Nowadays all games are animated its what makes the game interactive and interesting, I bet no one wants to play static games anymore with all the interesting mind-blowing games being made these days.
The animation industry has revolutionized so many areas in our lives from movies to series to games to interactive education, all use animation as a means to explain and get an idea across.
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What is Animation?
Animation at its core is the movement of images or objects, imagine one circle on screen we all that a static object because it has one state. The moment that circle changes position from left to right it became an animated circle.
Animation is not only movement though, any change of state could be considered animation, taking out the circle example from above if the circle changes color from white to red that is also considered animation because it’s a change of state.
From that simple example, we can expand to the movement of 3d objects and the animation of humanoid characters that are rigged with a 3d skeleton and bones, to the animated particle systems that give us those awesome VFX shots we see in games.
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History Of Animated Games
Animated games started decades ago around 1950 when researchers and artists started experimenting with adding animation to games, a great example is the game “Tetris”.
Back then computing power was very limited and the advancement in technologies was on a slow curve.
The year 1980 marked a very big change in animated games history, games like “Pac-Man” and “Super Marios Pros” were released and with it, the journey for better and better games started, background movement and animated sprites used to raise eyebrows, and turn heads back in that time.
In early 2000 the rise of three-dimensional animations started with games like “Tomb Raider” that gave players an indulging experience they had never seen before.
Today with the huge development of VR and AR, animated games are on a new unseen level and the future has no limits.
Types of Animation
Animation is a vast world that spans across materials, mediums, and technologies, but let’s dissect it one by one and try to cover as much as we can so we can start grasping how big this world is.
2D is a term used for everything that is 2 dimensions, and by dimensions we mean X and Y, so anything that doesn’t have any depth.
A straightforward example is a drawing you draw on a piece of paper that is a 2D drawing as it’s only on 2 axes and has no depth to it.
2D animation is one of the earlier animation forms discovered and developed by humans, from Walk Disney moves to famous cartoon films that resonate with all of us growing up.
2D animation has had lots of great leaps from animating frame by frame and drawing each frame on a piece of paper to having 2D animation rigged characters and scenes with softwares like ToonBoom.
Check out this list of the Best Adobe Animate Tutorials.
3D is the term used for 3 dimensions, it is basically 2D but with one more axis added to it, which is the depth and we call that the Z axis.
We cant mention 3D animation without talking about Pixar animation studios and how they were the pioneers in terms of research and development of this world.
3D animated movies like the first Toy Story and comparing it with the latest Toy Story movie you can see there the actual progress and great advancement it had.
Stop Motion Animation
This is one of the more traditional types of animation, Stop motion, or what people call it Claymation. This is the art of posing an object for each frame and taking a photo of it, similar to the old ways of 2D animation.
One of the huge players in this world is Studio Laika with their famous movies that still make huge profits till now with all the advancements in 3D animation.
Top Animated Games
|1||The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time|
|2||Grand Theft Auto IV|
|3||Super Mario Galaxy|
|10||League Of Legends|
Importance of Animation in Gaming
Animation is what makes a game fun from a moving character to the interactive background and awesome-looking VFX that keep the player’s eyes attached to the screen.
The need for immersive experiences is what the 3D gaming industry is all about and you can simply have an immersive experience while everything is simply static, this is why every aspect of the game should have some level of animation.
Check out this list of the Best Game Engines To get started.
This also includes UI animations (animated menu, buttons, HUD screen) to haptic feedback that basically vibrates the cellphone or whatever device you playing on in order to give an immersive experience.
Tools Used in Game Animation
Personally, when I started in the gaming industry 15 years ago there weren’t that many tools and softwares, but nowadays actually choosing software to learn is a task on its own!
Below is a list of the animation tools used in gaming.
2D Animation Tools Used in Gaming
- Adobe Animate
- Adobe Photoshop
3D Animation Tools Used in Gaming
- Autodesk Maya
- Autodesk 3Ds Max
- Unity Pro
- Cinema 4D
Why Do Players Enjoy Animated Games?
Players around the world choose to play a game for pure enjoyment, the pursuit of fun you could say, but of course that is not the only reason, some play to earn but the majority play to have fun.
The more animated elements you have on the screen, the more the player’s eyes would be attached to it, and the more immersive the experience is, of course, everything has to be made in a well-studied manner other wise you would have a cluttered mess of a gameplay.
Animated games have developed a lot and in recent years it has been growing exponentially, the experience of playing a game is becoming so immersive that the line between game and reality is starting to disappear especially with the introduction of Spatial Computing (Apple’s fancy way of saying Virtual Reality).