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Wow... that was an amazing article, 8D.

 

I definitely think any game's combat animation would benefit from the knowledge of how the weapons are actually wielded, as in that article, even if the artists are straying from absolute reality. The simple matter of the efficiency of anatomical movements would provide a huge benefit for the animators, all by itself.

 

One thing I never understood is why, for so long, we've been prone to standard auto-attack systems as a foundation for characters engaging in combat, with special abilities thrown in on top of that, but most of the time the auto-attacks don't look like they're even engaged in combat at all. They just become overly tense looking (gripping their sword hard, maybe flying like a butterfly so they can sting like a bee) and occasionally swinging their weapon, pausing in between each swing as if they keep needing to sneeze or something.

 

What's even worse are the systems that give you the 3.5 second weapon speeds, so your character successfully begins and finishes a crude thwack in less than a second, then stands around for 2.5 seconds before swinging again. I always thought "Why not just make them attack more often for less damage per strike (same DPS) and actually have 3-5 variant attacks, with accompanying animations that make them appear to ACTUALLY be actively combating one another?"

 

You could even work in the dodges and parries, instead of having the exact same animation with a "*miss*" popping up, it'd do the roll at one of the neutral states in between attacks, and if the evasion was successful, queue the next animation to be the actual dodging (or blocking) of the weapon strike.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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If you implement realistic fighting choreography, you better also implement sort-of-realistic dodge and parry mechanics. As long as a game only has 'attack bonus' and 'armor class', I don't need/ want to see realistic synchronized swirling and twirling of combatants. It feels like a simulation gone horribly wrong.

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I had a dream about this (played like a Flash movie), a "vision". Basically, animating and modeling encounters on the same "platform" in development. Then simply dragging out the platforms~stretching them and placing the "encounters" on the map, with a "distance to encounter". Instead of having it as 2 individual "object", it is 2 individual objects on the same platform. Man.... I have no idea to explain this...

 

It was awesome in my dream xD step-by-step maybe?

 

Step 1: Modeling Character and "Monster" individually.

Step 2: Placing them on the same platform, being able to animate the encounter close combat.

Step 3: Being able to stretch the platform, so that you can place the monsters wherever on the map.

Step 4: As a character/player walks around the map, the "platform" dynamically shortens and extends, in-game it is invisible.

 

Here is an example "mock-up" Paint "thing"~shmradble 1-3 (It is not meant to be pretty, it is meant to convey the basics of my conceptual thought/dream/stuff):

 

What's happening in this picture? The monster stands on one platform and the characters stands on one platform, both of them are then placed on a "shared" platform. This way a modeler could (as far as I know) make close combat animations as if they are part of the same "object". This way (I think) encounters could be modeled up close on the same platform (monster vs player) like a "2 player Beat Em Up" game, then simply "dragging" the shared platform out.

post-44542-0-49904500-1355493416_thumb.jpg

 

On placing, and stretching out the shared platform, the P (player/party) and the Monsters (M) are part of the same object upon entering [Map/Area].

post-44542-0-51877600-1355493394_thumb.jpg

 

Then as your character moves, the platform sizes also dynamically changes. They are invisible so you wouldn't see them, but there could be some other "variables" depending on how far away or how close you are. Perhaps even some monsters could be on the "same" platforms as well, leading up to some interesting encounters in battle.

post-44542-0-48724900-1355493407_thumb.jpg

 

Fighting an Ogre, or the "Finisher" Animations we see in Dragon Age: Origins is kind of what I'm aiming for here, but a constant such experience. In DA:O it still feels like the Ogre and the Player character are two different physical objects that are merging during an "attack" or "animation" phase leading up to a "Killing Blow".

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It sound's like Neal Stephenson's Kickstarter project CLANG is an ambitious project to embody many of the combat maneuvers into a framework that can then be incorporated into a gaming system. I'm not sure how well such a system would integrate into a party-style CRPG like PE, but it certainly will be interesting to see how it works out. I could just picture a game with CLANG-style melee tactics, Su Generis combat physics display, and PE group tactics and world setting. It'd be impossible to control a group in fine detail, of course, so probably the combat details would be handled by the AI.

