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Member Since 21 Feb 2003
Offline Last Active Oct 24 2015 08:26 AM

#5235807 Drawing animations in photoshop creates a terrible workflow

Posted by boolean on 19 June 2015 - 09:48 PM

Maybe a simple spritesheet player would be a decent tool to have. Even as an app for a secondary device/screen.



That's a really good idea - I don't need to preview it in-game all the time, I just want to preview the spritesheet running as I save. I hadn't actually thought of it that way. I'll poke around online and see if there's anything closer to that.


Edit: So I ended up finding FlxSpriter. You give it a PSD file, setup some frames in XML and then you can play your animation on loop. It even live reloads! It took a bit of effort to get it running though (it depends on a few libraries that the readme doesn't mention) and the fact that you have to manually update an xml file is a bit of a pain. But, this is much better than my current system. I also found Spritesheet Preview which has a much nicer interface (no XML files) but it doesn't support live reloading and can't read PSD files.

#5235600 Drawing animations in photoshop creates a terrible workflow

Posted by boolean on 18 June 2015 - 07:41 PM

@Servant: That sounds pretty close to how I worked before hand :D The only reason I stopped doing that was I found it difficult to add or remove frames. Oh the number of headaches I ended up with from the file-preview flashing white until the wee hours of the morning.


@kburkhart84: The timeline is what I'm using now, and it's ok, but since all my sprites are in individual positions (like a regular spritesheet), it makes it hard to visualize the frames animating until I get it in game. I've never quite figured out a way to preview the animation in photoshop when the images are in a spritesheet style format. 


I keep thinking, surely someone has a system but maybe everyone is just cobbling together the tools they have.

#5235383 Drawing animations in photoshop creates a terrible workflow

Posted by boolean on 17 June 2015 - 09:25 PM

Up until pretty recently I've been working with Unity, using the fancy pants plugin 2DToolkit. One thing I loved about 2dtk was that it had a screen where you would plan out your animations which was reading in realtime from a PSD file - so what I would do is just draw out all my frames into the PSD file while running and jumping with the animation in my game. Seeing the instant live feedback in game was a huge time saver during game jams.


Now instead of Unity I'm using HaxeFlixel (flash), which is a fantastic framework. However, my current workflow is driving me insane. It goes something like this:


1) Start a new row of 32x32 blocks in photoshop

2) Sketch out a very rough idea of what the animation will be. Fiddle with layers for a bit to get a mock-view of the animation

3) Save PSD, then save a separate .png file.

4) Open flashdevelop, compile and run, then move around in the game and check the animation.

5) Close swf file, go back to photoshop, move a few pixels

3) Save PSD, then save a separate .png file.

4) Open flashdevelop, compile and run, then move around in the game and check the animation.

5) Close swf file, go back to photoshop, move a few pixels


It's a terrible workflow. I find I can usually get decently far with just fiddling with the animation frames in photoshop, but eventually you need to test the animations in the game itself.


So I'm curious - for those doing 2D artwork how do you build out your animations without rebuilding the game every 5 seconds? Are you lucky enough to be using engines that have more real-time feedback? How do you manage longer animations?

#5199966 In game tutorials for puzzle games

Posted by boolean on 25 December 2014 - 10:08 AM

Hi all


I've been entering a few game jams lately and there's been a consistent problem I've run into - explaining to the player how the heck to play my game.


As noted in the great Tutorials 101 from extra credits, the best tutorials are usually integrated invisibly into the gameplay and text based tutorials are usually boring, ruin immersion and most of the time are skipped by players anyway. 

While I think that's a fair enough point, I think this applies better to games with already familiar actions (eg. platformers, shooters). What I'm finding this very difficult to apply to is puzzle games. Usually you are dealing with a unique user interface that needs explaining before the player gets started (consisting of buttons, labels, win/lose conditions), so it's very hard not to front load everything at the start. Making it doubly difficult is that game jam entries tend to only be a few minutes in length, so you can't slowly drip feed the player over hours of gameplay.
I just finished a puzzle game for a game jam and I'm not sure how to explain without text. I currently have the trifector of evil - front loaded, multiple, text based windows of text. Blech.
So I'm curious - how do you all deal with tutorials in (usually short) puzzle games? How do you explain to the player how the game works without boring text? Is there any good examples anyone knows of?

