I've been kind of drifting through projects at the moment. Touching up this old thing, revisiting that old thing. I'm trying to get some enthusiasm back over The Mighty Stoopid, and I think it's partly because I've not yet nailed down the player's actual moves. Granted, he's quite functional now, able to throw punches and kicks, do combos, trip and jump-attack ... but it's too basic. For openers, it's still mostly using my old "test" animations, which feature an MSPaint test dummy. And while, again, it's functional, it's not what it should be. For example, enemies can hit you at the same time you can hit them (range and punch speed are the same). This is completely wrong for TMS, who has spring-loaded limbs. Here's a pic for reference:
So while the game is currently damn tough on the first level using current sprites, for TMS it won't be because he has a range advantage. I also need to come up with a more inventive air attack; the current one is fine, but uninspiring.
Just to take you back a bit, the hook to TMS's moves is that they all look ... accidental. You don't "duck"; you spot a lucky penny and bend to examine it as whatever you're dodging flies overhead, at which point you rise and pocket it. He doesn't "kick", he trips on his cape and his leg goes flying out. You get the idea. He's an idiot and it's his routine to look like he's doing everything through pure luck. I've had a rough time trying to come up with all his moves and still make that look natural (how do you accidentally attack when airborne!?), so some will be accidents and some won't be. But since I still considered the old "accidental" moves part of his repertoire, it kind of held back what he did. I kind of like the move where he slips and his leg goes flying out like that, but I can't really find a use for it in the game.
So I'm going to hammer out his moves list. I'm still going to give him combos, but I'm going to penalize the player for missed hits so he has to use a bit of strategy. A missed punch gives no penalty, a punch that hits followed by a comboed kick that hits gives no penalty, a punch that hits followed by a comboed kick that misses will leave you open for a minute as you recover. Maybe give him a wall jump too. Make his animation look less like a hero who's skillfully scaling a vertical passage and more like a little kid doing it because he's enjoying it. Wheee!!
It's tough getting a compelling personality out of such a simplistic idiot, but I've been dreaming about giving this character his own game for almost a decade and I'm proud of the story in the game, so I'm going to give this my all. I can make it work. I can feel it, I'm starting to care about this project again ...
(that's a Blender model, btw, with the in-game sprite being the far left image. Second sprite was rendered at full size and scaled down, but the one rendered at the desired size in the first place came out better. Far left is a minor posing test; he now has a running and breathing animation)