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Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom


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#1 Koh

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 04:59 AM

 

Animations are as smooth as butter and full of personality, as every 2D game should be in this day and age.  Whether it's hand drawn animation or not, or 8-bit styled or not, we've the bottomless memory to have the game full of life like this!


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#2 Avataro

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 10:37 AM

Well damn, looks like a great game!

 

I don't think every 2D game has to look like this though, but yeah.


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#3 Koh

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 03:56 AM

It doesn't have to stylistically look like hand drawn art or water color backgrounds, no.  I'm specifically referring to the animations.

 

To have anything short of smooth and personality filled animations only serve to highlight the developer's laziness these days. We're not bound by memory constraints anymore like we were in the SNES era, we've got gigabytes and terabytes of memory coming out of our ears.  So these 16-bit and 8-bit games out there definitely have no excuse to have such choppy or stiff and robotic animations now.  You can still be 8-bit styled, while still having buttery smooth animations being full of life. Even the GBC and NES had smooth animations.

 

Some samples of what I mean

batman__run__nes_upgrade_by_omegachaino-

duck_tales__walk_upgrade_by_omegachaino-

ninja_gaiden__walk_upgrade__by_omegachai

metroid__walk_upgrade_by_omegachaino-dbm

mario__walk_upgrade_by_omegachaino-dbo47

 

These are the animation standards we should be at with 2D now.  Anything less highlights laziness.



#4 kurt91

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 04:28 AM

Art style looks a LOT like Shantae. I actually had to do a quick Google search to double check if this was something made by WayForward. I mean, they used the DuckTales remake as a prototype for the engine they used in Half Genie Hero (Seriously, DuckTales has some Shantae assets tucked away in there), so I was starting to suspect that they were doing the same thing and prepping for a new Shantae game with this.

 

I wonder if they share any artists, though.

 

EDIT: By the way, those animations look amazing, Koh! One of these days, I'm going to have to try and hire you to do artwork and animations for a game I make.


Edited by kurt91, 10 June 2018 - 04:29 AM.


#5 Shane

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 04:37 AM

I'm all for fluid animations (although I don't think it's "lazy" to have retro-like animations for retro graphics, it's just a logical stylistic choice), but with some of those "upgrades", sometimes it's best to know when to stop before you overanimate something, not every part of the sprite has to bounce and move around. Sometimes less is more, and some of those over the top animations kind of prove it imo.

 

Anyways this looks cool, can't wait to see more of it.


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#6 Koh

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 04:50 AM

 

 

EDIT: By the way, those animations look amazing, Koh! One of these days, I'm going to have to try and hire you to do artwork and animations for a game I make.

I didn't make those, lol.  But thanks.

 

It's always been a big pet peeve of mine seeing modern games either lacking in animation smoothness or animation altogether.  For example, stylistically I think Undertale's graphics are okay, but animation wise, very subpar.  Frisk only has walking animations for the whole game.  You don't see him actually pulling a lever, or actually fallen on the ground on his butt or something, and having to stand up if he's knocked over.  HE's like a stiff robot throughout the whole game.  Even the only animation that exists for him in the game, walking, is just 2 frames.  That's simply unacceptable.  Standards evolve with time, and those standards were outdated even in the NES era XP.


Edited by Koh, 10 June 2018 - 04:53 AM.


#7 Cukeman

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 08:32 AM

Those are some sweet examples, but Samus looks off and Mario looks like he's having some sort of convulsive attack.

 

Would love some game music in the trailer. That 90's anime theme song rubs me the wrong way.


Edited by Cukeman, 10 June 2018 - 08:34 AM.


#8 Koh

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 12:23 PM

Those are some sweet examples, but Samus looks off and Mario looks like he's having some sort of convulsive attack.

 

Would love some game music in the trailer. That 90's anime theme song rubs me the wrong way.

Pfft, I have to agree.  That music made me think of every 90s morning or evening Anime opening song ever.  It's so generic XD


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#9 Jared

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 12:44 PM

This looks awesome! And the fact that it's coming to Switch will make me consider getting it :)



#10 Anthus

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 01:42 PM

From what I was able to watch, it looks really cool.

 

That said, that song was so cringe, and horrible, I stopped watching around the 30 second mark. I really, really hope that song is not anywhere near the final product. :P

 

I wonder if they are using the Ubi-art engine that was used for the Rayman games, Child of Light, and a few others. It looks kind of similar.


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#11 Jared

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 02:07 PM

Guess I'm the only one who loves the song :P


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#12 NoeL

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 11:19 PM

Cool looking game.

On the topic of animation though, there are reasons beyond "laziness" that a dev might go for choppy animation over a zillion frames. For example, budget restrains. More frames = longer dev cycle = more $$$. There's also stylistic reasons, both in wanting to remain more faithful to the restrictions you're emulating or to better fit the character you're animating. If you have a stiff, robotic character that moves quickly and deliberately, you don't need a lot of animation - and in fact, loose and flowy animations will look wrong (in the above "upgrades", Ryu (the ninja) is very poorly animated in this regard. The head and shoulder bobbing is a detriment to the character, as a ninja should have a steady eye and light feet. The added animation makes him plod along rather than glide. Mario is also pretty bad, but mainly due to having linear rather than parabolic motion in his arm swing and vertical bounce... in fact, there are issues with most of the "upgrades", but I digress).

