AuthorTopic: Jumping Sprites?  (Read 16816 times)

Offline Azuyre

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Jumping Sprites?

on: April 25, 2013, 07:33:58 pm
I've been working on some graphics for a platform game for a while now and I've somewhat gotten the hang of doing walking sprites, but I realized recently that I don't really have a clue on how to go about making jumping sprites. It seemed like a simple enough thing to do when I first thought about it, and it very well might be, but since I started trying to make them I've had a bit of trouble.

I looked around for tutorials on the subject and couldn't seem to find any, the only times I saw it mentioned was when someone was going for something more realistic with a buildup and a landing for an actual animation rather then a game. When it comes to most of the older platformers they usually were pretty limited when it came to jumping sprites, a lot of the big platformers only used a few, usually one for jumping and one for falling, or sometimes even just one rotated fours times for a flip.


Lately I've been looking at X's jumping from Mega Man X, which seems like a good smooth example, it has about 7 sprites for jumping, it animates through sprites 1 and 2 and stops at 3 while rising, then when you begin to fall it goes through 4 and stops at 5 and when you hit the ground it plays 6 and 7 and then its back to your idle pose. I'm not sure if I should aim for something similar of possibly go with a bit less then that. My walking animation is 8 frames so I should probably go with something smooth to match it but I'm not exactly sure how many frames is enough and how many ends up being too much.

Besides length I'm also having a bit of trouble figuring out the positions the character should go through during the jump, the rest of the team I'm on and myself have been trying to mimic different jumps from games to get some ideas but for the most part the jumping done in platformers is pretty unrealistic since the character has to be able to quickly jump and land without stopping.


TL;DR: I'm basically wondering how to determine the amount of frames in the jump animation and how to decide on jumping positions that are realistic but don't slow down the game's flow with a long buildup or landing. If anyone knows of any tutorials or topics that discuss this it would be a great help. :D

Thanks in advance to anyone that replies.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Jumping Sprites?

Reply #1 on: April 25, 2013, 09:22:35 pm
platformer games jumps are indeed quite abstract.

What I would worry about the most is wether the character will shift directions and how much while in jumping.

You say you've read several tutorials  that describe actual mechanics of jumping (I would be interested in reading those if you can pass them on :p ) which has a lot of build up in taking impulse, this is what often gets reduced the most in platformers because we expect them to react quickly.

Look at the original  prince of persia, tomb raider, flashback for examples that sacrified gameplay for proper buildup.

Most normal platformer games just have the character fake impulse by raising either their legs or their arms or both, then trasition to heroic rising pose, then transition to heroic falling pose and a very quick crouching moment as they land (again to keep gameplay flowing).

This is pretty much all that is "required" but try to bring real mechanics of jumping if your platformer doesnt have too much wild shifting of directions, and try to accomodate the posing to your character´s particular personality. Other than this if you want more realism you can have different jumps for jumping backwards, jumping vertically and jumping forwards.

http://www.zweifuss.ca/
you can check this page with SF3 sprites (click on a character, go to movement 1 and check jump u, jump uf, jump ub) to see how different a jump can be depending on each character's personality. This is also an example of the more involved aproach of doing a different jump for backwards forwards and vertical jumping. Do not feel required to have as many frames as these jumps, SF3 is famous for having crazy smooth animation
« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 01:40:59 am by Conceit »

Offline Azuyre

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Re: Jumping Sprites?

Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 12:47:31 am
platformer games jumps are indeed quite abstract.

What I would worry about the most is wether the character will shift directions and how much while in jumping.

You say you've read several tutorials  that describe actual mechanics of jumping (I would be interested in reading those if you can pass them on :p ) which has a lot of build up in taking impulse, this is what often gets reduced the most in platformers because we expect them to react quickly.

Look at the original  prince of persia, tomb raider, flashback for examples that sacrified gameplay for proper buildup.

I may have misworded part of what I said, I didn't come across any tutorials, I just happened to notice a few short mentions of realistic jumping in unrelated topics, nothing exactly worthwhile though.

