a couple plug-ins I'd pay for

New releases and general discussions.

Post » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:47 pm

Here's a couple ideas I'd love to see..

1) A sprite oblect that can load in Gif animations and retain not only the frame image data (and play it back of course) but also keep the frame timing data. Ideally, it could also automatically load in same-named gifs for alpha data...like walk.gif and walk_alpha.gif so long as frame number and size were the same.

2) A sprite object that could load in and play back perhaps super-simple flash swf animations... even if ironically no support for vector art... if it allowed for playing of swf files that simply moved around bitmaps (with translucency, rotation, and scaling), then this would fascilitate extreemely robust and memory efficient animations... (like the bone-animation system, but more robust and allowing for artists to use really robust tools they are alread used to to make the animations.)

This would allow for a non-artist construct user to contract freelance artists who may have never heard of construct and may not be willing to learn its bone animation system and deal with its current limitations.

I've tried to contact the maker of Express Animator but have not yet recieved a response about potentially making a feature-reduced version of his swf animation making program (only 40 us dollars) for this specific purpose. This would allow for an extreemely inexpensive animation tool that would not allow for the accidental use of features that construct didn't support.

If anyone else likes this idea...especially if your a programmer, please do contact them as well. :)

thanks
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Post » Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:13 pm

There are several reasons gif's aren't used.
While they do allow for alpha transparencies, those transparencies are limited to either transparent or not transparent, you can't have partial opacity in a gif.
They are often optimized for the web, meaning they have a reduced color palette, and animated gif's will have parts of the image that don't need to be redrawn, removed.
There have also been issues with patent's on the format, not a good idea for an open source program.
Finally, gif's can have different frame lengths, and anything imported as an animation would be converted to the same length.

As far as flash goes, it's been suggested, but shot down.
Again you have patent issues, but mainly because a vector render engine would be terribly hard to do in DirectX, and would probably be quite a draw on cpu.
It may be possible in the future to use swf's, but I wouldn't count on it being able to do anything except act like a movie.
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Post » Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:20 pm

[quote="newt":vblmf7tb]There have also been issues with patent's on the format, not a good idea for an open source program.[/quote:vblmf7tb]

The relevant patents expired back in 2003-2004, so the format is actually free for anybody to use now.
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Post » Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:50 am

My point about gifs was to have a sprite that would NOT lose the timing per frame. IE, not a plug-in to load it into the current sprites, but a new sprite with unique timing per frame.

Also, thats why I mentioned a second GIF, that would me nothing but the alpha data... in other words, a greyscale GIF that is loaded in automatically due to naming convention that would be aplied as the alpha chanel per frame.

Aslo, with flash, I mentioned potentially leaving out the vector part, Flash or tools like the one I had mentioned (Express Animator) can be used to create animations with bitmap images... by giving the seperate bitmap components new position, rotation, and scale (and semitransparency) per key frame.

This could be used to create beautifully animated characters that use very little memory. SEE ODIN SPHERE for ps2.

I alsos mentioned I had contacted the creator of Express animator. One sugestion I had made to him was to create a unique file format for the data.. basically just text file with the needed data for frame timing, x,y coordinates, transforms and such....

Then it would simply be a matter of interprating this data in the construct runtime and doing what it already does well, rendering rotated, transformed bitmaps.
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Post » Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:44 am

if you have the time to make an alpha GIF/Normal GIF, why dont you just import the frames that you made normally, animated gifs only support 256 colours anyways, and its not like it would be difficult to save all the frames as pngs and import them.
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Post » Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:56 am

Adding a flash interpretter, even without vector art, would be a notoriously difficult job, I wouldn't know where to begin with it really.

GIF animation is more feasible, but I do question whether it's really necessary. Some additions to sprites like importing or running animations at runtime - from external .png files and maybe a data file for frame timings - would be far more suitable for the job.
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Post » Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:13 pm

Hi Rich,

thanks again for taking the time to respond. the ability to have each frame set to different duration would be a great feature.. it would also be great if frames could be reused multiple times or in multiple animations without redundant data usage.

QuaziGNRLnose,
Some programs could generate the alpha version automatically, or semi-automatically. I use Pro-motion, which can save out animstrip images (spritesheets) and automatically save out an alpha image for the spritesheet. I could then very easily reconvert the spritesheets into gifs.
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Post » Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:26 pm

Just to make sure you know, frame timings can be set in the animator bar by clicking a frame and changing its properties?

It's not changeable at runtime yet, which could be handy.
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Post » Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:41 pm

Very cool! I did not know that. :)

thanks again, Rich.

The ability to load in and change animations and art is important to me, as I want to make games that people can customize. If they're bound to the same number of frames, frame size, and timing of the default animations that I create it would be less than ideal. Also, If they had to fish through tons if individual png files, that wouldn't be great either...which is why I was hopeful for GIF's. However, spritesheets and little textfiles with timing data could be a very reasonable compromise. :)
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Post » Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:23 pm

So basically all you want is an easier way to get animation frame information into Construct?
That might be doable in a plugin, compared to an ide change to import file types that offer no real improvements. Actually even if they were to make it possible to import gifs, wouldn't they still be saved as png, or bmp within Construct?
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