The first thing is the animation itself. It can suck, and there’s not much you can do about that. Luckily the art quality is insane, with artists who are used to triple A work sketching them out at a cracking pace!
The second thing is how gently the programmer will treat the artist’s frames and even massage them for more amazing sparkling goodness.
1. we have animation states for everything: run, idle, jump, skid, hurt, falling, attacks and more.
2. we play the intended animation – be it a one shot, or looping animation.
So what’s different?
In TOB, I have several variables which track how fast the character is moving, how hard the player is pushing the direction and so on.
So we can weave in more frames in between, and play little one off frames to blend everything together. It’s painstaking work because it takes a lot of trial and error to get the maximum out of the frames you have.
In addition to this, its really important to speed things up or slow them down in regards to animation playback. So to this end we do things like speed the animation up as the character’s velocity increases.
We also track how long the player has being doing demanding activities, so when Joe or Jim halt for a breather, you see their idle animation play faster, before slowing down as they catch their breath.
It’s all these little touches that really can make or break a retro title. You can’t just fill it with animation frames and throw more money at it. It has to be authentic.
We’ve deliberately left in an easter egg surprise for people who have played old retro games: the classic left and right thrashing of the controls will allow you to spaz out for hilarious dance scenes, if you so choose!
Next to come will be some clips and anims you haven’t seen, as there’s been too much talk and not enough glorious sneak-peaks!
Be square (it’s cool!)