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Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, The Indie Stone are proud to introduce you to our new animation system – which will be a part of the coming update, and indeed the increasingly imminent public test build R.

Posted by Batsphinx on May 2nd, 2012

pzanimuse

This was first created during the Easter break, which we decided to use as something of a left-field design brainstorm session. Our use of hand-drawn sprites was starting to be of real concern – the process was becoming unmanageable due to the sheer number of frames, clothing pieces and directions required. We were generally having to shy away from necessary animations, or resorting to ones with a mere one or two frames.

As such we’ve built a new system that uses pre-rendered 3D models that are consequently rendered into sprites. On top of that we then use various techniques to increase clarity when they’re shrunk down so we can emulate the old graphical style as much as possible alongside the crisper animations.

We recognise that some people may miss the retro-look graphics, along with the baldy alien zomboids, but unfortunately the move away from individually hand-drawn sprites was fundamentally necessary for the development of the game. Sprite and animation creation now, genuinely, takes a hundredth of the amount of time it did previously.

What’s more many, many extra features are now on the table for future updates – without us having to scale the terrifying heights of Mt. Animation. Yanking an axe from a zombie's ribcage, decapitations, zombies with busted legs dragging themselves towards you… it’s all possible now, and it won’t be making any significant extra demands on your system either. We hope you agree the possibilities are exciting.

With all this in mind, please check out our demonstration vid. Please note that everything you see is still WIP, contents may settle during transit, this is only our first step towards a more animated world and please keep arms and legs inside the carriage at ALL times.


All this leads us to the inevitable ‘how long till the update plz’ paragraph. As you might be aware, we’re currently running public tests of our update builds on our forum. These are versions that come with their fair share of bugs and launch issues that survivors who don’t mind a rough-ish ride can take for a spin. The next build, R, should (fingers crossed) be released in around two days time – Lemmy is currently fixing the wheelie bin issue and a few save bugs that have cropped up with the changes. The new animation system will be present in the R build, as well as a tweaked approach to combat.

We don’t anticipate that the launch of the official update on our site and Desura will be long after this – although, as ever, unexpected bugs could still rear their heads. We’ll blog again when we have fresh news. Until then Knox County!

Post comment Comments
Metalspy
Metalspy May 2 2012, 8:34am says:

Noes, the hand-drawn sprites looked way more awesome in my opinion! When seen from a developer's perspective it does make sense though.

How does this new animation system work though? You say "pre-rendered 3D models that are consequently rendered into sprites.", but in the video you mention being able to change the 'skin' (which is, I assume, technically the texture of the 3d model). If you can retexture the model, don't you have to re-render everything? Or do you guys have a clever technique that replaces the texture on the renders? :D Or am I just misunderstanding something..

+8 votes     reply to comment
gj92
gj92 May 6 2012, 11:43am replied:

They probably have a tool where you pass it the model and texture and then the tool creates the sprites by rendering the model at multiple angles. =]

+1 vote     reply to comment
Metalspy
Metalspy May 7 2012, 3:14am replied:

Ah right, I assume you mean an 'external'/standalone tool? I didn't think of that lol.

+1 vote     reply to comment
myxale
myxale May 2 2012, 8:41am says:

I like it.
And I understand the need for some easier technique than hand-drawn Sprites.

Looking froward to more.

+5 votes     reply to comment
RaidenHitsu
RaidenHitsu May 2 2012, 8:47am says:

Great job! Altought alien zomboids feel nostalgic now.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Dr.Goupyl
Dr.Goupyl May 2 2012, 9:05am says:

Neat ! That's going to be pleasant.

+2 votes     reply to comment
marksman52
marksman52 May 2 2012, 10:52am says:

I realize that the change is necessary but it is disappointing, however the game still looks great!

+1 vote     reply to comment
gnrlchaos
gnrlchaos May 2 2012, 11:01am says:

I'm in this for the gameplay so it really doesn't matter to me. That said, I think you're making the only choice you really can if you want to expand the animation library. I would assume this will also make shadows a lot easier in the future.

+3 votes     reply to comment
[FH]Gorgutz
[FH]Gorgutz May 2 2012, 11:13am says:

I like what they're doing with it. The long wait since the last update is definitely worth it. Looking forward to playing the update myself! Great work!

+2 votes     reply to comment
VandalSQ
VandalSQ May 2 2012, 11:20am says:

Wohoo ! More animated zombies.... more fun !

+3 votes     reply to comment
Roh
Roh May 2 2012, 1:20pm says:

Awesome!

