Group 4 – Mermaid River Blog Post #4

Hoowee! Back up in the saddle I go because this week I am getting stuff done again!

The last two weeks I feel like I have not made much progress due to sickness, personal reasons and a forced trip to Berlin to celebrate my dad’s 51th birthday (yeah, poor me, right) To make up for this I’ve turned up my working capacity to 11. I’ve managed to finish all school work we have so far as well as finializing the design of our Pirateahna enemy that was roughed out by the others, planned and created 5 animations and even tried clean lining one of them!

So in preperation for the beta we needed a few new enemies to give the player some more challenges, because right now just having an enemy that goes mostly forward is pretty easy to avoid, especially as you only have to stay at the top of the screen to basically avoid all enemies as well as keeping your health at maximum. Sure, the player have to go down if they want to collect points, but if the main point is seen as just getting to the end of the level, just avoiding everything would be the optimal strategy, and that’s no fun.

So what enemies did we choose and why? In the original document there were perticular enemies that were quite different from the Swordfish enemy, and those are the pirate pirahna “Pirateahna” and the pirate jellyfish “Jelly Roger”. So to mix up the challenges a bit more those enemies seemed to be the perfect candidates. However the jellyfish was basically a mindless floaty version of the pirahna, so we changed it to a projectile based one that shoots as Skip, making it one of the more differing challenges in the game.

So now more on the animations, this week I have included multiple parts of the animation process. So we have the enemy designs given to me, my first drawings of said enemy, shape animations, sketched animations, some clean lined animations as well as some animations in action!

First off we have the design for the pirahna rough design that was sent to me.

So with this rough design I could create a design more akin to the rest of the game. I went over the notes that were given to me by the others, what parts of the designs were most important as well as a final decision for how the enemy would work. It goes up and down in a mindless manner trying to bite everything that’s in front of it. Going off of this I knew that the most important aspect of the design had to be the face and jaw.

So here we see some sketches made for a more finalized version of the pirahna enemy. The original sketches that I made have not been scanned however, but these ones basically reflect those. A lot of the designs I feel looked more like the faces of crocodiles or aligators rather than a pirahna, thanks to the shifting teeth as well as the fact that I made the face a bit too long with the jaw being a bit too small. With these sketches you can also see more of some rough planning for the animations. Some things were deemed not necessary when it actually came to the animation, but that’s par for the course little buddy, par for the course.

Next up we have the shape animation planning for the animation alongside the sketched out versions ready to be linearted.

As I have talked about in earlier blog posts these shape animations that I make really allows you to quickly check if the animation will look like it is going to work or not. To really make the jaw stand out and to make it look big and sturdy I drew it as a big block that connects to the body. It is the one shape that is different from the rest of the design, whereas it is mostly made up of triangles. The face, the eyes to extent, the body and fin all share the triangular shapes. As soon as the shape animations were done and looked good all I had to do was sketch out the lines more exact on top of them so that it corresponds to the design, which also goes a lot faster due to the shapes showing most of what is there. I added some shadows to when the fin goes away from the screen to quickly and easily show more depth.

Lastly, as I have not been able to finish all of them, here we have the first frame of the swimming animation linearted.

I decided to put some color in to hide the face that some of the lines go through one another between the upper jaw area with the lower jaw area as well as the “brow” and the pirate hat πŸ˜› This will also make it easy for the color artist to get some of the local colors down as you only have to choose the colored layer and then fill with the wanted color. If you have problems with filling with the bucket tool what I do is that istead of drawing the outline for the fill with a brush I draw it with a pen instead which leaves no dirty pixels around the edges.

The animated version is the featured image of this post, so just look at that one to see what this boils down to.

Hopefully I can keep the pace up in the future, I am learning so much and I hope that the rest of you do as well! Take care you guys, best of luck, have fun and I’m looking forward to seeing your betas! πŸ˜€

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Group 4 – Mermaid River Blog Post #3

Hello again!

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! πŸ™‚

Group 4 – Mermaid River Blog Post #2

Hello again!

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! πŸ˜€

Group 4 – Mermaid River Blog Post #1

Hello there!

I am Maximilian BergstrΓΆm 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.