Skip to main content

⚙️ Procedural Animation: Inverse Kinematics

Procedural animation is a priority on Tiny Starpilot. As a designer, I like how it it improves the responsiveness and “juiceness” of interactive characters. As a programmer, it’s my area of professional expertise. Finally, as a solo dev, it lets me create more “modular” assets which can be shared between characters with different skeletons.

The biggest tool in the procedural-animation toolkit is called Inverse Kinematics. With these algorithms, designers can specify “targets” (often called effectors) for the animation system, and joints are internally rotated to satisfy those goals.

Footage of Modular Animations

An example of my modular-design: anim nodes automatically discover and coordinate with very little explicit setup.

🖌️ Project Update: Playable Pilot Concepts


I’ve planned for three playable pilots since my earliest prototype.

The design goal is straightforward: approaching the same mission with different pilots who handle differently increases replay variety. It also acts as a difficulty handicap for casual or hardcore players to opt-into by choosing particular easy or challenging pilots for particular maps.

This week I was feeling ambitious and decided to flex my illustration muscles, and made a nice set of pilot-portrait key-art, as well as sketch concepts for their fighter craft. I really want to push the 80s mecha-anime space-opera creative direction.

⚙️ Tech Breakdown: Third Person Cameras in Games

Experience has made me opinionated about implementing 3rd person cameras. People naturally, but naively, think about the camera as a second actor in the world, following the player around (like Lakitu in Super Mario 64).

Lets discuss an alternative perspective, where you consider instead the player on the 2D picture plane (with code!).

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.

👷 Project Update: Introduction to Tiny Starpilot

I juggle a dozen little side-projects which I dust off from time to time.

Tiny Starpilot was a minigame I conceived of years ago when I was freelancing between jobs, and considering the possibility of becoming a one-man-band mobile game developer.

The design was simple: hold the phone sideways and slide your thumbs along the side to act as tank-tread controls. Your ship would autofire on a regular beat.

Pew! Pew! Pew!