Retro Games Research

I am going to list five Retro games that I have played and will write what I like about them, how they work, the visual look of the game etc. A couple of these games would not necessarily be considered ‘Retro’ but I included them in my list because they are comparable in style and visuals to a classic Retro game.

Space Invaders:

Space Invaders is one of the most classic Retro games, what I like about this game and many other retro games is the simplicity of it; a black background makes the frontal objects/characters pop out. In space invaders, the objective is to destroy the invading ships before they reach you (they get increasingly faster as time goes on). Once you have destroyed all of the ships you have won the game but it’s not as easy as it sounds.maxresdefault



An iconic character composed of a single yellow circle with a triangular mouth, similar to space invaders the reason for the success of ‘Pacman’ is the repetitive and addictive style of play. The graphics are very basic with under 10 game sprites and a simple blue outline for the walls. There is only one level and a scoreboard, the aim is to eat all of the little dots whilst running away from the Ghosts. You have three lives and if you get caught by a ghost three times then your score resets.

Super Mario Bros:

The Super Mario Bros is perhaps one of the most well-known franchises of all time, the characters are instantly distinguishable by pretty much everyone alive. The story is one of revenge and justice as a simple plumber sets out on an adventure to rescue a princess from an evil Turtle named Bowser. The game features nice colored in backgrounds with plants as decor, mystery boxes that when punched release either coins (in-game currency) or powerups that have different effects on Mario. There are also enemies that will kill you (or take a life of you) when they touch you, you can jump over them to avoid this or simply jump on top of them to kill them. The adventure features multiple levels with unique obstacles for Mario to overcome. The success of ‘Super Mario Bros’ was no doubt down to the unique platformer style gameplay that was not used before. The idea of a story for characters to follow in a game was fairly new as well (apart from text-based games). At the time most games would be about doing the same thing over and over and getting a higher score, ‘Super Mario Bros’ was something more than that and has since flourished into an international success.



Hotline Miami:

HotlineMiamiHotline Miami isn’t exactly a retro game but it is very much influenced by the retro style. Its an extremely unique ‘top down shooter’ game that features bright colours, a retro techno soundtrack, different characters (masks) that have unique abilities. It follows the story of ‘Jacket’ who receives phone calls instructing him to commit massacres against the local Russian Mafia. Before each level, you walk through your apartment and answer the phone, the cleverly worded calls hint at what you can expect in the level e.g. ‘Babysitting for loud kids’ is a hint that the enemies will have guns.

HotlineMiamiGif1Although it doesn’t look like much on the outside it has a surprising amount of depth and storytelling that will have you wanting to play the next level. The gameplay is extremely fast-paced and exciting, you are thrown into dangerous environments against enemies with very quick reactions, this encourages players to try and beat the levels using stealth if they find the traditional method too hard.

HotlineMiamiGif2Hotline Miami

The visuals and the music quickly grow on the player, immersing them in the style of the game, this is what makes Hotline Miami one of my favorite games.

Battle Brothers:battle brothers

Battle Brothers is not exactly considered a ‘Retro Game’ but it again has a retro aesthetic and style. The visuals of this game are not for everyone but with my interest in ‘Medieval Fantasy’, I quite enjoy them. The game is ‘turn based’ meaning you take turns to attack or use an ability while the enemy waits to make their move (and vice versa). The game starts with the fall of a mercenary company, you are now the leader of this company as more than half of your companions and your leader have been killed in battle. You are now in charge of operations and can take quests, hire recruits and purchase equipment and supplies. Accepting a quest will give you an objective E.g. ‘Kill bandits in their hideout’ or ‘help escort a merchant to the next town’. Successfully completing quests will reward you with money which you will have to spend to keep the company going.

On the left image above you can see an example of a battle/encounter, when you bump into enemies on the world map (Right above) you are forced into battle. The player can choose to flee, although this will leave your company with serious injuries or you can stay and take your chances. The combat is very unique in how each character has an individual turn and amount of energy, the energy of each character determines how many actions they can take per turn. The game is extremely in-depth with a number of different items and upgrades you can find, along with injuries sustained by characters etc it can make for quite a satisfying ‘Micromanagement’ experience.

Overall I think that the graphics are very well designed and immerse you into the game, the harsh realities of death and injury keep you making sure each move is planned perfectly.


Jobs and Industries that use 3d Design/ Models


There are many industries that use 3D modeling, with the recent uprise of the 3D printer, 1000’s of jobs are now available for 3D modelers and designers. This includes:

  • Entertainment. One of the most obvious places you can see the use of 3D modeling growing is in the entertainment field. 3D design is used in every modern television show or film.
  • Gaming. The gaming industry is worth over $100 Billion by 2017, this has provided millions of jobs with many of them including 3D modeling.
  • Architecture. Architects use 3d modeling programs to put their ideas into a 3D space, this allows them to see mistakes they might have made or add new features that would have been hard to plan on paper. They also have the option to 3D print their designs and display them.

AutoMotive Industry:

How is 3D used in the Automotive industry? What are the jobs available?

