Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
￿
If you
re coming to this topic from another programming or
game development background, I find discussions of timeline
animation make people from these disciplines glaze over or
hang their heads.
'
￿
In game development, timeline animation use is typically greatly
reduced, and scripted animation is far more common.
The last of these points is really the most important. In game
development, you want to have as much control as possible over
the animations you use in your game, and the best way to achieve
this control is by creating the animations through ActionScript.
That said, I still regularly use the timeline for things like title and
menu screens, cutscenes between gameplay segments, and other
incidental, nongame-related animation. If you are interested in
learning more about timeline animation in Flash, I have links to
excellent learning resources on flashgamebook.com .
A Little Terminology
So that we
re all on the same page (literally and figuratively) over
thecourseofthischapter,hereareahandfuloftermsthatwillbe
used shortly, what they mean, and how they are relevant.
'
Easing
In real life, most motions do not occur in a rigid fashion. Unless
you are a robot underneath, for instance, your movement is not
completely linear and not always at the same rate of speed. When
starting to walk from a stationary position, you gradually speed up
and then slow down when you come to a stop again. In animation,
this gradual acceleration and deceleration constitute the concept
known as easing. Easing is a critical component in making anima-
tions look convincing and
real.
If a ball rolls across a surface, it
shouldn
tmoveatafixedspeedandthencometoanabruptstop.
The friction between the ball and the surface causes it to progres-
sively come to a stop. In scripted animation, easing is usually
defined by an equation (in the case of Flash, a function) that deter-
mines how an animation plays out over a given time based on a
starting and an ending point. It can also be used to create effects
such as elasticity and bounciness.
'
Sequencing
Sequencing refers to the stacking of animations (usually of different
objects), so they occur in a particular order rather than simulta-
neously. This concept becomes especially important when timing
events within a game; when a player makes a move, you might
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