Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Animation for Games

It's alive!

This brief seemed to be a little vague as the topic was so big. We were asked to create a game animation relating specifically to the use of pseudo 3D (2.5D) animation techniques. It was a thrill to research the techniques used in some of my favourite games, almost like reliving my childhood.
Sprite sheets were a common technique to create character animation cycles during the 8-Bit and 16-Bit era, the technique is still in use in the development of modern games such as Braid. 

 Braid, a platforming puzzle game, developed by Indie Developer Jonathan Blow, and released across multiple platforms in 2008 to critical acclaim, had a unique painterly style, but updated the platform game genre for a modern audience.

Continuing with the development of my main character, i struggled to get the desired body shape/proportions in 3DS Max. I'm really more used to using Max for hard surface modelling rather than the organic nature of character design ( Hey, i like big stompy sue me!)
I was recommended to try Nevercenters' Silo, it combines the commonly used modelling tools, with the sud-divisional power of Z-Brush, all wrapped up in a clean, easy to use, interface. Silo enabled me to achieve the smooth, cartoony, stylised look that i wanted for my character.

After rigging my character and then skinning it i spent about a week learning to weight the skin to the bones of the rig. It's a great tool in Max that i've been dying to learn so this was the perfect opportunity. When you first add the bones to the skin, and add a basic animation layer, the mesh animates as if it's made of jelly, so great care has to be taken to weight how the mesh deforms around the bones.

CAT comes with a basic character walk cycle but i had to heavily modify it to fit my character. I wanted him to strut his stuff like a BAD ASS!

I made a walk cycle, sprite sheet for my character, as at this point i was unsure whether i wanted a full 3D game or a 2.5D platform game, so both options are available.

I also setup the starting environment, i was a little obsessed with having bamboo assets in the scene, I'd have them as secondary animations, being broken asunder as the character swings his scythe wildly. Taking the character further I'd obviously work on texturing, but also secondary animations such as flowing bandana material from the back of his helm, and vials, potions, and herb pouches bouncing around his belt.


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