Really wish I could figure out why my brain goes from being super productive to having no motivation at all UGH (5 days ago)
2014 - 12 - 3 / 1:10 pm / general
I may have figured out a Photoshop animation workflow that actually makes sense after all these years. I've been trying to use the frame based animation timeline, but it turns out the video timeline makes way more sense.
Using "Video Groups" is almost how I wished Photoshop animations would work. To create a video group you can click on the little film strip icon with a down arrow on it that's next to "Layer 1" in the video timeline. I have no idea why this option is only located here and nowhere else that I can see.
Each layer in a video group is another frame of the animation (if you make each layer's duration only 1 frame long.) The video timeline then only shows each group and not every individual layer. Also you can totally use onion skinning with a video group which is already a billion times better than using the frame based animation timeline.
I'll have a more detailed post going over this workflow once I get a little bit more used to it, but for the initial tests seem really promising.
2014 - 4 - 29 / 3:51 pm / general
Lately I've been getting a lot done on this game! Actually I'm not totally sure if that's true, but it feels like I've been getting a lot done. I've started to do more organized work blocks which have been working out nicely so far. (I might've mentioned this before.)
While I work away at menus and UI I took a break to work on some good ole fashioned particle effects. Right now the game has boulders that can be harvested for materials to build islands out of. No idea if this is going to be in the final game, but it's fun to blow them up!
2014 - 2 - 27 / 5:55 pm / general
Been having a lot of fun with my workflow of animating in Flash, exporting to a SWF, and then using ShoeBox to convert to a sprite sheet. There are some hiccups in the pipeline still, but hopefully I can get them ironed out before I get any deeper in the art department.
I should really be working on the actual game part of this game, and probably all the systems that are going to be needed to be intertwined, but at this point I'm having way too much fun with particles. I've been bound by the word of Flash and ActionScript 3 for so long. Having 30 particles on the screen in Offspring Fling was a nightmare for performance, but now in the land of SFML, C#, and Otter, I can spawn hundreds of particles and the game doesn't hitch at all -- not even in debug mode!
2014 - 2 - 24 / 2:19 pm / general
Been working on getting some particle effects going lately. At first I was trying out a workflow of animating in Graphics Gale since it's so easy to use for animating pixel art. The entire process was animating in Graphics Gale, upscaling in Image Resizer using an HQ 4x filter, then downscaling it and cleaning it up in Photoshop. Although this yielded some pretty decent results, the actual pipeline of getting it into the game from Graphics Gale was becoming a huge pain. Here's a sprite from this process:
I did give Flash a try before this, and all I could find was this tutorial on how to export to a sprite sheet. I had a lot of issues with this process. First the entire SWF document couldn't be exported, only a symbol. Second is the fact that you pretty much have no control over the pixel size of a symbol, and therefore the size of the export. Thirdly the export to sprite sheet just didn't have enough options for my needs. This is why I passed on Flash initially.
Then I discovered that you can just export an entire swf has a .png sequence. Hooray! I can export a bunch of images of an animation, and since I can define the size of the swf, I can define the size of the png exports. Now all I need to do is somehow turn it into a sprite sheet.
That's where Shoebox comes in. This program is an Adobe AIR application that is sort of a swiss army knife for 2d game development. One of the features that I'm using in my current process is the frame sheet builder.
At first I was using the frame sheet builder with a sequence of png files, but then I discovered you can just use an exported swf file instead. So after all of that, my current pipeline for animating frame by frame stuff is Flash, export to SWF, use Shoebox to convert it into a sprite sheet, and then import it into the game. It's not a terrible workflow at all, but sometimes using Flash is a little infuriating.
2013 - 9 - 17 / 9:51 am / general
For my upcoming 2d framework built with C# and SFML I'm building an example game that at first was going to be a super quick project, but when it comes to art I'm still a little stumped on what the best workflow is going to be.
The game is going to be a little simple platformer, and if this were pixel art then I would have no problem just jamming out a bunch of pixel art for it... but with high res comes all kinds of problems.
I usually have used GraphicsGale for pixel art and animation, but now with high res Gale is no longer a very viable option. There's animating in Photoshop but it's horrible for animating. I really wish the animation options in Photoshop were better. There's tools like Spine and Spriter, but they're more for 2d bone animation and don't really help at all when it comes to frame by frame hand drawn animations.
There's also the problem of tile sets. With pixel art comes a very limited canvas site and color set per tile so making tiles line up with each other is a relatively simple task. When the resolution of color and canvas size increase then it becomes more and more of a pain to make each tile line up. I tried this with Snapshot but eventually I gave up and just faked using a tile set by making a bunch of independent images about the size of a tile and just stamped them on top of each other. Unfortunately right now that isn't an option for this game since I'm using Ogmo Editor as my level editor and strict tiles is probably my only option.
Here's a quick sketch of what I want the game to sort of resemble and I can already tell the tile set is going to be a nightmare because of the bleed of certain tiles (like grass, even stones have bleed, argh!)
So that's where I'm at right now. I'm continuing to chip away at code somewhat as I think about how to possibly solve these art pipeline issues, and I expect to be done with the example game sometime next month along with the first public release of the framework.
Hi there, my name is Kyle, and I'm a kid disguised as a grown up. I'm making video games and living the indie game developer life in Tempe, Arizona. Here you will find my thoughts, games, websites, doodles, and other stuff like that. I worked on Snapshot, Offspring Fling, and a whole bunch of other games. I also created and maintain Otter, a 2d game making framework. If you want to get a hold of me use the form on the bottom of the page, leave a comment, or just tweet at me. I try to post three times a week. Thanks for stoppin' by! You're the coolest.
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