Forums » Developer's Journal

Animations

    • 854 posts
    February 15, 2016 6:35 PM PST

    There doesn't seem to be a developer listed who is responsible for or working on player/npc/monster animations. Of all the animations I'm wanting to deal with combat animations in this discussion.

    Within combat you two broad categories of animation:  You action, your reaction.  Action animations are your swinging your weapon, casting your spell, etc.  Reaction animations are those that are triggered by the action of an NPC (you stagger after a blow, you duck/dodge/repost/block, etc. In normal 'low number' combat (solo or smaller than full group) the actions and reactions pretty much happen fluidly.  The number of actions (and thus reactions) are limited and there is time enough between them to allow for the animations to complete fully. In 'high number' combat (raids, multiple groups, etc) there are so many player actions being applied to the target that it's animations become disjointed. It gets stuck reacting more to incoming attacks yet the damage numbers it outputs tells a different story.  Can animations for raid targets be revamped so as to ignore player action and just let its attack animations go through their cycles?

    Or you can just tell me to stop being so OCD.

    • 44 posts
    November 3, 2016 2:50 PM PDT

    The animations from the gameplay videos I have seen are really hurting and this is something that have plagued MANY American games.  Not just combat, I do not think any animations here look fluid, they are all starting college level student quality at best.  They simply lack elegance, finesse and style.  I think Koreans got it down if you look at games like Lineage 2 and Tera(they just can't do gameplay worth a penny).  Game really do not need to have the biggest polygon count if you can get great texture work and animation. 

    Here are some great animations that will drop people's jaws

    Female: walking, running, and sprinting:

    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/78593/?

    Male: walking, running, and sprinting:

    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/77343/?

    For reference to morer moded, royalty free/reference animations they are found here:

    http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/searchresults/?src_cat=51

    Not just character animation, but leafs falling from trees and wind effect from branches.

     I do agree with Vandraad, and I know it is beta, but they need to get someone(or a team) working on the animations and high number of NPCs should not affect bone animation or game play(it is VERY low resource).  As I see it the game seriously lacks animation and textures, and often times this is something that does not gets the attention it deserves, yet animations are a very low resource cost way to improve the look and immersion of the game. 

    • 31 posts
    November 4, 2016 3:07 PM PDT

    This is something I am noticing about the game as well. I am a visual person and immersion is part of the game content for myself and a lot of others. while I did love that they showed the unity animations and gave us a taste, I'm starting to get worried from seeing the animations (reminded me of early beta Vanguard play). I'll keep an eye on this and see if the art team is actually up for some thoughts and ideas given put on the forums for people who also are commenting on the subject.

     

    I have to agree with your post on the Korean MMO market, the animations they create are king right now, I am in Black desert online and I say if this game could get 50% of the crisp movement animations they have, Brad and the team will have money falling out of their pockets on release.

    • 911 posts
    November 4, 2016 3:53 PM PDT

    While I agree animations are important, I'm not a big fan of some of the recent animations in Korean-based MMOs.  I find them over the top and distracting from my enjoyment of the game.  While in a video watching them they are all "wow that was cool", after a while you're just doing the same "wow that was once cool" animation over and over again.  I'd like nice fluid animations, but nothing so gawdy as some of the games have gone to recently.

    If we want the over the top animations, I'd say make them rarer.  For example, if we have a combo system, make combos use those kind of animations, or only do them on special critical hits or something.  Make them actually special animations.  Otherwise just do normal, but nice fluid combat animations.

    As to the OP's post, I agree.  It would be nice if after a certain number of reactionary animations in a short period of time, they were turned off for a few seconds so we can see actual combat.  Or no reactionary animations while a ability animation is happening, including autoattack animations.