At the moment I'm trying to figure out the jumping for a characters that's generally similar to Mega Man in gameplay, though I have a total of 8 characters that I need to figure out. For a few of them I'm planning something along the lines of the flips found in Contra and Metroid though so those should be generally a bit easier.

I don't think I've played Flashback before but I have seen a few people mention it around here before. I have played the old Prince of Persia though, I remember seeing an interesting show on tv a long time back with the developer talking about how he recorded his brother acting out the jumps and such in person before making sprites out of it, they even showed a few of the recorded scenes.

Most normal platformer games just have the character fake impulse by raising either their legs or their arms or both, then trasition to heroic rising pose, then transition to heroic falling pose and a very quick crouching moment as they land (again to keep gameplay flowing).

This is pretty much all that is "required" but try to bring real mechanics of jumping if your platformer doesnt have too much wild shifting of directions, and try to accomodate the posing to your character´s particular personality. Other than this if you want more realism you can have different jumps for jumping backwards, jumping vertically and jumping forwards.

Those are some very helpful tips. Thanks! :)

Giving a character a more realistic jumping style might be interesting but it might be hard to balance out that character with others that have normal "game" style jumping, it's something to think about though. I'm generally going for a classic platformer with some ideas from a lot of the big ones like Mario and Mega Man.

I actually just tried a game recently that has some nice looking somewhat more realistic looking jump animations, the character has a vertical jump sprite and a horizontal one and it works pretty well. When you jump it uses just one rising sprite but at the height of the jump it transitions into a long animation for the fall, a lot of the time you don't see the full falling animation but as you fall further you see more and it kinda makes you feel like its a much bigger fall for the character. If you're interested the game can be found here, i'm a big fan of the graphics in general, they look great. :D

http://www.zweifuss.ca/q/q.htm
you can check this page with SF3 sprites (click on a character, go to movement 1 and check jump u, jump uf, jump ub) to see how different a jump can be depending on each character's personality. This is also an example of the more involved aproach of doing a different jump for backwards forwards and vertical jumping. Do not feel required to have as many frames as these jumps, SF3 is famous for having crazy smooth animation

That is an awesome site! That should definitely help out a lot, lately I've been playing Smash Bros in training mode with the speed at its lowest and watching how different characters jump and move to get some ideas, having something similar to that on the computer is a big help. :) Do you know if there's a feature on the site to watch the animations at a slower speed at all?

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Jumping Sprites?

Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 01:49:54 am
EDIT: ack, I meant to just link you to the main SF3 page there, not directly to Q's =/ sorry.

eh, I was about to link you to a tool to watch gifs online frame by frame made by a pixelation regular, but then I found it was offline. This is the topic where it was originaly posted maybe expressing to him that there's still some interest in the tool may get him to release the tool for download or put it back up?

right now, I can only reccomend that you watch the gifs online and if you need to analyze a specific one you download it and watch it in your prefered pixelart editing software. Graphics Gale allows you to watch at several different speeds or frame by frame.

oh Konjak's Iconoclasts. The guy used to be a pixelation regular :p. that is pretty much just shifting arms and legs a bit, although the vertical and forward jump are two diferent animations.

see, if you're worried about obstructing gameplay you just need to keep the taking off and the landing fast, you can do as little or as much as you want with the rest. Just keep in mind that your poses allow your character to execute whatever actions he must do on air (slash, shoot, whatever) and try to make it fit his personality.

You should just do something bare bones and post it online for critique...too much analysis can cripple you, the more you watch the more qualities you'll want your animation to have and some qualities are incompatible with eachother, so you might want to jump into action before you're expecting too much out of yourself...believe me, I'm prone to over-analysis and this happens to me very easily if I dont watch myself :p

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: Jumping Sprites?

