NES games with the best animation

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darryl.revok
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NES games with the best animation

Post by darryl.revok » Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:52 pm

I'm curious to find some of the best examples of quality animation on the NES console. Two that come to mind for me are Metal Storm and Moon Crystal. Wondering if there's anything on the same level in terms of smoothness of animation and frame rate.

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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by dougeff » Sun Sep 27, 2015 2:09 am

Maybe Prince of Persia or Aladdin? Aladdin was back ported from the SNES. Why restrict yourself to NES? People were sketching sprites on graph paper and entering them as hexadecimal numbers into text only consoles in those days. Of course their animations could be improved on. We have so much better tools to work with today.
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Estlib
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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by Estlib » Sun Sep 27, 2015 2:38 am

little samson
NOPE.

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DragonDePlatino
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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by DragonDePlatino » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:47 am

Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch had some pretty smooth animation. I've seen people watch the intro and say "This is so fake! NES games can't have smooth animation like that!"

Boulder Dash is another good one. The characters are small, but energetic and lively. The animated background tiles also add a lot of life to the game.

But really, I think the final boss from Mr. Gimmick takes the cake. It's a huge, realistically-proportioned, well-animated person with lots of poses. His animations seem more like a series of keyframes than animations, but I really think the artists and programmers did the best with what they had.

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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by Dwedit » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:48 am

Moon Crystal
Here come the fortune cookies! Here come the fortune cookies! They're wearing paper hats!

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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by Bregalad » Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:57 am

@darryl.revok I do not know where your avatar come from, but it looks like much much better animated than the average NES game. If it comes from a released game, then you probably have your answer :)

By the way it is crazy how much the art of static good looking pixel art and of good animation are two completely separate things : You can have all frames looking amazing and the whole animation look like pure crap, or the other way around.

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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by tokumaru » Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:13 pm

DragonDePlatino wrote:Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch had some pretty smooth animation.
Just looked at some clips on YouTube... I don't see it. Didn't notice anything particularly smooth.
Dwedit wrote:Moon Crystal
Mentioned in the first post.
Bregalad wrote:@darryl.revok I do not know where your avatar come from
I'm pretty sure that's from the game he's making. You even commented on his art, BTW.

I tried really hard, but couldn't think of any other examples. I guess this kind of animation just wasn't very popular on the NES.

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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by darryl.revok » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:50 pm

dougeff wrote:Maybe Prince of Persia
I forgot about this one; it wasn't one that I played much. Interesting that the sprites in this game lack outlines. I started out trying that and it didn't really work for the art style I'm using.
Aladdin was back ported from the SNES.
I didn't even know this existed. So apparently there were three versions of the Genesis port. This is the version that had Disney animators. The official EU version is... well... the animations themselves are pretty fluid. The way they move around the game screen is unbelievable choppy. Unless there's something wrong with the timing on this video I found, this looks almost unplayable. (At first glance I thought, this looks like GBC, and it turns out it's a port of the Game Boy version)

The Super Games version looks a little better as far as control, (still choppy) but the animation quality is much lower.

The port of the SNES version looks alright except for a few glitches in the video I saw. I'll say it looks better than most NES animation.
Why restrict yourself to NES?
The options for defining shapes become so much greater when you have a bigger palette. There's better animation on later systems, but then again I can watch anime and see much more detailed animation than that. When it comes to defining shapes and motion within the limitations of the console, I'd like to see the best examples that have been done so far. Part of my curiosity comes from wanting to study how they did certain things, and another part of it comes from wanting to see where exactly the bar is for this one particular aspect of NES game design.
Estlib wrote:little samson
Not bad. I can see why this would get suggested. The animation in this game really bugged be though because I feel like they figured out how to draw things spinning and decided to use that for just about everything.
DragonDePlatino wrote:I think the final boss from Mr. Gimmick takes the cake.
I haven't beat this yet so I had to look it up. It's pretty impressive. He's very large for NES. His body could move more for the sake of animation, but given the overall amazing quality of the game, I can see why they didn't even need to, if they even had space for it. The boss is already impressive as it is in this game. If the boss was in Moon Crystal though, for example, he'd need to move more or he'd look stiff compared to the player.
Bregalad wrote:I do not know where your avatar come from, but it looks like much much better animated than the average NES game.
Why thank you. :) Yes, it's mine. I need to upload a newer version. I made a couple tweaks.
By the way it is crazy how much the art of static good looking pixel art and of good animation are two completely separate things
Definitely. This is my first foray into animation, and I ended up redoing my first batch because of this. When I went back and looked at some games that I remember being visually impressive, like, say, Zen Intergalactic Ninja, I see that the animation itself isn't anything to write home about. Some games like Kirby are A) probably some of the best animation on the system, and B) right on the verge of being impressive for sake of animation but not quite. Like, I feel the visuals of that game are super effective, he has a ton of powers which have accompanying animations, and the game itself is so smooth that the entire thing feels smooth. But, if you just look at the animations, you wouldn't think "that's an impressive animation with a lot of frames". I feel the same way about Mr. Gimmick. Being that those two are still near the top in animation for the system, I feel like that only leaves a handful of games that really stand out for this one particular reason. To me, so far, I've seen it in Moon Crystal, Prince of Persia, and Metal Storm. I feel like there must be more Japanese games though that I don't know about.