    • 2685 posts
    November 8, 2016 3:06 PM PST

    I think the textures in Pantheon that we have seen so far look great! I wouldn't say that animations are low resource - if I remember correctly, memory usage scales with texture quality, but memory usage is static with animations. Either way, they are hugely important, even on a psychological level. Even the slightest details can trigger a feeling of reward in your subconscious. A very basic example would be, in Hearthstone, when you attack with a very large creature, the screen literally shakes and there is a loud noise. Even if you don't realize it, these aspects contribute to a more wholesome experience. And if one of these elements is not there, even if you can't quite put you finger on exactly what it is, it will probably bother you. This applies to all animations, but especially in combat. This is something that EQN really seemed to emphasize.

    Anyway, as such, in Pantheon, your character's actions and animations should very clearly show how powerful you are. Every action has an equal reaction. You should feel like you're actually making a difference. There should be a weight behind the swing of your sword. The target you hit should react and stagger appropriate to the size and strength of your weapon strike. And just imagine the visceral feeling when a druid casts Earthquake or summons a thunderstorm! Those sorts of interactions are much more satisfying that the appearance of just swinging at air. Furthermore, there should be different animations depending on the type of weapon you're using (1H/2H slashing, piercing, blunt, etc.) and monks should have completely unique fighting animations. I think it's possible to have all this without it cluttering the screen. Battles in real life are expected to be a little messy and chaotic. In order to be immersive, virtual battles should also have a lot going on visually.

    • 5 posts
    December 10, 2016 11:36 AM PST

    For anyone reading this thread that hasn't watched the newest livestream, they specifically said at the start of it that the animations are placeholder and that they might have them by the next stream or something. 

    • 64 posts
    January 4, 2017 8:29 AM PST

    Also keep in mind that in every stream thus far they have stressed and stressed the fact that it is pre-pre-alpha and they are focusing on game mechanics first and not to put much stock into the current animations/textures.

    • 1619 posts
    January 4, 2017 3:08 PM PST

    I am a big  fan of their approach. Make the game work, then make it pretty.


    This post was edited by Beefcake at January 4, 2017 3:08 PM PST
    • 47 posts
    January 6, 2017 7:39 AM PST

    Beefcake said:

    I am a big  fan of their approach. Make the game work, then make it pretty.

    Agreed.

    I happy they didn't make us wait entirely though, as they've done some great pretty-fication so far! From what I could see on the last stream, the Archi and Ogre models and environments are looking *really* good for a pre-pre-alpha stage.

    • 2685 posts
    January 6, 2017 7:57 AM PST

    Beefcake said:

    I am a big  fan of their approach. Make the game work, then make it pretty.

    Yeah with the spotlight recently being shone on the steaming heap that is Landmark (which had the exact exact approach: publicize, then make it pretty, then TRY to make it work), it makes me even more grateful for Aradune/VR's wisdom in the development process.

    • 24 posts
    January 6, 2017 10:27 PM PST

    Beefcake said:

    I am a big  fan of their approach. Make the game work, then make it pretty.

     

    In agreement with this approach as well. I do hope the team can prioritize resolution of the most disruptive gameplay bugs before beta, I.e. Mob Pathing bugs, falling through world, zone crash when triggering quests, etc. I really do want to see animations that flow in combat and normal movement, (EQ style not Korean MMO or a copy and paste of other MMO) but I can wait until after the game play is tuned. 


    This post was edited by SyriusNorthstar at January 23, 2017 8:07 PM PST
    • 4 posts
    August 1, 2017 1:26 PM PDT

    I believe I overheard in a recent stream that they hired new animators and are polishing the placeholder animations up. I think it's all about smoothness and subtle naturalism in terms of making animation feel right. "Invisible design" can be beautiful – the idea that the effects are successful when you stop noticing them or being distracted by them, instead unconciously accepting them as real and natural. That's when it becomes easy to be immersed and focus on what's important :)

    • 31 posts
    August 6, 2017 12:09 PM PDT

    Beefcake said:

    I am a big  fan of their approach. Make the game work, then make it pretty.

     

    Yeah, I'm a long time MMO player dating back 22 years now and I still have yet to find a game or company outside of Blizzard that can actually pull this one off without causing major issues. A lot of people do not know, you need a lot of resources to pull this off, while a game has been started. I use to work on SWG animations and let me tell you, while in theory it sounds easy to do, it's not.

