Skeletal Animation in 2D (Part 1: Concept)

Sometime last year I was playing the game patapon for the psp. Impressed by the fluid animation I tried to look for the technique utilized by the game to perform it’s character animations. I guess my search terms must have been wrong because I couldn’t find any viable results. Half a year later I stumbled across Patapon DS a homebrew version of patapon for the DS, and this post, in particular, caught my attention.

After examining the animation technique presented in that post, I was left thinking: “This seems awfully familiar” and before I knew it I decided to try skeletal animation in 2D (like patapon). My first experiment consists of loading .X models (with only bones exported) and using these bones as entities in a 2D scene graph.

So here’s the motivation factors of this technique:

  • Easy to deploy (Information on bone transformation and .X file format easy to obtain)
  • Easy to create content (No special animation tool or file format required, just a .X exporter)
  • Easy to integrate (Since bones function similarly to parent-child scene-graphs)

This technique, if successful, will be utilized in project warpy for enemy animations.

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