Animation Editor

Posted by James on March 23, 2010 under Tasty Planet | 8 Comments to Read

In Tasty Planet 1 the animations were very simple. Usually they consisted of only two frames. Due to the quantity of objects that we wanted to put into the game we were limited by time and memory constraints, so we really couldn’t do any more frames of animation. Our constraints haven’t changed much for Tasty Planet 2 – we still want to put as many objects as possible into the game without using up a huge amount of memory, and without taking years to develop the game.

But we still want to make the animations better, so we’re taking a slightly different approach this time. We’re using an animation editor that was created for The Three Musketeers: The Game, with a few modifications to support interpolating between frames of animations. What this means is that we can split a cat up into head, body, feet, and tail, and then move these pieces around smoothly to give the illusion of a more complicated animation. A lot of 2d games (and TV shows, actually) do this nowadays – a good example is PopCap’s Bookworm Adventures, or more recently Plants vs. Zombies.

Here’s the editor:

It was originally used in Musketeers to enable us to create the animations of all the different types of clothes that d’Artagnan and the computer controlled characters could wear. I added a bit of functionality to do the smooth frame interpolation and now it works well for doing the Tasty Planet animations. It’s kind of clunky, and there are a lot of functions that we aren’t using anymore, but it does the trick.

In Tasty Planet 1 we actually didn’t use an animation editor. The animations were so simple that it was easier and faster just to enter the data by hand. Deciding when to build a tool is an important skill for indie game developers – unlike big game companies we don’t have dedicated tools programmers. Time spent building a tool is time that could have been spent building the game, so the tool better be worth it.

  • Wendi said,

    Hey…that’s a triceratops, isn’t it? I suppose in this version we will be munching through the time line?

  • James said,

    There will be time traveling involved… Which means there will be lots of fun things to eat.

  • bryan said,

    that works for me.tasty planet whatever will be a collision of mortimer beckett and the time parradox and tasty planet 1. i just cannot wait for the second version.

  • bryan said,

    i have something to add from the earlyer comment.
    you know the first game that i said? mortimer beckett and the time paradox? well it turns out that one of the eras egypt is one of the eras in mortimer beckett and the time paradox. i also want to know what eras you have besides thre dino era.

  • James said,

    There is a futuristic era as well… and a few more that you’ll have to wait to see.

  • bryan said,

    how many more days until the release of tasty planet 2

  • James said,

    I don’t know, a few weeks probably. We’re working as fast as we can.

  • bryan said,

    i just hope that you have it release before school starts.
    i want to play co-op with my children.

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