Edited by rjshae

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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CLANG is awesome, but it is mostly action oriented per your reaction. When you swing your mouse diagonally the character swings their sword it diagonally. In P:E you won't have that control though (arm/leg movements), and animations will base more on your characters movement (Engine controlled), meaning that

 

Also, what I really wanted to touch base with, with my idea in my previous post, is that it would be awesome to be able to model (for a mod tool or as a modder) to have an interface where more stuff can be added, where the modbase can polish models and combat animations. The more easily accessible and organized it is to work with the better it gets~ that's what I believe.

 

I'd like my character to look like he is dodging (ducking from the sword, swinging above his head) all due to a dice roll. Mechanically, that would equal the same thing as taking damage (Stamina can serve as a resource for this?). We don't necessarily "see" this damage.

 

Proposed idea/Visionary (I don't think this will happen but it would be badass):

You face off with a Gibberling, it jumps up on your shield and your character shakes it off, tries to hit it and it rolls to the side only to counter attack, as it leaps at you again it falls onto your blade and dies. Pro: It is visual eye candy, its Con is that which is the "IE Games" pro.

 

This would equal this:

IE Games

Chop-chop at each other. The Gibberling has its own attack animation, and your character has his own attack animation. Taking turns beating each other up (visually) but statistically and "Log"-wise (roleplayingly) is the above. The IE games allow for the Player to Narrate their own battles themselves, which is a great pro in itself. The only Con that I can think of is that it is not visual eye candy (like the "Proposed idea").

Edited by Osvir

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Sure, why not with the standard caveat that if resource allow.

 

 

More importantly. It would be much better if the combat system support said realistic combat move other wise is just a different "skin" for the standard cRPG Dances of Death Melee.

 

BTW, TC. Great article to read. Thank you.

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I'd like my character to look like he is dodging (ducking from the sword, swinging above his head) all due to a dice roll. Mechanically, that would equal the same thing as taking damage (Stamina can serve as a resource for this?). We don't necessarily "see" this damage.

I think it's a great idea for an action-adventure. Having a depleting resource, that allows your character to avoid attacks by blocking, parrying, dodging even though you haven't reacted appropriately. After the resource is gone every hit you miss actually connects and does grievous damage, impairing combat effectiveness and leading to long-term negative effects.

 

I am not sure that it's going to work so good in an isometric RPG due to the character size and fixed camera, which effectively bring your ability to deliver combat eye candy to zero. Same goes for seeing whether your characters actually grip the sword by the pommel or not.

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I'd like my character to look like he is dodging (ducking from the sword, swinging above his head) all due to a dice roll. Mechanically, that would equal the same thing as taking damage (Stamina can serve as a resource for this?). We don't necessarily "see" this damage.

I think it's a great idea for an action-adventure. Having a depleting resource, that allows your character to avoid attacks by blocking, parrying, dodging even though you haven't reacted appropriately. After the resource is gone every hit you miss actually connects and does grievous damage, impairing combat effectiveness and leading to long-term negative effects.

 

I am not sure that it's going to work so good in an isometric RPG due to the character size and fixed camera, which effectively bring your ability to deliver combat eye candy to zero. Same goes for seeing whether your characters actually grip the sword by the pommel or not.

 

I don't mean to be rude but just want to say "Lies!".

 

What is it with people and the isometric view? "No! It is isometric so it is inferior graphically!!!" or something?

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I don't mean to be rude but just want to say "Lies!".

 

What is it with people and the isometric view? "No! It is isometric so it is inferior graphically!!!" or something?

 

Hehe, I hear ya, man. I think people just tend to underestimate the amount of graphical details that are noticeable even with smaller character avatars. Especially when it comes to animation. That's one of the easiest ways to make even an 8-bit sprite more believable.

 

No one's asking for dynamic leather wrinkling on armor, or noticeable facial hair real-time growth, haha. But, like I said, the more you can make even a tiny, barely-detailed person-resembling blob of pixels move realistically, the more the player instantly accepts it as a person. Just like the more polygons and normal-mapping you shove into an up-close 3rd-person character model, the more noticeable it is when it DOESN'T move 100% flawlessly.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Great article. If Obsidian were to revamp the cRPG approach to combat animations, they would need to start early on in the process (like...now!) and put a lot of effort into solving all of the new problems that would surely pop up. This might be one of those things where we need some shorter, more narrowly focused games to solve the problem first, then big, sprawling RPGs can eventually include those advances.

