The theme of the Gear Game takes inspiration from the popular stereotypical side-scrollers throughout the decades, such as Super Mario Brothers, RedBall, and many other aspects of the MedtroidVania subgenre. It was made using unorthodox methods of animation (if you can even call it that). Five environments were drawn using tools exclusive to Algodoo—a physics engine intended to be used for education—and referenced from my mental map of the music, so that events on screen would be synced up with it.
The interesting part about the production of this project was that I had to design a game and play-test it. Obstacles were fine-tuned to allow for manageable navigation and correctly timed on-screen events. Exploring the functions and scripting language of Algodoo was a true feat within itself as well, for the program is very old, and makeshift community tutorials date all the way back to 2006.
Once a scene is completed and thoroughly tested, I set the simulation speed to half and play through the course in real time. This allows for my screen-recording software to capture a smooth frame rate. The video recording is then saved to my desktop, and dragged into my editing software: Final Cut Pro X, where I speed up the footage to match the music.
Motivation for making this cartoon came from a desire to transition from the not-so-practical methods of practical effects in Stop Motion animation. For five years I have been repeating the cumbersome task of taking thousands of photos of meticulously placed physical objects, only to realize a mistake was made halfway through the process, forcing myself to redo everything. Computer animation, I have learned, is far more flexible when it comes to altering the world I am manipulating. If a mistake is made, all that needs to be done is to merely press the undo button, and it is repaired. Objects can be moved by the bulk, and most of all, the laws of physics don’t apply here! I can make things float, explode, or have the torque of a thousand Newton-metres, contained within a penny-sized gear if I wanted to.
Algodoo is not limitless. I have encountered my fair share of denied possibilities due to engine limitations. But it certainly has broadened the room for bigger imagination.