The automotive industry, along with many others, has had a severe impact with the rise of 3D printing. Mechanical components that previously needed many machines and a lot of time are resources to create can now be printed by one machine all at the press of a button. This has given the industry a large boost in production and efficiency.

An image of the ‘URBEE 2’ in production, this car is made using only 3D printed components.


Although this may have made certain jobs and roles in the industry obsolete, it has opened the door for new jobs such as; 3D printer operator, component designer, and 3D modeler. Including all the potential jobs in the future if the production of cars completely made up of 3D printed components takes off; spare part retailers, advertisers,  and many new opportunities for current 3D designers to make improvements and enhance the industry.

Stop Motion Animation

This is my stop motion animation, I was given the letter N as a theme and had to base my animation around that. I decided that I wanted to use lego as it is easy to position characters and build props out of. I went with a Ninja theme to represent the letter N and had two ninjas work together to build the letter. Originally I was going to have them build it from scratch but In the end I decided that I would have two towers and connect them to make the letter.

I found this task quite difficult as It was hard to take photos while not moving the camera whatsoever, as you can see in the animation any subtle movement comes out quite clear. In my animation the camera appears to move quite a lot and this is definitely something that I would like to improve in future projects.

In the end I think the animation turned out quite well. it isn’t as professional looking as i would like but the character movement is smooth and the letter N is clear to see.

Woodpecker Animation Survey Results

My classmates completed a survey that I made asking several questions about my animation, here are some of the results:Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 14.21.23

My first question asked users what they enjoyed about my animation, this is helpful to me so that I know what people enjoy for my future work/adjustments.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 14.23.28.png

The second question is equally as important as it shows me what people think I can improve on to make my animation better, feedback is very useful information for an animator as it highlights their mistakes and helps them overcome these in future works. Many of the results show that people were unhappy with the length of the animation and wold like to see more, it is also noted that the animation didn’t have any sound at the time and would be much improved if it did.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 14.28.01

This question asks weather the animation was interesting to watch, It is very important in animation to be able to hold a viewers interest. After seeing these answers I have concluded that for most it is good enough however there are still many people that did not find it interesting, as a creator I see this as something I need to improve on, adding sound effects and music would help to hold the interest of watchers.


2D Animation: Woodpecker


What went well:

After getting feedback from my classmates I think that the art style of the animation was good. My peers enjoyed the detail put into the props and scenery.

I personally agree with this feedback as it was the most time consuming part of the animation process, in hindsight I perhaps shouldn’t have put so much time and effort into the backgrounds as I did, this didn’t leave me with enough time to finish the animation to a high quality.

What needs improvement:

My classmates and I agree that the animation is too short and unfinished, as this was my first animation I struggled with time management. In future projects I will need to think about this and plan out my time a bit better.

My first experience:

This was my first experience at creating a full length 2d animation, aside from the tutorials that we did in class I haven’t used the animation software before. I do however have experience in using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, these programs helped me create my background and assets that I needed to start animating. The program that i’ve used to make my animation is Adobe Animate, I did not previously have any experience with this program and I had to learn how to use it for this project

In comparison:

In comparison with the animation I have researched (The Reward) I believe I have created a professional looking animation, it is not on the same level of quality but I think that the way it is presented to the viewer is professional. The smoothness of the camera movement and subtle transitions make my animation flow well, similar to the one I have researched.


Stop Motion Animation Treatment

For my animation I have been given the letter N, I will try to convey this by having the letter clearly shown at the end of the 5 seconds, I have chosen to use lego pieces to build the letter out of. I also would like to give it a theme; for the theme I have decided on ‘Ninja’ this is because I have some old Ninja legos at home and I will be able to build the letter based on this theme. To make the animation I will use a tripod and an Iphone camera, I am going to set up the props on my desk and film it from there. I am going to use a method where I build the letter first and then take it apart, I can then reverse the footage later to make it look like it is being constructed, this makes the filming process a lot easier as I wont have to move the set as much. I will set up a plain white background using sheets of paper to create a better contrast between the colours and make them pop out.

Types of Animation

Hand Drawn animation:

Hand drawn animation or ‘Cel animation’ is a technique where each frame is drawn by hand, this process was very popular before digital animation and has been implemented in multiple ways such as Flip Books, and Film. It can be very time consuming as you would have to draw hundreds of pictures just to make a few seconds of animation, with the arrival of digital technology this technique has been enhanced, animators are able to add colour and effects to their hand drawn works without having to go over every single picture. It has also become a faster process as creators can edit photos in to make them look slightly different instead of having to draw several versions of the same image with subtle changes.



Clay animation, also known as Claymation, is a unique form of stop motion animation that uses clay, some well known Claymation characters are ‘Wallace and Gromit’ and the ‘California Raisins’

Production Process:

The production process of creating claymation animations is a long and complex one. Time management is key when producing claymation; if someone in the props department is late then the shooting cannot take place.

3D Animation:

3D animation takes a big step from 2D animation as you are now animating in a 3D environment, this means that you have to think about multiple surfaces, shapes are much different and require a different level of attention to animate. 3D animation is the most popular form of animation used in todays films, Developers will sometimes use special suits that actors can wear to motion track themselves, this footage can later be edited meaning that the animator just needs to put an overlay on the actor and all of the movement is already recorded (It is a lot more complex then this but that was a brief explanation).