     

    Usually, something is missed when animations are changed within a game, you have to add NPC hits, more or less particle effects, change up the whole structure of character's movement not to mention the physics of different environments. I prefer they get a working or several alternative models, make sure it works then polish it, while we play the game with specific "trusted" testers reporting issues if encountered.

     

     


    This post was edited by Gomok at August 6, 2017 12:14 PM PDT
    • 178 posts
    September 10, 2017 11:56 PM PDT

     

     


    This post was edited by Alexander at September 11, 2017 12:14 AM PDT
    • 178 posts
    September 11, 2017 12:16 AM PDT

    fern said:

    I think it's all about smoothness and subtle naturalism in terms of making animation feel right. "Invisible design" can be beautiful – the idea that the effects are successful when you stop noticing them or being distracted by them, instead unconciously accepting them as real and natural. That's when it becomes easy to be immersed and focus on what's important :)

    Absolutely agree!

    • 77 posts
    October 3, 2017 10:46 AM PDT

    Gomok said:

    I prefer they get a working or several alternative models, make sure it works then polish it, while we play the game with specific "trusted" testers reporting issues if encountered.

    Having too much say-so in the hands of too few hamstrings the result. Ever watch Family Feud and the 100 people surveyed were apparently complete idiots who never heard of a common practice, tool or concept? It's half the reason some people watch, I think, because the contestants are usually just as lost. Let's not let that happen to Pantheon. More eyes and regular, widespread feedback is important. Neverwinter's beta had these tools in place. I loved it because it made you stop and think about how you played and what you experienced while it was still fresh in your mind. DDO had something similar as well, asking how you felt about an area, a quest, an interaction with an NPC, the rewards and the risk.

    If you backed Pantheon to see that this game sees gold status, then you are "trusted" already, in my opinion.

    Having said all that, the animations will be a huge selling point. The environmental animations are amazing in their detail. I'd like to see water stains and moss too. Every little bit helps. The painted textures need to eschew shadows as part of the textures except in the rarest of instances where the light source direction never changes. Running and jumping looks pretty good. Variation would be nice, kind of like in WoW, where a random fifth or tenth jump would animate differently. The walking still looks stiff and EQ-like. PH to be sure. Dancing is awful and everyone dances the same. I do hope there will be City of Heroes-level variety in dancing and emotes at some point. It wouldn't hurt to surpass it, frankly. People came to role-play and that is done through your character, who needs to breathe, talk and walk and act in a manner that suits the customized character you created, to live through for the next three to twenty years. I want my character to watch butterflies go by. I want my character to wipe off blood or sweat after a fight. I want her to stretch. I want her to go through practice motions to keep her muscles loose and her form perfect. I want to jokingly wheel my arms or teeter while I'm perched upon the edge of a precipe. I want to skip stones, wave off smells or flies and stomp spiders. I want to tell jokes and have an animation to add into my macro for that.

    Yeah. That's a lot and I could go all day with suggestions, but from what I've seen of the game so far, this is all easily possible. I'm not worried about how amazing the grass is because of lighting and wind effects when my character is standing there, breathing like she's just run 10K in full gear with her weapons perpetually drawn and never blinking or opening her mouth. Idle animations are perhaps one of the most important things and I would be floored if there were options for choosing an idle animation set from a healthy selection.

    I know I'm only adding to the suggestion box at this point in development and it probably echoes what has already been discussed behind closed doors. Seriously, what has been done with the game thus far is incredible. I'm continually impressed with the improvements that have been made. Every update is like seeing ten years' progress and my jaw is on the floor. I hold the same hope for animations - which are obviously a focus for me. Please keep up the amazing work!

