Starting Week 2: Animations.

For this week I have polishing some of the visual aspects on my list. Mainly I want to show the user, that there are trains driving on his layout after he submitted his solution.

It will be challenging for a number of reasons:

  • Time: Friday, I want to go to the Spiel in Essen. Apart from the boardgame stuff happening there, I was hoping to have a stable version and present it to random strangers. So the day will not be lost. Thursday I have an official appointment, so I guess, part of the day will be spent on that. And tomorrow, I will work from the train back home.
  • Knowledge: Till now, I could apply my “backend knowledge” and deliver the user an answer to his question. Validating the solution and building the graph itself was maybe not easy, but I was confident there. Now it is about presenting the answer and working on the train animation and especially on moving the train along the track remained a challenge today that is yet to be overcome.
  • Since I think, showing this weeks version to random strangers at Essen is a good idea, I will need business cards. I need to allocate at least some time to get those into my hands and do some research on how to hand out free game codes along with them. That way, I hope to spread the word about the game and the blog.

Something beautiful for a start.

After looking at my task and milestones and the time that I will have this week, I decided to add a small animation that only consisted of a set of sprites to the UI. This was to get myself warmed up on the Animator Framework.

The Level Loader now looks a bit more interesting. I will polish the sprites later.

So the animator for the request area is basically waiting for the next level button to fire. I moved the triggers around, as now, the level loader has to wait for the lid to close. This is all really nice, because in the meantime I could remove some of the dependencies and replace them with the event system.


As you can see, during the weekend I gave a little update on the buttons, frames and the background. I am happy with the look of the buttons. It is going into the right direction. And it confirms what was written in some of the art blogs I read during the last weeks: its better to stick to a smaller palette and polish it. It will still look amazing.


Deciding what to do about the trains

In the afternoon I wanted to start working on the animation of the trains. “Wanted” is the right word. It was a little loud at home and I could hardly concentrate on the matter.

At first I tried coding the thing, which did not work at all. There is some code needed, and I kinda did a start on that: I will need to hand over the train routes to the animation, and there is at least a data structure now.

However coding the thing as a animation with the train sliding across the tile was not really working.

So I switched back to the Animator Framework, that I used in the morning. This did not work at first, since I could not add components to the animation (i.e. Sprites, or the transformation matrices of the object).

Growing more and more frustrated, I switched again to coding…

Then another solution, with fixed sprite animations (similar to the lid in the morning) came to my mind. I opened Pyxel Edit and thought about the number of sprites I would have to paint… and got even more frustated…

a futile approach…

So I was happy when my brother and his wife came to pick up their children, that silence was again on the horizon – and I happily put away my laptop for a chat.

And ohh boy. That worked wonders. I was refreshed and determined to find a valid solution for the animation today.

So after trying out the game objects and the animations, I finally got one with the transform property into my scene. So I finished the initial version of the straight line animation but I did not really understand how to get a second one.

The crucial piece of information that I was missing was, that needed a new game object, and could not reuse my existing train game object to build a second animation. In the end, three animations go to the same state machine, so why is that?!? :confused: So I made two more trains…


I mean. I am not done with the animations, BUT: I am farther than I was before. So I have the basic three movements: straight, left turn, right turn. With those, I can update the transform rotation and position of the object tomorrow after an animation is done and start the next one on the planned route.

trains riding through the dirt

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