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STOP-MOTION SETS

Posted by matthornb, on 2010-12-22 10:55:11

Stop-motion games

I'm thinking about doing something which is a little unusual: Creating cross-platform video games with stop-motion animation and miniatures. Some of my concepts include "Miniature Multiverse" (www.miniaturemultiverse.com) and "Miniature Minigolf"... the idea with the first is to create a panoramic virtual tour with miniatures, spanning various fantasy worlds built in 1/24th scale. The idea of Miniature Minigolf, obviously, is to make a minigolf game with miniature art for the graphics, instead of CG or cartoon-style graphics. In a broader sense, though, I love the idea of using miniatures, or real-world locations, as the basis for photoreal, "tactile-looking" computer game graphics. I've even thought of building miniature scenes and 3d-scanning them, to create realtime 3d replicas of miniature environments... but that's obviously a ways off. We use miniature effects and stop-motion animation as an art form for movies... why not games? Yet, despite the obvious appeal of the idea, I haven't seen anyone seriously pursue miniature art in computer games since "The Neverhood" in 1996! Why?

Posted by Isomer, on 2010-12-22 21:22:46

I like the basic idea of games that use stop motion, but I have a hard time imagining how it can compete with 3D characters you can move around in a game - you'll only be able to see them from the one angle they were shot from. Personally I think the video game arena is best served by CGI animators... that's a big leap for ME because as everyone here knows all too well, I'm a HUGE advocate for the tactile arts. But the world of video games was CGI to start off with, straight back to the days of the original 'Donkey Kong' and 'Pac Man'. I don't like the idea of CGI encroaching on our film making arena and so it should only follow that I don't really approve of US encroaching on their tradition either.

Posted by PsychoScream, on 2010-12-26 12:20:40

It will work if your game is a 2D, sprite/tile-based game. Otherwise, no.

Posted by grecodan, on 2010-12-23 15:39:25

Ditto what Ron said. The primary drawback of a stop mo video game is the lack of true interaction. With a 3D game engine you can generate the characters (and control their motions) on the fly. Every game is unique in that regard. With any sort of pre-animated media you are essentially calling up video assets that have to be prerecorded. In order to get even a semblance of true interactivity, you've got to have a huge number of assets - one for every little move and all the transitions in between. Kind of a daunting production challenge, let alone a playback challenge. Remember the first hand-animated video game? The one Don Bluth did? I can't remember the name of it, but it featured an animated knight on an adventure. Trouble was, it wasn't really very interactive. Players would just make choices at key branching points, then the character animation would move ahead for a second or two until another branching point was reached. You'd see players standing by the arcade machines doing nothing but waiting for the animated sequences to pass so they could flip the joystick again. Wahoo. I think that's why neverworld took a slightly different approach. The situations were basically funny enough you didn't mind just watching them play out. It was more like a slightly interactive movie rather than a true video game.

Posted by Dean, on 2010-12-23 16:33:34

There was a game called Clayfighter on the SNES yeeeaaars ago in which you controlled characters created from photos of clay figures. Something like that. It's probably totally unrelated to what you guys are talking about, I was just reminded of my youth. Oh, how we like to reminisce.

Posted by alex uranga, on 2010-12-24 17:40:24

Squashy software has made a game recently I think. They're a company that makes stop motion animated video games. Here's their website http://squashysoftware.com/index.php

Posted by Warhead, on 2010-12-27 16:16:54

A perfect example of a stop motion video game is Doug TenNapel's The Neverhood. It was an adventure game with side-scrolling puzzle sections and scripted first-person segments interspersed to explore the rather large world.