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

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The death animations I remember are those from C&C : Red Alert and The Heart of Darkness. The last one had some very 'squick' ones, too.

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Hormalakh, you... just... gave me back Moonstone. I can't believe it. I played that game on my Amiga when I was a kid. I still had those death animations in mind, but never the name of the game. Amazing. Brb, downloading.

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Hormalakh, you... just... gave me back Moonstone. I can't believe it. I played that game on my Amiga when I was a kid. I still had those death animations in mind, but never the name of the game. Amazing. Brb, downloading.

 

Death animations really do bring back memories. It's such a great way to keep games as classics. BTW where are you getting moonstone from? I want it! gog? nevermind found it.

Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Hormalakh, you... just... gave me back Moonstone. I can't believe it. I played that game on my Amiga when I was a kid. I still had those death animations in mind, but never the name of the game. Amazing. Brb, downloading.

 

Death animations really do bring back memories. It's such a great way to keep games as classics. BTW where are you getting moonstone from? I want it! gog? nevermind found it.

 

You bet! I also liked the death animations from The Immortal (never played it though). And now, to glory! To the Moonstone!


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BG had some terrible weapon animations. Are there any games with good staff animations?

 

The Diablo 3 Monk is awesome with stave-like weapons.

 

 


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Sounds very good :)

 

Is the quote function broken?

Edited by Kaldurenik

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Sounds very good :)

 

Is the quote function broken?

nope

Edited by D'rez

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Will we see more then 1 animation for attacks? For example if you do the same attack 3 times in a row you will "continue" to swing the weapon back and forth (just to give a example). Instead of having the character "reset" after each swing.

 

Will we have any special death animations? Enemies melting / exploding / burning to ash?

Some of these are design-driven answers, so I'll answer a few.

 

We're starting out with one basic attack for each weapon type with variants as a lower priority. Making all of the weapon attacks unique/good is more important (IMO) than having variants. Also, a lot of our animation time is traditionally spent on creatures, and I think having a large bestiary is important. On Black Hound, we put a lot of effort into standard melee variations and I don't think it would have had as large of an impact as additional creatures/creature animations.

 

I'd like to have special death animations and that's something Dimitri, Mark, and I have discussed, but not in detail.

Good shtuff. And I really like good shtuff. :yes:

 

Shtuff like this has a positive effect on my Josh-brolove-meter too.

Edited by Helm

Pillars of Eternity Josh Sawyer's Quest: The Quest for Quests - an isometric fantasy stealth RPG with optional combat and no pesky XP rewards for combat, skill usage or exploration.


