Group 4 – Mermaid River Blog Post #5

 

Good evening!

So, after a successful beta earlier during the week we are now closing in on the final release date on friday the 18th! (Not as catchy as Friday the 13th)

So now that we have gotten as far as we have, we pretty much have everything that is needed for a fully playable game. So for the last part we are mostly polishing and updating whatever we already have in that could be expanded upon or given an extra designer’s touch to make every thing as good as possible.

So what have I been doing? I have been in the process of looking over some of my old animations as well as taking an extra look on how my graphics partners have finalized them.

But it is not only simple polish that we are doing, there are also some things that were used only as placeholders or that needs an upgrade overall. One of the major things that needed an overhaul are the power up items. They did not stick out and seem powerful enough, like with our special all enemy piercing harpoon powerup (imagine the harpoon in the bottom right labeled 0 but with a little bit of fire and a golden texture on it)

Sure, the change is fine, but we have noted as well as it being pointed out by some who have seen our beta version that it could really use some improvements to make it look as special as it feels firing it.

So this week I will go over some design process steps and how things might look in production before it is set to be implemented, animated or whatever.

When designing anything at all, the design is not always as obvious as it first might seem. “How can I make this look like a harpoon but make it look interesting and powerful” is the first thing I asked myself. So I and the graphics team discussed some things. First it was set in stone that the end of the harpoon will be basically the same as the original harpoon, so that we can attatch the same rope to it. Another thing was how we feel that an harpoon with extra hooks on it looks more or less like a mace. So that is where my first design elements were put, as seen in the first sketch and in a few of the others afterwards.

“It looks pretty good” I thought to myself, but whenever designing something the first thing that pops up in your mind might not always be the right choise. Remember this and hopefully your future designs will turn out the best they possibly could. A ton of ideas will come to you during the design process, as more focus put on the task at hand more thoughts and ideas will be born from it.

So continuing on I got multiple different ideas, all with different results. Some as stated continued with the mace design, whilst others were inspired by different elements. Like #2 was based on shark fins for hooks, #3 is based on a trident and so on.

I have done more stuff this week, but I feel like none of the things will go over anything especially new that you can not find in my earlier blog posts. That is how things go when it is mostly cleanup duty.

Well, there is one thing that I hope I can work on for next week, as soon as my team will allow me to work on it. Here is a preview of things hopefully to come:

Well then, as always I wish you all the best of luck with your projects and I am soo looking forward to seeing them all next friday! See you there! 😀

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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! 😀

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.