Wk 1 Reflections, key poses for combat

Over the last week I have been working on getting in some key poses for Abigail’s combat animations. We decided that the combat animations would be priority because with those we can start to see Abigail in game. Other animations like run cycles and jumps can be handed by in engine translation of the T pose.

Getting the cultural elements into the game earlier will help us see if our intended cultural comment is coming through. Since a lot of the more subtle aspects of this message aren’t within my skillset to implement, I wanted to get the tasks that I can complete ready, so they will not hold us back later.

I took influence and inspiration from Alice madness returns, and Darksiders II gameplay. These games embody the exaggerated, powerful, combat feel we are looking for Abigail to portray.

So far, working pose to pose, I have created key poses for the block, 2h attack and 1h attack animations, focusing on the anticipations, contact and follow through poses. Powerbot, our stand in, character’s contact is on frame 9, and currently while playing the game it feels like a slow, heavy hit. For this reason I decided to keep the heavy attack at frame 9 contact for now. Needing to display at lighter, faster hit with the 1h I assigned its contact to frame 4.

This difference in the contact speed will allow me to build more anticipation in to the heavy 2h attacks. Looking at combat gameplay videos of our influences, Alice madness returns, and darksiders II, even though the snap to anticipation is instantaneous there is a significant hold on the anticipation pose, compared to the 1h attacks. This hold gives the weapon a greater feeling of weight. This comes back to Swinks (2006) principles of virtual sensation. I want the player to know the heavy weapon is heavier and more damaging than the light weapon. The 2 frame transition to an anticipation pose should give the player the feeling of “instantaneous response” (Swink, 2008 p 301-306) while the hold will display the difference between the weapons.

Alice madness returns 2h attack


Darksiders 2h attack


Focusing on the key poses this week has also allowed me to consider the amount of exaggeration these poses will show. I have been speaking to Callan and Soren about this, and all 3 of us prefer the more exaggerated anticipation poses of Alice. I feel this works because of the juxtaposition of her absurdly large 2h weapon and her small stature. In the same nature Abigail’s 2h mop weapon was refined to be more top heavy, with the intention of replicating this style. I intend for the exaggerated style to portray a greater sense of power and excitement, allowing the player to enjoy the absurdity of Abigail fighting with a mop instead of a sword.

All of this of course being a first pass, getting these animations ready will give me time to, see them in game,  refine my animations and take feedback onboard.

(Bucket, I am hidden)


Spicy Horse. (2011). Alice Madness Returns [Computer Software]. USA: Electronic Arts.

Swink, Steve. (2006, November 14) Principles of virtual sensation. Retrieved from http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1781/principles_of_virtual_sensation.php?print=1

Swink. Steve (2008 ) Game feel a game designer’s guide to virtual sensation. Burlington: Elsevier

Vigil Games. (2012). Darksiders II [Computer Software]. USA: Nordic Games