Okay! Time is kind of all starting to melt together into one undifferentiated mass in my mind right now, which is a sensation I associate with productivity, so it may have been a good week. Let’s find out!
Item 1: The Crouch Turn
I’m pretty happy with how this animation turned out. My first attempts for a crouch turn animation were a total flop, using a motion that was both subtle and boring, albeit naturalistic, where she would push from one leg to twist around the other. I scrapped that and came up with this much more dramatic motion where she uses her left leg and right arms as counterweights: It probably makes a little bit less physical sense, but it reads a lot better and feels way more dramatic and fun.
Once I did the right-to-left turn, I decided to try an experiment and just reverse those frames, and I was really pleased with the results. I actually think the left-to-right turn looks possibly more natural than the right-to-left I started with. So, just because I can’t flip the frames horizontally, as has been the tradition of lazy animators for decades, doesn’t mean I can’t think of some smart ways to save work!
Item 2: The Stand
Fresh from my recent victory reversing the frames of the crouch turn animation, I decided to try reversing frames on the crouch itself as basis for the standing animation. I don’t have the result here but, suffice it to say, it looked real silly: The hair and cloth, which naturally trailed behind on the crouching animation, would instead rise up to anticipate the standing. Real silly. However, the hair and clothing were the only real problems: The actual motion looked pretty good. So I just went in and redrew the hair and cloth, with the result you see above.
Now, it turns out that this didn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped in game. The little bounce before she rises looks nice here, and gives a sense of anticipation to the motion, but had two unfortunate effects in game: First, it is a long lead in to the important motion of standing up, and gives a feeling of poor responsiveness to the game controls. Second, the visual effect of the crouching bounce followed immediately by the reversed bounce at the beginning of the standing animation was, ah, somewhat unsavory. Thus, I cut the first few frames of this animation, resulting in something perhaps a bit less deliberate looking, but much snappier and with no unfortunate visual implications.
Third item: The Crouching Start
I almost didn’t even bother putting this animation here since the point of interest is just two frames, connecting the crouch to the run. I was originally planning on more, maybe four or so, but then I found that since the run is fairly close to looking like a leap from the crouch as-is, just a couple of frames easily filled that transition. It could be that another frame or two could make this look nicer: I’ll see if it needs anything when I get a bit closer to finishing this entire animation suite.
So that’s all of the animations themselves. I’ve been going in afterwards and importing them all into the game’s animation format so that they play in-game. My animation code is actually a complete clusterfuck. but since, once it’s done, all I’ll need to do is load in the alternate animations I’m not sweating it too much. In other words, it doesn’t matter if it’s garbage code as long as it’s garbage code that works and what I don’t expect to ever have to revisit.
Next week is mostly going to be a programming week, where I go in and revise the motion code so that she moves in a much smoother motion across terrain, so that she doesn’t jump weirdly from animation to animation because of unevenness in that terrain, and generally just feels better to play. If I make good time on that, I may also start developing attack animations before next week’s update. We’ll see!