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Update #38: Meet the Developers with Mark Bremerkamp, Lead Animator

Mark Bremerkamp Animation Project Eternity

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#1
Adam Brennecke

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In today's update we ask the Lead Animator on Project Eternity, Mark Bremerkamp a few questions about being a game developer. Mark hails from Detroit, Michigan, and he has been with Obsidian for eight years. He is a man of few words - everyone give a warm hello to Mark.

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Q: Hello, Mr. Bremerkamp! What is your job on the Project Eternity team?

A:
Lead Animator


Q: What are you working on this week?

A:
Initial attacks for the light spear (1h thrust) and the pike (2h thrust)


Q: What is your typical work day like on Project Eternity?

A:
First drink coffee then check my e-mail and look to see if there are any meetings that I need to prepare for. Then I usually look over the work from the day before. I like to always go back with a fresh set of eyes to see what worked and then I'll make some notes/changes. After all that I get to animating the fixes or I'll move onto a new animation.



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Q: What are you most looking forward to on Project Eternity? What are you looking forward to animating?

A:
That’s an easy one...Creatures. It's always fun to animate strange and creepy critters.


Q: What other games have you worked on?

A:
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, Alpha Protocol, Fallout New Vegas, and New Vegas DLCs.


Q: What do you like to eat for lunch?

A:
Well I usually brown bag because I head over to the gym at lunch. When I do go to a restaurant my first choice is Yard House at the Irvine Spectrum.


Q: OK. So, what is your favorite beer?

A:
On a special occasion I like to drink Gulden Drook.


Q: What do you like to do when you aren't animating?

A:
When I'm not animating I love to spend time with my wife and two children.


Q: Do you have a favorite animator or artist?

A:
Chuck Jones is an animator that I really looked up to when I was younger. Richard Williams and the "Nine Old Men" are also high on my list. Some contemporary animators that I really enjoy are Carlos Baena (Pixar) http://www.carlosbaena.com/ Victor Navone http://blog.navone.org/ and Keith Lango http://keithlango.blogspot.com/


Q: And where do you draw your inspiration from?

A:
Movies, music, games and other animators are all part of it. But really life in general. All the world's a stage...


Q: Are you excited that the NHL is coming back?

A:
Yes. It about damn time. Go Red Wings!


Q: What's your favorite game?

A:
OK well...that's a really big question because like many different games for different reasons. Old school games are really near and dear to my heart. When I say old school I'm talking about Intellivison Games like the Treasure of Tarmin.

As for the newer games.... God of War, Batman, and Uncharted Series. I'm also playing a lot of games with my kids. A recent game that my 4 year old son and I both enjoy is LEGO Star Wars Battle Orders.


Q: Anything else you would like to share?

A:
Nope.

Thanks Mark!

Next week Josh is planning to have another game mechanics update for you. Steve, Tim, and Josh have been working on attack mechanics over the last week and are currently planning abilities for classes. I don't know what Josh has planned to write about, but I'm sure it will be interesting! Until next time.
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#2
Ieo

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Initial attacks for the light spear (1h thrust) and the pike (2h thrust)

Oh, hello. Spear and shield (plus)? :biggrin:

Edited by Ieo, 15 January 2013 - 06:00 PM.

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#3
Lephys

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Initial attacks for the light spear (1h thrust) and the pike (2h thrust)

Oh, hello. Spear and shield (plus)? :biggrin:


Pssh... spear and flail! Nay...! Spear and GRIMOIRE!

*Cackle of madness, with background lightning strike*

Thank you very much, as always, for the continued updates! Keep up the good work, Mark!

Now if there's even the slightest flaw in any of the animations, we'll know at whom to direct our rage-saturated feedback! 8D (I kid, just to be clear, haha.)

Edited by Lephys, 15 January 2013 - 06:06 PM.


#4
Greensleeve

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So happy to hear about both 1h and 2h spears. It's something sorely missing from many otherwise solid RPGs.

#5
rjshae

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Hello Mr. Bremerkamp, and thank you for your comments. I look forward to seeing your work. :)

#6
Hormalakh

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Can you explain what an animator does actually? are you using other's people's models and "moving them?"

Are you building your own models? are you using maya?

What do you find the most difficult part of animation?

What one animation are you the most proud of?

Do most game animators work on movies as well or do they usually stick with games? Are there any significant differences between animating movies and games?

What do you wish more animators would do?

What is the biggest lesson you've learned from your previous games that has influenced how Project Eternity is animated?

Any advice for beginner animators interested in getting into the field?

Any word on whether or not we're going to get first-perspective close-up animations when talking to important NPCs a la Fallout/Fallout 2?

