Over the trimester I have been reading up on how animate for games. We haven’t scheduled the animation tasks until next trimester, but the proper execution of this task is vital. As an animator I want the player to accept my animations, they need to immerse the player in the game, while also being of a high enough quality to present in my portfolio. This subject is deeper than I initially thought.There are different approaches and emphasis depending on if you are animating for player characters, or enemies. I am happy I researched this early because It’s apparent that my animations will need mutple pases. I will need to practise animating for this specialization to refine my skills.
I aim to leverage the principles I have researched, over the course of the final project development, to create quality, readable, appealing animations. I will be working closely with Callan, fine tuning and reiterating my animations, to work within the combat system he is building. I am sure my animations will need multiple passes, and adjusting in response to Callans, and player feedback, but I also want my initial hand over to be of the highest quality it can be.
The main principles I have learnt over the last few weeks is that of, instantaneous response (Swink, Steve 2008, p300) and readability (Extra Credits, 2014). On the surface These two principles of game animation conflict. To create a readable animation you need anticipation and slow ins and outs (White, 2006, p227), it takes time for a character to wind up before a swing, but the player needs to feel that they are in control, that their button pushes are being received. However these principles need to be balanced to work together. Balancing them in different ways creates different feels for the character. A heavy weapon swig in a film would have huge anticipation before the swing. In a game this would feel unresponsive however as Swink (2008) explains you can use a curve with fast movement into the action and slower out. This is a different approach to animations I have done in the past, successfully achieving this will take some practise on my part.
Over the last few weeks I have been watching my housemate and my partner play Bloodborne (Toriyama, T. Yamagiwa, M. 2015). They have different playstyles and have chosen different weapons. One choosing the heavy Kirkhammer and the other preferring the blades of Mercy. I have been analysing the player animations, and the different levels of anticipation in the swings. This is something to take influence from as I want to display the different weights of the heavy, 2 handed, mop attack, compared to the fast dual wielding brush attack. The main difference between these animations and those previously mentioned like Darksiders II (Vigil Games. 2012) and Alice Madness Returns(Spicy Horse. 2011) is the fluidity, I want my animations transition more smoothly than those displayed below, its the display of weight that I am looking to replicate from this source.
Heavy attack (QP GAMES 2015 March,25)
Quick attacks (Nam Mark 2015, April 21)
I have also been seeking the advice of my lecturers on the topic of animating for games. Chris recommended considering and planning my characters combat idle poses, keeping them close to the anticipation pose. This will mitigate popping from one post to another, something that is acceptable in a game, to a certain degree, by using this method a smoother transition can be achieved.
Since I am mainly animating the player character instantaneous response will be my focus. However in the pursuit of knowledge, and for the opportunity to assist Ben with the enemy animations. I have researched enemy animation principles. These animations need to be focused on readability. If the enemy is winding up for a brutal attack the player needs to recognise this, so they can dodge or block (Extra Credits 2014). It comes back to the principle of reliable game feel, if the player doesn’t feel like a death was their fault their enjoyment can be reduced (Swink, Steve 2008). The extra time for anticipation will also allow us time to create interesting poses and appealing animations. This is not as achievable on the player character compared to enemy animations, because of the previously mentioned necessity of readability.
By allowing extra time for polish, and focusing on animation principles I believe I can create quality animations, that are balanced between readability and appeal. Since this is a very prominent part of the game getting this right will be crucial to achieving our goal of creating a quality portfolio piece.
Extra Credits (2014, December 18) [Video File] Design Club the animation of Punch Out how the Wii remake scored a KO. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coCsLWqT3v0
Nam Mark (2015, April 21) Blade of mercy combat test [Video File] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vazE9oFdxGA
QP GAMES (2015 March,25) Bloodborne Kirkhammer – Trick Weapons Gameplay [Video File] Retrieved from https://youtu.be/YeSoLQvdJjU?t=24s
Toriyama, Teruyuki. Yamagiwa, Masaaki. (2015). Bloodborne [Computer software]. Japan: From Software
Spicy Horse. (2011). Alice Madness Returns [Computer Software]. USA: Electronic Arts.
Swink, Steve (2008). Game feel a game designer’s guide to virtual sensation.
White, Tony (2006) Animation from pencils to pixels classical techniques for digital animators. Oxford UK, Focal press
Vigil Games. (2012). Darksiders II [Computer Software]. USA: Nordic Games