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DF DaveG

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  1. This is my favorite question! I love this stuff! Story telling through game play is the way interactive narrative works. I'm just gonna come out and say that, flat out. Its such a fun subject. Being an animator, my interests in story are almost paramount. I say almost because being a gamer, game play is also almost paramount. So I have these two things that are the most important single thing... A lot of us do. So story telling through game play, makes them both one thing! yay! Games that are doing it well: Last of Us. They are doing it the best. That game is the best at this. Its not perfect, but its so far the best blend of game play, and emotional storytelling being done at the exact same time. The sequence where your wandering through the empty bedrooms at the beginning, being drawn to each 'scene' by conventional game play techniques, lights and sound to bring you to the TV, to show you the 'classic movie news coverage' of whats going on outside.. the way, everyone is drawn to slowly look outside the sliding glass door just as... you know what, spoilers... Ill digress. But the main thing is all of this information is being given to the player, all during gameplay! I think that the #1 thing you have to do when your blending the two, is avoid on screen prompts. So I immediately discount quicklime sequences from my list of 'doing it rights'. I do this because, say your about to kiss someone for the first time. You look into their eyes. Before they're able to withdraw, with your mind swimming in fears your arms are suddenly around them, you both feel again the youthful rush of helplessness, the sinking yielding, the surging tide ofAND THEN A HUGE B BUTTON APPEARS AND SAYS PRESS B TO KISS... you are no longer story telling, your game playing only... so yeah... those sequences don't count... Its really hard to say, which games are doing it right, vs which ones aren't, because there is so much that's involved to make it really work. Other games that are doing it well! Half Life, Portal, Shadow of the Colossus, Zelda Windwaker, the walking dead... Ugh I could go on about this forever! Can I say Portal is doing it best? Its pretty damn close... But thats got like no animation to thank for it! For me the key to this, is simply ask what information does the player need? Once that's determined, is it delivered to them using conventional game-play mechanics? Can it? In a crime drama for example? Can a NPC say, 'He went over there!' and point in the direction of an escaped criminal rather than showing a cut scene of that criminal running around a corner ahead of the player? Often when I'm watching a movie I think to myself, what would the controls of this scene be like in a game? Could this scene where the the senator and the tobacco lobbyist make a deal be done all in game, completely controlled by the player? It is a great exercise. But the rules are, you cant change the scene at all, its got to play out almost identically! Even if the player try's to walk away. wtfbbq, how is it possible?! is it?! i don't know... yes.. yes it is, of course it is! It's up to future designers to break down these walls and then one day, we'lll all live on holidecks and it will be awesome. Love all the questions! I also love how you guys are helping each other out too! Giving your own thoughts on school and stuff! Keep it up!! Here is some quick home work.. Go watch the Animated movie How To Tame Your Dragon. Then watch any flying scene, but specifically the one where the girl and the boy go flying together for the first time. And then ask your self, 'how the, F, is every flying scene in every video game, not nearly as visceral, epic and mind blowing as this one, right here, exactly the same?!' Because there is absolutely no reason that it shouldn't be. To me, that is interactive narrative. That scene, in a game where I fly around on a dragon and am the hero. I Know the words 'interactive narrative' go to a lot of different places for a lot of different people, but for me, its that. *edit* Just noticed you insinuated Shadow of the Colosus in your question? Honestly it was hard for me not to pick that one as the best. Its the game I always have felt the most like I am in a movie, while also completly playing a video game. I atribute a lot of the score for that game, coupled with exceptional Character design and animation
  2. I added numbers to your quote so I could answer them easily! 1. I am a pretty fast animator. Its one of my advantages. I blame all the video games to be honest. Everything I ever did when using a PC (before I became an animator) was gaming, I was all about APM! So I translate that into my work as an animator. All my hot keys are set up on my PC the same way they would if Animating was an FPS. I use hot keys for every repeatable process, I try not to click on anything with my mouse except the rig. That speeds up a lot of time! 2. When I really care about an animation I put key poses on every joint, every 5 frames. Then when I've made it through the whole action, I adjust the timing. Then I add overlap from the root out, in 2 frame increments for major body parts to get the overlap! Then I spend the next 4 days crying as I try to polish the animation 3. We use an animation tool (ill post a screenshot of it below) that saves poses and animations allowing animators to share them easily. I am all about sharing animations in games! Striking a balance between sharing too much, and sharing just enough so you have time for kick ass animation! Is always something you should be thinking about. 4. On any project I think it is imperative that you can share animations between characters! If you don't, your going to waste a lot of time re-doing un-important work like turns, stops, idle gestures, anything that you don't want to be specifically unique, so much stuff! Sharing is caring and caring is shipping games! (that makes no sense, but it sounds nice, sort of) Here is our anim tool box, have a look! and dont forget, ask questions!
