I’ve kind of had this in the back of my mind since we decided to start working on Pocket Dynasty Football: creating even basic frame animations can take a long time. So, tonight I started working on a basic running animation for the “cut scenes” of the game. There are a ton of ways that I could’ve went about doing this, but I decided to use actual football footage as a guide. Basically, here’s what I did:
I did a screen capture from an HD YouTube video with some decent video of a runningback running the ball.
For the very first frame layer, I made folders with each different “bone” or part of the runningback that would be animated.
I then used the pen tool to draw each line/bone down the middle of the runningback’s arms and legs and used shapes for the torso, head and ball.
I duplicated all of the bone folders and moved and scaled them accordingly to the next frame.
I repeated this for the first 10 frames.
Here’s what I got: This is 10 frames of “bones”
This took me about an hour to just get even this going. The purpose of creating this animation as a wireframe is to get a general idea of how the movement looks. It’s easy to move lines around. It’s not easy to create a full pixel-based animation and then move parts around, if it doesn’t look right. If I were doing a ton of these kinds of animation, it would probably be beneficial to use Flash and then use one of the various apps available to turn the keyframes into a sprite sheet. I really am not crazy about Flash, though, and I will spend just as much time fumbling around with the toolset as I would doing it in Photoshop.
From here, I will finish all 40 layers and then I will start drawing out the actual runningback. I anticipate that it will take a good amount of time…probably another couple hours to do the wireframes, and then probably a good few hours to draw the first frame with everything in it. The remaining 39 frames won’t take as long as the first frame, but I imagine we’re looking at a good half hour per frame…yikes. Animations take forever. It’s a good thing that we won’t be making a ton of them for our initial offering.
Hey guys, we’re stoked to announce our contest and give you, our fans, the chance to be in the game!
If you ever wanted your beautiful face to be in a videogame so you could show your mom that you finally made it in the world, now is your chance! If you ever wanted to name your own football team and be the Jerry Jones of Pocket Dynasty Football, THE TIME IS NOW!
All you have to do is get those gears turning and come up with your own team name. If we select yours, we will make you into a cartoon and put you in the game! You’ll also get to choose between two or three different logos for your team and we might even throw some hi-res art your way for you to print out on canvas at your local uh…wherever you get those things made.
Just go Like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter and submit your name on there and BOOM, you’re done. Submit 50 names, we don’t care!
Being a web designer, I love trying out new tools, frameworks, apps and IDEs. Sometimes new is better and sometimes new is just new, but either way, it can sometimes be pretty awesome to try out new technology. One of the problems with being infatuated with the latest framework or tool, though, is that you have to learn a new way of doing things. Also, not every tool is a perfect fit for the project you want to use it for. And that’s an even bigger problem: what tool do I use to build my app/website/game/whatever? There are really a ton of viable options. This, of course, rang true when Bing and I were trying to figure out what we were going to use to build Pocket Dynasty Football(PDF).
For our first app, Tone Trainer, we used PhoneGap and JQuery mobile. Since we built it a year or so ago, we’ve learned a lot of things that can make this framework more useful and “native-like” but it just didn’t “feel” right…especially for what we want to do with PDF. So, we looked at a few different frameworks that are based in our web designer/web developer wheelhouse: Sencha Touch and, I think we kind of considered Appcelerator.
(Basic HTML layout blocking for Sencha version)
I had downloaded Corona SDK about a year ago, when I heard about it on an indie game dev podcast and I was amazed by how easy it was to make a simple game using physics. I didn’t spend a ton of time with it, but I could tell that it would be a valuable tool if I wanted to make a more graphical game…Well, we’re making a more graphical game, and it was actually Bing who wanted to try out Corona. He used Corona to make an app for our day job and it took him like half the time to build it had he used something like Sencha.
(Blocking and testing out the "run game". Only like 20 lines of code to just get a basic idea of how it will work. These are placeholder graphics.)
Neither of us were/are crazy about Lua, but it’s pretty easy to use, so that’s a bonus. Writing all of the game logic in Lua is apparently not too bad according to Bing, but the real bonus is how easy animation programming is. I started working on blocking animations for the O and D lines and it was like maybe 20 lines of code. Pretty incredible.
We’re pretty happy with Corona so far, and we’ll have a ton of posts talking about it in the coming weeks!
My dad always told me, “if you’re not first, you’re last.” No he didn’t. My dad also didn’t walk around shirtless in overalls either. But there is something powerful about being number one. If you go to the iOS App Store and search for “Football,” you’ll find some crazy stuff. For starters, the number one game has 1,750 more reviews than the number two game. Number one looks like it was made by a professional studio comprised of several people, while number two looks like it was…well, number two just makes me want to take it back to the huddle. The problem is: both of these games are doing it wrong.
That’s obviously pretty assy of me to say, considering I am not really a (quotie fingers) game developer and what the hell do I know? But if you look at successful mobile games, they aren’t usually trying to have amazing 3D graphics like NFL Pro 2013 AND they don’t use the whole wonky virtual joystick like Speedback. Games like Cut the Rope or Angry Birds are simple games where you just do little flicks, swipes and taps. They’re quick experiences. They also don’t try to mimic 3D console graphics, because they end up looking like N64 games, which is fine for nostalgia purposes, but I highly doubt there are too many people who get all stoked thinking about low poly count football players. Neither of these games are terrible, but with mobile football games, there seems to be a ton of room for improvement.
If you want to have a successful business or idea, you need to find a need and fill it. Football is the most popular sport in America by a landslide. Almost 108 million people watched the Ravens win the Super Bowl this year…NO WEAPON!!!! When it comes to console video games sales, Madden NFL is always in the top 10. So, wouldn’t it make sense that people would want to play a good mobile football game? I would think so. And that is what me and Bing are attempting to make with Pocket Dynasty Football.
Good is subjective, but after doing a moderate amount of research into what is currently out there (as far as mobile football games go) it doesn’t look like anyone has really cracked the case. I think we can crack the case. I think the keys to making a “good” mobile football game are in quick, fun, mobile experiences that are still based on the actual rules/gameplay of real football. If you can throw in multiplayer, leagues, and a little bit of flavah, you’ve got yourself a stew going, baby.