It’s a tough decision to scrap something after you put so much work into it, but this cape thing ended up being a much bigger project than I originally intended, and I really need to finish this game one of these days.
The problem with making an animated cape is that it really needs to be a lot more reactive than a basic player animation. Honestly, the best way to do this would probably be changing the cape animations based on physics, but I don’t have anything that complicated set up, so I am currently changing the cape animations based on changes to the player animations.
BUT… It’s not that simple. For instance, there are currently several different actions where the player has the same jump animation… a regular jump, shooting off the high jump button, falling off of something, bouncing off of something, being caught in a wind stream (up or down), etc. Sometimes the player is moving up, sometimes down, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, sometimes up a short time then down, sometimes up a long time then down, sometimes coming into a fall from a jump, sometimes from a float, sometimes from hitting an enemy, etc. A single cape animation simply does not work for all of these different contexts. Often it won’t even be hanging in the right direction.
That’s just one example, albeit the most complicated one.
So I’ve had to make a lot of cape animations, and a lot of small transition cape animations to get from context X to context Y, etc. Already the cape is by far the largest animation sheet with the most animations right now. Which also means that a lot of the animations are currently a bit wonky looking, since I made many of them in a short amount of time and haven’t had the time or energy to go back and clean them all up yet.
The TLDR is that it’s been a ton of work and it is tough to really get the cape flowing the right way for all cases. I think I have it more or less playing acceptable animations correctly for 90% of cases, but it’s those edge cases that are tough to figure out, and require some deep dives into the code and really understanding exactly what is happening with the player at any given moment. And even once I got decent cape animations set up for all possible contexts, it would still take a lot of work to go over the many animations and make them look good. I know I could do it to my own level of satisfaction eventually, but is it really worth the time and energy?
Anyway, below is a quick video to show you where I left off. You can see some places where it isn’t really using a good animation for the context (running up hills in the start, in the wind streams, etc.) and you can also see how sloppy some of the animations are even when the cape is in more or less the right place for the context.
I’m not sure if I’m going to totally scrap the cape idea yet, because I love it in theory, but I’m at least going to put it aside for now. Much more important things to be working on at the moment, and I don’t want to get caught up in stuff that isn’t helping get this game finished.