Thursday, September 30, 2010

News Anchor, Spritesheets, and Animation

Ugh, what a crazy week. Luckily, I was able to sit down and design a character that I had envisioned early on in brain storming. I wanted to have a news anchor that pops up in a window in the corner of the screen and mentions new developments. He'll probably have a guest in the studio with him, but I'll reveal them later. During the drawing of the character, I noticed I was having a pretty hard time nailing down the look for him. I guess I never really gave "character design" a fair shake and wasn't as good at it as I would have liked. I found that by looking through photos of actors that I would have play them in a movie, I was able to find a jumping off point and that would carry me through.

Also, I'd like to treat the News Report Window as an homage to the host in Smash TV. I remember really liking the charm and character in that. Its probably going to necessitate a lot of scripting in order to make the window pop up when certain events are taking place. I'll probably animate it like I would in Flash/Toon Boom - recycling mouth shapes and certain body movements to add life to the dialogue. This will keep file sizes smaller and help me achieve that "Lucasarts Cut Scene" look that I so enjoy.

This brought me to my newest problem, how to get XNA to sequence all of those frames of animation for display. Admittedly, I'm still a little fuzzy on how animated sprites are implemented, but I think I figured out how I can transfer Flash or Toonboom's time line into XNA. Of course it won't be a pretty/programming way, but it might be less intimidating than normal. Once I've tested it, I'll probably put a tutorial up so that animators can apply some of the things they already know.

Other than that, I've been brainstorming how to make the score in a game important again. It will make more sense when I've revealed the exact play style, but for now I'll just tease.

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