Skip to main content

Animations and effects

One of the things I first learned to do when modding video games was to make animated textures. I started out with CIV 2, and moved on to CIV 3 from there. Back then there weren't any 3d graphics, rather we rendered 3d images in to sprites. Usually such sprites were stitched together to make a sprite sheet, or put together using some arcane script to create a .flic animation.

At the time I didn't know anything about even basic scripting, and I really wish I could go back and teach myself. I used to stitch the images together manually, using Corel Paint, or some other crappy image editing software. Some animations had 15 or more frames, with 8 directions, equating to 120+ painstakingly hand placed tiles. It took hours!

These days I use python and PIL to do the whole process automatically. I can even get fancy effects like blending images to loop the animation.

An acid splash animation.

I seriously recommend PIL to any other developer, it's a great little image library and you can automate a lot of your tasks with it. Whether you're making explosion animations, or animated sprites for your characters, or just compiling a bunch of art in to a single texture or image atlas it's easy to stitch together the frames using code in just a few seconds.

It can even make animated gifs, though the process for doing so wasted so much time I went ahead and used

Right now I'm making a bunch of animated textures for the game, from magical effects to mundane stuff like torches or sparkling item effects. One effect I'm trying hard to get is a simple sparkle effect, this will be used as the 3d model for small treasures like gems or keys or the like, which will be too small to see in the main view of the game world. You'll just spot a sparkle on the floor and have to head over to check it out. Only by picking it up will you know if it's an important key, or just shiny junk.

I love the idea of players seeing a sparkling object across the other side of a pit. They will have to decide whether to try and cross the pit, and whether the expected item would be worth the effort. Of course, usually it would be, otherwise players are going to get annoyed, and that's not an optimal result.


Popular posts from this blog

Vinland 1936

What have I been up to this month?

Well you can see it in a couple of development blog videos, here, here and here.

Vinland 1936 is a game I've been working on (on and off) for about 3 years. It is somewhat based on the old Nirval interactive game, Blitzkrieg;

I hope you've played it since it is one of the best games ever!!! (IMHO)
Blitzkrieg was a real time tactics game. You didn't build a base, or spawn units. It wasn't about rushing the enemy. You got a small number of troops and vehicles that could be replenished or repaired if you had access to a supply base and the right supply trucks, but couldn't be replaced if lost. Once your vehicles were destroyed and your infantry killed you were finished. You couldn't just churn out some more from your factory and have another go at rushing the enemy guns. This made you invest a lot in each of your units. They really mattered.

It was also procedurally generated. Each mission (except for the historical missions) was…

Telling a story; Creating a Compelling Narrative.

Telling a story; Creating a Compelling Narrative. In this blog I will talk about my own recent brush with story telling and go on to talk about how tools from creative wring can help you to better author the narrative in your games, whether they have a traditional linear narrative or a procedurally generated interactive narrative.

Narrative and structure in traditional fiction  last week I started writing a story set in the world I'm developing for my game Vinland: 1936.

I hope the story will help me to flesh out my game world and develop my own expanded universe which will be a good place to set my games in the future.

After about a week of work, on and off I've progressed the story to outline stage. For each character thread I have half a dozen chapters which plot a course through the events of the story. Each thread is told from the perspective of a different character.

Actually I started writing as soon as I had my outline, but I've since gone back and deleted what …

Back to Vinland.

I'm going back to my real time tactics project, Vinland 1936.
While working on the other project I overcame the problems which were stopping me from saving/loading the game and also cleaned up the base code a lot.

After a few weeks I'm getting near the the state I was in before.

Infantry are back to their previous state, and vehicles are running OK.
This time I'm going to push ahead with mocking up the combat system though before I work any more on the vehicle builder or graphical aspects of the game.