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 Post subject: Cutscene and boss stages animations in old shmups
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:35 am 



Joined: 12 Feb 2020
Posts: 6
Hi, if anyone knows of any tools/workflows used by the 80s 90s shmups developers to animate the sprite cutscenes and boss stages, that would be great.
I am refusing to accept the idea that it is hardcoded with pixel perfect locations in the code :)), but it might be just that.
For example boss movement, then when the boss stage changes, some parts are animating, decoupling from main body, etc. that sort of stuff.
Also intro animations, animating all of those sprites, it looks like procedural, usually its only linear movement of planes.
Any clue would be appreciated.
PS: I am developing a retro shmup and I want to use the old workflows with some extra help from today's libs of course. I might end up just using json hot-loading for animations, and just modify numbers (keys) until the animation on screen looks right :).
Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Cutscene and boss stages animations in old shmups
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:47 am 



Joined: 19 Jan 2009
Posts: 709
Location: stuck at the continue prompt
You might be overerestimating the difficulty of calculating "pixel perfect" animations: you know the size and the appropriate velocity of everything, you can make paper or virtual diagrams to visualize levels and get things right the first time, and a lot of movement (particularly of guided projectiles and smart boss parts that point themselves at the player) can be procedural and "hardcoded" in the positive sense that after you program animations they adapt automatically to different parameters and situations.

For more scripted content, like cutscenes, and for more fundamental game content (e.g. boss hit points and timers) tools that let you edit or preview animations in the engine (preferably continuing the test game in progress) can also be very helpful.
Editing animation keys and parameters as "numbers" isn't necessarily bad, and you can easily develop better tools: clicking on the screen to choose locations, going back and forward in time, onion skinning, having separate views for previewing animations and for editing the level, and anything else you find useful.


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 Post subject: Re: Cutscene and boss stages animations in old shmups
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:28 am 



Joined: 12 Feb 2020
Posts: 6
Yes, I have developed game level editors for the past 20 years :D, for personal and game industry use, I am trying to avoid making an editor for the game since I will get into dev hell, been there done that :), but I guess some mouse clicks hints would be ok for some editing operations, to not guess with trial and error. I was just curious how they did it in the old days.


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 Post subject: Re: Cutscene and boss stages animations in old shmups
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:31 am 



Joined: 12 Feb 2020
Posts: 6
I could have some sort of isolation mode preview for the enemies/items, that only render the unit, with some shortcuts for various preview operations, stage select, etc. along with mouse and some debug info on screen, the hot reload of json data/images should be ok I guess.


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