ATTACK MOUNTAIN DEVELOPER DIARY 5
GUEST DEVELOPER DIARY: ECHO BRIDGE ON ANIMATION
Today’s developer diary was written by Esteban Valdez, the founder and studio head at Echo Bridge Pictures. We’ll also be debuting another developer diary early next week, so stay tuned!
We could, like most artists and studios, dive head first into pixel painting but we really wanted to bring out the best for Legend of the Time Star. That’s why, as Attack Mountain stated earlier, we’ve done everything by hand, frame-by-frame. Pixel painting isn’t much different from painting with traditional or digital mediums. You’re playing with shape, color, values and volumes all in an attempt to capture an idea. Couple that with animation where you are also playing with shape, volume, mass and weight, plus [!] 8-16 paintings to put together and you’ve got quite the workload to paint all at once.
The problem when diving right in to the pool is that you never really gauge how deep it is, or if there’s any water in it all. At Echo Bridge, we look, then leap. Or, as the old production method goes: “General to specific.”
So, in this instance, what we did was get a general look at what needs to be done and broke it down, allowing us to focus on each step and produce the best animation possible. And with characters as detailed as this, it was important that took small steps to really capture as much of the original designs as possible. By doing this, we were able to create very unique animation cycles for each character that really gives the overall world a lot of depth.
The fungal drudger’s walk, for example, required more frames to slow the it down, and the hands move on an independent time chart that really pops out from everything else. It gives its walk a much different feel and look from other creatures in the game.
Once everyone is happy with an animation, we bring it down to the pixel level. Because we’ve worked at a larger resolution, we have a very good understanding of the characters volume, mass, weight, etc., and that helps us make a well-constructed sprite. It may seem time consuming, but the results have been incredibly satisfactory so far.
Everyone seems to be in a hurry to find the latest shortcut, hotkey, or animate button all in an attempt to get a project out the door faster.
But, the longest distance between any two points is a shortcut.
-Esteban Valdez, Echo Bridge Pictures
Want this game to become a reality? We need the support of the gaming community to make Legend of the Time Star happen. Back to our Kickstarter today!