Monday, November 1, 2010

Midterm - Plants vs Zombies...FLASHED

I did things a bit backward this time out; I was inspired sort of out of left field and used an actual image on which to model my project. Some of you may have heard of a video game called Plants vs Zombies, in which zombies are trying to get into the house and the player places various useful plants in their path to thwart the brain-eaters. I decided to create a very basic, let's say "inspired by", version in Flash. The results are...ugly.

I actually knew what colors I wanted to use, simply because I had an image to work of off. So, I created my own theme called PvZ. The hexes are: #669933 (base), #45B032, #2FA642, #9DB032, #A69F2F.

I found that I was really lacking in actual saves symbols from previous projects, and those that did exist had no place here, as I tend to keep going in completely different directions with these projects - so there isn't anything repeated here.

Classic Tween
I had originally had the zombie moving on a very linear path forward, but that didn't seem very zombie-like. I decided to change things around and create more of a "lurch" motion, with pauses in between steps. Classic Tween seemed to be a good choice here, as the text suggested it's useful for placing keyframes first and then worrying about the animation later; the original motion tween seemed less flexible for this purpose. I was going to use another Classic Tween for the head, but I was unable to; I assume this is because I had a motion tween for the same symbol later in the timeline, but I'm not sure.

Custom Ease
My custom ease is on the zombie head, as it falls to the ground post-impact. I wanted it to appear to accelerate as it dropped due to gravity; the small bounce on the end was an accident, but I left it in because it seemed amusing. It didn't take nearly as long this time out to get the ease where I wanted it.

Motion Tweens
Most of my motion tweens are pretty basic; the pea flying toward the zombie and the zombie shuffling forward. For my purposes, it worked just fine. I did decided to add an extra one between the pea hitting the zombie and the head falling off, which is where the tint changes color. I lucked out playing with the tint, as it appears that the impact causes the change, then it gradually reduces back to the main color. Most of the work involved getting the zombie to be in the right place for the impact, as I had two objects moving toward each other.

The zombie itself is separated into 4 parts - head, body, left leg and right leg. The head and body are separate mostly because the head falls off. The legs are separated for the frame-by-frame animation. I wanted to give the appearance of a shuffling zombie; originally the legs were moving in almost every frame, but it looked ridiculous. For the second attempt, I spaced out the movements much more to coincide with the pauses in movement. That was a bit painstaking, and if you slow it down, you can tell that it's not the best sync.

I also threw in an IK on the sunflower symbol (yeah, it's a sunflower!). In the game, the sunflowers bounce around happily, so IK seemed like a great way to mimic that. The best part of this process was that I had already created the sunflower, but wanted to modify it substantially. I opened a single instance of the symbol, made my changes, and it propagated to the others - time saver!

I had envisioned a far more ambitious project, with multiple zombies - including the pole vaulter variety - but even this small animation was more work than I expected. I think I'd like to expand upon it for the final, though.

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