One of the most interesting things about writing a sequel is that you feel obligated to fix everything that was wrong with the first game. I’m being almost OCD about it, which might explain why the game is running very very very slightly late.
The latest thing that I’ve been working hard on is Mr Runner himself. I feel like he deserves extra treatment since the game is named after him. The first game didn’t really give him much context or character development. He was just a cute black square thing running through world. It was cute. He’s still a cute black thing running through a world but now, well,
Now he’s even cuter
[swf src="http://bitbattalion.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/runAimation_Blog.swf" width=100 height=100]
And has a pet, Sir Scruffs
[swf src="http://bitbattalion.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/runAnimation_Blog.swf" width=100 height=100]
Here is what he used to look like
[swf src="http://bitbattalion.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/runAimation_BlogOld.swf" width=100 height=100]
Suffices to say Mr Runner won’t be so alone in the second game. You’ll find out why you’re running through a world that is coming to an end.
Animation lessons I Learned
Animating Mr Runner wasn’t just my own doing. I’ve got a great friend who is also conviently a super talented professional animator. There were a few really interesting things that I learned from him when we sat down to animate. Here are the things I learned:
Exaggerate your animation
Firstly, there is almost always room to exaggerate your animation, and it looks great. Here is the same image 5x slower – it looks strange, particularly when he is squashed right into the ground. When its animating fast though, you can hardly see it. In fact, you can see it even less in his in game sprite (which is much smaller). Despite that, the one frame adds ALOT to the quality his animation.
[swf src="http://bitbattalion.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/runAimation_BlogSlow.swf" width=100 height=100]
Draw up the key poses first
Make sure he looks good in his key poses, before you worry about how he looks inbetween them. Draw out exactly what your character will look like during the key points in the animation. We drew out, for example, what he would look like with his left hand forward, his left hand back, and while he was squashed towards the ground. From there, putting in the motion is just a matter of fiddling with tweens.
Don’t use eases
Don’t use the flash eases, create “fake” eases by keyframing. This was something that I had trouble wrapping my head around. Once you have put in an ease ease between two keyframes, its almost impossible to add any more keyframe inbetween. Doing so will often make it look the the characters velocity jumps. ugly. Instead, try putting a keyframe in the middle of your two frames, and then move it around. This will create the illusion of easing and still leave you in total control.
Flash is a bitch
So you might have guessed, but working with flash is a bitch. I’m still using classic animation, which might be part of it. Whenever you’re animating something its easy for one change in one frame to end up causing a chain reaction and changing the look of your animation entirely without you knowing. My advice? Save incrementally. Whenever you want to change anything, make a new save.
Over and out