AuthorTopic: 8 frame walk cycles in 2.5D fps - could it work?  (Read 7288 times)

Offline kullenberg

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8 frame walk cycles in 2.5D fps - could it work?

on: January 07, 2016, 06:52:14 pm


To the best of my knowledge, there have been no 2.5D fps (Doom, Duke Nukem etc.) that have more than 4 frames per walk cycle.
Could it look good? Since there are only 8 possible viewing angles, there is a certain jerkiness that is inherent in the way the sprites move that aren't seen in fighter or platform games that are are restricted to one plane. My gut feeling is that smoother animations with the same number of viewing angles only would end up making the sprites appear MORE flat, rather than more realistic. The uncanny valley effect in a way. What are your thoughts?

Offline lachrymose

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Re: 8 frame walk cycles in 2.5D fps - could it work?

Reply #1 on: January 07, 2016, 06:58:07 pm
Ragnarok online does 8 directions and makes it look good. It is also 2.5D. With 2D sprites occupying a 3D world.  I'm in the process myself of creating such a feat with larger characters. To, varying degrees of success.

Read through this thread if you are interested in my own attempts: http://wayofthepixel.net/index.php?topic=18039.0
Might at least give you an idea, though I'm not an animation expert lol.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 06:59:52 pm by lachrymose »

Offline kullenberg

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Re: 8 frame walk cycles in 2.5D fps - could it work?

Reply #2 on: January 07, 2016, 07:10:52 pm
Yes, but Ragnarok Online is not a fps - the sprites are viewed top down in third person without any scaling which isn't quite comparable IMO. I'll check out your thread!

Offline japie81

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Re: 8 frame walk cycles in 2.5D fps - could it work?

Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 08:36:56 pm
fps stands for first person shooter, so the answer to your question would be no, third person shooter on the other hand..  :P

But the smooth walk cycle combined with not so smooth turning is an interesting thought. If you were thinking about mouse-aiming perhaps you could have more than 8 possible directions (at least for the gun/arm) since shooting at an angle will always look a little weird.


EDIT:
Scratch that, i was mistaking 2.5D for the 3/4 rpg perspective. My bad.
Still there is no law that says you cant have more than 8 possible angles
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 08:42:08 pm by japie81 »

Offline kullenberg

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Re: 8 frame walk cycles in 2.5D fps - could it work?

Reply #4 on: January 07, 2016, 09:01:42 pm
fps stands for first person shooter, so the answer to your question would be no, third person shooter on the other hand..  :P

But the smooth walk cycle combined with not so smooth turning is an interesting thought. If you were thinking about mouse-aiming perhaps you could have more than 8 possible directions (at least for the gun/arm) since shooting at an angle will always look a little weird.


EDIT:
Scratch that, i was mistaking 2.5D for the 3/4 rpg perspective. My bad.
Still there is no law that says you cant have more than 8 possible angles

True, but I wonder if it would be practical - that would quickly add upp to a massive amount of individual frames. In theory you could also add up and down angles aswell since the billboarding nature of the sprites get apparent with free view in Duke Nukem and the newer reincarnations of Doom. Perhaps I should have added that I'm thinking mostly from the perspective of modding the existing engines.
I feel like the 2.5D fps genre died out too quickly and that it never saw it's fullest potential. The build engine (Duke Nukem/Shadow Warrior) had some massive improvements over the Doom engine but unfortunately it never had a game with good aesthetics. I love thinking about how it could have looked like if they put some of the best japanese artists on the job. But I digress.

Offline lachrymose

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Re: 8 frame walk cycles in 2.5D fps - could it work?

Reply #5 on: January 07, 2016, 09:08:13 pm
Lol, no rule. But trying to pixel out 12 different directions/angles to include all the animations for each would be a momentous task. I think they could keep to 8 easily an achieve a visibly pleasing effect.

On the issue of 'flatness'. The amount of frames has nothing to do with flatness. Rather what makes a sprite appear 3D is the amount of perceived depth we build into it. Shadows/AA/contrast...etc.

Here is a Unity web build of my project. In which I quickly attached an FPS component to my game so you can walk around and view the sprites. Keep in mind that the Camera is not optimized for pixel use, and the sprites are rendered to appear at a 22.5 degree angle.

