4 November 2016
Today in class we were told we’re shelving the robot concept art work for a while as the focus is moving onto a Christmas project. We’ll be returning to the robot work at a later date in the future but for now we’re concentrating on flash games and smoke & explosions; how they work, how they’re animated and how we draw them.
For starters we were directed to last years Christmas game which is sitting on the colleges’ website and I had a few goes. I hit 27 which I’m told is better than the average which is 24, although the high score is rumoured to be in the 40’s. We were asked to play a few flash games on the internet and comment on what I liked about them, what was useful and something else but I have to be honest here; I was still playing that Christmas game trying to beat my own high score and I didn’t fully catch what was said. My bad.
So anyway, I played;
I can’t remember the name of the racer and to make matters worse, I didn’t think of noting down where I found it, rookie mistake. Anyway, what I was impressed with was the use of 3D in it and how smoothly it flowed. I’m not wise enough in game development to know if its full 3D or 2D sprites scaling to give the impression of 3D although I’m leaning towards the latter. It was surprisingly fun and challenging, having to finish in the top three to be able to progress and visually appealing to look at. The game encouraged you to go back and play more via a reward system where you finishing place earned you money which you could spend on upgrades on your car to complete in increasingly tougher races.
Bob the Robber: This one I enjoyed. All of the gameplay was confined to one screen, what you see is your play area. The aim of the game is to steal the marked treasure and escape the building without being caught. I was very impressed with the use of shadows in the game as you were able to hide in them by pushing ‘up’ on the keyboard to hide from the gaze of security cameras or guards. Later levels had doors guarded by alarms or keypads and you had to find the code hidden somewhere in the house or instructions on which wire to cut to disable the alarm before you could progress. Oh, and there was a five hits and you’re out mechanic too. I also saw something about items to use as well but I’m assuming they’ll appear on later levels as I only played the first two.
Cave Blast: Like Bob the Robber this game played out on a single screen too but you were able to scroll left and right during play. As well as directional keys you used to mouse to play and fire your gun; its like a twin stick shooter but something fit for the family. There was various outfits for your character to wear (I chose a pig in a Batman suit) and more to unlock as you played. It began slow so you could get used to the play style but sped up and offered more enemies to defeat with an ‘enemies defeated’ total at the end to encourage you to try again. The art style is brilliantly simple; background, foreground and character plane – nothing complex or too confusing. Very enjoyable to play and after a couple of playthroughs it gave you that ‘one more go’ feeling, the hallmark of a good game.
So now we have a feel of gaming in Flash and what’s expected of the Christmas project, its onto animating in Adobe Animate CC. With not a lot of time left in the lesson, we watched a few videos of how to animate simple things from moving objects to how smoke is drawn and animated. The process of Key Frames were explained and Pose-to-Pose animation, drawing the key frames first then animating the in-between bits. For inspiration we were directed to the following website (http://flashfx.blogspot.co.uk/) and pointed to the video by Jean-Luc Kol FX Reel. Something to think about.
Next we moved to Animate and were quickly taught how to make a simple animation, and how easy it is to do, of a rock breaking apart.
We were shown how basic drawings can be done and how to have the previous image underneath to be used as a reference for the next step, think drawing in a flip book where you can see the previous drawing and that’s essentially what it’s like. The same principles apply here too, the more frames the slower the animation is, the less the quicker.
I did enjoy this quite a lot and was surprised how easy it is to do. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and think this’ll be easy to do as already this course has thrown up so many challenges and knocked my confidence on its head. But with time and practice, here’s hoping I can make something amazing!