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.

LevelLoaderLid
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.

animatedTrain
trains riding through the dirt

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