Here’s a little time-glimpse of some of my recent work.
Like a piece of wood to carve, or musical tune to write, everything you do is quite shite on your first go at it. And i don’t mean it like the first time you try something, but rather – regardless how many times you’ve done something – the first draft often looks disappointing and discouraging to your eyes. At least it does for me. The trick (which i learned way too late in life) is to not stop there. Continue carving. I like to think that each good song written started out as something banal or broken A clumsy tune piano keys, and worked from there into something interesting. Quality takes labour. Just sometimes you can get away with less, but for yourself, you know. Satisfaction comes first after you’ve tried, failed, and returned to try again. Before i continue sounding like an inspirational quote machine, here’s what i mean:
I had this giant/were-rat design which i was pretty satisfied with. It just needed to be able to jump & run.
First draft at a different pose:
I can’t decide if it’s sniffing the air, is dead or needs to pee
At 1-10% of your work: YUCK. Typically when i draw tiles for NES, something this icky always comes along first. Then it’s just a matter of chipping away, making better outlines, poses, masses, directions. But it starts with something simple – putting a few pixels in place. Doesn’t matter what it looks like, just put something there to improve on.
Second & 3rd draft:
It’s alive! …but, ugh. no.
Finally got all the tilework in place which is about 50% of the work, but the drafted animation is off:
The rat is stiff like and it looks a bit like it is jumping in its place. The timed duration of the cels were all over the place to compensate for the lack of proper tile placement and pixel pushing, and even then (or perhaps because of, it’s jittery.
75%: A movement to suggest a push
Sure, NES graphics _are_ jittery most of the time and thing would work well in most games. But it’s for an RPG so i’d really like to bring out the most of it. Let’s continue:
90%: Almost there
90%: A lot smoother, and to think – it is using one less tile than the 2nd draft. I’t all about placement and timing. It meant a near tripling of animation data, but it runs at a smooth 30fps over 11 cels & a consistent 2 frames per cel. Thinking of the spine and tail as a whipping chain; set in motion by two sets of pistons in the form of the rats’ legs. Once the body got fluid, the tails’ jitteryness really got noticable. We can’t have that.
99% – because nothing is ever done.
Done? I think so.. we’ll see tomorrow with fresh eyes. Just wanted to show how something you eventually can be satisfied with often starts its life as an abomination.