Waddap, party people!

Fred back at it with more blogging, this time I’m reporting live from the vacation chair tho! We’re taking two weeks off to spend some much-needed time hanging out with family and friends while enjoying the last stretch of the Swedish summer. I’m gonna be doing a whole lot of chilling and doing absolutely nothing, and I can’t freaking wait you guys! After that, we’ll be ready for what might very well be the final push of the game before release. So, frickin, exciting!

This leads me to a more somber note. This will probably be the final post of my illustrious career as an intern devlog writer ._. After the vacation, I will hand the keys to the city back to Vilya, so I can go back to fully focus on pushing pixels and finishing up the final animations for the game. I know, I know, you’re all like “No Fred, write even more posts! We don’t care if it takes another 10 years until release” and I agree, but that’s just the animator’s life sadly. No, but seriously, writing the blog has been a trip! Shout-out to the SoG-discord server for showing me some extra love, it definitely helped fuel my confidence (maybe a bit too much?)

We’ll be back with more updates in a few weeks. Until then, take care, love you guyysss <3 Fred signing out!

Slabbe showing you how to vacation

*kicks in door*

I’M HERE, I’m here! Totally didn’t forget I was in charge of the blog still, I would never! Since I’m so not late and so on time, let’s just dive into the juicy stuff straight away!

Last week I showed you guys that little elevator animation-thingie I was working on. Since then, Teddy has been busy hammering all that together into an actual ingame prototype! Here’s iteration nr. 1:

As always, Teddy has done a stellar job transferring my chaotic Photoshop document into something playable. I like this version a lot, it feels more or less one-to-one to my version. I dooo think the little pause/stop the platforms do before they actually connect feels a bit off tho. It felt really nice when I was working on it in a vacuum inside Photoshop, but seeing it ingame we all felt it would look better if the platforms just connected to each other instantly.

This looks much better to me, just the flow and impact of everything feel much smoother and juicier. I’m actually kinda stoked over how well this turned out, I was very prepared for having to re-iterate the whole idea or at the very least add a bunch more effects and polish to it. But I dunno, I think it looks really good! Throwing in one more video just because I can:

So, a problem this added coolness of the elevator has created iiis, some other aspects of the elevator sequence now feels a bit tame in comparison. Especially Mirrar himself feel a bit static and stiff which is completely unacceptable!

This has been kinda my main task this week, trying to add some extra layers of CHA-PLOW to our little reflective friend. Starting out, I wanted to revisit his “wake up”-animation. This is the sequence that plays when Mirrar wakes up for the first time after the elevator activation. Here is the original animation:

Simple. Boring. Not enough “oh shiiii- it’s time for the final part of the game”-energy exerted. So, this is the amped-up version:

I like this one much more. The added length and build-up to the wake up add a ton of anticipation for me, and the effect adds some much needed flair. One thing I do like from the original is the little “I just woke up”-blinks he does after the wake up, definitely stealing those for the upgraded version.
You could for sure push this even further, adding even more effects, but I want to see it in the actual game before I do anything else.

I’ve also tried to come up with some more abstract (yet mirror-y) effects that can be used to add even more oompf wherever we see fit:

I had a ton of fun tinkering with this, Photoshop on the other hand did not. Surprisingly, having 1000~ layers in a single document will make Photoshop have “performance issues”? Who knew!

Fred here again!

I was thinking… Since I’m still interning as Lead Blog Master, and have ultimate and all-mighty power over this thing, why not focus on what I do best? Let’s talk some animatiooooooonnn!

I figured I could try to do like a step-by-step of some animation-related stuff I’ve been experimenting with this week. Just share some general thoughts and maybe some tips and tricks. Makes it easier for me to write about, and hopefully, it’s a bit interesting for you guys as well ;D Anyway, lesss goo!

So, this week I wanted to add some more epic and juiciness to the platforms appearing in this sequence:

Even in this state it actually looks pretty good, but I’ve always felt there’s been potential for some extra level of pizzazz here. It is the lead-up to the conclusion of the entire game after all, I would rather it feel overboard than overwhelming. Hopefully, we’ll find a sweet middle ground, but we’ll see what happens!

What I start out with here is just adding some basic movement for the smaller platform piece. My main gripe with the original version is that the movement was a bit too smooth for me, so I try to counteract that here by adding different speeds to the animation and points where it comes to a complete standstill. This just helps a lot with adding impact and force.

It moves! Looks kinda cool, but a bit too stale for my liking. Here’s a super useful magic trick I use all the time to help add impact and feedback: add a few frames of wobble at the moment of impact. The wobble here is super simple, just moving the platform a few pixels over the course of 4 frames. Super simple, but super effective!