  3. Oh man, Ghost Trick was one of my favorite DS games, and the animation was stunning. Anyone with a DS, 3DS, or iOS device should give this game a try. I adore the animation in this game! When I first discovered it, I was hoping it was some new insane Toon Shader. But as it turns out, they actaully did 3D models and animation, then HAND drew over every frame, to give it that rotoscoped look. Amazing.
  4. I'd be an old Oak tree, because Andy buries his letter to Red under one and hopefully that tree would be me and then I would get to have a cameo in Shawshanke Redemption.
  5. I second this notion! I completed my studies 4-5 years ago with a submajor in animation. To be honest all my animation courses were the best part of my degree. The problem is that I haven't animated nor drawn anything since that point (after that 'Thorak' alpha/demo I mentioned in another thread) yet I'm keen to get back into it when I can find the time. Also, great call with The Animators' Survival Guide! It's a fantastic read and a must-have for any animator. To add my own question, how does one keep motivated not only to start an animation project but throughout the project as well? Ok gonna try to get through some questions today! This response is about getting into the business, which is something that is very serious and takes a lot of work! so I'm going to give you a big answer! The methods getting you into video game design or development come in all shapes or sizes. Really the best trick is to figure out what you are interested in the most, and get good at it. Find what you have a natural knack for, and hone that skill. I think that right now game development is really at a steep part of a growing graph (if that makes any sense). Meaning that what you see now is just the beginning of a really rapid climb in creativity and accessibility! If you want to get into game development, primarily anything other that art specifics (animation, illustration, 3D modeling, or lighting etc) I would suggest downloading some of the many new usable game development tools, like game maker, or unity, or even game salad. Dig into tutorials and online communities and try to teach yourself the basics of implementation and start making small (SMALL!!) games! Try to visualize the (small) game from start to finish. Then have fun and build it! Focus on your interests, if its writing, learn how to make adventure games, if its gameplay make platformers and side scrollers, if its exploration think about the environment. Always work with what you love! During your years as a student, its the only time you have complete control of what your working on! There are so many people learning programming, even in elementary school these days! There's also so many new easy to use (often free) game development tools and so many creative people out there that there is a really huge future for this industry! Also, Maya has student versions that you can download. This is the program most studios use as thier animation software. Its clunky, its anoying, and i have many problems with it (because I'm a grumpy kind of guy when it comes to robots) but if you're interested in 3D animation, learning it is a must! And it really is the best tool for the job right now. Flash is a really great program to learn if you're interested in games and 2D animation. If animation is your thing, its time to start animating, like CRAZY. Eat sleep breathe animation, animation is so many things at once. Its how something feels, its how something moves, its how something looks. So it takes a lot of concentration! and study! Here is a picture of Milt Kahl, being crazy while also being a great animator! Breaking his brain, trying to make all that stuff work together. Art schools are great, but so many of them are missing the structure that you need to really get what you pay for. So make sure you really look into their programs! We get a lot of interns from http://www.animwork.dk/en/ which from my experience is an amazing school. There are great ones in the US too, Cal Arts, Ringling, Animation Mentor, to name a few. What your looking for when your trying to find a school with an animation program that has you cooperatively work on a film with other students, each year. You want a school that has students ship short films that look great! If you don't have the opportunity to attend a school that does, then you should think about starting 'clubs' with other students, work on a film every 8 months, each with a different role. Or start planning your own films. Never forget, to think smaller than you're already thinking! Small finished work, is better than epic wonderful and long, unfinished work. You want to have a strong portfolio and the best way to do that is have a webpage with animation and game projects on it. Even if your an animator, you should have an understanding of games! So hopefully you even just have experimental games made in something really simple like game salad, so we can see what your interests are! There is a lot to it, but we have a lot of animation to do, so I have to get back to work! I hope this helps! TLDR: Find a school that has a history and a pipeline for having you work on projects cooperatively. Figure out what you have a knack for and be the best in the world at it. Make small games and animations!
  6. oh yeah! As soon as I finish doing the actual animation for the game of course, I have some very solid plans to make some new Broken Age Gif avatars for you guys! Oh! lots of good new questions! I will get to these tonight!
  7. I would try downloading a small app on your iPad, if you have one. The Animation desk is a good one! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/animation-desk-for-ipad/id409124087 It wont really get you making stuff for games or anything like that, but it will get you animating simple drawings quickly! The next thing to do would be to read http://www.amazon.com/The-Animators-Survival-Richard-Williams/dp/0571202284/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386809082&sr=8-1&keywords=the+animators+survival+kid Try playing around with the simple animation tests using The Animation Desk, or another program of your liking. Then, start to fall in love with animation. If your interested in gameplay, I always think that the theories of animation translate directly to the theories of good gameplay and play control. So if Design is your end goal all this stuff will always be handy! Even if you're a programmer!