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Detailed combat moves (and moves in general) are great but I see them as low priority. I'm hoping PE will have extremely rich story first and foremost, then general gameplay that matches IE games.

 

Combat animations are just one detail. Yes they could be great and they could make a noticeable difference but I wouldn't be bothered one bit if they use just very basic ones. For example, one light sidestep animation for every possible dodge is fine by me. In general I'd much rather see PE's limited resources spent on tactical battle development (choices, different spells, skills) rather than on realistic physical representation of these. Also, I'd rather have the animators spend their time improving the environments or creating more and fancier item icons/models (assuming they double as modellers/artists). But then again, these are details, too, so I guess it's up to personal preference.

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Not particularly, most of the combat taking place in any given RPG is unrealistic. Nobody's ever fought a lich or a warg or a dragon in real life, so what are they going to reference?

 

But if you want it to be realistic, use motion capture. And motion capture isn't much use or economically viable for an isometric game where the characters are low-detail models or pixelated sprites. Besides, referencing a bunch of reenactors isn't primary source knowledge of how a given military's people fought in any given time or place, it's almost entirely guesswork based on very few manuscripts and awkwardly drawn medieval illustrations. There's a greater wealth of knowledge when it comes to the far East, but that's not this game's scope so far as I can tell.

Edited by AGX-17

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Not particularly, most of the combat taking place in any given RPG is unrealistic. Nobody's ever fought a lich or a warg or a dragon in real life, so what are they going to reference?

 

But if you want it to be realistic, use motion capture. And motion capture isn't much use or economically viable for an isometric game where the characters are low-detail models or pixelated sprites. Besides, referencing a bunch of reenactors isn't primary source knowledge of how a given military's people fought in any given time or place, it's almost entirely guesswork based on very few manuscripts and awkwardly drawn medieval illustrations. There's a greater wealth of knowledge when it comes to the far East, but that's not this game's scope so far as I can tell.

 

It's not about developing a realistic fighting style specifically for a warg or a dragon. It's about moving believably. It's right on up there with not having freakishly disproportionate hands, like everyone in Dragon Age: Origins. It's the same reason you call movies out on terrible acting and crappy fight choreography (deliberately thwacking at each other's swords for a while, then completely-slow-enough-for-a-sloth-to-have-parried-it STAB! Death...)

 

Small sprites or models or not, having my party take 1.3 steps for every 3 meters of ground they glide across while they all swing every weapon like a toddler who's just discovered a Nerf bat doesn't do much for my belief that this is a tense situation in which my master swordsman is utilizing the entirety of his lifelong skill to thwart his foes. I'm not asking for anyone's elbow skin to wrinkle realistically, or for the exact mathematical physics values to be calculated for everything they do, and for windspeed to affect their swings. I just don't want monks running around all Rock'em Sock'em Robots on people when they're supposed to be performing intricate martial maneuvers. I don't care if you give them 3 different standard attack animations from 3 entirely different martial arts forms, and they're not even kicking at just the right angle, and they didn't lock their wrist... But, if it's supposed to take a lot of skill, at least pick some movement that conveys that.

 

I just want it to be realistic in the sense that it is believable as A reality, not our reality. If possible. Obviously there's a resource limitation, but we don't know exactly where that end mark is. If you go around saying "Meh, we really don't need to worry about this much at all, 'cause we may not have time for it," you end up with a pretty mediocre game. But, really, all I'm advocating is a pretty basic level of believable motion in the animations.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I will skip fighters/melee chracter classes altogether If their abilities and the animations thereof is just like BG/IWD. Please make it like DAO. Tanks and DPS were the most boring classes in BG.

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I'd like my character to look like he is dodging (ducking from the sword, swinging above his head) all due to a dice roll. Mechanically, that would equal the same thing as taking damage (Stamina can serve as a resource for this?). We don't necessarily "see" this damage.

I think it's a great idea for an action-adventure. Having a depleting resource, that allows your character to avoid attacks by blocking, parrying, dodging even though you haven't reacted appropriately. After the resource is gone every hit you miss actually connects and does grievous damage, impairing combat effectiveness and leading to long-term negative effects.

 

I am not sure that it's going to work so good in an isometric RPG due to the character size and fixed camera, which effectively bring your ability to deliver combat eye candy to zero. Same goes for seeing whether your characters actually grip the sword by the pommel or not.