PoE is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Baldur's GateJosh Sawyer doesn't like the Baldur's Gate series (more) - PoE is supposed to reward us for our achievements


~~~~~~~~~~~


"Josh Sawyer created an RPG where always avoiding combat and never picking locks makes you a powerful warrior and a master lockpicker." -Helm, very critcal and super awesome RPG fan


"I like XP for things other than just objectives. When there is no rewards for combat or other activities, I think it lessens the reward for being successful at them." -Feargus Urquhart, OE CEO


"Didn’t like the fact that I don’t get XP for combat [...] the lack of rewards for killing creatures [in PoE] makes me want to avoid combat (the core activity of the game)" -George Ziets, Game Dev.

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While I agree that monster variety is paramount, I'm not so sure about special death animations on the expense of basic attack animations:

 

"We're starting out with one basic attack for each weapon type with variants as a lower priority."

 

ToEE and NWN2 had quite a variety of attack animations per combat style. NWN2, for instance, has up to 4 per style. And they even vary depending on the character's gender.

 

BG is much less varied when it comes to attack animations, but even in BG there are generally at least 2 attack animations per style.

 

Watching the same one and only attack animation over and over again, especially in quick succession? That would get really boring real quick.

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I completely agree Valorian, there's a reason why Batman and Uncharted were such great games. It was partially because they had a ton of variety in the animations, especially Batman. If the games very slow paced and combat is much less an emphasis you can get away with only one basic attack, but if you're going to be using the same attack several times per fight, and the average fight is like 7 seconds things get boring quick. That's why I encouraged Josh to consider a method to counter attack, parry, dodge then attack, and attack from a block when appropriate in the new system to avoid tediousness animations. I know it's not an action game, but they would be tactical choices of how to play. I fear though we may have 8 classes, they'll all feel like the same but with different textures on them and that's def not fun. I want my little guy to have to use more momentum and maybe have to take a few extra steps to get his spear thrusts in compared to my beefcake muscle head guy. Or if I have a big fella he would have a much bigger follow through because the momentum would build up under his force. I would def not have a single attack for everyone unless it was a game for young kids. I'd even have the weapons  like spears flex a lil bit as I move. 

Edited by Falkon Swiftblade

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....

I accidentally hit refresh mid-post so, you're only getting one (Had linked 5-6 Champion Spotlights on "Movement", Ahri, Akali, Riven, Graves etc.etc.).

Diana's

, will we see something similar? How quick will the pacing be? Will it be more akin to a more slower and tactical "IE" styled, or will there be a bit more action and intense situations with your Party moving visually quickly? What I'm wondering is practically will P:E be potentially as intense as League of Legends can get? <-Anyone thinking that is necessarily bad should watch some LoL videos and pause every now and then to simulate a "Pause" function.

Here's "Champion Spotlight" for more animation inspiration. Edited by Osvir
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Another game with nice death animations: This one is an isometric game so ... it's more relevant!

 

omg, when the poor wizard is paddling on his barrel, makes it up the ladder only to be dragged down the hole again, I lost it. So funny.

They have "death animations" in today's games, but they largely seem to involve "body part gibbing" or dissolving and little else ... I definitely miss stuff like in that video. Varied, often humorous.

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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Another game with nice death animations: This one is an isometric game so ... it's more relevant!

 

omg, when the poor wizard is paddling on his barrel, makes it up the ladder only to be dragged down the hole again, I lost it. So funny.

They have "death animations" in today's games, but they largely seem to involve "body part gibbing" or dissolving and little else ... I definitely miss stuff like in that video. Varied, often humorous.

Ah, dammit, I wanted to watch that but forgot until now.... when I'm back at work, oh well.


The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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ToEE  had quite a variety of attack animations per combat style.

Did it?

 

I don't remember that.  I remember  only 2 per weapon.    1. the basic attack animation  and 2. the critical hit animation

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"If the games very slow paced and combat is much less an emphasis you can get away with only one basic attack, but if you're going to be using the same attack several times per fight, and the average fight is like 7 seconds things get boring quick."

 

Yes.

I expect the average fight to be considerably longer though, so the visual boredom will be even more accentuated if we end up with just 1 attack animation.

 

I like how in NWN2 you get more attack animations as your base attack bonus increases, neatly reflecting your combat prowess.

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ToEE  had quite a variety of attack animations per combat style.

 

Did it?

 

I don't remember that.  I remember  only 2 per weapon.    1. the basic attack animation  and 2. the critical hit animation

No. The animation is different for miss, as well. 

That's 3 times as many attack animations. They were aestetically pleasing and well done, too.

 

 

 2:44 Edited by Valorian

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^

You're right Valorian, but sadly we can't have both because Rob and Avellone drank up the animation budget. JK :biggrin:

 

I agree with Josh. And just because variants are low priotiy doesn't mean we won't get them.

 

Not to mention that they can do some tricks with the standard animations to add some variation (I think, but I am not sure, I am not an animator). Maybe Mark or Josh can answer that.

Edited by Helm

Pillars of Eternity Josh Sawyer's Quest: The Quest for Quests - an isometric fantasy stealth RPG with optional combat and no pesky XP rewards for combat, skill usage or exploration.


PoE is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Baldur's GateJosh Sawyer doesn't like the Baldur's Gate series (more) - PoE is supposed to reward us for our achievements


~~~~~~~~~~~


"Josh Sawyer created an RPG where always avoiding combat and never picking locks makes you a powerful warrior and a master lockpicker." -Helm, very critcal and super awesome RPG fan


"I like XP for things other than just objectives. When there is no rewards for combat or other activities, I think it lessens the reward for being successful at them." -Feargus Urquhart, OE CEO


"Didn’t like the fact that I don’t get XP for combat [...] the lack of rewards for killing creatures [in PoE] makes me want to avoid combat (the core activity of the game)" -George Ziets, Game Dev.

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Hey guys,  Thanks for the warm welcome. I've tried to get to most of the questions.

 

Hormalakh

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

-Character artists create the model, a technical animator rigs the model with a skeleton in Maya, we then animate the character.


Do most game animators work on movies as well or do they usually stick with games? -

-Some bounce back and forth. Most game animators seem to want to work in movies and I know a few movie animators that would like to work in games. So it really goes both ways.

 

Are there any significant differences between animating movies and games?

-There is a big difference. Usually in games the camera can be in any position so the character can be seen from every possible angle. That means every part of the character has to look good from any and every possible angle. When we work on movies or cinematics the camera is locked to one specific angle. With a locked camera the animator only needs to animate the parts of the character that are in frame. Animation response time is another thing a game animator has to always keep in mind. The game mechanics will dictate how fast or slow an animation should be. When the player presses the button they expect their character to react. As animators when we shoot realistic reference of a punch  we need to be cognizant of this. If we animated exactly to that reference the hit frame on the attack more often than not feels slow. A lot of times we have to animate with less anticipation before the strike so that the attack is responsive for gameplay.


What do you wish more animators would do?

-Get up out of their chair and act out the action so they can "feel" the motion. While they're at it they should be recording video reference of themselves.

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

-Read The Illusion of Life. Get Richard Williams Master Class Book. Study animations that you are inspired by, comb over the animation frame by frame...count the frames between the actions. Really try to deconstruct the animations this will help you get a better understanding of the timing of the actions. Most importantly...Practice, practice, practice. You really do need to put in the time to get good at animating.

 

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?

-Probably not

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

-Mostly in-game currently.  We serve double duty here at Obsidian.

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

-There are too many to list. Here's a good sample...


Oh and most important of all: Mac or PC?

-PC

 

McNoguff

 

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?

