Darktooth has written a quick comparison of the new ESF animation system versus the standard Half-life animation system.
A few months ago Ryoken implemented an animation system that allows models to be rigged with a weighted skeleton. The new system uses vertex weights to assign a single vertex to multiple bones. By doing this, it allows the mesh to deform in a much smoother manner which creates a more realistic look. For example,
This is how the model is in its regular pose, But if we lift the arms up WITHOUT these vertex weights. You can definitely see the strange deformations in the shoulders and neck.
But, when we apply the weights to the vertexes and adjust them to nice setting. This is the outcome that you get
The neck deforms nicely and the shoulders are smooth and round. Our talented coder friend Ryoken has discovered how to implement this feature into the Half-Life 1 engine. He has made this process VERY easy to setup and takes me only two seconds to get ingame. Each and every character has their own setting that I personally set up to give the mesh a more realistic deformation. This allows us modelers / animators to use less bones on the body for deformation and save them for other areas, such as the face, hair, cape, and clothing.
Let's all give Ryoken a huge THAAANK YOU!!!