Week 8: Firing the Tesla gun

Above, left: Old gun colour scheme. Above, right: New gun colour scheme.

This week I have spent most of the time working on the shoot animation for Otto. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, the turtle Otto (who owns the mansion that the player is breaking into) has a Tesla gun which he uses to shoot the player once detected and within range. The gun is supposed to have a bit of a charge time before it can be fired, allowing the player a small amount of time to get away from Otto once they find themselves in his line of fire. During this time, as it is charged up, the final animation shows the batteries of the gun going from a simple red to a glowing purple before it actually fires.

Since the player is supposed to hide from Otto as much as possible, the shooting scenario will be pretty much everything that the player gets to see of Otto. Therefore I want to make as big an impression as possible on the player with this brief animation of Otto shooting, to keep the player motivated to keep hiding from the scary, old turtle.

I recieved some concepts for the gun from one of the other artists in my group, and used those as guidelines for creating the gun. The first problem that I encountered was the colour of the projectile and the gun. As we initially had blue projectiles representing electricity, and blue electricity flares surrounding the player once hit, it would make sense to make the gun blue as well. However, because of the reason stated above, we came to the conclusion that the blue just wouldn't look scary enough, and so I went looking for other options.

My first shooting animation featured a gun with red batteries, which indeed looked menacing and scary. The red light emitted from the glowing batteries added to that feeling. However, the problem with a red gun and projectile, is that the colour doesn't really make sense together with the electric shock that the player recieves. Electricity is rarely if ever portrayed as red. I thought about ways to keep the red and instead change the death animation into something connected with fire, like a grilled chicken with fox-like features for example, but too much work and effort had already been put into the death animation. Fire also wouln't fit with the general theme of the game, as we already have a bit of an electricity-theme for it.

In the end, we settled with purple for the projectile and the fully charged batteries, as this still reads as electricity, and red for the uncharged batteries because it looks scary. The change in hue also adds to the visible charge-up effect, giving the player a clear indication on how long time they have got to escape before they get hit by a projectile.

As for the how, this was probably the heaviest and most time-consuming animation in our game so far, with a total of 96 layers used in Photoshop and too many hours spent. The layers consist of:

  • simple Otto body layers with the shell and body tilted in different directions,
  • separate layers for the arms as they change direction,
  • bounce light layers in different hues depending on the gun's state,
  • several different glow layers for the batteries in different charge states,
  • gun line-art layers to put over the glow layers, as well as
  • electrical spark layers that increase in numbers and size as the gun is charged.

There is a left-view and a right-view version of the animation, with visible differences in Otto's shell and where the gun is placed. In hindsight, I should probably have spent less time on this animation as it's not visible that often in the game, but still it's the main enemy's attack animation and the only cause for player death, so it was in my opinion time well spent.

Above: Finished shooting animation.
Etiketter: 5sd033

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