Theme Park: Alpha Week – Seal the deal

Hi again!

Since the last update our game has gone through a re-haul to a battle arena type of game where penguin mothers will try to snatch the last penguin baby and hold on to it for as long as they can, while avoiding various traps and obstacles! To match the new direction, our input was changed to trackballs.

Tomorrow is alpha and we are feeling the heat but considering the major change that was made last Friday it’s better than it could be.

What I’ve mainly been working on lately are the seals that will circle the arena and drag off unsuspecting penguins. I’ve been doing concepts, movement animations in four directions and an idle animation. Fairly simple, low-frame animations to match those of the penguins but it still took up quite a lot of time.

I started by sketching out concept shapes:


Together with Lead Art it was decided that rounder, softer shapes would suit the overall style of the game best. So based on that I refined the concept closest to that idea, rounded out the face more to make it cuter and adjusted it to the intended perspective. This was the result:


After that it was time to test out colors. I used the color palette in the Style Guide to create five alternatives that would both work with the colors and textures of the art assets while still looking “seal-like”.


With input from the group this selection was narrowed down to two alternatives and tested against the background and other assets (NOTE: This phase happened pre-concept-overhaul, so the ice blocks still follow a hexagon-pattern):


We finally decided on the grey seal since the light blue one blended too much against the water. So going forward I created a turnaround for the seal to base the movement-animations on:


Time to animate! As mentioned before, after looking at the penguin animations and the time available I decided to limit each animation to 6 frames each. After experimenting a bit I decided that since there would not be that many enemies that required movement animations I could afford to draw each frame by hand instead of just putting the body, head and limbs on separate layers, a method that would save time but did not yield the results I wanted.

This was my workflow for the movement animations:

Rough sketch with the primary motions:


Iterated sketch with details and secondary motions:


Cleaned up lineart:




and done!


Look at how happy it is!

Then the same process for the side- and back-animations (the timing is off in these, don’t worry ’bout it):


That last seal is totally going for the Olympics gold medal.

Finally, an idle animation. Seals aren’t all cuddly and cutesy after all…


That’s all for today folks! See you next time!

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