15 January 2011

Adding Weight to Your Game Design Part 6: Slow In, Slow Out - by Michael Jungbluth

      Posted 01/14/11 03:33:00 am   Part One - Squash and Stretch : Part Two - Anticipation : Part 3 - Staging

Part Four - Straight Ahead & Pose to Pose : Part 5 - Follow Through & Overlapping Action


Weight is a physical and emotional sensation that people feel everyday.  And conveying that in a visual way can be incredibly challenging.  But it is something animators do all the time, and the principles they use can be applied to game design. 

In fact, it needs to be, as many of these principles are sacrificed by the animator for the good of playability.  Thankfully, since both animators and designers have to juggle multiple disciplines to bring their creations to life, they speak much of the same language.  They just use a slightly different alphabet.   

Each part will lay out the 12 principles of animation, and how they are not only used in animation but how they directly relate to game design.  Both animators and designers will realize quickly that many of these are unspoken truths, but the benefit comes in knowing that they can now speak to each other on a deeper level.  A level that takes animation and design past being purely functional, but now fully functioning towards creating an honest experience. 

It is how both can add an extra sense of weight and purpose to the game and the characters within it.  Many of these fundamentals are inter-connected, and it is through a combination of all of these working together that you will have characters that move with weight and emote with weight.  And that is what will stick with players.

 “It is important for the animator to be able to study sensation and to feel the force behind sensation, in order to project that sensation.” – Walt Disney

Slow In, Slow Out 

Applied to Animation

There is nothing worse than a jarring stop, or sudden change in direction to quickly take you out of a performance or action.  Nothing ever truly comes to a complete rest, (unless it is dead) it is just moving at different speeds between one action and another.  This principle also shows how heavy something is by how fast it starts or stops.  In every action, there is some settle after something happens, or before it is about to happen.  The first exercise every animator learns to illustrate this point is a pendulum.  Throughout the middle of its trajectory, it moves very rapidly.  But as it nears the apex of its arc, it slows down a bit.  There is some friction there as gravity begins to pull it back down.  And both before and after the apex, it loses some momentum.  Until again, it begins to fall, at which point it picks back up.  And while the word slow is in the name, it also defines how quickly an object moves to and from a state of rest. 


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