Group 4 – Mermaid River Blog Post #1

Hello there!

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.

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