Feedback Request: Animation lengths and file sizes

Hi guys!  Feedback is appreciated from anyone who reads this and uses my animations.

I generally try and keep animations 35 frames or below. Sometimes I will choose to go over that limit if I feel making it longer will produce the animation I envision (see Water_003).  However, I prefer not to do that very often.

Some general stats regarding animations in VX before I move on:

  • VX plays animations at 15 frames per second.
  • The total amount of frames you can use from animation sheets for a single animation in the VX Database is 200 even if you different animation sheets for “Graphics 1” and “Graphics 2”.
  • The maximum frames a single Database animation can have is 200.  That equals ~13.3 seconds.  This is different from having an animation sheet frame limit.
  • I don’t know what the frame limits are in XP (if there are any).

The reason why I’m concerned about animation length goes back to my experience in Final Fantasy X.  Although Lulu was able to hit hard with her spells for most of the game, having her cast anything was quite annoying due to her long-ass cast animation.  That resentment may also have to do with Quick Hit being so overpowered (and quick!), but I digress. 🙂

The point is — I understand from a player’s view that long, repetitive animations can get really annoying.  30 frames is 2 seconds and I feel that is comfortable length for players to endure for most of the game.

How do you guys feel about lengths of animations in your projects?  What length is comfortable for you and what is your breaking point?  My goal certainly isn’t to use 200 frames for an animation.  That’s far from it.  But in the event that I create a relatively long animation, let’s say 3 to 5 seconds long, how would you feel about that?

This also brings up the concern regarding file sizes.  Up to this post, my animations all together have reached over 25mb in file size.  It is inevitable that the number will grow as I make more.  How concerned are you about your project’s total size?  I don’t expect anyone to use every animation I make, but I understand that keeping your project size small is good so it’ll be easy and fast to upload/download.  This is another factor I want to keep in mind when I decide on animation lengths.

Let me know what you guys think by leaving a comment.

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12 Responses to Feedback Request: Animation lengths and file sizes

  1. Baz says:

    I believe that 30-35 frames for your animations is perfect. I do agree that making them too long can get repetitive and annoying, but then again, making them too short doesn’t leave much for detailed animations. However, short animations like “water_001” can leave the game creator to make and interesting animation with the two allowed different animation graphics. I also don’t mind the bigger file size. Like you said, creators don’t have to use every single file, but I would prefer the files to be this size because of the great quality. It’s only expected. So that’s my opinion. Keep up the great animation work!

  2. ADavis398 says:

    I do agree on making the animation to long can be a hassle, I don’t mind the animation sheets being over 30 frames though. I think that however many frames you need to achieve the idea you wanted with your animation is fine by me. I also don’t mind file size either because as long as the game’s quality is great, it doesn’t matter how big it is. So to be honest, I really don’t mind the animation length, as long as its well-made and detailed as your other ones.

  3. Mr. Bubble says:

    Thanks for your comments. 😀

  4. Vic says:

    Hi. Thank you very much for your excellent animations.
    I’d like to introduce my way to display long animation in short time:
    (Please backup your project first. Do it on your own.)

    1. Open animation database and add “spd[X]” on your animation’s name. X is a number between 1 to 4. Like “spd[4]Water_03”. 1 for normal speed, 4 for maximum speed.

    2. Open script, then replace “update” function at Sprite_Base with script below:
    def update
    super
    if @animation != nil
    if @animation.name[/^spd\[(\d)]/] != nil
    speed = $1.to_i
    else
    speed = 1
    end
    @animation_duration -= speed
    if @animation_duration % (5 – speed) == 0
    update_animation
    end
    end
    @@animations.clear
    end

    3. Play the animation.

    In this way, you can play high-quality(many frame) animations fast. Maximum x4 speed.
    I’m not a professional programmer so this may not be the best way – but it works. You can try it.
    I’m not very good at english either. Please ask me if you couldn’t understand my english.

  5. Vic says:

    Sorry, my last script doesn’t work well when X is 2 or 3.
    Here is fixed script. Replace “update”, “start_animation”, and “update_animation” at Sprite_Base with below:

    def update
    super
    if @animation != nil
    @animation_duration -= 1
    if @animation_duration % (5 – @animation_speed) == 0
    update_animation
    end
    end
    @@animations.clear
    end

    def start_animation(animation, mirror = false)
    dispose_animation
    @animation = animation
    if @animation.name[/^spd\[(\d)]/] != nil
    @animation_speed = $1.to_i
    else
    @animation_speed = 1
    end
    return if @animation == nil
    @animation_mirror = mirror
    @animation_duration = @animation.frame_max * (5 – @animation_speed) + 1
    load_animation_bitmap
    @animation_sprites = []
    if @animation.position != 3 or not @@animations.include?(animation)
    if @use_sprite
    for i in 0..15
    sprite = ::Sprite.new(viewport)
    sprite.visible = false
    @animation_sprites.push(sprite)
    end
    unless @@animations.include?(animation)
    @@animations.push(animation)
    end
    end
    end
    if @animation.position == 3
    if viewport == nil
    @animation_ox = 544 / 2
    @animation_oy = 416 / 2
    else
    @animation_ox = viewport.rect.width / 2
    @animation_oy = viewport.rect.height / 2
    end
    else
    @animation_ox = x – ox + width / 2
    @animation_oy = y – oy + height / 2
    if @animation.position == 0
    @animation_oy -= height / 2
    elsif @animation.position == 2
    @animation_oy += height / 2
    end
    end
    end

