Monday, January 30, 2012

Animating The Player

I think it is time for our main character to have a name.  After due consideration, I think we shall call him "Fahrve" -- whaddya think? :-)

Fahrve has been a bit stiff in his movements around the screen so far.  But now I have finally gotten around to giving him a little variety in his movements.

The first steps toward animating Fahrve were actually done back when the player object first started moving.  The first was the separation of the draw and erase routines, allowing Fahrfall to erase a different figure than what it is about to draw.  The other step was the introduction of different icons for odd starting positions and even ones.  This basic infrastructure allowed for at-will changes in Fahrve's appearance depending both upon his position and upon what he is doing at any given time.

Fahrve's glide across the platforms was disturbingly unnatural.  I originally wanted him to turn and walk in each direction, but the low resolution of the video screen made creating suitable artwork for that difficult to imagine.  I decided to settle for simple up-and-down arm movements, something like early versions of Donkey Kong.

I considered making a multi-frame sequence for each step, slightly different for steps in each direction.  But I started by simply lifting one arm and one leg in the odd frames, and the opposite arm and opposite leg in even frames.  The result was good enough that I decided not to complicate the sequence any further for now.

That wasn't too bad, but that left Fahrve frantically pumping his arms and legs even as he fell through the air.  The player object in DOWNFALL falls with his arms above his head, and I thought Fahrve should do the same.  So, I implemented a set of draw/erase routines for falling on both even and odd pixel boundaries.  Now he looks like he actually knows what he is doing as he moves vertically between platforms!

Winding Down

Animating Fahrve is one of the last big "gotta have it" points for Fahrfall.  There are still plenty of tweaks and features to add (e.g. music), but Fahrfall is now a usable game that will need some playtesting and feedback to fully develop.  Soon it will be time for Alpha testing!

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