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Mistakes of the Past & Animation Fun

Road Kill Kenny

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The Mistakes of the Past

I just wanted to start this blog with a bit of a lessons learned. I've attempted to make some games with LE that in hind-sight were way too complex.... 50x too complex for the amount of time / resources that I have available. This is a common mistake and it is so easy to make it. So I decided to deal with the problem once and for all.

 

After failing a few times I decided to have a long hard think. I decided, you know what, KISS dammit. Keep It Simple Stupid. Simple doesn't have to be a bad game, in fact it can be a much better game if done right. I decided I'd come up with a simple idea, give it the bare functionality that I need to make the game and just make it (NIKE) without adding any of the extra 'STUFF' that so many games get clogged with.

 

I decided that if a feature does not contribute a certain amount of the "fun" element to the game it should be removed from the game without a second thought. This can be difficult because there are things that we can perceive as being "cool" but when it comes down to them being "Fun" the miss the mark and we've managed to miss the point of creating a game.

 

After doing this mind changing excercise I got to work on HAARP and the game I'm currently making. I'm pleased to announce that it is going well and It has much 50x more potential to be completed and released than any of my other attempts

 

This all being said I don't completely regret all of my failed attempts. I learned so much being over ambitious about coding and game development in general so it was not a complete waste.... and to be honest I wouldn't be where I am now if not for a few failed attempts.

 

Of course this blog is not about the game so I won't be announcing it today until I have some substantial gameplay and artwork to show. I will say that I plan to port it to LE3D and release it on Steam and OUYA hopefully around this time next year.

 

Animation Fun

 

Animation has got to be one of my most favorite things to do both on the side of creativity and also on the technical side of programming it. I'm not sure what it is about it. Perhaps it is just the pleasantries of seeing life come to your little creations.

 

I have just come to the point where I need to do the core animations for my game before I can continue coding any more. This mostly involving the animation of game characters and for me this is a 3 part process as follows:

 

- The Art: Rigging & Animating the actual character in Blender

- The Data Driving: Setting up the animation database & coding the AnimationShop to retrieve that data

- The Code: Coding the animator class to manage character animations for any character that uses a LE::TController

 

Instead of ranting on about these processes I decided to make this a half blog half vlog that is broken into three parts. Enjoy

 

First Step: How I like to set up my animations in Blender

 

Second Step: Setting up the database

 

Third Step: The final result (please note, most of what you see is placeholder)

http://www.leadwerks.../videos/_/-r164 <- Click the link for Part3

 

It really is amazing how much the animation adds to the game, gives life to the characters and just makes everything more fun even though no extra gameplay is added. Choppy animations make the player feel disconnected and unable to relate to their character. It also ruins immersion which in my books is extremely important in a game whether it be simple of complex.

 

So when it comes to animation I've decided to keep things simple, make them smooth and don't be afraid to spend time on it. However, I think it comes to a point where you can spend too much time on animation leading to sacrificing gameplay and I'll do my best to not let this happen. Despite this, I feel like for my main character/s must have a lot of time invested in them. I want them to be relatable and have personality even though they are robots. I know that I like to have relatable characters in a game and if they aren't animated properly it totally kills the mood. If the animation requires sacrifice for the better gameplay, the sacrifice will be in the animation of enemies and/or such as the player does not need to relate to them necessarily.

 

Thanks for reading. I hope to officially announce this game some time in Q4 this year.



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Really nice progress, Ken! I like what I see here. :)

Nice little character you made there, and good animations.

Keeps me wondering what kinda game it'll be, but I'm sure you'll keep us in suspense a bit longer, ain't you? Hehhehe. Nice work, man!

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That robot animation looks perfect. I love the combination of the prepared animation and Leadwerks interpolating between frames and animation sequences so well.

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Thanks for sharing your past and thoughts. I found it very interesting to read as I could recognize what you are telling. I have been through (or are in) same process of making mistakes. Maybe its so that one has to go through those phases to get somewhere as almost everyone makes them. Can it be so that a really good and stable base has to be built on mistakes. I tend to believe that. Its great to talk about them as it may end in someone else avoids making at least some of them.

 

I could not agree more about animation. Animation seems to be one of the most important things in the game of the reasons you describes. I have taken this approach. To get somewhere I have bought some descent basic animations as walk and run. I now use those and is concentrating on the game logic and structure. When that's in place I (or more precisely me and ChrisV) will add the animations that are missing and polish the existing ones. The same goes for the models and art. Last time I tried to get a game done I ended up in never getting somewhere while making end-perfection on detail right from the start.

 

Great reading :)

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Thanks guys,

 

@Roland, Yes I think you are very right, we have to make mistakes to go further. I found that even though my my previous failed attempts at making games gave me knowledge about game development that I would not have gained doing a feasible project..... However, I think it gets to a point where if you keep making the mistake it starts to be not so useful anymore.

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Guest Red Ocktober

Posted

i'm most intrigued by your "click to position" anim sequences... the lil circles that mark the current and target location for the robot...

 

very smooth and intuitive...

 

a small thing, but one of those small things that help elevate a game to the top of the heap...

 

--Mike

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