 

I don't mean to be rude but just want to say "Lies!".

 

What is it with people and the isometric view? "No! It is isometric so it is inferior graphically!!!" or something?

 

Not exactly what I meant, but yes, isometric is inferior if you want to show off combat animations. To make people drool over such things you really need full 3D and large scale character models, otherwise player will have to enjoy your cool battle animations under a microscope. Not a wise way to spend your limited budget, if you ask me.

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I disagree. I'm not talking "flashy" or "effectful" animations with lots of colors (probably all of them from that rainbow thing). Realistic movement. This is probably not going to happen buuut, it would be pretty cool. And it is hardly going to be a microscope, you're probably going to see (what we've seen from concept art thus far) your characters better than you see the marines in Starcraft 2.

 

Man, Zerglings? SC2 is such a great example graphically where detail really adds a lot.

 

I do agree about budget, but if they find time and/or resources in some way that allows them to organize models and animations effectively. Kind of: When your Fighter fights another Fighter they actually clash like 2 gladiators would, all decided by a dice roll with several outcomes. Stamina could be related to "Taking Action" (swinging/magic/fighting/blocking), Health to "Taking Damage". I understand that it is a lot of work but it would be sweeet!

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Not particularly, most of the combat taking place in any given RPG is unrealistic. Nobody's ever fought a lich or a warg or a dragon in real life, so what are they going to reference?

 

But if you want it to be realistic, use motion capture. And motion capture isn't much use or economically viable for an isometric game where the characters are low-detail models or pixelated sprites. Besides, referencing a bunch of reenactors isn't primary source knowledge of how a given military's people fought in any given time or place, it's almost entirely guesswork based on very few manuscripts and awkwardly drawn medieval illustrations. There's a greater wealth of knowledge when it comes to the far East, but that's not this game's scope so far as I can tell.

 

 

Almost everything you said is not true.

 

1) Unrealistic foes: a lich has the shape of a person. A dead person, a person who can probably cast spells, but if he's attacking me with a sword or a spear, we have a pretty good idea of what that'll look like. sure he might be a lot stronger than a human, we can adjust for that. A dragon will move and fight depending on its design. Dragons used to be quite lizardlike, lately the common design draws from lions or dogs as well.

Besides, despite having a few monsters which are entirely made up and for which we can only come up with vaguely similar reference, there's always lots of humanoids fighting with weapons. No reason to not do it right because of one beholder.

 

2) Motion capture is a nice tool, sure. But it is not necessary. A good animator can animate this kind of motion well from video reference. Like the article mentions, Prince of Persia had rotoscoped animations of very low-res pixelated characters. And it looked very very good.

 

3) HEMA people aren't primarily the type of "reenactors" you can just put aside as kids playing knights. They're often much much better at what they do than your precious Eastern "masters". Surprise, these guys haven't been killing people for generations either. The master-student way of preserving a martial art is not entirely reliable, in fact I'd prefer to read a fighting manual written by a master who was doing killing for a living, rather than to study under a master of uncertain mastery passed down from generation to generation. (quite possibly losing important bits of the art in the process)

The fact is, what these HEMA guys do works very well. There's a lot of study material, experimenting and sparring. It's most definitely not "almost entirely guesswork".

 

The article is pretty good.

Edited by Merlkir

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I disagree. I'm not talking "flashy" or "effectful" animations with lots of colors (probably all of them from that rainbow thing). Realistic movement. This is probably not going to happen buuut, it would be pretty cool. And it is hardly going to be a microscope, you're probably going to see (what we've seen from concept art thus far) your characters better than you see the marines in Starcraft 2.

Well, realism is kind of stretchy. If you're talking about animations that make sense, rather than swinging every weapon like a club, I am all for it. But I prefer flashy combat to realistic one, frankly, be it cinema or video games. Historical fencing simply lacks the entertaining value of jedi fights or witcher combos.

 

 

I do agree about budget, but if they find time and/or resources in some way that allows them to organize models and animations effectively. Kind of: When your Fighter fights another Fighter they actually clash like 2 gladiators would, all decided by a dice roll with several outcomes. Stamina could be related to "Taking Action" (swinging/magic/fighting/blocking), Health to "Taking Damage". I understand that it is a lot of work but it would be sweeet!