  8. The animation team that were working with is called http://supergenius-studio.com/ And I couldn't recommend them enough. Check out their site! They have had the opportunity to work on some great games! This is my first time working hand in hand with an external animation team. I was a little skeptical about it at first, but right after we got their first animation delivery, I was sold. I spend a lot of my day chatting with Alex Yao, the animation director on the project over there. He is obviously as into animation as any of us are, and really fun to work with. The hardest part, is making sure we have enough work to give them! You have to take a huge chunk of the game, and catalog it and then send it over. Then Alex will review it and let me know if its just the right amount of work, or if the porridge is too hot or too cold. If its just right, then we sign a contract for the month and week by week he sends me a bunch of animation and we'll review it over here. If its all approved, they move onto the next batch, chipping away at the huge list. We were so busy implementing the game when we started working with them and at the time we hadn't had the opportunity to do any final animation! So one of the first final polished animations that I saw in the game was from them! I was sold right away! Seeing the lip sync, and the fingers and toes all animated for every character, really made me smile.
  9. Dear Backers, We have given you so few animation updates. Well guess what. We are terribly ashamed, that we haven't been keeping you constantly updated with our work! I wish I could just spill my guts about how the whole thing has been, beyond what you've been able to see in our documentary episodes! But due to t he short amount of time I have while my cut scene is exporting, it may end up sounding like pure gibberish. So what can I tell you? Well, right now we are animating as fast as we possibly can to bring you Broken Age with as much animation goodness as possible! We have a ton of work to do, more than I ever have this close to shipping! But that is OK, the only reason we have so much work to do, is because we want the work we do to be spectacular! So we are really giving it our all. Every thing we can wring out of this washcloth, we are gonna! Are there any questions that any of you would like to ask? Are there any things you would specifically like to know? We would love to field questions! In the mean time, I can leave you with only this. I hope you enjoy. PS AMA!!!!
  10. Hmm... Why do I remind myself WAY to much of David Brent from the British Office when I'm showing off our instant messaging technology...
  11. 2PP probably spent more like 5000 minutes on it, so they will probably be sad about your comment. It's never enough! Hahaha, that is probably a close estimation. This took me a longer time to edit than I would like to admit. Mostly because I could not figure out what to cut and I kept getting entranced by his energy and stories, despite hearing it more than 60 times (most likely). So just divide it to 3 parts and release one part every year on December Haha! Just think, we spend so many hours, meticulously animating elaborate cut scenes, beads of sweat dripping onto our keyboards as we shake gripping our Wacom pens tightly, late into the night to make our cut scenes... and then everyone just hits the escape button when they start! lol JK, The trick is to make them start and end before you even noticed you were in a cut scene and your already back playing again (although, we are having a lot of fun with some long ones in Broken Age!) My favorite compliment from a coworker, Ben Burbank (who I worked on White Birch with last year!) came by for lunch and he said, what the fuck are you making Saturday morning cartoons over here?! ( I had a very overly dramatic 'falling' animation up on my screen at the time.. look for it when we ship!! ) Love you guys! its fun to chat! (and bonus, notice I NEVER say Like when I type!) also, for the Oldman fans, ask anyone at DF and they'll tell you, this is what I look like when I'm working, on the other end is my computer:
  12. hah Honestly, until the mid 90s the computer was a pretty foreign object to me. My parents knew I wanted one, but they bought a Mac instead of a PC. And back then, there wasn't much you could play on a mac. Especially being born and bred by consoles! My friend ( I even mention his name in there!) Troy! He was my PC friend, he would always load games up for me on his DOS computer, I would just shout, 'hey Troy? can we play dune 2? or Star command?' Now, adventure games. Here is the big secret. I used to tease Tim and Ron insistently about adventure games. I wasn't really that into them when I was a kid! Too much walking. I would be like, 'UGH HOW DO I MAKE THIS GUY RUN!?' one time at lunch I swear I heard Tim say he was gonna stick a fork in my eye when I was making fun of adventure game mechanics. I always felt like, console games were more straight forward, and as a kid, I couldn't really figure out what it was they wanted me to do in adventure games. I really got into the Dig. And Full throttle. Those were two adventure games I did play. Although with the Dig I really had to force myself to play through some of those mind numbing puzzles. It was like the adventure game version of Hellfire for me. But there is hope for me yet! After specifically working on one with Ron and really learning the things the designers loved about them, their goals when they were making each one. I am flat out in LOVE with adventure games. Maybe its because I wasn't really privy to them before? Maybe its because they are such a great way to interact with characters and stories in games. I don't know! but I do love them. So the secrets out! The adventure game fan, used to play Mario! I have thought about this so much since made that first Kicstarter video, 'oh man, they would string me up and burn me at the steak if they only knew!'. whew, thanks for asking and letting me get that off my chest!! PS ADVENTURE GAMES WILL NEVER DIE!!! EVER! (oh yeah, and Doom made my head explode!)