Reply #4 on: April 26, 2013, 09:29:16 am
Yeah, as said you can't have the anticipation section of a normal jump animation in a game, but I do use a 'landing' animation in the game I'm working on - but it's 'interruptable' (Only plays the first frame if you keep on walking etc).  More effective, is a little dust cloud, I have a small one when you jump and a few different fx for landing (depending on fall height). 
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 09:03:30 am by rikfuzz »

Offline Azuyre

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Re: Jumping Sprites?

Reply #5 on: April 28, 2013, 07:52:16 pm
Sorry I forgot to reply earlier, I really appreciate the help you guys! I'm working on some stuff right now so when I have something concrete I'll probably post it.

Out of curiosity, why'd you edit out the example from your post Rikfuzz?

Edit: I posted some of the stuff I've been working on, I figured it might be better to start a different topic since this one is in the wrong section for asking for critique and such. I made the first two jumping sprites a while back and the third one was made yesterday.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 08:53:50 pm by Azuyre »

Offline Carnivac

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Re: Jumping Sprites?

Reply #6 on: May 02, 2013, 09:10:37 pm
Yeah, as said you can't have the anticipation section of a normal jump animation in a game, but I do use a 'landing' animation in the game I'm working on - but it's 'interruptable' (Only plays the first frame if you keep on walking etc).  More effective, is a little dust cloud, I have a small one when you jump and a few different fx for landing (depending on fall height).

I often reuse the character's 'crouch' frame quickly after a land in addition to a bit of dust cloud.  Sometimes I use the crouch before the jump too (again very quickly so you still jump almost instantly) especially if the manual actual action of crouching then leads onto to a higher jump as seen in some games.
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Offline PypeBros

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Re: Jumping Sprites?

Reply #7 on: May 17, 2013, 11:18:08 am
You say you've read several tutorials  that describe actual mechanics of jumping (...) which has a lot of build up in taking impulse, this is what often gets reduced the most in platformers because we expect them to react quickly.
I'd name "Fantasia" on Genesis as the example of a platformer game with "realistic" jump, and it is truly a nightmare to play, because everything that involves a *timed jump* won't work.

Quote
Look at the original  prince of persia, tomb raider, flashback for examples that sacrified gameplay for proper buildup.
But none of these are platformer games. They are mostly action games (shooter for tomb raider, but I haven't played TR a lot compared to PoP and FB) with some platforming action. I don't think I've ever encountered something as "hop from one moving platform to the next one" as you'd see in platformers (Mario, Sonic, Megaman, etc.)
PoP and FB even do have more controlled animations, but they also feature a grid-ruled world where you never step by less than one tile, so your input is strongly discretised (vs. Mario where you could stand anywhere on a block).

"jump straight vertically" in those games is never used e.g. to avoid getting hit. It's a way to trigger something or to climb up, and jumping forward is delayed by the character moving first to the edge of the current tile anyway, so you input it in advance and know it will be correctly timed with the gameplay.

Quote
Most normal platformer games just have the character fake impulse by raising either their legs or their arms or both, then trasition to heroic rising pose, then transition to heroic falling pose and a very quick crouching moment as they land (again to keep gameplay flowing).
Yup. Direct translation of user input on the controller into avatar action is a key element of both immersion in the game's world and intuitiveness of controls.

If your character couldn't afford getting the "super-power" of jumping with no impulse, think about making him jump to a lower height, but raising legs higher (like a 110 metres hurdles runner) as your default jump. He needs no impulse but still could leap over a goomba.

Offline Helm

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Re: Jumping Sprites?

Reply #8 on: May 17, 2013, 12:41:52 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRVm4davuf8 I don't know, Fantasia's jumping lag doesn't seem that bad. What is it? 0.3 seconds or something? Many modern 3d twitch-based games have longer that that and it's not due to a stable animation needing to play before the character jumps every time but due to latency introduced by the code/hardware.

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: Jumping Sprites?

Reply #9 on: May 17, 2013, 01:23:04 pm
It does look a little bit frustrating.  Mainly because all momentum stops dead before you jump and when you land.  But yeah, maybe you can get away with a very quick anticipation - it doesn't really seem to be improving the fluidity in this example though.