 

Another example from a Youtube vid I watched recently (I might edit in a link if people are interested) is Mega Man's NES run cycle compared to his SNES run cycle. Many people (myself included) think the NES cycle looks way better, and that's due (in part) to having fewer frames of animation. With limited animation frames you can only really have keyframes, and NES Mega Man's frames are dynamic and impactful, making for a very determined, punchy, rhythmic run cycle (which stylistically matches his robotic nature and the rock and roll aesthetic of the game). When Mega Man 7 came around and they were able to tween Mega Man's keyframes he lost a lot of that punchiness. The smoother animation just didn't work for that character in that game. That's why when you look at his animations in Smash 4 they're very punchy, with quick motions between the big keyframes. No other NES character was given this treatment so you can't say it's just a case of trying to make him look how he did on the NES - it was a stylistic choice that better fit his character.

 

So in summary, even if you remove laziness and budget constraints from the equation there's still a place for stiff, low-frame animations.


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#13 Rambly

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 01:11 AM

It doesn't have to stylistically look like hand drawn art or water color backgrounds, no.  I'm specifically referring to the animations.
 
To have anything short of smooth and personality filled animations only serve to highlight the developer's laziness these days. We're not bound by memory constraints anymore like we were in the SNES era, we've got gigabytes and terabytes of memory coming out of our ears.  So these 16-bit and 8-bit games out there definitely have no excuse to have such choppy or stiff and robotic animations now.  You can still be 8-bit styled, while still having buttery smooth animations being full of life. Even the GBC and NES had smooth animations.
 
Some samples of what I mean
 
mario__walk_upgrade_by_omegachaino-dbo47
 
These are the animation standards we should be at with 2D now.  Anything less highlights laziness.


lmao that 12 frame running mario looks like shit

my thoughts from chat:
can you imagine how sickeningly busy SMB would look with sprites with 425093815931 frames of animation tho, real talk
that game's already busy
tons of motion going on
the simplicity works for it

Edited by Rambly, 12 June 2018 - 01:19 AM.

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#14 Moosh

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 01:16 AM

lmao that 12 frame running mario looks like shit

I keep waiting for the second half of his walk cycle and it never comes...


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#15 Koh

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 05:19 PM

Cool looking game.

On the topic of animation though, there are reasons beyond "laziness" that a dev might go for choppy animation over a zillion frames. For example, budget restrains. More frames = longer dev cycle = more $$$. There's also stylistic reasons, both in wanting to remain more faithful to the restrictions you're emulating or to better fit the character you're animating. If you have a stiff, robotic character that moves quickly and deliberately, you don't need a lot of animation - and in fact, loose and flowy animations will look wrong (in the above "upgrades", Ryu (the ninja) is very poorly animated in this regard. The head and shoulder bobbing is a detriment to the character, as a ninja should have a steady eye and light feet. The added animation makes him plod along rather than glide. Mario is also pretty bad, but mainly due to having linear rather than parabolic motion in his arm swing and vertical bounce... in fact, there are issues with most of the "upgrades", but I digress).

 

Another example from a Youtube vid I watched recently (I might edit in a link if people are interested) is Mega Man's NES run cycle compared to his SNES run cycle. Many people (myself included) think the NES cycle looks way better, and that's due (in part) to having fewer frames of animation. With limited animation frames you can only really have keyframes, and NES Mega Man's frames are dynamic and impactful, making for a very determined, punchy, rhythmic run cycle (which stylistically matches his robotic nature and the rock and roll aesthetic of the game). When Mega Man 7 came around and they were able to tween Mega Man's keyframes he lost a lot of that punchiness. The smoother animation just didn't work for that character in that game. That's why when you look at his animations in Smash 4 they're very punchy, with quick motions between the big keyframes. No other NES character was given this treatment so you can't say it's just a case of trying to make him look how he did on the NES - it was a stylistic choice that better fit his character.

 

So in summary, even if you remove laziness and budget constraints from the equation there's still a place for stiff, low-frame animations.

It works in very closed scenarios.  Robots and machines obviously are stiff  and robotic in their motions, but living beings aren't, which is the problem in these low frame games.  They don't look like living beings with a soul, they look like soulless robots moving about.  

 

Sounds to me like it's just an issue with specific executions you guys are taking rather than the concept itself.  I don't think anyone could look me in the eye and tell me these are bad animations, when they're both alive and robotic.

 

G06avKF.gif2IBbvYv.gif

3837700c1dcdc473e68be8a5e64e8182.gifWmgFqB1.gif

aec.gifmetal-slug-sprites-gif-12.gif

 

Metal Slug has always been my biggest inspiration when it comes to this subject.  It perfectly proves my point, in what actually good animation does for the liveliness of the world.


Edited by Koh, 12 June 2018 - 05:24 PM.

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