MUST USE FIREFOX TO OPEN - Might take a bit to load.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/863901/UnityFPS/index.html

Offline kullenberg

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Re: 8 frame walk cycles in 2.5D fps - could it work?

Reply #6 on: January 07, 2016, 09:30:17 pm
Lol, no rule. But trying to pixel out 12 different directions/angles to include all the animations for each would be a momentous task. I think they could keep to 8 easily an achieve a visibly pleasing effect.

On the issue of 'flatness'. The amount of frames has nothing to do with flatness. Rather what makes a sprite appear 3D is the amount of perceived depth we build into it. Shadows/AA/contrast...etc.

Here is a Unity web build of my project. In which I quickly attached an FPS component to my game so you can walk around and view the sprites. Keep in mind that the Camera is not optimized for pixel use, and the sprites are rendered to appear at a 22.5 degree angle.

MUST USE FIREFOX TO OPEN - Might take a bit to load.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/863901/UnityFPS/index.html

Ha, that's pretty cool - and somewhat creepy! It reminds me a lot of a swedish horror novel actually. I guess the little guys can't walk yet?

I must respectfully disagree that the number of frames have nothing to do with flatness - what I'm trying to get at (and no I'm not completely ruling out 8 frame walk cycles just yet!) is that perhaps the limited number of frames feels more congruent with the restricted viewing angles and abrupt movements of the sprites. Say you put a Disney feature film quality animation into a Doom sprite - there comes a point where a too smooth animation coupled with choppy directional changes might cause the effect that looks like you're looking at a video clip moving through space rather than a creature that belongs in Doom. Does that make sense?
I think Hi-res textures look absolutely GARBAGE in Doom for instance. The high level of detail coupled with the rudimentary geometry breaks the illusion and makes it look like everything is built with papercraft.

I guess the point of this thread is that I'm trying to think of ways to improve the 2.5D fps genre by bringing in better quality pixel art and staying on the same technology level so to speak.

Offline lachrymose

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Re: 8 frame walk cycles in 2.5D fps - could it work?

Reply #7 on: January 07, 2016, 09:58:46 pm
Ah, I see what you mean now. Hmmm.

You might be right in that a large number of frames might break the illusion. But I still think if you keep animation to 8...or even 6 frames you should be fine. Especially if you use some sort of dynamic lighting (Sprite Lamp). Which would add another layer of fidelity to maintaining a 3D look.

Edit: One of them walks. If you point at the ground and use your left mouse button it should move.

« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 10:05:21 pm by lachrymose »

Offline kullenberg

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Re: 8 frame walk cycles in 2.5D fps - could it work?

Reply #8 on: January 07, 2016, 10:08:24 pm
Ah, I see what you mean now. Hmmm.

You might be right in that a large number of frames might break the illusion. But I still think if you keep animation to 8...or even 6 frames you should be fine. Especially if you use some sort of dynamic lighting (Sprite Lamp). Which would add another layer of fidelity to maintaining a 3D look.

I'm one of those old, whiny purists so not generally fan of the faux pixel art look in modern games :) Have to say that looks impressive though. Something like that in Doom would change the aesthetics completely so I feel it is somewhat off topic to the purposes of this thread. But thanks for sharing.
I'm in the process of creating a enemy sprite for Eduke (modern version of the Duke Nukem/build engine) and it's my understanding that you can add more frames. I'll see how it works.

Offline Gil

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Re: 8 frame walk cycles in 2.5D fps - could it work?

Reply #9 on: January 07, 2016, 10:13:37 pm
I wouldn't recommend Sprite Lamp for pixel art. If you're going to hand pixel things, hand pixel the normal map, that's my idea. Sprite Lamp is not a new idea, it just makes it easier, but also sloppier (as it's auto-generated and not hand pixeled).

Also, about purism: normal mapping can be done (and has been done) on very old machines through palette cycling, there's nothing "faux" about it. We just now have the power to do it in a much more dynamic fashion.

As for the original question, I think I agree that it's probably not going to look good to increase just the framerate for 2.5D. The question is: where does the uncanny value start? From experience, I'm thinking for sprites that big, you CAN go up to 8, but that's pushing it just a little, 6 for a walk would probably be what I go for.