Another slow week, though I feel like I’m starting to get back up to speed. I’ve been going back to animation work, though with a number of false starts: First, I discovered that I’d messed up somewhere in the process of creating animations derived from my running animation and completely lost the source files for the left-facing run. Oops. So I decided whatever, I’d get the right-facing run looking good and recreate the left version from the right-facing source files; I started creating tweens for each frame on the right run, and only after a little while realized this would be creating a 60fps animation, or close to it, which, if I applied that to all of the animations in the game, would require an absolutely absurd and, frankly, hugely wasteful amount of extra work. The difference between 30 and 60 frames per second in an animation within a game that otherwise runs at 60fps is barely noticeable, and obviously completely invisible if the game ends up running at 30, which is not an option I’ve completely discarded. So, basically two days of wasted work planning an animation at way too high a framerate.
After that and some more polishing of the prototype animation, it was time to bring the animation into Aseprite, the pixel editing software I’ve selected, and get to work. And… it’s quickly becoming apparent that much of my careful prototype animation work was probably a waste of time. I’d always vaguely suspected this might be the case, but pragmatically speaking I’m almost certainly better off creating the entire animation in Aseprite. Don’t get me wrong, the work done planning the animation out was valuable and will make things go a lot faster now, but the total time I have to spend on each animation is probably higher now than if I’d just gone straight in with the intent of creating a finished animation. Oh well, live and learn.
I was hoping to have at least one animation to show for the end of the week, but it’s quite time consuming to build even one frame at the level of detail I’m working at. As I practice, get into a flow, and figure out ways to work more efficiently, this should hopefully become less onerous, but it’s clear that just the player character animations will probably take a month or two, since she has like 400 frames. In the meanwhile, all I’ve got for now is this one frame.
The trickiest part is handling transparencies well: If there were no transparency, I could just eliminate the alpha channel to clip off all the pixel smoothing artifacts from Photoshop, but as it is I can’t do that without turning the clothing solid. I suppose that will be less of a concern when it comes to enemy animation than it is here, so that’s something to look forward to. Mostly, now, I’m just going in and drawing over prototype using it as a template, rather than being able to lock its alpha channel and use it directly as a mask.
Expect to see a lot more frames in progress over the coming weeks, though hopefully many of them will be in the context of finished animations.