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'Floor Kids' is Kid Koala's video game tribute to breakdancing

'Floor Kids' is Kid Koala's video game tribute to breakdancing
From Engadget - April 13, 2018

Floor Kids started life over a decade ago when San and Ng were working at Canada's National Film Board. San had just released Your Mom's Favourite DJ, and Ng was animating a short film about a kid with Asthma. Ng had been a breakdancer off and on for awhile, but it took until 2004 for him to form a regular crew and start practicing weekly. He'd spend his days animating, then go home and dance and to wind down from that; he'd sketch breakdance animations. He does not consider himself a professional dancer, but said that he will "definitely get down and help get the party started." During crunch, the stressful final stage of game development, Ng would breakdance in the studio to relieve muscle pains from drawing.

He was familiar with Kid Koala thanks to breakdancing, and one day showed up at San's house with a stack of animation paper. On it were a couple of kids having a breakdancing battle, bouncing around from page to page. San recalled nodding his head to the silent beat the kids were dancing to as Ng flipped through the paper. Ng said that his drawing rhythm could have influenced what he'd shown San, or it could have been the way he was fluttering the pages.

As you can see in the short above, the characters' moves have subtle differences and styles. Ng's animations are driven by an acute knowledge of the physics of the dance moves and how they link from step to step. His understanding of the nuance and different styles enabled him to break each windmill or head-spin down into individual frames of animation. "He literally knows the rotations, the gravitational torque on all the spins just because he's done the moves himself," San said. "I realized I was dealing with a bit of a savant," he added, laughing.

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