Finding Home Devlog – Game animation with Spriter

I originally set out to re-create my ld37 game Finding Home in Unity under the assumption that the code would be my largest hurdle and I should take that on first. The first couple sessions of working on the project went well and I had a game mostly up-to-par with the jam version, then disaster… It seemed like the more I worked on the game, the more things starting breaking and I didn’t fully understand the example code in the utility I was using for my dialogue so trying to fix things or make changes was really hit-or-miss. I basically have come to the conclusion that I will create my own branching dialogue system and start simple as I did for the Superpowers version of the game. I have not started on that yet but I might this week.

Having been a bit frustrated the last couple programming sessions I took some advice from a trusted source and switched to working on art and animation. I recently worked on a sample game to impress a client during a contract proposal and the team I was on used Spriter, a 2d sprite animation tool. Spriter, while it has it’s quirks, reminds me of the best parts of Flash and I really think it is my new go-to for creating game animations.

I started off by doing some planning, the goal is to have a game that looks and plays well on iPad, that is my target for sure. I took some notes on iPad and a few other tablet’s screen resolutions and figured out max sizes for my sprites and avatars. I began working on the main character, the kid snail, and redrew the avatar art basically the same but around 16 times as large. I painted in Photoshop using the pencil tool at various sizes just as I did during the jam, this produces a really nice “blob paint” look which I like a lot. When crating the artwork I considered the layers carefully as they would later be exported individually for use in Spriter.

Finding Home snail avatar spriter

Once in Spriter I started on 2 animations, an “idle”, and a “talking” state for the player’s avatar. I recently found out there is a Spriter importer  called SpriterDotNet that will let you use the .scml files that Spriter creates along with the original images so the animation is done live in Unity – no spritesheets! The importer even allows you to transition smoothly between animations which is impressive to look at.

Finding Home snail avatar spriter

Finding Home snail avatar spriter

Overall I am content with the progress I made on the first avatar, and I am looking forward to redoing the others.

-Alex Bezuska
Follow Alex on twitter: @alexbezuska

About Finding Home
Finding Home is an upcoming interactive storybook game that children can play along with their parents. Coming soon to the iOS and Android.

Ludum Dare might be an odd title,
heck folks even argue over it’s recital…

But if you get your thrills stretching yourself and learning new skills
this concept should be nothing foreign

With two variations,
the “compo” my persuasion,
I set off on my two day task..

As the rules state:
– Make a game in a weekend,
no help from a mate.
– All original art, code, and sound,
Nothing borrowed or found.

Long nights and stretched days
in a caffeine haze
I worked till my Wacom grew weary.

Keeping things concise and tame
allowed me to finish within the allotted time frame.

The lead in this tale
…whom despite being a snail,
I believe many of us can relate.

A story about how comparison can be dreadful and everything uncertain
– unless you have friends who can pull back your curtain…

Try my game today,
and don’t fear you won’t be able to play…

No past game skills or fast paced thrills, anyone with a computer can play!

Click here to try it:

A donut-shooting robot bee boss I created for #GlazingLazers, a little top-down shooter game about pastries I created for the #LetsCookJam last year and have been working on slowly ever since.

The bee puts up honey shields what you must destroy before you can attack it. I have only created the artwork, I still need to add it into the game.

Try the jam version of the game here: