It's clear that i don't submit a lot but i think that out side of interactive projects most of my animations or at lest those that don't suck and i would put up here will no long be. Not beacuse i hate newgrounds or such, far from it, but simply beacuse i've honest to god fallen in love with after effects. I played about with the program some what last year but since the start of uni this year i've found my self using it a lot more.

The thing is that it's so easy to animate in flash and build the finished thing in after effects. The reason this is so amamzing is that you get the use of the 2 most powerful motion graphic programs for the relative strengths. Even in simple animations there is a lot that you can add or do to the finished thing by using after effects and i now don't think i couldn't not do it. Which means i'll be building projects in a new way.

I've already played about with this to some extent in my last two projects starting with the following

No flash used here, hand drawing, photograthy and a lot of after effects trickry but it was doing this that really made me think about what i could get out of mixing flash animation in aftereffects. Which lead to this...

While the project was rushed and i really don't like the thing overly much in that a lot of it is based off using after effects for tricks and some what corny use of lighting and other things... it really did show me that there is grate potential in using flash animation in after effects. In that I really like the wizard walking out of the darkens. Not only was that, i think, a nice little bit of animation but the things that after effects let me do with it i couldn't really have done nearly as well in flash and those that i could would have taken longer and not looked as good.

So yes while that thing was mostly experimenting to see what would happen and it's not worked that well, i've learnt a lot from it

It's been a while

2008-04-28 18:13:17 by HotCod32

I did mean to keep this updated but thing have kind of gotten away from me. The last week has been putting together this semesters to submit. In other words the big deadline for the end of first year at uni. The big thing about this for me is that after 2 false starts with uni for diffrent reasons this is the first time i've finished a year and handed stuff in, it may have taken me 3 tries but god dammit at lest there's a chance my rather rubbishy work will get me in to a second year this time ha.

It's just been a hard week, i've had to pull a lot of things together beacuse i let a few thing build up on my, it was only this morning that i finished the last bit of coding for the little fairy toy thing i just submitted (8am this morning that got finished, hand in time was 11) which is rather crazy of me. This year they've put a lot of pressure on building good looking very much designed portfolios to show off the work which is a big change from what most unis expect from you in the first year at lest... and while it means a hell of a lot more work than you'd think to do right (and an arm and a leg in printing costs if you want it to look nice) its a very good thing and a very good habit to get in to. The skills of being able to build a good book are useful and very much a design work in there own right, not only that but if you keep on building the book for each project by the end of the 3rd year you'll have a large book that you can edit down to the best bits and so on.

Anyway i'm rambling, its nice just to be done with everything. heh

I've spent hours at this computer today trying to put my main idea together and so far i have a basic background and tree and a house and a few bits that prove the idea is sound. The background changing with the fairy is wonderful i just can't draw the backgrounds i need... when i can make my self draw its awful.

The more time i waste on this the less time i have to do the puzzle part and i'm starting to think i may not even have time... which is stupid, if i can get that to work it would be a perfect little self contained demo of an idea and while the drawing my not be up to much the hook in the interactive idea i think is enough to make the project worth while.

That said i'm still going to give it a go but in deference to the fact i'm running out of time the whole thing is going to be streamlined some what. First of all i'm dropping the idea of an all out adventure game interface. It was always pushing it a bit but even the slimed down idea i was going to run with is being dropped and so is any talking or text or interface and inventory. It's simply going to be finding the right things to click on in the right order... that way i can just jump about in animation with out any problems. It also highlights the hook that you have to change the environment using the moods of the fairy to find the right thing to click on. One of the ideas that i've had is that you have to bring birds close to the tree, turn the tree to evil tree (click on it) and it will grab and eat the birds then do something to reward you so you can move on. I'm also going to have to cut down on the length... just see if i can mess with a few modes to show the idea working.

I think i'll have it so you have to click on the fairy, so she comes closer to the screen and then have some way of you interacting with her there to set the modes before she goes back to following the guy around... which reminds me... walking animation... yay... i'd almost forgotten when i started to like filming more hehe

Oh well, sleep now, get drunk tomorrow do work sunday and hope i can get enough done by wensday that i don't get my self kicked out again.

No, no i'm not that crazy

2008-03-27 11:04:42 by HotCod32

I woke up before and thought over the story idea and while it would be stupidly cool i think its something i'll keep back. There is just no way for me to do what i'd need to do before the deadline its just to complex and the idea to cool to waste not doing it right.