So far working with Unity has been great . I'm loving the  new animation system Mecanim. It  will allow retargeting of animations between multiple bipedal characters which will help with the amount of assets we'll need to author.

As for our workflow we will be animating in Maya and retargeting characters in Mecanim.

 

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

-Not at all mocap is only a tool. It usually is best used for realistic human animations. I think traditional animation will always be around in some form or another.

Falkon Swiftblade
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?

- Only preliminary testing with cloth at this point. As for damaged states I'll defer to designers on that one.

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?

- I would love to do this. Unfortunately I believe that a feature like this would blow our animation budget out of the water for PE.
 

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. 

-We probably will try do this on a limited basis. The final call as always comes down to prioritizing all the necessary animations for what's really needed to make this game.

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.  

-I believe the current plan is portraits only.

 

 

Gyges

Will combat animations in P:E be realistic or more fantastic? A balance between the two would be most welcome.

Mixture between the two. Realistic when it warrants (Humans) it and more over the top when it makes sense.(Creatures)

 

Greensleeve & D'rez - Thanks for the beer recommendations I'll have to give them a try.

 

Archmage Silver

Do you usually watch the NHL Entry Draft? Any ideas on whom you'd like the Red Wings to pick in the first round?

-I don't usually get to see the NHL draft...Besides the Red wings rarely have a 1st round pick.

Tamerlane

Alright Mark, you've already revealed the existence of both 1- and 2-handed spears. So the only important question remaining is:

Javelins? Pollaxes?

-I don't think so. Or I should say I haven't seen them on any lists so far.

Tuckey

Will we be able to see character's faces as sprites?    -There will be character portraits

 

Do you do anything beside animate characters? Do you animate things like trees and so on also?

-We've animated all kinds of stuff over the years. We're definitely not limited to only characters

 

 

Cheers

-Mark

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A javelin would be a bit of a PITA to implement I think. At this point you have melee weapons and missile weapons, with missile weapons using ammunition. These are both simple as you always have the character holding the weapon. A javelin is a hurled weapon. That's qualitatively different since the weapon leaves the character's possession when it's used, and then lands somewhere where it can presumably be picked up. It's a different type of mechanic which needs more programming and more animating.

 

It'd be cool to have such stuff in, but I'm pretty sure that for the same budget you can add in several different melee or missile weapons, or critters for that matter. I can understand why they'd rather do that.


I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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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?

- I would love to do this. Unfortunately I believe that a feature like this would blow our animation budget out of the water for PE.

 

 

Cheers

-Mark

 

 

I'm curious why would this be so hard? Couldn't ya just script the code to loop frames so they choose a few keyframes and adjust the speed as the skill went up or down? Im not expecting all new animations with every point, but within 3 points maybe the speed changes, greater than 3 might affect key poses so the swings a little further back or maybe the swing bounces an extra time or two. Similar to a walk cycle and a skip and just fudging the timing. maybe this will help ya :) http://www.motionscript.com/articles/bounce-and-overshoot.html

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I.. just have to.

 

I'm not the kind of person who'll go mental over graphics, art (I like what I've seen so far*) and animations ("OMG, it's not how it works in reality!"). My focus is on other elements of the game.

 

That said, considering 1 attack animation per combat style for a 2014. game with 3D characters by Obsidian? In an rpg with lots of combat.. It's appalling to even think about it.

 

We'll get to customize the appearance of our characters, they'll come in a variety of colours, with a variety of armor shapes, weapons and shields, hairstyles and what have you. You'll be able to make your character visually "unique" and yours.

 

And then, the moment for combat arrives .. you can't wait to see your character exhibit all his combat prowess and slash and pierce and crush monsters with a variety of aesthetically attractive moves.

 

... You're shocked to discover that your character is stuck in a loop, much like a robot with a malfunctioning program.

 

 

Mark, we have faith in you. You can do it! Your broad shoulders tell me so. :yes:  

 

 

 

 

 

*Love the romanesque house. It's amusing that the inspiration for it was a house located some 30 km from where I live.

 

 

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I.. just have to.

 

I'm not the kind of person who'll go mental over graphics, art (I like what I've seen so far*) and animations ("OMG, it's not how it works in reality!"). My focus is on other elements of the game.

 

That said, considering 1 attack animation per combat style for a 2014. game with 3D characters by Obsidian? In an rpg with lots of combat.. It's appalling to even think about it.

 

We'll get to customize the appearance of our characters, they'll come in a variety of colours, with a variety of armor shapes, weapons and shields, hairstyles and what have you. You'll be able to make your character visually "unique" and yours.

 

And then, the moment for combat arrives .. you can't wait to see your character exhibit all his combat prowess and slash and pierce and crush monsters with a variety of aesthetically attractive moves.

 

... You're shocked to discover that your character is stuck in a loop, much like a robot with a malfunctioning program.

 

Mark, we have faith in you. You can do it! Your broad shoulders tell me so. :yes:  

 

*Love the romanesque house. It's amusing that the inspiration for it was a house located some 30 km from where I live.

In 2013, with a $4mil budget, you can't make a AAA game with all the bells and whistles. It's that simple. They'll do the best they can. Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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