Animating OctorSpace Pixel Art

In another attempt to make Invasion from OctorSpace look different from AquaNimble, I have been animating the enemies. The animation to the artist’s beautiful sprites makes the game feel more alive. As you will see I have been recording the animation process.

Before I begin, AquaNimble’s animation is all code except for the player’s vessel. Everything in that game consists of layers of sprites that are stacked on top of one another. It starts with the basic enemy and then a skin is added on top. Several enemies have different skins to make them look different. Then the cockpit is a different piece and the guns are different pieces so they can swivel and aim in different directions. Everything feels very solid.

For OctorSpace, everything is getting pixel animation so things can feel more fluid and juicy. Even the solid non organic vessels are getting animated. I have animated things before, just never to this scale. With that said, its easier animating top down things because it allows for symmetry.

It seems like I can get the larger 64 x 64 sprites animated in 20 – 30 minutes. I try to even off the time so if I’m only at 27 minutes I find some little detail that I can add in 3 minutes. The longest sprites to animate have taken over an hour due to how many moving parts they include. At 70 minutes I was able to animate a single enemy with an 11 frame loop, but I went a few steps further by making a slight variation during the second and third loop making for 33 frames and for symmetrical purposes of breathing versus exhaling it was increased to 44 frames.

To save time, some enemies were duplicated and recolored versions such as enemy drones can fire bullets or seeking rockets. While I am digging through the art to animate them, I’ve taken the time to tweak the duplicated enemies in minor ways. The more significant thing to note is even if they are duplicates, I have put in the effort to animate them differently. When you’re on a roll it feels good to make different animations.

In the future, I should be able to add shooting flares as well and lay them over top of the sprites to give more interactivity without having to swap out the sprites. A larger task will be to match the animation recoils with the projectile shots.

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