So i'm left with just the toy if i don't do the pet thing but i'm not sure i can do the pet thing well enough or make it intresting... what i think i'll do is set up the toy and get that looking good and working well enough and then i'll see where i stand with doing a virtual pet thingy. Ah well.

but i just had a rather crazy idea that might bring me all but back to where i started. If i'm using the fairy's modes to effect the background then why not use that as part of a puzzle game along the lines i was first thinking about. If i let the user control the the good/evil happy/sad sliders i can then use that as part of the puzzle. So it would be that you say need one thing to do somthing else but the thing you need only exists if she's evil.

If i can do just one scene with a big enough puzzle to cover some of the mode combations and top and tail it with an intro and an outtro i should be able to get something that covers all the basics i need. Thinking about it i may even make it so there's a character that finds the fairy egg and has her follow him about... but that may be pushing it a bit... we'll see... but i really rather like this idea.

Am i crazy enough to try this?

2008-03-26 23:40:54 by HotCod32

Well, i've not really done much. I can't remember what i lasted posted but as it stands i'm in the 2nd week of my holiday with a week left to get my project done and i've got nothing new that i didn't show when i was last in. Yay for procrastination. While i'm not a huge fan of my project the simple toy as it stands people seemed to like playing with enough that i'm happy that if i have to i can just purdy it up and hand that in.... but it doesn't feel enough. The virtual pet thing that started this whole idea is something i've been tossing around again but i'm not sure i could make it fun and intresting enough to warrant doing the extra work over the simple toy.

I took the first week off just to distance my self and relax and it worked thankfully. A lot of good stuff happened and has put me in a better mood and its always nice to let something just sit and come back to it. Sadly i let the sitting go on a bit to long and i've now about 3 days of work behind where i wanted to be. Then again i've made some rather imporant choices today. First was that i'm going to effect the background in the same way i'm effecting the fairy if it a lesser extent (given time) which will let me drop the colour from the base background which will let me tie each state together... That was something which was bugging me i think, i disliked how things looked and i have a feeling that it was the disjointed 'stylistic' ties with the background and the fairy... the base is by far the most noticeable in this since the fairy lacks any colour the colour in the background dose not feel right. Having the background effected by the fairys modes will give the whole thing a much better feeling.

Now comes the am i crazy part. I dismissed the pet idea but i still want to take it past a toy if i can and i've just had the idea spring on me to all but illustrate and tell an interactive story. It's a crazy idea that i'm surprised slipped me by as i was trying to distance my self from the last project in style i seem to have dismissed the story telling idea out of hand some what. Given that lots of people who also did an illustrated book last project and doing illustrated books again for this one... if in diffrent styles... i now feel kind of stupid for not hitting on this idea sooner.

If i can create a short story with choices that don't branch too much i can use the choices in the same way i was going to use the fairy as a quiz for example. It means i have to give simple choices in which you can go 2 distinct ways but give the users a number of diffrent ways to go each way... if that makes sense. So say you pick one path you can take that path in a way that would make her happy or sad... with maybe a slight change to the first paragraph of the next part of the story based on that choice but not an effect on the over all story other than on the fairy and the backgrounds.

Frankly thinking about it its becoming stunningly complicated in a number of ways and if i did try to do this getting it finished and working would kill me... to be honest the problem... and its a minor one heh thats jummping out at me is the fact one of my modes is now 'old' growing horns halo and in the end grey hair... not sure if i can make a short story that lasts long enough for those things to come in to effect... then again each scene she can get a bit older and i don;'t have to stick the grey hair in unless there's say a choice at the end that needs you to see it.

This is something i really really have to think on now... i would be mad for me to try it, given i'm thinking of having some one voice act the damn thing too... which is a good indication i'm no doubt going to try and do it... but in less than a week? its fucking nuts even for me.


2008-03-11 23:14:19 by HotCod32

Well its 3am and i'm still finding my self not really putting the work in to get done what i had planed for tomorrow. Turns out i had the wrong date and so i've had over the weekend and the last few days to sit about not doing any work heh

As it is the drawings not very good on this project, the ideas there but the styles not and i've got no time what so ever to change it as even just building the test system means drawing... lots of drawing... Anyway the system it's self is fun and some what challenging i have 5 distinct modes in now (i'll do the egg and baby as well) but a few of those don't feel like "full" modes the deeper i get in to it. The major modes that have come up are the good and evil modes, which is think is fine as the main idea seems to be now that a fairy becomes either a devil or an angel.

