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Specchum

Level loading SFX

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Remember the cool level loading effect in PoP: Warrior Within? Blood flows down and fills up the symbol on the screen when the level is loading. Looks reall nice. Anyone have a fair idea how this kind of effects can be achieved? Is this some kind of animated texturing (although I have my doubts considering how varied the effect looks)? Any pointers in this regard would be appreciated!

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I would assume it was hand animated. Each frame drawn and then just displayed in sequence. There is no nice way todo 2D graphics like that without actually have each frame, especially something as intricate as blood dripping down a logo. It was the same every time, and I couldn't see any repeats in the sequence so I assume somewhere they just have the equivelant of an animated gif which gets played back.

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Syncronizing smooth animation to file loading is a challenge. Multithreading would seem to be the most obvious solution, because it allows you to maintain a constant speed for your main update loop. But with this comes big words and tricky situations: atomic operations, race conditions, mutexes, etc. So those are the grungy details.

On a slightly higher level, since you mentioned the animations were varied, this would lead me to believe that there was more to the loading screen than a flipbook animation. It's probably more likely that a physics simulation was in place, being driven by the progress reported back from the asset loading threads. Just a guess..

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At first it does look like a real-time physics sim in action, but as kaysik pointed out it looks the same everytime.

At this point I'm tempted to think of it as a time-synced animation playback based on the "same look everytime" evidence at hand. But then number of frames required for such smoothness would be quite something, no? Or is this a cleverly implemented particle system of sorts?

So many questions....

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Firstly it doesn't play very smoothly because its during loading time. It stops and jitters and bumps around so the number of frames is probably quite low compared with a proper smooth anim. Also if you play it all the way through its only about 2 or 3 seconds of animation so if there are more than 100 frames I'd be very supprised (40-50 is probably much nearer the mark). With a smooth alpha blend between each frame it could look quite convincing with far less than 25fps, especially when its a loading screen so nobody expects it to be smooth. For a profeshional 2D artist thats not much work, especially seeing each frame only a small section changes.

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