By Reto.Colding, Lead Animator
“Benny Hill”, “Dragons Lair” and Spaceships… ? …what the… ?
Again a perfect attention grabber… no ? .. well I got your attention this far ;) . There is actually a bit of sense to be found in the above title – just hang on for a few sentences.
Currently our programmers are prioritizing builds and stability which I think is a wise choice. It leaves me with a bit of gap for polishing animations which is mega!
I have opened up three sections of animation polish that have been on the list for some time. These are – 3rd person Sprints and Runs and 1st person weapon holds.
“Benny Hill” ?
Initially when adding the sprint animations I mucked up a 28 frames sprint loop per weapon. Now – 28 frames (60fps base) approximates to just under half a second per loop (right foot down – left foot down).
Having reviewed it for some time I constantly have had the feeling that the loop was a bit too quick – hence the “Benny hill” reference (for those that are younger than me and probably wouldnt know who Benny Hill is … comedy show from the 50′s – 90′s starring british comedian Benny Hill – signature sketches included silly double tempo people running around)
I ended up adding 4 frames or around 0,07 seconds to the loop and it has dramatically helped get rid of that Benny Hill feel. A side bonus is that the character feels heavier and to a certain extend more realistic.
Also the previous version was very “arch backed” – I took some of that out since that character looked at bit too “pose – stressed”.
”Dragons Lair” ?
Next I am tweaking the Run animations (all 8 directions). After reviewing this for some time I have found that I need to tone them down a little.
The thing is – I always (coming from a classical animation background) start with exaggerated poses in order to get a proper read of poses. Now is the time to scrutinize.
As you can probably see from the before and after – even though its not the exact same frame of the animation – the feet lifts too high and I have toned down the poses a fair bit.
When reviewing the animation – the whole character is also a bit too jumpy – that I have toned down as well.
“Dragons Lair” is a Don Bluth laser disc video game from the 80′s which was ground breaking especially in its animations for video games at that time. The animations and poses were really clear and exaggerated – hence the reference.
Also the back was a bit too arched backwards making it a bit awkward when you watch a character backing away from you as it almost looks like he is going to fall.
Lastly for this “sprint” I have had a close look at the weapon hold poses (1st person).
We have tried different poses and as you can see in the before and after screenshot the weapon + arms used to form a heavy, wide and quite dominating triangle in the lower right half of the screen.
I know we want to showcase the beautiful weapons but I almost get a sense of flying a spaceship – hence the reference.
For most of the weapon holds I have brought them down a nutch – in towards the center a nutch and tried to “fold” the support arm a bit in under the weapon to give a narrower and less intrusive visual feel.
Also I have revised the way the support hand is grabbing the weapon to make it a bit more tight… when we get shadows in the palm it will add an even more tight grip on the weapon ..looking forward to that ;)
In general it has been a fun sprint where I have been able to focus on some of the trouble areas in the animations currently ingame and a nice break from prototyping and mucking up.
Some of these changes will be in the “Crace” build coming up on Game.HeroesAndGenerals.com and some will enter later builds.