20 February 2011

How To Bring A Puppet To Life (Without Satanic Rites) - by Giuseppe Navarria

      Posted 02/18/11 11:40:00 am   With this first of a series (I hope) of “techie-talk” posts, I’ll introduce you one of the most ancient digital necromancies: bringing an animated sprite to life.
In this article I’ll use vector art, meaning that I’ll do my final 2d character using geometric shapes, but you can apply these concepts to any kind of sprite, from freehand-drawn to pixel art ones.
The animation that I’ll covecartr here is called run cycle or walk cycle in lingo, that depends if it represent a character sprinting or just walking.
Usually, in videogames, when you have a single animation for a character’s movement you try to do a sort of “fast paced walking”, something that doesn’t give the impression of someone constantly sprinting even when moving just few steps but at the same time something that’s also fast enough not to result in a sloppy and boring gameplay.

The walking animation pace in fact deeply influences gameplay: you really don’t want a character that slides around the screen so the animation pace is directly connected to the effective speed your character will move in the game. The programming-related saying fail early, fail often applies in this field too, don’t settle with the first thing you did just because you spent a lot of time making it. If you’re not an expert there’s a good chance your first tries will suck.

Now it’s time to introduce Bob, a dummy sprite I was using to make all the basic animations in the game before we switched to 3D (this is another story, I’ll cover it soon, promise!).

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