  13. hah! I was going through my archives to see if I could find some good whiteboard drawings from when we were desiging levels for the cave. I wanted to post a couple for ya'll to see, but instead I found this one first. I was like, hey I don't recognize that shirt, hmm I don't have pens on my desk, and when did my arm get so harry?! oh wait.. Thats not me, that's a detail drawing of one of the puzzles I gave Levi! So you guys are right, I guess we DO look the same!
  14. And wow, Ryan Davis totally dug Conan on PS3, that's awesome! I'd love to pick that up someday to check it out. Can't wait for Broken Age, see you on the other side! You guys are great! Its so long, cus I have a tendency to ramble, in one long incredible sentence moving from topic to topic. You're like Vernon Tripe when he's had way too much candy and mountain dew. BOO! Huh-ha-ha-ha!
  15. And wow, Ryan Davis totally dug Conan on PS3, that's awesome! I'd love to pick that up someday to check it out. Can't wait for Broken Age, see you on the other side! Ryan Davis! Thanks!! It was killing me trying to remember his name!! ugh I felt terrible just forgetting his name, after having been so previously excited! It was so rad to be in that group of 3, I was like, dafuq? You guys are great! Its so long, cus I have a tendency to ramble, in one long incredible sentence moving from topic to topic. And yea! I did cut my hair! please dont judge me too harshly, but I went and saw that Gatsby movie and then proceeded to the nearest barber and said, 'DO WHAT YOU DO, QUICKLY!'
  16. I love all the love! The last two weeks has been so much fun. Im so glad you all enjoyed watching, because we enjoyed watching you watching, while we were making our games! You are all the best!!!
  17. It is a super amazing game. I especially love a game that is full of "secrets", and Mario 64 was bursting at the seams with 'em. So many happy surprises and discoveries. I think it must be the hardest thing to make a "secret" in a game that actually feels like a secret and makes the player feel super clever for getting it, rather than making something that was obviously meant to be found. And Mario 64 has so many! And they're all so good! More secrets! Plus the way the game had a habit of not explicitly telling you the objective, and instead gave you a sort of riddle in the title of the star you were going for, and part of the fun was figuring out how the riddle applied in the level. BRILLIANCE. but the question, did you find all the secrets in Costume Quest? There was one in the Mall, that friends of mine actually called me on the phone to find! I recently just 100%d "Costume Quest". Are you referring to the Mall Quest with all the contestants and the judges? Or the Unicorn Costume Quest? I remember this one Chest all the way to the Left of the Mall that was guarded by tracks. There was some sort of trick where you had to follow the tracks to actually get to it.Anyway. Both of those Quests gave me trouble and I left them to solve right before the end Boss... Great game. Yea! it was the unicorn one, follow the tracks allll the way to nowhere and you find the chest! To me its a no brainer, if there is path that doesn't stop you, go down it = find treasure! but a lot of people I knew were like ARG I CANT FIND IT! I loved the judge contest! That was my favorite addition to exploration mode, it was funny to put that one together! I hope you liked it. I wanted to put one more secret passage in the ArrCade, because I love arcades! anyway.. I hope you enjoyed it! I'm stoked you 100
  18. It is a super amazing game. I especially love a game that is full of "secrets", and Mario 64 was bursting at the seams with 'em. So many happy surprises and discoveries. I think it must be the hardest thing to make a "secret" in a game that actually feels like a secret and makes the player feel super clever for getting it, rather than making something that was obviously meant to be found. And Mario 64 has so many! And they're all so good! More secrets! Plus the way the game had a habit of not explicitly telling you the objective, and instead gave you a sort of riddle in the title of the star you were going for, and part of the fun was figuring out how the riddle applied in the level. BRILLIANCE. but the question, did you find all the secrets in Costume Quest? There was one in the Mall, that friends of mine actually called me on the phone to find!
  19. Mario 64 is great, but Metal Gear wins everything... Hideo Kojima ftw~ I must say, MGS1 is SOOO GOOD! although, once I beat that game, I went back and played the origional NES metal gear (wich as a kid I could not figure out wtf was going on) and realised, holy crap, everything I loved about Metal Gear Solid, was in the ORIGIONAL!? how insane is that! I cant believe Kojima was able to think of all that amazing gameplay way back in like what, 1984? and make it work on a NES!? That is just nuts! You are right, it has got to be in the top 5 games ever made. Also, on a side note, I first played MGS on hard mode, it had no radar, that was such a fun way to play that game. Having to explore and watch guards with your own eyes, plotting their paths and your attack, rather than on the radar! but.. the downside was, the final boss, as far as I was concerned, was impossible to beat on hard mode . So I never got to see the ending /cry
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