What i mean is that say the happy sad modes are more changes to those modes than modes with in them selfs. Being happy the fairy glows and will fly about a bit faster (if i keep the flying about in, i need to refine that code) where as when shes sad she lowers her head and drops her eyes and has no glow and moves slower but applied over the standard mode they don't really do much... given that the glow changes colour based on the good and evil scale. I'm working on the 'age' scale now, which gives good a halo over time and bad horns and later or turns the hair grey... again in its self over the base mode it won't do all that much until the good and evil scale is involved.

I'm not sure how that is going to go down with the brief. As it is modes that are undoubtedly modes (that i should have for tomorrow) are as follows; good, evil, egg, baby, fat... given i may not use the baby one really and the fat one is one i'll only put in in to the pet game as a product of over eating that leaves me in a tricky place... its hard to make the other modes stand strongly on there own beacuse it makes it damn hard to blend them other wise. Which means over all i'll have 4 of the 6 modes i have... but then again i could always argue that the evilhappy and goodhappy are both modes in them selfs.

I don't really need all 6 for tomorrow but i need an idea of what they will all be... given time i can dump enough stuff in that i'll cover the brief but its still not exactly what i wanted since it gives me less time to make and game and not a toy.

My plan is now to get all the modes working in a test toy which is just slidesr and buttons on screen... then when i'm happy with that build that up in to an interesting looking toy of some kind. That toy when its finished should cover my brief as it is. If i can get that finished quickly enough i could look to putting it in to a game context but i'm honestly not sure i'll have the time which is kind of sad.

Anyway back to work really... heh i think i will run with the argument that mixing the modes gives you new modes which are based on user input... i can dress that up in a fancy enough way to make it an idea i can get away with i think.

Time for a change

2008-03-05 12:14:44 by HotCod32

After spending the day in uni look over what ever one else is doing and looking back over this project and the problems i've been having with it i've made my mind up to do something different with it. The game i was planing was too much and in a style that would have been exactly like my last project and i feel like i should be doing more... and by more i mean in a sense less but different.

So i'm going with one of the very different styles i proposed and that left me with a bit of a problem... i always felt it would be a bit hard to do the different 'modes' with it but while standing at the bus stop on my way home i was throwing random ideas at my self in the hopes something would stick. I'd started to think it terms of making a 'toy' rather than a game and i had the idea of a 'pet fairy' type thing... if its going to be exactly that i'm not sure but it sparked off the idea i needed.

What that idea is is in a sense very much to do with the 'modes' in that when bring up your pet fairy you would effect how happy/sad good/evil fat/thin and so on that the fairy is... now each end of those scales can be a ful 'mode' the simplest one would be good/evil one end the fiary becomes an angel and the other a devil and in the middle she stays a fairy... now the fun idea would be that the good/evil scale delt with what the wings looked like and her hair with horns and a halo. So as you become more evil say, you get the wings changing and the horns start to apear untill you get to the full evil mode...

Now the fun bit comes from the idea that the other scales effect other parts of the fairy and so you can get say a happy but evil fairy... now this is something i can set up in its self out side of what ever game/toy context i put it in to... which is just what i need to do for firday now will be a rush but it should be to bad, with the system set up and a few of the sliders working it shows the idea the rest becomes framing that i can deal with as i get to it.

So yes a bit of a turn around and while it gives me a tone of work to do in a short space of time i'm far far happier with this as a basic idea i can expand on that i was with the other thing.

More updates, soon... ha

Flash book

2008-03-04 00:37:35 by HotCod32

I was going to post a bit about the flash book i just uploaded but frankly its 5:30 AM and i really need to get some sleep. This is all due to the fact NG has and 800px width and i'd set up the book for my freinds at 1200... being the smallest size i could go and keep thing readable and looking good and being a faithful copy of the physical book i made.

Thats all had to go some what out of the window to upload it here which is sad, i've had to change the font and forgo any text lay out in favour of just getting the text to fit on the page. Its also degraded the images somewhat which also annoying.

But as it is its not an too awful flash set up of the book and it will show where the fairy comes from in the next project... even if it will be a different story with a less stylised world... to be honest setting the book up has just been my way of putting of dealing with the new project as like i've said in another post... its putting the fear of god in to me... i just really honestly don't think i can pull off what i've got planed but i simply don't have the time to come up with a better idea... i'm going to end up having to hack bits off the idea as i go which is never a good thing.

Ah well... i'm going to go sleep since i keep head butting the keyboard and its making typing hard.