    def update_animation
    if @animation_duration > 0
    frame_index = @animation.frame_max – (@animation_duration + (4 – @animation_speed)) / (5 – @animation_speed)
    animation_set_sprites(@animation.frames[frame_index])
    for timing in @animation.timings
    if timing.frame == frame_index
    animation_process_timing(timing)
    end
    end
    else
    dispose_animation
    end
    end

    Please do it at your own risk.

  6. Mr. Bubble says:

    Umm, thanks Vic. I’d like to try it out, but all I’m getting are syntax errors. Yes, I did overwrite the methods in Sprite_Base.

    But even then, I will keep making animations at 15 FPS.

  7. Sama says:

    I use your animations in an iPhone game I’m working on and they work and look amazing. I’ve not had any issues with the file size (can always downsample it) nor the animation rate. I realize this is for VX/XP etc, but I use a lot of VX/XP resources because they are so readily available and pretty much exactly what I’m looking for.

    I can always speed up or slow down the animation which is trivial. Variety is great and its always nice if someone is looking for a non short animation (5-10 seconds) to have someone that provides a longer animation.

    I absolutely love the quality of these animations they are by far the best looking thing in the game 😉 The molten slag after the lightning bolt is just perfect 😉

    Knights of the Round (FF7) Had its place, and it was awesome the first time you saw it, even if it got old later on, there are ways to trim animation lengths, or just limit the amount of times a player should need to see it, or use it etc, but for that “holy shit that was AWESOME” effect, sometimes a long effect does just that 😉

    For spells like “Fire 1” or what not, I think you are spot on with your length & frames. I’m not complaining, and certainly wouldn’t if you wanted to experiment with a longer animation.

    • Mr. Bubble says:

      Thank you for using my graphics for an iPhone game, even though I don’t have a lot at this time. I do hope you’ve read my terms of use regarding commercial games along with the terms of use for the other resources you’re using.

      • Sama says:

        Mr Bubble,

        What you have is by far the best resource I’ve found that matches what I’m looking for. I have read it, and intend to follow through with what it states and more, whenever I go from hobby & development, to release & sale.

        As a side project for my spare time, its great to have access to resources to keep a project going, instead of being bogged down in hiring & commissioning resources we may or may not even end up using, or worse, a game we may never even ship.

        Thanks again!

        • Mr. Bubble says:

          You’re welcome. 😀 My skill level is still quite low compared to other works I’ve seen, but I’m doing this as a hobby. I doubt my understanding of the PI software could help me in my career endeavors.

          In case you’re wondering why I say to acquire your own PI license for commercial games… I am not completely clear on what the license agreement is regarding the use of graphics made through PI is. I’m pretty sure PI graphics can be used commercially if you own your own software license, but I’m not sure about commercial usage without a license. So in order to avoid potential lawsuits, I say to acquire one anyway. If you can find out otherwise, I would like to know. 🙂

  8. Shads says:

    Regarding animation length, it really depends a lot on what kind of move/skill/etc you’ll be using it for.

    For example, a move that you WILL be using a lot in a game should always have a pretty short animation (2-3 seconds are perfectly fine). However… if, let’s say, you are using a concept similar to “limit breaks/overdrives”, then those can last much longer without getting boring as you won’t be using them all that often.

    Another example is animations for an important enemy’s “best move” or something like that. The final boss using a 10-second move when at low health during his final form really shouldn’t bother anyone. Instead, you’ll get the same “hell yeah” reaction you had the first time you summoned Bahamut Zero in FF7. But if every other enemy knew a 10-second move, it would get frustrating (Bahamut Zero got boring after the third time, and after the tenth time, it become unbearable).

    In other words, the frequency is the most deciding factor regarding length. For my current project, I’ve actually made a few “story/event-only” moves that goes above the 200 frames, by having the moves trigger common events that links animations together (one starts where the other one ended and at the very end, the actual effect of the move is triggered). These only happen once or twice in a whole game though.

    But as long as the animation is intended for a “regular” move, then I think 2-3 seconds are ideal.

    And regarding size, don’t worry. A game worth spending your time playing will also be woth a few extra mb on your harddrive.

    …and finally, your animations freaking rock. Far better than the standard ones.

    • Mr. Bubble says:

      Thanks for your lengthy input!

      I haven’t thrown out the idea of very long animations, but I really don’t want to focus on that at this time. There is a lack of animation variety available which is why I’ve been releasing rather basic spell animations compared to what else is out there. Basic spells are especially important to focus on because they will likely be the first spell effects a player would see in a project and likely will be the spells they see relatively the most.

      I’m also still learning techniques so animation output has been slow unfortunately.

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