This week was super busy again!
I overbooked myself to an extent, and had lots of things going on outside of work. It was nice to be moderately more sociable again, but came at the sacrifice of free time for projects work, and a need to recharge afterwards. I guess the weather was nice, so I wanted to enjoy this a little bit. (but done with respect to safety, social distancing, etc.)
Curfew also was rolled back to 8pm here, and that's a source of stress and annoyance too, sometimes requiring me to rework my schedule to fit things in the hours we're allowed to go outside. But yeah, still not a pretty situation here and case numbers continue to climb, and vaccination is still catching up to more groups. Waiting and watching the government updates, and staying close to home a lot, as usual heh.
I also got to work on my taxes... I had started a while ago, but didn't make it too far, and with the Canada tax deadline approaching, the urgency and stress to finish that and make sure it's done correctly is a weight on my mind lately. ...But I didn't finish that either! Some stuff about federal work-from-home benefits that I got stuck on, and I had to wait to ask questions to some friends/coworkers on that and a couple other things... But then I didn't have a free night yet to resume where I left off. Taxes aren't fun/passion project by any means, but they're "work on something" that I needed to do outside of the hours of my dayjob! So it counts for "weekly progress", maybe?
Speaking of dayjob, currently I work as a programmer for Tribute Games, and we've been working on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge, a 2D beat-em-up with pixel-art sprites, and a spiritual successor to TMNT games like those for the Arcade/NES/SNES/Genesis. The game was recently in the April 14th Nintendo Direct, so that was exciting to see! Featured at 11:07 in this Nintendo Direct video -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RNkRaNfCp4&t=667s
There's this gameplay trailer if you'd prefer something more compact format:
Some of the things I did programming on are captured in these trailers! However, as the game isn't released, I probably am not allowed to say anything much beyond that. But still, it's been very cool to work on. I'm happy and fortunate to be able to collaborate with great people on projects like this for my full-time job, and here's hoping development continues to go smoothly for us. I still plan to keep my posts to primarily about personal things, but made a rare exception for this! (Also if you've never tried, Panzer Paladin are Flinthook are two other games that I worked on with Tribute, if you want to check them out! Plugging over.)
Aside from that stuff, I also had the idea to study some visual effects + animation captures, especially from SNES and GBA games, for research and analysis. I was thinking it could be cool to record some GIFs that first show a cool animated sequence or effect, and then do an analysis that decomposes the effect into its different elements + timings. If done well, this learning could even come in handy for creating new VFX creations for myself, and I could also share the notes made with others.
I was hoping to capture footage, in particular, from Super Robot Wars: Original Generations. This game series by Banpresto has excellent combat animations, and cool visual effects that are comprised of many parts. The Super Robot Wars games are are series of cool mecha strategy games that fuse elements of many popular mech animes, some original characters and even some cameos of Gundam/Neon Genesis Evangelion/etc in certain games.
The series has been around a long time, and characters from the older titles occasionally appear in newer games too. It continues to get new titles to this day, such as Super Robot Wars T (import-only but does have English version through EastAsiaSoft). They don't seem to be released outside Japan and Asian markets very much anymore, but the few games we got in North America are a lot of fun to check out. We got the Original Generation series, and there's also some weird DS spinoff RPGs like Endless Frontier: Super Robot Wars OG Saga too, not sure what outside of that we had.
One game we never got here, for the Super Famicom, was Super Robot Wars Gaiden: Masoukishin – The Lord Of Elemental which looks super cool, and has a fan translation by AGTP. I want to play this someday, but I'm getting sidetracked somewhat heh.
Anyway, here's some SRW:OG GIFs of Kyosuke piloting his slow-but-powerful red mech Alteisen, performing Heavy Claymore + Revolver Stake attacks:
I was hoping to dissect these into timelines, figuring out how much time they spend on each "state", and also figure out what elements comprise these captured segments. I don't have an animation or film background, so it would be explained more from the context of a game programmer who enjoys coding VFX. I would trying to think of things in terms of "systems" they use, their compositions, a possible flow between different distinct states of animation. I could see how different sprite particle effects, screen shakes, sprite shakes, palette changes, blinks, hit flashes, transitions, scrolling backgrounds, character movements, etc are done, and what they contribute to the overall effect.
I also wanted to capture a few attacks from FF6 for ideas from there too. I was hoping I could also compare it against earlier battle FF systems and show the smaller, less-obvious ways in which the battle animations were improved between game revisions.
Anyway, still gathering captures + playing enough of each game to be in a spot that can be captured nicely. Then next comes actually taking notes. Then making still diagrams / text explanations / or smaller explanatory GIFs. I don't have time to do any of this yet, but maybe one day, if I keep pushing it along.
Well, this still isn't what I hoped to have done this week, but this is how it goes sometimes. While I didn't have the energy to do my game projects, I at least did other stuff that. And I wrote a lot of words here again! Maybe someday the stars will realign and I can continue where I left with things on Wandering Magic MSX, it's still regularly on my mind even if it's not moving at present.
And besides that, getting excited for Ludum Dare jam this upcoming weekend! Hoping to participate with friends. I was recently sent a doc by my teammate, that contained a tentative schedule + a guide to setting up with the tools that they're planning to use.
Looking forward to be able to talk about how it went next update! Crossing fingers!