Potential Animation Engine Upgrades

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Potential Animation Engine Upgrades

Post by scienceguy8 »

So, I've had these ideas for a while now on how the animation engine could be upgraded to improve both gameplay atmosphere and cinematics, or what a normal game developer would call a cinematic.

Hopefully Easy:
1. Animation Persistence

Currently, when a dialog box pops up, all animations on screen freeze, which really doesn't make sense. Fires won't stop flickering and flags won't stop flapping just because someone is talking. Conversely, when a scenario ends, a texture is applied to the screen to make it look like it is a portrait of the end battle. The effect is ruined, however, because the fires keep burning, the flags keep waving, etc. Animations should continue unabated when a dialog box appears and freeze at the end of a scenario.

2. Particle Generation Effects

The ability to generate particle effects would be a great one indeed. Particles could be used in conjunction with traditional animations to enhance things like magic blasts, thunderstick shots, mist from falling water, fire animations, etc. In addition, the particles could be used on a map's entirety, to create rain, snow, falling ash from a volcano, heat distortions on desert levels, and more realistic fog.

3. Shadow Animations

Being able to see clouds play across the sky by the shadows they cast on the ground would be kind of nice. It would remove the unnatural stillness of the environment we currently have.

4. Global Lighting Effects

It just wouldn't be the storm of the century without some thunder and lightning. The ability to control lighting within an environment would be a big plus. Storms would benefit from darker environments and the occasional flash of lightning, and caves with open fissures revealing lava could have lighting with a reddish tinge.

Much More Difficult:
5. Water Rendering

Instead of using pre-rendered water tiles as we do now, the game could render water tiles based on time of day and other map/scenario defined variables. You could see the sun or moon reflected in the water, watch it glisten when calm, wave against the shoreline, even churn in bad weather.

6. Low-Power 3D Rendering

Using a language like Processing, small 3D animations could be created for more complex magical effects in cinematics, and constantly moving apparatuses in playable levels (imagine a large bronze steam wheel constantly spinning in the background). Perhaps Processing could also be used for the particle effects generator, reducing the overall amount of code to add both features.

7. Animate Environment Around Sprites, Not The Other Way Around

Imagine if, for a cut scene, someone wanted a couple characters on a glider flying over dense foliage or a character on horseback galloping through the woods. Currently, such cinematics would be difficult, if not impossible, because in order to produce motion in a cinematic, the sprites are moved across the map. In these scenarios, however, we cannot have finite map space like we do now. We want the background to move behind the foreground instead of the other way around in these cases.

EDIT: changed title of suggestion 5 from Water Reflections to Water Rendering for clarity. Also, it would be helpful if someone, anyone really, chimed in to say if they are good ideas or not, what could be added, what could be improved or removed, other example applications, etc.
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Re: Potential Animation Engine Upgrades

Post by Araja »

Nice ideas, but I'm expecting a developer or Turuk reply saying "it's all very well to think of this but what are you going to do to help, we don't do "can someone make" threads here, only "I have made""
Or something along those lines, but then again I can only guess.
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Re: Potential Animation Engine Upgrades

Post by thespaceinvader »

There's no real need, it goes without saying. Of all those ideas, the only one that i can even guess at being vaguely feasible without too much work is the first. The rest are more of a 'do it yourself and we'll have a look' thing, I suspect.

Of all of them, I think a particle engingine would be the best and most useful, but it's a pipe dream at present.
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Re: Potential Animation Engine Upgrades

Post by ancestral »

The first idea might actually be in the queue to be done, if not already in progress. I know I expressed interest in having the timer count down while there's a modal dialog box open, and mordante said he's still making changes to the gui to hopefully include that functionality.

4. CABD, at least partially.

Many of the other ideas would be neat, though I really wonder how environment and 3D effects would look in a generally 2D view, and none of these appear to be that simple :(
Last edited by ancestral on July 16th, 2009, 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Potential Animation Engine Upgrades

Post by Turuk »

Araja wrote:Nice ideas, but I'm expecting a developer or Turuk reply saying "it's all very well to think of this but what are you going to do to help, we don't do "can someone make" threads here, only "I have made""
Or something along those lines, but then again I can only guess.
Pretty much. While it's nice to see a list of ideas and the ways they could be used, I believe (as mentioned) 1 is somewhat in the works.

3, 4, and 5 have been mentioned previously in the various weather and environment threads, and has come down to let's see what someone comes up with for it.
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