#5199957 When is it okay for a player to get "stuck"?

Posted by boolean on 25 December 2014 - 09:22 AM

IMO it's fine for the player to get stuck, as long as the game communicates it clearly. I don't mind resetting the puzzle all day as the game tells me I have no moves left the moment it happens. I think the only way I get frustrated with these styles of games is when I'm stuck but I'm not sure if there are still moves left I'm not noticing. Worse yet is when the game is adding a new mechanic to a level and I get stuck and I'm not sure if its because I'm not using the new mechanic properly or if I'm legitimately out of moves.  


Some games like Puzzle Quest don't even wait for the player to reset if there are no moves left - they just explode the board and reset everything right away.

#4927340 Physics Question - How does thrust and mph work?

Posted by boolean on 01 April 2012 - 07:22 PM

If this is the page you've been reading, you have the units wrong. It doesn't say a pound of thrust is 32 feet per second, but 32 feet per second per second. It is an acceleration and not a speed, which makes sense since it is a force acting on a mass and thus accelerating it. The page also describes thrust fairly well: A pound of thrust is the amount of thrust it would take to keep a 1-pound object stationary against the force of gravity on Earth.

Ahhh, that might be the cause of the issue. I actually thought it was a typo at first :)

I just noticed Net Gnome updated his post which explains this really well. I think I'm getting confused with the acceleration and the final speed something is travelling at. I'm guessing then something could have a million pounds of thrust behind it, but without actually knowing when your taking the measurement you might as well be saying "This tree is as tall as a long piece of string" Posted Image

Cheers lads!

#4893314 I just realized MS's way of pointing out bad code.

Posted by boolean on 12 December 2011 - 05:57 PM

Maybe by grand they mean a fancy crown? Or gold coins to the grand total of a grand?

#4890336 A different perspective on the racing genre.

Posted by boolean on 04 December 2011 - 01:03 AM

There was a game called FUEL that tried to do an open world racing game. Unfortunately it didn't work out very well.

The actual idea I still think has merit, but it depends on how you handle it. I think the most important thing to remember is that when players can go anywhere, everywhere has to be interesting. That itself is a hell of a challenge.

I think the best example of this working is the grand theft auto games - they allow some stupidly fun open world racing with all sorts of vehicles in a world where all the routes are interesting. I think using something proven like that scaled down to it's most bare essentials could be very interesting. I heard a story on a podcast about GTA IV (not having played multiplayer myself) where there is a mode where everyone has to make it to a checkpoint on the other side of the city and all the players start on super high powered sports bikes. Right out of the gate most people go flying into the first car they see and start a huge wreck. The trick is every time you crash your bike gets downgraded, so as people make their way to the finish line their bikes are getting worse and worse each time. The podcaster said he was nearly dying with laughter when the final dash for the finish line came down to everyone on vespers desperately trying to knock each other off at 20 km/h :D

#4872043 I've been "cowboy coding" on the job most of the time. How do I g...

Posted by boolean on 12 October 2011 - 05:52 PM

It's simple:

1) Hire someone who is useless
2) Try and maintain their mess as bug reports roll in
3) Swear to never name a variable "string1" or "frstNme" or "private int _GlobalRate" ever again
4) Lead by example.

I used to worry for the longest time that being self taught I would struggle in the real world, it's why I actually avoided the industry for a few years. Now that I'm in it all I can say is I've learned more in the last few years maintaining other peoples code than I ever did working on my own. Someone can explain until their blue in the face why an empty try catch statement is worse than not having one at all, but until you are tasked with looking through someone else's code for a magical hidden exception that is being thrown for 3 HOURS you will very quickly understand what "best practices" really are.

If you do not have someone else on the team, and I may be wrong saying this, but with nobody else around to require good code it's a bit of a lost cause. I'm quite proud of the code I write at work, but on my own projects at home it's a struggle to do things the 'right way' when I know I'll be the only one seeing it. I would recommend joining an open source project or starting your own, or do tutorials for GDnet, or blog posts with code snippets you are proud of. Something to get other peoples eyes on. Trust me, once you get those people looking at your code, you'll learn more about best practices than you ever wanted to.

