A new behind-the-scenes video of the first Prince of Persia finally reveals the clever secrets behind the game’s realistic animations.
A look at how the original’s realistic animation style Prince of Persia was revealed on Reddit. The first one Prince of Persia was published in 1989 by Broderbund. It is a cinematic fantasy-themed platformer where an unnamed protagonist, a trait that has remained throughout the series, saves a princess from an evil vizier. The series has since gone through a few reboots and has since become much more action-based, but it has stayed true to its original fantasy-themed setting.
Cinematic platformers are a subgenre that, as the name suggests, features more realistic and cinematic action than comparable games like Super Mario. The 1989 Prince of Persia is sometimes considered the first of its kind, later inspiring game animation styles like Another World, Flashback, Heart of Darkness, Abe’s exodusand strange dreams. As animation technology and techniques advanced, the use of the term died out, but Prince of Persia made itself memorable by being one of the first games to have such a realistic animation style.
A video posted on Reddit, giving a behind-the-scenes look at how animation in Prince of Persia achieves its cinematic and realistic appearance. As a Reddit user MulciberTenebras post, “Designer Jordan Mechner used rotoscoping to animate the movements of the game’s characters, retracing video footage of his younger brother running and jumping.“. Rotoscoping is an animation technique in which animators draw over video footage of real people to capture more realistic feeling movements. The technique has been used in other cinematic platformers like Eric Chahi’s. . Another world, and movies like Ralph Bakshi the Lord of the Rings. In addition to footage of his brother, Mechner used scenes from Errol Flynn in Robin Hood for swashbuckling sword fight sequences.
In the video, viewers can see the step-by-step process of creating the game’s animation and levels. First taking video footage of Mechner’s brother and Errol Flynn, the artists then drew each frame captured directly from the videos. Then they would put all the frameworks together in a beta phase, before finalizing the look of the published game. Additionally, the video shows how the level itself was built. Developers could stack the different pieces together, almost like blocks, by copy/pasting the assets they chose in any order they wanted.
the Prince of Persia The series has undergone many stylistic changes since 1989, but from the very beginning it has been awe-inspiring to behold. Even with the limited capabilities of the time, the smooth, lifelike animation in a fantasy world captured the amazement of its audience. Seeing how this animation started from Mechner’s brother videos to how level assets were placed shows how even simple methods can create groundbreaking things.
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