Do you only do in-game animations or cinematic animations as well? Is P:E going to have cinematic animations (at all)?

I also loved Chuck Jones and grew up with his work. Which of his works do you like best?

Oh and most important of all: Mac or PC? ;)

Edited by Hormalakh, 15 January 2013 - 06:41 PM.

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#7
Ineth

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How come this update is still not on eternity.obsidian.net? It has been on the kickstarter site for almost 2 hours.

Obsidian claims that eternity.obsidian.net is the main update site for PE now, yet their actions tell another story...

#8
Adam Brennecke

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How come this update is still not on eternity.obsidian.net? It has been on the kickstarter site for almost 2 hours.

Obsidian claims that eternity.obsidian.net is the main update site for PE now, yet their actions tell another story...


We will get to that as soon as possible. Sorry for the delay.

#9
AwesomeOcelot

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Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines is my second favourite game. Why are the lip syncing and gestures so good? What's with the silly walking, especially in the intro sequence?

Which characters have been your favourites to work on?

#10
Azure79

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I like Mark already. He looks like he can move some serious weight at the gym.

#11
thracian

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i would like to see a screenshot or two

#12
McNoguff

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Just a couple questions:

How is working with Unity, as compared to your previous tools? Do you use Mecanim for anything(actually animating, retargeting, or something else) or do you prefer to use a traditional animation tool like 3DSMax and just move it over? Do you interact with the game engine in any integral way or do you hand over your assets to designers who implement them in-game for you?

Lastly, do you feel like the reduced cost of mocap is in danger of diminishing a traditional animators role?

Thanks so much for your time!

#13
Jarmo

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Initial attacks for the light spear (1h thrust) and the pike (2h thrust)

Oh, hello. Spear and shield (plus)? :biggrin:


Pssh... spear and flail! Nay...! Spear and GRIMOIRE!


They call me... Two Spears.
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#14
Falkon Swiftblade

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HI Mark, hows the new unity 4 animation set up going so far? I think its pretty amazing compared to what I learned in 3ds max 09. It was pretty tedious work compared to this new system. Times have sure changed! I have several questions for you when you get free time.

1) what types of benefits do you foresee as major improvements to PE as compared to limitations animators had to face during the old IE games?

2) Have you tested cloth physics yet, and any chance you can collaborate with programmers and texture artists to include animations reflecting state changes so the more beat up you get your weapons and armor get damaged, and maybe your hero appears exhausted and hunkered over? Similarly, you mentioned you like Batman, what will it take for the players gear to look like as they progress in the game with ripped capes, or rusty swords that don't swing as smooth as a fine weapon?

3) I suggested to your programmer a long time ago to collaborate with the animators, so our stats influence your movements. So maybe someone with low dexterity may stumble a bit in their walk, while someone with high dexterity would have very smooth animations. Your mage with normal intel might cast magic normal, but a very wise mage might have much more followthrough or elegance in the way he casts spells, and the animations could adjust overtime in addition to new skills. Would you consider a system like that?

4) please I ask really nice to animate the baddies and good guys with some personality in them, so when it comes later time to add text or dialog the body language show emotion. Some of those old games you read for 15 min and its kinda lame to see the npc just standing idle or making silly gestures out of context.

5) I have one final request, can we please have animated portraits instead of just the standard image, unless we choose to upload our own? I think by 2014 its not unrealistic to expect semi mocaped facial expressions since the software does most of the work for you now.

Thanks for the introduction and I hope you're having fun :)
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#15
Lysen

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OMG he worked on Bloodlines??? I already love this guy.

#16
D'rez

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Q: OK. So, what is your favorite beer?

A:
On a special occasion I like to drink Gulden Drook.


Thats a good choice. I tend to have some on stock in the cellar at home. The dragon on the bottle is the dragon of ghent. The city I live in :) (it's not brewed in ghent, but in a municipal of gent)
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#17
Gyges

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Love Bloodlines, its definitely up there with the best games the last decade. Will combat animations in P:E be realistic or more fantastic? A balance between the two would be most welcome. There is a certain lasting appeal to some animations that never allows combat to turn tedious, loot based arpg's are particularly known for it.

#18
Cluas

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A man of few words - That's an understatement :yes:

Hi Mark, hope you join the tread, there is already many interesting questions you could answer (with a few words) :biggrin:

#19
Helm

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Nice read. It is always great to get to know more about the guys making this game. :)

Next week Josh is planning to have another game mechanics update for you.

This scares me. It will either be very good, or it will suck horribly. And we have had too much horrible already. meh.

#20
Osvir

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Hi Mark, great job on all those titles.

So I reckon you're beginning to animate stuff now? Looking forward to see it!





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