To animate or not to animate? (Devlog entry #001)


Let me start with a thank you? I swear I didn't expect a nobody like me could get 2k views in a game still in development--and only in the first chapter. But I did, and you're giving me so much support that my cold heart is almost warming up! Hahaha! So... thank you! You're all angels. ♥♥♥

I can only hope you'll continue to enjoy my game and the stories I have on Wattpad (thank you for reading about my very gay supervillains and for your amazing messages there as well--yeah, Rob is a sexy bear lmao).

On to the Devlog, then! Firstly, I'm glad to announce I'll probably have a new update for Love The Guard by the end of the month or, by max, early November. Secondly, this Devlog's title is the question bugging my mind as I develop it. First, let me tell you I'm kind of new in this whole Visual Novel development scenario. I love stories and the mediums that allow them, so I couldn't stop myself when I found RenPy--and with it, my opportunity to unity two things I love (illustrations and storytelling) into one single project.

That said, I also love programming. Call me crazy, but I used to spend hours and hours on CSS, creating web pages, and earlier, in my college days, I used to create all sorts of games with the beautiful C# + Unity combo. Python, though? I don't know her. :P Because of that, I decided to document the things I learned while developing LtGBtK. Maybe this might help some novice developer out there who, like me, is trying to unveil the mysteries behind RenPy.

Starting with the reasons behind my choice: I think a good ambiance can completely change the gaming experience, so I'm always searching for the best word choice, music, and now I'm starting to worry about the game's animation, too.

As a prototype, LtGBtK is my playground--in the best way possible. I try out codes, mechanics, and characters while also trying to give you the best game I can possibly create. One of the things that recently entered this sandbox of knowledge is the Animation and Transformation Language on Ren'py, or ATL (link: https://www.renpy.org/doc/html/atl.html).

ATL can do amazing things, and I've seen visual novels get a dynamic, almost anime-like feel through them. My question is: would this work in a medieval fantasy setting like LtGBtK?

Here's a little example of the things I'm trying to create with it:


As I said, I've seen games doing wonders with this. Characters look full of life and energy on screen, villains make menacing appearances, and CGs look more like Full animations that could make anyone swoon. Things like this remind me of my painful six months studying animation at college--and then it makes me realize that maybe, just maybe, I can do it right this time around hahaha. xD

Still, I'm worried. When I compare the kind of feeling I have with the GIF above and the kind of energy the Chapter 1 gives, I feel uneasy. Am I just forcing this in the gaming experience? Is this detrimental to the serious ambiance I'm building? 

Well... If it'll work on LtK or not, you'll be the judge.

But enough about me, let's talk about coding. I honestly thought I'd have a much harder time with ATL, but it turns out it's not as complex as I thought it would be. For the little animation I showed above, the code I used was this: 

  • transform charcloseup:
        parallel:
            linear 0.3 ypos 1.5
        parallel:
            ease 0.5 zoom 1.5

The "parallel" is here to make sure both groups of transforms will happen at the same time--in this case, making Mathias show up from the waist up, instead of the usual cowboy shot (mid-thigh up) and zooming in his sprite. 

To "reverse" this, all you have to do is to set a second transform, placing the sprite in its usual place. For me, this does the trick:

  • transform normalclose:
        parallel:         
            linear 0.3 ypos 1.0     
        parallel:        
            ease 0.5 zoom 1.0

Simple stuff, but with so many amazing uses, my head is spinning! haha I can't wait to show you all the new chapter and to see your opinions on *this* use of the ATL. 

And since you're amazing and actually came to see this little update, here's a small gift. It's one of the new BGs that will show up in the next chapter, and one image I LOVED to draw. ;)

See you all soon--with a brand new character, more BG story, some music, and maybe even some steam... if that's what you're looking for. ;)

Kisses!

Ligia - Ursa em Percurso

Get Love the Guard, Be the King

Comments

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(+2)

I think the animations will work well! Can't wait to see it in action. Also thank you for taking the time to explain this behind-the-scenes, it's really interesting! It's obvious how much effort you're putting into LtGBtK and from that alone I know it's going to be great 💛

(+3)

First of all, thanks for the gorgeous novel. I totally enjoyed Chapter 1. As for the animation, I think it's a cool feature. I watched it implemented in other VNs, with such animations characters seemed more lively and scenes more dynamic. 

(+1)

Aw, thanks! ♥ I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, I saw some pretty amazing VNs with animations like this haha. I hope you'll like the result! ♥

(+2)

Thanks for the update! I'm really looking forward to Chapter 2 :)

(+1)

Thank you! ♥

(+2)

Ohh I can't wait for the update! And personally, I think the sample animation looks good! I'd be interested to see more. :)

(+1)

I'm glad you think that! I hope you'll like the final result ♥