A new character creation method for Project: Omni
Do you love to draw? Drawing characters concepts is probably the most fun part of any video game project. All you need to know is, "How big are they allowed to be?" Then you can go wild... drawing and experimenting with all sorts of different art styles. For the new <name not decided on yet> project we are building, we are building a hyper animated and highly addictive fantasy combat puzzle game.
(I took this photo off an artist's screen with my phone. You can see my hands!)
Our characters will be battling monsters in a pretty small area at the top of the screen. So we made them small, boxy, and the heads are a little bigger so you can see their expression. We are planning on changing the expression of the characters when they attack and are hit. Something we have always wanted to do! Surpsingly, these little character have more moving parts than our AdventureQuest Worlds characters. However, and this may shock you... this game prototype will have NO GRAPHICS LAG. If you are an AQWorlds player you are probably thinking, "IMPOSSIBRUUUUU!!!!!!" -- or something like that. To understand why our new games will probably not have any noticable graphics lag, it is important to understand how the characters are developed.
Slime Monster Animation (Video)
A Tale of Two Characters
In the past, we drew the entire video game character directly inside Flash. Each part of the body was drawn on a seperate layer. Then, we animated the parts to make the character move. If we needed to change the weapon, we simply changed the art in the weapon layer. Flash is pretty neat, because it let us put animations inside animations inside animations inside (repeat forever.) That is why there are swords with lightning that streak down them and pets with ears that wiggle. It comes as a high cost though. All flash art is made out of lines. (This is known as "Vector Art.") Your computer has to redraw those lines every time the object moves. It is like the worlds most sophisticated game of connect the dots. The more complicated a weapon or armor, the harder your computer has to work to draw and fill in all of the lines to create it. Most phones are not powerful enough to handle drawing the insane number of lines for just 5 fulled armored, crazy weapon carrying AQWorlds characters. Just think of all the animation happening on the screen! To solve this, we are ditching lines and are now using .PNG images. (This is known as "Raster Art.") The nice thing is that you can make these images work on literally every device. Which is a good move since not many mobile devices support Flash files. It is semi-easy to take our existing flash character pieces and convert/rebuild them to bitmap graphics. Although, our games have way over 150,000+ pieces of art between them at this point (Keep in mind, a single monster is made of 12 pieces.) But you are probably wondering how this applies to our original question, "Why will there not be any graphics lag?" The answer is pretty crazy. Our new games will be sending all of their graphics directly to your device's hardware accellerated GPU (Graphics Processing Unit.) Can you imagine AQWorlds running at 60 frames per second no matter how many characters are on the screen? (Well, within reason... even the almighty GPU has its limits.)
Join me tomorrow and we can talk about character animation & customization.