+2 votes     reply to comment
dave_5430
dave_5430 May 2 2012, 1:47pm says: Online

I think it's still possible to pixelize these sprites a lot more and make them look like the original.

However, new players might enjoy these sprites more, I still prefer the old ones for their Retro 90's adventure look.

+5 votes     reply to comment
explorer13
explorer13 May 2 2012, 5:38pm says:

I like the old sprites, but with a bit of work I think I will love these. The animations look more fluid and the benefits to you developers are immense. Either way it goes, I look forward to the next release. :]

+2 votes     reply to comment
BiskutMentega
BiskutMentega May 2 2012, 6:07pm says:

It looked, different. Somewhat out of place. I prefer the sprite old look.
I'll wait for further updates.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Hendar23
Hendar23 May 2 2012, 7:53pm says:

Looks great. The new look I prefer, and I think it still keeps that retro feel.

+2 votes     reply to comment
CourierSix
CourierSix May 2 2012, 10:15pm says:

i did really enjoy the retro feel, because it reminded me of a PS1 game, the sprites and the 3 or 4 different frames they could move it reminded me off games like command and conquer how ever, i did really enjoy the video and i am looking forward to the new and final update for desura :) i think the new system looks really interesting and some how more terrifying O_O

+2 votes     reply to comment
Samsquanch
Samsquanch May 3 2012, 1:26am says:

I didn't know this existed. Well, they have one more supporter now. Can't wait to dive into this and see the final product.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Sir_Epicosity
Sir_Epicosity May 3 2012, 3:16am says:

more realistic looking zombies..... now everytime i see one i will **** myself

+2 votes     reply to comment
zerion29
zerion29 May 3 2012, 3:46am says:

Can't wait for the multiplayer patch.

+5 votes     reply to comment
MonZombo
MonZombo May 3 2012, 4:16am says:

Can us desura buyers try those beta builds too? or are they only for those who bought the game on the official page?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Batsphinx
Batsphinx May 3 2012, 4:37am replied:

Anyone can try them out MonZombo. We're not massively flagging them up because there are still a few bugs and launch issues.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Freelancerjw
Freelancerjw May 3 2012, 6:50pm replied:

Like Batsphinx said anybody can try them out; just head over to the official website then navigate to the forums and follow the installation directions. Just keep in mind that the versions on the forums are buggy. I've made quite a bit of progress then lost it all on a couple occasions because of a crash, bug, etc. So if you don't get super frustrated and are okay with that then go for it, its neat to see how its progressing along.

+1 vote     reply to comment
sabasNL
sabasNL May 3 2012, 12:40pm says:

A great step forward and I really like it. More modability and new graphics, cant wait!

+1 vote     reply to comment
BigBaggie
BigBaggie May 3 2012, 7:45pm says:

I agree, more mods = better and thus far it's nice... the fluid movement over 2 step actions... I really did like the sprites but they were so well done you'd almost assume they were models anyway lol

+1 vote     reply to comment
puffinmuffin2
puffinmuffin2 May 3 2012, 10:49pm says:

great job guys i think i can speak for a lot of zombie fans in saying your really making our dream game..on the new sprites look i really like the old hand drawn sprites cuz it made the game different and stand out more but when i saw the new models i just thought this game was so much more badass...keep up the good work guys

+4 votes     reply to comment
ninjaman999
ninjaman999 May 4 2012, 7:48am says:

Looks awesome indeed, just please make sure to use lots of animation blending so when animations change, it looks seamless and beautiful
:333

Not to mention more new weapons would be awesome so this is indeed a huge step for the game :3

0 votes     reply to comment
Daerchador
Daerchador May 5 2012, 7:32pm says:

.......hrrrr 3 days...... 3 days............ need ... z..zz..zomboid...fix...

3 days... help me.... *wheeze* ... *Hack* ... need.... h-h-help.... need....

*grrrr*.... 3 ....... days....

feed... me... more...

...more...

+1 vote     reply to comment
Auzar
Auzar May 31 2012, 9:21am says:

I dont like how there all moving with their heads forward in slight bending positions and a mild form of half jogging..

I want a zombie game with just plain slow walking... all sorts of animations with zombies looking up or have a look to the side etc. Like the George A. Romero movies and maybe a mild form fast walk but no jogging.
There arms wanting to reach out to you while going for you, one arm doing that to.

It would be interesting of how many animation zombie walks you guys will make.

The zombies I think move way to fast. I would love to see a real George A. Romero setting. No special zombies. No joggers, fast zombies, fat exploding zombies etc.

This is the game Im most looking forward to. The game about your death. :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
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