So the reason i've started to post is that my new project is an Interactive one that for me means something based in flash. The main idea with the project is to show one of the 4 aesthetic version of a graphic idea we played with in at lest 8 different modes in some kind of interactive context.

This for the most part is just "designer talk" that in this case isn't useless beacuse its hard to explain the ideas in other forms. For the 4 aesthetic versions of a graphic idea i'd decided to expand on a fairy character i'd created as part of my last project (a short illustrated book) and created her in a few different ways based on a few ideas using a few different ways of drawing but nothing to inventive.

As it was i'd had an idea for a kind of flash game based on one of the styles very different to the base illustration style. Sadly while it was interesting to portray the different 'modes' is going to be hard enough even in the more detailed styles. As one of my tutors said the game is some what secondary to the fact its place for the user to interact with the character and the character must STILL be a character. I need to be able to get across different feels from her in the game at lest along with the different 'view' of her when shes moving and the like.

So after a few lost nights to playing about with action script to see about movement and how valid some of my first ideas where i found that i was simply trying to do to much in some sense with to little. The simple style is something i will bring back maybe in a game that uses a lot of the ideas i've had to drop in a more expanded way at some point but i've had to make a choice to drop just about everything i've done and planed so far.

I've decided to do what i normally term crazy and go with using hand drawn almost everything... which is carzy, and stupid since even if flash is better at bitmaped stuff it's still not amazing with them. I'm going to try and get 4 scene done and go with a very simple 'puzzle' game, you click on different and things and try and work out how to get the fairys kite back.

Yes even fairies fly kites... a joke non of you will get but since the start of the project i've been some what obsessed with the idea of a fairy flying a kite and its been part of everything so far. So when i needed a story to go with the puzzles i deiceded that she loses her kite... i'm thinking of having it fly to the moon and as the fairy you have to work out some way to get there.

I'm some what apprehensive about all this... i've got a 'interim' deadline for Friday and nto long after that to finish the game... so far this year on every project i've pushed my self far to hard and been lucky to get things done (if finished at all)... given that making a flash game is something that put the fear of god in to me even when its something simpler that this with less animation... i'm just not a very happy person and i'm making my self stupidly stressed.

In a lot of ways i just don't think i'm very good with this stuff and the task i'm giving my self is so damn huge with some many thing that can and no doubt will go wrong that i don't think the finished piece is going to be very good in anyway what so ever.

As it is i've so far learnt some cool little bits of action script and i think i've decided on a 'engine' that shouldn't be to hard. Static scenes with click to move and click to interact. The click to move isn't really needed with this idea i don't think as i don't think 'range' will have much to do with it... as when you click on an object i think i'll have the fairy move to set place from which i can set an animation going for ever the interaction is. With static screens and click to move i should be able to do it with out to much trouble... something which i'm going to have to test today... i'm also going to have to look arrays up again if only to make the linking puzzles together easier. There's still a lot of 'maybes' in that and i could always just fall back on click to interact with out any movement but it would be nice to have things you can interact with 'glow' when the fairy got near enough maybe. Reminds me i also should write a simple partial system for fairy dust when shes moving... but that can wait really i think.

I also found out something rather neat before which every one may already know but yes you can get complex transparency from photoshop to flash if you save for web, save as .png and have transparency checked. When you import in to flash it uses the alpha channel to set up the transparency right away. Going to be stupidly useful for me as make life much easier for drawing it also means i can set up each scene as i want it in photoshop which should be nice given how much of a bitch it is to draw fore mid and back ground on paper and have it all work... not that i really need to do all that much of it but for some of it i will have to.

So plans for today, test out and built the rest of the basic AS i need to get the things working... tommrow start sorting out the first scene with at lest some interactivity and get that done for Friday along with the basic drawings for the other scenes and all the puzzels and links thought up and written down.

This is going to suck.

I'm going to keep updates on this untill i can post the rubbishy thing at the end heh

Well well well, its been a while since i've added anything to the site and i think its time that changed. I'm back at uni and one of the things that they seem to expect of us in this new course i'm on is some times a few blogs about projects and research and the like and i was thinking about it and felt that maybe here would be a good place to do it.

Not all my projects will be in flash, so far this year i've only just started my first one that will be in flash (at lest for the moment) more on that in a bit i think. I'm not sure how well this place will do for the blogging bits i need to do but i may update here with bits when i can as it should be interesting to see how they go down.

As it is i might just put the odd flash based thing here based on what interests me and makes sense to go on a flash site.

Anyway i'm at lest back and about more than i was, not sure that excites a lot of people but we shall see.