#4870681 How do I animate my sprites?

Posted by boolean on 08 October 2011 - 10:54 PM

It's also important to know what format you are going to export your animation into.

Exporting to a GIF? A series of images that will be read by an XML file? A spritemap with all the frames? Your answer will very much determine your options.

#4868832 So who is still around these days?

Posted by boolean on 03 October 2011 - 09:20 PM

I still don't know my way around the new site.

Every time I go into my account settings I feel like I've never used the internet before.

#4865935 Browser games - The nightmare of UI design

Posted by boolean on 25 September 2011 - 08:24 PM

'Alo chaps!

I'm working on a browser game and being a developer I know very little about UI design. I know my way around Photoshop but when it comes time to doing wire frames it's always trial and error. With that in mind I've been looking around at a lot of browser games currently on the market to take notes from. What I've noticed is that very few actually look decent and even less have good UI design.

The main issue I have with a lot of browser games is in how they completely overdo the designs in order to look more 'game' like. This means you tend to end up with browser games that look like:

1) http://3.bp.blogspot...1600/image3.jpg
2) http://www.gamoplay....creenshot_3.jpg
3) http://www.digitalfi...eens/s600_1.jpg
4) http://nm.gameforge....ogame_de_05.jpg
5) http://www.kostenlos...lory-kings4.jpg
6) http://i460.photobuc...uild-leader.jpg

There's something about the overly airbrushed, in your face graphics I always find off-putting. It's almost always style over function, making the actual use of the website confusing. I think the same reason I dislike these overly designed browser games is the same reason 99% of the winamp skins around are completely useless.

I was reading this article the other day and while I think the author has a good point, it didn't come across very well. The key message seems to be 'stay consistent', echoed on this site as well. The application he is focusing on failed because it's not consistent with other apps. I think that key message got lost in the replies of the article :)

Taking that into account, I think the biggest issue when designing a website for a browser game is that it needs to be two things at once. It needs to be consistent with the rest of the web, which means looking like a clean, well made website. On the other hand, it's a game so it needs to look more flashy, have more graphics, set a stronger theme on the website, more animations. The problem is this is completely opposed to the way you would design a post-1999 website, so the rest of the internet that are not games (as in, websites you interact with as a game) clash against your website and it immediately comes off as an inconsistent.

Another issue I see with a lot of browser games is that in setting a tone/theme for the website, they tend to focus on one color, for example, deepolis:

1) http://mmogamesvs.co...hot-300x258.jpg
2 http://images.bbgsit...8/26/1_0826.jpg

In an attempt to set an underwater theme, everything is one color. Trying to find what items are buttons or which areas are more important than others fly in the face of the most basic UI design rules I've come across. For example, even GDnet uses a mix of blue green and white for its navigation buttons.

This all being said, Duels is probably the best design I've come across:

1) http://image.xygames...creenshot-2.jpg

It's nothing fancy, but all the trappings are there. Good artwork for each page (eg. the armory) to set the scene, very obvious uses of color for page layout, a design that doesn't rule the UIX (I learnt that one the other day, "user interface experience" eh?) and a layout that is consistent with other websites.

Now it was around here I was going to post some concepts I have so far, but just writing this post I've realized mine could do with some work. SO, while I work out the problems does anyone else here know of any browser games that have good UI? Any websites that break all design conventions that need to be burnt to the ground? Anything to add to my theory above on why browser games have such a hard time being usable and looking like a game?

#4864513 So who is still around these days?

Posted by boolean on 21 September 2011 - 09:17 PM

This is the first time I've signed into this account in...years. Any of the old timers still around? Cold Acid, Evolutional, Avatar God, Trapper Zoid, Zero Wolf?

Things are different now! The site looks all fancy and new!

It seems the avatars are being pulled from Gravatar now? Anyone know if they let you set site specific avatars? I miss my old one:)

#3032951 Bad Jokes

Posted by boolean on 02 May 2005 - 12:01 AM

BA HA HA HA!!! I like that one [lol]

#2790288 things you should and shouldn't do when writing stories

Posted by boolean on 27 November 2004 - 12:39 AM

Dang, I wish I had another sticky I could add this too [wink]