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Sai's Game Dev Blog

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-Logo By JustYui-


This is a blog made to help keep me honest about how much work is getting done on my video games. I'll update it daily with all the work I was able to do, or if none was done, I'll write down the reason why.

Currently we have two games being made, an RPG called The Adventures of Cherry Heart (Very familiar sounding name, huh RP section?) and a Fighting Game called Prismal Helix.

Currently, every character for Cherry Heart has been designed, and the sprites are currently being done. I am in the process of making a three level demo for it, with one level done. Enemies and dialogue need to be tweaked though. Need about 500 dollars for cutscenes. 90 saved so far. Unknown how much we'll need for voice actors, as the script isn't done yet.

For Prismal Helix, we have 11/14 characters designed as well as the final boss and some NPCs. We need to hire some sprite animators and get a four character demo programmed before we can take it to crowd funding. Need 6500 to hire first animator and get characters designed. 80 saved so far.

And that's all we need for now.

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July 4th-5th 2018

  • Thanks to the power of Patreon (donating to people that make Hyper Dragon Ball Z was the best idea), I managed to get a stance reference for one of the fighting game characters, Rou.

[spoiler=The sprite]xb8cKBh.png



  • No other work done, as I fell asleep early due to a headache.
  • Needed money for food, so 15 dollars taken out of fighting game funds. 65/6500
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July 13th-14th 2018

  • Started looking for an animator. Because, you know, this early in the process, we need an animated opening for Cherry Heart.
  • For Cherry Heart, decided that instead of gaining new weapons, the old ones have 'augment' slots, allowing you to slot in upgrades to your weapon.
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July 15th-16th 2018
  • Received previews for Cherry Heart fighter sprites.
[spoiler=The Sprites]rTSI8uH.png

  • Received 30 dollars for Cherry Heart, giving us a total of 120/500.
  • No other work done, as I had to post, and Yui believed that attacking a country with nuclear technology with pre-WW1 tech was a grand idea. 
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July 17th-18th 2018

Today was spent researching the average frame data between Street Fighter 2, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator, and Skullgirls to help me decide on how many frames of animation should go into each attack in Prismal Helix. It's a very important balancing act, one that is a very big factor in whether or not your game feels right to play.

Let me explain why.

Fighting game animation (actually, most any game animation outside of RPGs and Monster Hunter/Dark Souls Games) is slightly different from normal animation. In a fighting game, an animation must be done in a very small amount of frames (or the number of still images in an animation), the very fastest usually being around 3 to 6 frames.

If you don't make the animation fast and snappy, your game will feel slow and unresponsive. The one fighting game that is the biggest offender of this is the infamous Shaq Fu. But why is it this way? Surely, the developers didn't want to make a slow, unresponsive game. Well, the truth is, they didn't. They didn't program in lag, instead... they made a mistake in the animation. Let's take a look. Specifically, I want you to look at when they jump, because this is where it's the most obvious.

[spoiler=Skip to 0:39 for the game to start]

Did you catch that? Every time Shaq jumps, there is an animation of him crouching down and preparing for the jump. Now, this is, in theory, actually very good animation. It's a basic principle that you have to have a person crouch down in order to jump, also know as the ​anticipation. It helps the animation feel more believable.

[spoiler=The phases of a jump]99024559a7ccad0884767f3211612dd5.jpg

This is the EXACT opposite of what you want in a game. Because of those anticipation frames, it takes a few frames for the character to get off the ground, and those few frames the flow of the game. Let's take a look at three fighting game characters and their jumps.

[spoiler=Jump Stars]
[spoiler=King of the Streets]ryu-cfe-jump.gif

[spoiler=The Wolf Goose]rock-cv-jumpu.gif

[spoiler=Prismal Helix's Ryu]866v1OJ.gif

Notice how there is no anticipation? They just shoot up into the air. It might look a bit odd, but remember, the way a game feels is more important than how realistic it is or how it looks.

So the answer is to just animate it in the fewest amount of frames possible, right? Well, there is a very distinct issue with that. If you do it in the fewest amount frames possible, you lose all sense of power and impact, making even the most powerful attacks feel... weak, and empty.

Let's look at a very weak feeling punch and a very powerful feeling punch.

[spoiler=Weak Animated Punch]wBJemBs.gif

[spoiler=Good Animated Punch]9f284d40ffd080c16c1230dbd2637b091856a5b7

Notice how in My Hero Academia, they spent a lot of time focusing on wind up to Tetsutetsu's punch and the impact of it, but the actual action of throwing the punch was barely shown at all. With Mega Man, however, Pharaoh Man's actions was one smooth motion. Which one felt more powerful to you?

I think that answer is pretty obvious.

So if you want the game to feel fast and responsive, you need to have the least amount of frames as possible to animate an action, but if you want to sell the power of your attacks, you need to show anticipation and impact of an action. So how do games, especially fighting games pull this off? Three words.

Strong Key Poses.

The human mind has the amazing ability to recognize patterns and fill in the blanks when the pattern gets broken. So as long as you have a strong starting key pose and a strong ending pose, you can sell that illusion. Street Fighter 2 managed to do Ryu's heavy kick in 5 frames. What does this mean?

Even one frame of anticipation and impact is enough. You just need to have a strong key pose for them, and your mind will fill in the rest.

So it's possible to sell the power and speed of attacks with as few frames as possible, but of course, the more frames you have, the more fluid it is. However, that also makes it even more expensive. It's a tough balancing act that will certainly take awhile to decide.

That's all for today. Any questions? Comments? Please, go ahead and leave them, I will do my best to answer them. And if you like this style of blog post, let me know. I'll try to do one of these at least once a week if that is the case.

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