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Alp
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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by Alp » Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:43 pm

Does an unfinished homebrew count? I have one in the works, that has animation rivalling Contra/Super Metroid. The best part? I'm not the one programming it! :wink:

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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by mkwong98 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:36 am

Dragon's Lair and the transformation in Guardian Legend

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darryl.revok
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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by darryl.revok » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:02 am

Alp wrote:Does an unfinished homebrew count? I have one in the works, that has animation rivalling Contra/Super Metroid. The best part? I'm not the one programming it! :wink:
Does it count? Hmm... I dunno, can I see some animations? :)

Are you talking about Cat's Quest? It looks good but I thought you were going NROM with that one, which wouldn't leave room for a lot of animations. My apologies for not reading the entire thread if you changed your mind along the way and already posted it.
mkwong98 wrote:Dragon's Lair
Yeah the NES version does have pretty good animation even if the game is abysmal. It's weird that good animation in an older game usually goes hand in hand with dreadfully sluggish controls. There's no reason that you can't have a standard platformer with more frames of animation.
the transformation in Guardian Legend
Yeah this is pretty cool. Neat game too. Compile made some fantastic games.

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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by psycopathicteen » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:21 am

If a game has good animation but sluggish control it's either because:

a) Control is too dependant on animation.
b) Animation is fluid but has bad timing.

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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by tepples » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:46 am

darryl.revok wrote:It's weird that good animation in an older game usually goes hand in hand with dreadfully sluggish controls.
In some games, especially on platforms without hardware sprites, I wonder if it has something to do with needing to restrict movement to tile multiples. Or it might have something to do with failure to transition from running frames to jumping frames.

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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by 93143 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:02 pm

It might be due to the nature of fluid/realistic animation, similar to how Street Fighter III players complained that the characters were telegraphing their moves.

Jumping may be an instructive example. In a Mario game, when you push the button, Mario leaves the ground. Right away, at full speed. In real life, you can't do that; you have to bend your legs first, and for anything more than a short hop you'd be lucky to get off the ground in 10 frames. The same applies to other types of motion.

If you're animating something in a cartoon, you can time the transition period so that what we tend to think of as the motion itself happens on cue. But if you're animating a video game, you can't start the animation early; you have to go by button presses. And that introduces a lag between when the player expects the important part of the motion to happen and when it actually does. This requires intelligent balancing of fluidity and promptitude.

A similar phenomenon occurs in music. Lots of instruments have attack periods in the tens of milliseconds, sometimes longer. (In real life, a musician will simply take this into account and start early, but MIDI or tracker arranges often fail to account for this and end up with lag.) When preparing an instrument for a MIDI keyboard, it can be necessary to chop the attack off the samples if you want the instrument to feel right when played live - for instance, a lot of the attack on a piano, especially one in a poor state of repair, consists of the noise made by striking the key, which happens before the key hits the keybed, meaning a typical MIDI keyboard can't tell you've even hit the note until that part of it is supposed to have already played...

...

Or it could just be that the developers only had so much time and effort to spend, and spent it unwisely...

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Re: NES games with the best animation

Post by Bregalad » Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:27 pm

93143 wrote:It might be due to the nature of fluid/realistic animation, similar to how Street Fighter III players complained that the characters were telegraphing their moves.

Jumping may be an instructive example. In a Mario game, when you push the button, Mario leaves the ground. Right away, at full speed. In real life, you can't do that; you have to bend your legs first, and for anything more than a short hop you'd be lucky to get off the ground in 10 frames. The same applies to other types of motion.

If you're animating something in a cartoon, you can time the transition period so that what we tend to think of as the motion itself happens on cue. But if you're animating a video game, you can't start the animation early; you have to go by button presses. And that introduces a lag between when the player expects the important part of the motion to happen and when it actually does. This requires intelligent balancing of fluidity and promptitude.
In my personal opinion, having more than 1 or possibly 2 frames of lag before jumping in an action game is a huge design flaw. This shouldn't ever be done, not even for better animation. In a game that is not action oriented this is no problem, however I don't know a game that is not action oriented and where you jump. If such a game were to exist, then a nice jumping animation is acceptable.

Now what would be clever is to switch between good animations in moves that aren't too time sensitive (such as landing after a jump, or getting up after a crouch) and moves that are time sensitive (such as crouching or jumping).

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