Now I want to add a bit more anticipation to the whole animation, just to make sure players have the time to adjust their focus. This is super important when animating in general, if you don’t give your spectators a tiny heads-up something cool is about to happen, they could end up missing that sweet animation you’ve spent tons of hours on. In games, it gets extra tricky because there are so many situations where a player has to focus on multiple things on the screen at once. I battle with this a lot myself, even if I’m slowly getting better at it. ANYWAY, less talk, more animation!

Some added “oh lawd, he cometh”-wobbling and we’re good to go!

So now we’ve got the player’s attention, time to take advantage of that and add some more KA-PLAOW!

Much better. Not too over the top, but still way juicier than before. I added a small trailing effect here as well, which I’ve tried to keep intentionally simple. It’s basically just a square lagging behind the platform for 2 frames. Since there is a ton of different platform pieces both in size and visuals, I want to keep as much of the animation as modular as I can. If I can create effects that Teddy can easily recreate using code, that’s the dream!

So, while the trail looks kinda sweet already, we can do better. Time for my favorite; particlesss!

Here I’ve basically just added 3 different particles I made and copied and pasted them a bunch. I could probably have added more, but doing so in Photoshop get’s so tedious and time-consuming, especially when you want to try out different timings and stuff like that. Since the particles are also something that Teddy will control via code, it’s just easier to fine-adjust them at that stage.

We’re missing the most essential thing of all:

Smoke, the salt of an animator’s kitchen!

At this point, I dunno, I feel kinda happy! Like I’ve said, a lot of stuff here can be adjusted and fine-tuned in the code later but this looks solid as a base! As always it’s going to be exciting to see Teddy translate this “prototype” animation into the game, he usually does an amazing job so :) I will update you guys when we have more to show on that front.

As a little wrap-up, here is the entire sequence, with more than just the one platform:

I’ve messed around a bit with another added effect for the main platform which I don’t think I nailed fully, but I still think there’s something there to keep exploring. Added a touch of wobble to the big papa platform as well!

Anyway, thanks for reading this week’s issue of “Fred’s animation blog”! Will I be back next week? We’ll see. Until next time, love you all. Baaaiiiiiii! <3

Fred here! With Vilya being very busy with moving houses still, I’m filling in to keep the blog posts rolling. I was actually supposed to fill in for her last week as well buuut, I kinda forgot. Learning on the job 8)

Diving right into it; Teddy has done a ton of work for the final cutscene this week. For starters, adding and timing all of the music our lovely musician Riley has been sending us for the past month. It’s 9 tracks in total for the entire sequence of scenes and, you guys, it’s going to be epic! The music adds so much, it’s always such a cool experience hearing a scene with music for the first time. Especially in this case when it’s such a massive cutscene that we have been tinkering with for such a long time. If I can figure it out, I could add a track or two for you people to listen to. Might save that technical venture for next week tho ;D

Besides music, a lot of time has been spent adding multiplayer versions of the cutscenes. This means making every player have their own unique reactions, timings and positions during multiplayer. We don’t want every player to just feel like they’re a copy of the player hosting the server. It adds a lot of monotonous and tiresome work, rewatching and debugging cutscenes in different multiplayer setups. In the end, it’s worth it tho, even if it feels like a minor detail at first glance.

Worth it!

Besides all of this “hard to show on the blog”-stuff, we’re still swinging away at good ol’ Zhamla. One move from his original encounter in Tai-Ming that we all really like is his Dash Slash! It looks cool, has a lot of agility and speed to it and it just fits Zhamla’s combat style very well.

The only problem with it is that it’s not too challenging at this stage of the game. It’s not totally useless, but compared to the rest of his arsenal, it leaves you wanting more. So we tried to figure out a way to spice it up a bit while keeping the spirit of the original:

Since we tinkered with some Shadow Clone-stuff the other week, we stayed on the theme. The clones add a decent amount of difficulty while keeping the feeling of the original attack. He still has access to the “vanilla” version of the attack during the final battle, and will mix it up as he sees fit!

At this point, we’ve reached a stage with Zhamla where, in terms of his moveset and attacks, we are feeling pretty satisfied actually! He’s got a wide variety of moves, he’s fun and very challenging to play against (at least for me ;D) so I dunno… This could potentially be the final prototype of a move we show here on the blog! This does not mean the battle is finished tho, there are still a ton of adjustments needed and graphics and polish that are missing. Knowing us we’ll probably end up squeezing in one extra move or two as well, but still! Feels exciting that it’s starting to come together :)

We’ve mostly shown you Zhamla’s attacks separately, so I’m finishing this post off with a short video of him chaining some of his moves together. Can’t wait for you people to get destroyed by him the way I have during testing <3