Well, I understand the sentiment, but what if a fighter fights against multiple opponents? Are the others going to be waiting their turn to clash swords with him? Are they going to hammer him in the back? Either way realism is officially done for the moment they start doing it. The idea is nice, but the cost of its implementation is a bit overwhelming for an isometric RPG.

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I disagree. I'm not talking "flashy" or "effectful" animations with lots of colors (probably all of them from that rainbow thing). Realistic movement. This is probably not going to happen buuut, it would be pretty cool. And it is hardly going to be a microscope, you're probably going to see (what we've seen from concept art thus far) your characters better than you see the marines in Starcraft 2.

Well, realism is kind of stretchy. If you're talking about animations that make sense, rather than swinging every weapon like a club, I am all for it. But I prefer flashy combat to realistic one, frankly, be it cinema or video games. Historical fencing simply lacks the entertaining value of jedi fights or witcher combos.

 

 

I do agree about budget, but if they find time and/or resources in some way that allows them to organize models and animations effectively. Kind of: When your Fighter fights another Fighter they actually clash like 2 gladiators would, all decided by a dice roll with several outcomes. Stamina could be related to "Taking Action" (swinging/magic/fighting/blocking), Health to "Taking Damage". I understand that it is a lot of work but it would be sweeet!

Well, I understand the sentiment, but what if a fighter fights against multiple opponents? Are the others going to be waiting their turn to clash swords with him? Are they going to hammer him in the back? Either way realism is officially done for the moment they start doing it. The idea is nice, but the cost of its implementation is a bit overwhelming for an isometric RPG.

 

Like I said in my other post (with the pictures), I don't know exactly how modelling works but, if you could somehow put the models into the same "Object". Like a Warhammer statue. Can you put two of those in the same? 3? 4? Can you connect one species with another one in some fights?

 

A pack of wolves attacks viciously and lunges at you from all angles, pause, wolves mid-air gnawing with their jaws through the air, party is covering up with shields and now you get to counter it. Move swiftly with the Rogue, dashing out towards some of the pack on the side. The Fighter targets the lunging one to stop it.

 

Likewise, in another fight, you are fighting a goblin beastmaster and his kin, fighting one of the goblins, a wolf could lunge at the fighter just like he does in the wolf pack scenario.

 

^Basically is it possible to merge animations somehow into 1 animation? The "fight sequence" isn't based off of some individual animation (human attack vs goblin attack) but instead "human fighter vs goblin beastmaster fight scene"?

 

EDIT: I wouldn't know the business (game industry economy). What costs what and how much basically, but I can imagine that "realistic combat" would cost more ofc. I'm just stretching dreams, that's all bro :)

Edited by Osvir

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post-44542-0-51877600-1355493394_thumb.jpg

post-44542-0-48724900-1355493407_thumb.jpg

post-44542-0-49904500-1355493416_thumb.jpg

 

Additionally, something like this? (updated)

post-44542-0-50268500-1357193327_thumb.jpg

 

If you own Dishonored you can start up a game and when you encounter the Empress you'll notice her placement and also notice that she is shrouded by an invisible wall, this is because (I think) she has her own "assets" and her own "Animation Box" which renders it impossible to enter her "Bubble" basically, because she an animation sequence within it.

 

"Can combat be handled somewhat similarly?", is what I am flirting with, and you share those "Bubbles" with enemies and encounters.

 

The second picture (with the 3 monsters) could also be a single monster, you could stretch the "Bubble" depending on distance, and at a certain distance the "Animation" that Player+Enemy share together "activates".

 

Additionally in the third example (overhead) there is a box surrounding the 3 monsters+Player.

 

Could there be a difference in combat animations between Party vs 1 enemy and Party vs 3 enemies? Do the 3 enemies use a certain tactic that 3 enemies together can use? Does 1 single enemy use another tactic?

 

What I'm trying to say is, could those 3 monsters+Player be specifically animated together as one "Bubble" as well, and still retain the "1v1" experience? Could you get the 1v3 experience even?

 

In some ways I'm thinking "Skeleton Guard" from Legends of Grimrock, in one "unit" they are just 1 Skeleton, but in others they are 4 Skeletons walking together as one unit (even if they are copy+paste, that's kind of the thing I'm going at).

 

Are there hitboxes? Does there need to be hitboxes if the animation is fluid enough in design/development at a get-go?

Edited by Osvir

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