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Good examples of different types of animation in games

Eric Mulvihill

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Hi all,


My company is NOT a games company but we have a lot of educational content which is very much similar to a game. We're in the beginning stages of porting our products to HTML. What we have now is 2D Flash-based (vector) frame-by-frame animation.


I'm trying to explain to a bunch of VERY non-gamery people, who know nothing about coding or art, what it means to redo a Flash game in HTML. 


Anyway, my first task is to try to make them understand the major types of animation that are used in modern mobile games. I'm not a huge mobile gamer myself so I would like some suggestions about what people think is a great example of the following types of animation. I want to show this stuff to my coworkers so they can start to even understand the options.


  • 2D sprite sheet based
  • 2D Bones-based
  • 2D vector-based (not sure this really exists outside of Flash)
  • 3D


Best examples would be web or mobile-base and have characters with a cartoony look for kids. Educational would be even better, but I mostly just need good examples of the genres to show to people.


All your input is appreciated!

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An example where I used Dragon Bones skeleton animation a lot in a game is 'Outdoor Fun' the cbeebies Nelly & Nora game


Also this is not an example from within a game but rather a standalone example of dragonbones skeleton animation with pixi.js




and a zip of the source here:




if that helps, as you can see the individual images in the atlas

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Hi @Eric Mulvihill


I do most of my animations using Tweening :)


Here is one of my kid-friendly games where most of the animation is done this way ...



Thanks @Ninjadoodle for the example. Fun games!


I definitely agree that tweening/programmatic animation is a key to space efficiency for html games. Unfortunately none of our old content was done using this method, because Flash was just so damn good at placing things on a frame-by-frame basis that we've got stuff like a ball being thrown that's just 30 frames of a ball going across the screen...  these differences are what I must explain to my coworkers.

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Here's an example of a spritesheet:


fighter.pngBasically all your in-game graphics is packed into a single image and each frame of the animation is extracted from the sheet when needed. As in this example:




Bone-based animation still uses a spritesheet, but the animation is done piece-wise where a subject is comprised of components that are programatically animated. Here's an example of a sprite-sheet used for bone-based animation:



And the bone-based animation in action:

As for vector-animation, it is possible. You have the option of using the canvas 2D graphics api. However performance may be an issue on mobile devices. PixiJs has a custom webgl implementation for drawing vector graphics but your team will need to be technically savvy to leverage it for complex animations (beyond drawing basic shapes and such).


Here's a simple vector-based animation:


Vector graphics really shine when it comes to UIs. Plus you never loose the crispness of an illustration regardless of resolution.

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