Platformer Animating Motion Tips


Smooth animation can really help your game, while bad animations could sometimes hurt it very badly. As such, I wanted to give a few tips on how to make your characters fluidly explore your game’s world.

Walking/Running

This part of animation is very important, as players spent most of their time by walking (or sprinting) in platformer game.

When animating a walking scene, make sure that the player animation is not simply walking. Naturally, when one’s walking, their head and body goes up and down every time they took a new step. This point is important to make a realistic effect.

This works too in sprinting/running animation. Though at some times, the player also hop ever so slightly when they push their body forwards. This, besides adding a realistic effect, can also be used to express the cheery feeling of the player, if you make a rather cute-ish game.

Jumping, Falling, and Landing

This section could be divided into two categories; Realistic (i.e: Parkour and shooter games, like Vector™ or Metal Slug), and non-realistic (i.e: Adventure games, like Super Mario, Sonic, etc) game. We’ll talk about the realistic category first.

A. Realistic Category

In realistic game, the player usually ‘charge’ first, by bowing a little or putting their hands on the ground. But this usually used when the player when they’re idle, not walking or running. They would simply jump (without bowing or anything) if they did, because they’ve got enough velocity to jump high enough.

When they’re falling, usually they’d stretch their feet in front of them and swing their hands at their back. In case when the player is holding a gun, they would point it at the sky above their head. They do this to lighten up their body, so they could reach farther than where they’re suppose to land.

When landing, they’re supposed to bow and put their hands on the ground (just like when they’re about to jump). This is to reduce the down-force of the gravity.

B. Non-realistic Category

This part is fairly easier than the realistic one, since you don’t have to think much about physics and whatnot.

When the player jumps, they don’t have to bow or anything the like—they just jump. This usually accompanied with a happy face evoked by the thrill of fighting gravity. They would also swing their hands down, as if ‘paddling’ their body up.

When the player falls, usually they’d swing their hands up and down—imitating bird—in attempt to fly, or simply raising both hands above their head. Sometimes the player would also have a bewildered expression in their face.

The player simply have to bow a little or just nod their head down when they’re landing, without having to hassle touching their hands on the ground.

I hope this will help you when you are animating your next platformer!

About the author:
Hiznopellagio is a GMC-user, and has been making a platformer called Pixhroom for the GMC Jam 11: http://gmc.yoyogames.com/index.php?showtopic=589112#entry4346824.

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