why I made the animation using shapes was to first get a feel for how the animation will look like. I think that animating using shapes is enough to find out if some thing is going to work or not. If it does not look good it is easy and quick to revise and fix and if it looks good enough then the actual details can be drawn on top of the shapes with some modifications here and there.
The reason why I first tried doing animation with only shapes was because of what I’ve been taught regarding art. Most all things have shapes and a lot of things does not need a ton of complex extra details to give the right idea to the one observing. If the shapes are used in such a way that one can see what it is supposed to represent then one can move on to doing more with it.
The reason why the animation has numbers in it was because I wanted to show the person doing line art based off of this that some of the arms from frame to frame are basically the same only twisted differently. This is to make sure that the same exact thing is not drawn twice when it is not necessary. The animation seen uses 8 frames where the body uses 5 frames twisting back and forth as the body does whilst swimming and 5 frames for each arm where some are being used twice to give the illusion of actual crawl strokes. Originally I had made 8 unique frames made, but as the others felt like that would be too much work I tweaked things down so that only 5 pictures needs to be made for each part to cut down on work time.
Lastly, if you’re wondering why the animation seem to be a bit too fast, that is because Photoshop is a HORRIBLE program when it comes to animation and should not be used for animation purposes ever by anyone! Tweaking or changing anything in the animation is such a chore and way more complicated than it needs to be and is poorly executed overall! That being said I am getting better and the animations that will be seen in the future are created around Photoshop’s poor animation system.