Another World

EIGHT Games THAT em­braced THIS lit­tle-used AN­I­MA­TION TECH­NIQUE

Games TM - - CONTENTS -

dragon’s lair (1983)

like much of the dis­ney an­i­ma­tion that in­spired it, Dragon’s Lair used a lot of ro­to­scop­ing tech­niques to make sure that the flow of move­ment was as close to hu­man as pos­si­ble, while still adding plenty of flair and style to the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence. as a largely an­i­mated ex­pe­ri­ence, there were a lot more frames to fill than in your usual game ex­pe­ri­ence of the time and that meant an even big­ger chal­lenge.

karateka (1984)

an early fight­ing game and an early re­lease from Jor­dan Mech­ner, whose work comes back to ro­to­scoped an­i­ma­tion a few times as we’ll see shortly. For Karateka, it was largely about mak­ing sure that all of the mar­tial arts moves, per­formed by Mech­ner’s karate in­struc­tor and then an­i­mated over the top. With only eight frames of an­i­ma­tion the ef­fect is par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive.

prince of per­sia (1989)

Jor­dan Mech­ner was back and with an even more am­bi­tious ac­tion ex­pe­ri­ence in Prince Of Per­sia. Its use of ro­to­scop­ing to cre­ate the most re­al­is­tic run­ning and jump­ing an­i­ma­tions pos­si­ble (not to men­tion the climb­ing, which we’ve al­ways rather liked) is prob­a­bly one of the most fa­mous ex­am­ples of the form. some of it was cap­tured from videos of Mech­ner’s brother as well as the movie The Ad­ven­tures Of Robin Hood.

flash­back (1992)

Be­fore Another World there was Fu­ture Wars, a game on which eric Chahi was artist and paul Cuis­set was de­signer and while Chahi made his ad­ven­ture, Cuis­set worked on Flash­back. and like Chahi, he moved towards ro­to­scop­ing to give his fan­tas­tic ad­ven­ture some re­al­is­tic feel­ing an­i­ma­tions and ground­ing. The fi­nal game is ac­tu­ally an in­ter­est­ing mid­dle-ground be­tween the sci-fi world build­ing of Another World and the ac­tion of Prince Of Per­sia.

ho­tel dusk: room 215 (2007)

Ten years af­ter The Last Ex­press another ad­ven­ture game fi­nally came along and em­braced ro­to­scop­ing for its an­i­ma­tion, this time bring­ing a scratchy sketch aes­thetic into the mix, which gave Ho­tel Dusk a unique feel. This was com­bined with 3d ob­jects and more tra­di­tion­ally ren­dered back­grounds to give the whole game an in­ter­est­ing mul­ti­me­dia feel that com­bined nicely with the way it asked play­ers to hold the ds like a book.

Another World (1991)

eric Chahi used ro­to­scop­ing largely in the small cutscenes of the game, such as record­ing the drift­ing of a toy car to cre­ate the scene of lester ar­riv­ing at his lab or record­ing him­self walk­ing away from cam­era to cre­ate a sim­i­lar ac­tion for the lead char­ac­ter. The walk­ing, run­ning and jump­ing an­i­ma­tions all carry a sim­i­lar re­al­is­tic feel to Prince Of Per­sia too. It helped give the ex­pe­ri­ence a ground­ing against the fan­tas­ti­cal back­drop Chahi had cre­ated.

the last ex­press (1997)

Mech­ner turned to ro­to­scop­ing again and with fan­tas­tic ef­fect for this ad­ven­ture game in­spired by art Nou­veau. a 22-day shoot was re­quired with ac­tors in full makeup and cos­tume to help to cap­ture ev­ery facet of move­ment and emo­tion for the game. Then a se­lec­tion of frames were kept, de­sat­u­rated, put through a line-draw­ing pro­gram and fi­nally painted over. The fi­nal ef­fect gives the whole game a very strange but en­gag­ing qual­ity.

the Ban­ner saga (2014)

prob­a­bly our most re­cent ex­am­ple of re­ally great im­ple­men­ta­tion of ro­to­scop­ing, The Ban­ner Saga cre­ated some won­der­ful tran­si­tional, at­tack and idling an­i­ma­tions based on record­ings. This gives ev­ery move­ment in the game a sense of weight, which plays bril­liantly against the me­dieval set­ting and the weaponry be­ing used. There’s an ad­di­tional bru­tal­ity that comes from each blow thanks in large part to the style of an­i­ma­tion em­ployed.

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