Motion Graphics:

Motion graphics extend beyond the most commonly used methods of frame-by-frame footage and animation. Motion graphics can be distinguished from typical animation in that they are not strictly character driven or story based and often represent animated abstract shapes and forms such as logos or logo elements.

Bouncing Ball Animation

I used Adobe After effects to create a simple animation of a bouncing ball, the first step in this animation is to create the right motion path for the ball to follow. Once the ball looks like it is bouncing correctly then I added effects on the ball that change at different heights, the ball looks flatter as it hits the ground because of the impact and as the ball travels upwards it looks thinner. The ball then returns to its original shape when it slowly hovers for a second in the air. We made these changes by creating keyframes at the key points in the animation and distorting the size of the shape accordingly. The software does the rest of the work and makes it look as though the ball is gradually changing shape. One of the challenging parts about this task was getting the timing right so that it looks realistic, another difficulty was making sure the sizing wasn’t too extreme and the ball curved naturally on each bounce.

Animation Research; ‘The Reward’

For my research task I have decided to study and analyse an animation named ‘The Reward’ produced by a team named Sun Creature. This animation is one of many made for a youtube project called ‘Tales of Alethiron’.

The channel/their website also features many videos showing the production process, this includes initial illustrations, animatics and storyboards. When it comes to animation all of the assets and backgrounds will be made on photoshop, most animation studios like this will have sketchpads that allow artists to draw with a stylus in various programs.

I like the art style of this animation, the attention to detail is something you don’t see in a lot of 2d animations. Another unique thing that ‘Sun creature studios’ do in their animations is having no dialogue, this is extremely challenging to do in ‘frame by frame’ animation as the only way of storytelling is in body language and facial expressions.

Animation Treatment: 2d animation

The title of my animation is ‘Woodpecker’.

My project will be a Short film as it is being produced for ‘A sense of hope’ Animation competition and must be 90 seconds or under, I am aiming to produce about 30 seconds to 1 minute of animation. My target audience will be relatively young as it is themed around hope, I do think however that people of all ages will be able to appreciate the message that it sends and the cartoon art style.

At the beginning the camera pans across the backdrop and zooms into the characters house, there is a viking chopping logs when he notices a bird sining. He see’s that the bird is hurt and decides to do something about it; he removes his helmet and places it on a log so that the bird can use it as a nest while it heals. The next 10/15 seconds of animation show the healing process sped up with backgrounds changing as the weather and surroundings do, the animation ends with the bird taking flight and the viking placing his helmet back on and continuing to work away.

My main character is a lumberjack living a quiet life in a small viking settlement, his job is to chop wood for the townspeople. He lives on the top of a hill on the outskirts of the village and doesn’t get many visitors; this influences him to show affection for the injured woodpecker as he see’s similarities between himself and the bird.

My animation will focus on cameras moving/panning more than character movement, a large proportion of the shots will be made up of a background and one or two objects in the front that move or change form. For example: the initial 10 seconds of animation will be purely just zooming in and changing backgrounds.

I am going to create a short and subtle tune that plays in the background, there will be several other noises such as bird singing, wood chopping and ambient rain noises. I might also record a few noises myself to use for the Viking’s grunting sounds as well as a “Huh” when he notices the bird has stopped singing. I may also record foley sound effects for the bird thumping to the ground.

I have chosen this idea because I had a much clearer vision of what it would look like compared to my other draft ideas. I think I will have a bit of difficulty with this project as I have never used adobe animate before and will have to practice making vector objects and drawing in adobe illustrator, but it will be a good learning experience and help me in future projects. I am going to learn how to use adobe illustrator more efficiently and will have to learn the basics of adobe animate.

I have looked at several animations by independent studios that are using the same basic resources that we are, this has given me more insight to the production process and helped me understand the level of work required to create a short animation.

For this project I will need; A sketchbook, pencils, a computer, adobe photoshop, illustrator and animate. I have also acquired a sketchpad to help me transfer and develop my sketchbook ideas into digital work, this is also a helpful tool for early ideas development too.

I think one of the problems that I will encounter is my perfectionism, with projects like these I tend to want everything looking perfect from the beginning and so I spend too much time on one particular thing and end up with unfinished work. I will try to overcome this by following my schedule that I have made and not dwelling on one aspect of the process.

I plan to make everything from scratch but I may use things such as illustrator brushes that creators have made to help other people with their projects, I might also use some sound files and effects to speed up the production process. If I do use someone else’s work/resources in my project I will make sure to credit them for assisting me.

If I were to give myself a budget for creating this animation I would have to buy or rent adobe software, I would also consider the cost of buying a sketchpad. If I truly wanted to I could purchase resources such as top quality sounds or adobe stock kits to make a professional looking animation.

I think that this animation will take me 8 to 10 weeks to complete, the research and design process should take around 2 to 3 weeks, the animation will take 4 to 5 weeks leaving 1 week for the soundtrack and any problems that occur.