    • 20 posts
    October 4, 2017 3:56 AM PDT

    Bazgrim said:

    I think the textures in Pantheon that we have seen so far look great! I wouldn't say that animations are low resource - if I remember correctly, memory usage scales with texture quality, but memory usage is static with animations. Either way, they are hugely important, even on a psychological level. Even the slightest details can trigger a feeling of reward in your subconscious. A very basic example would be, in Hearthstone, when you attack with a very large creature, the screen literally shakes and there is a loud noise. Even if you don't realize it, these aspects contribute to a more wholesome experience. And if one of these elements is not there, even if you can't quite put you finger on exactly what it is, it will probably bother you. This applies to all animations, but especially in combat. This is something that EQN really seemed to emphasize.

    Anyway, as such, in Pantheon, your character's actions and animations should very clearly show how powerful you are. Every action has an equal reaction. You should feel like you're actually making a difference. There should be a weight behind the swing of your sword. The target you hit should react and stagger appropriate to the size and strength of your weapon strike. And just imagine the visceral feeling when a druid casts Earthquake or summons a thunderstorm! Those sorts of interactions are much more satisfying that the appearance of just swinging at air. Furthermore, there should be different animations depending on the type of weapon you're using (1H/2H slashing, piercing, blunt, etc.) and monks should have completely unique fighting animations. I think it's possible to have all this without it cluttering the screen. Battles in real life are expected to be a little messy and chaotic. In order to be immersive, virtual battles should also have a lot going on visually.

     

    That's awesome to hear Baz I am looking forward to the combat interaction with those ideas in mind!!

    • 807 posts
    October 18, 2017 4:40 PM PDT

    Here's the thing about animations for me.  I want them to look cool, yes.  But more important to me is for them to be recognizable... whether it's one person casting, or one hundred.  That is, I want to be able to (if I take the time to learn) look at a casting player and say "Oh, that's a druid casting stinging swarm" - and - once the spells are launched, I want to be able to look at the entire collection of spell effects and know what's going on - without it ever becoming a visual nightmare that ends up with players saying "yeah, just turn off spell effects when you group or raid"

     

    For me - the player cast, player attack animations, and the subsequent effects they spawn (like a frost bolt flying at its target after the cast completes) should all follow this same rule:  Make them look as cool as possible, but sacrifice cool for distinct and... ensure that a lot of things happening on the screen at once doesn't make everything unrecognizable simply because there is too much happening on the screen.

     


    This post was edited by Wandidar at October 18, 2017 4:43 PM PDT
    • 2685 posts
    October 19, 2017 7:03 AM PDT

    Wandidar said:

    Here's the thing about animations for me.  I want them to look cool, yes.  But more important to me is for them to be recognizable... whether it's one person casting, or one hundred.  That is, I want to be able to (if I take the time to learn) look at a casting player and say "Oh, that's a druid casting stinging swarm" - and - once the spells are launched, I want to be able to look at the entire collection of spell effects and know what's going on - without it ever becoming a visual nightmare that ends up with players saying "yeah, just turn off spell effects when you group or raid"

     

    For me - the player cast, player attack animations, and the subsequent effects they spawn (like a frost bolt flying at its target after the cast completes) should all follow this same rule:  Make them look as cool as possible, but sacrifice cool for distinct and... ensure that a lot of things happening on the screen at once doesn't make everything unrecognizable simply because there is too much happening on the screen.

     

    I agree for the most part. The thing is that it would require character collision to make any difference. If there are multiple characters stacked on top of each other, you're not gonna be able to tell the animations apart - even moreso than being able to identify the spell effect confetti. There reaches a point where there are so many characters on screen, it doesn't matter what's happening, you won't be able to discern individual aspects, even if they are unique. Like I said, unless you have collision... but I'm not sure that's a good enough argument for it.


    This post was edited by Bazgrim at October 19, 2017 7:04 AM PDT
    • 279 posts
    October 21, 2017 8:43 AM PDT

     At the very least,  I would like a different animation for healing spells as opposed to detrimental spells. 

    I just wanna know if I should interrupt that or not!

    • 189 posts
    November 1, 2017 8:30 AM PDT

    Porygon said:

     At the very least,  I would like a different animation for healing spells as opposed to detrimental spells. 

    I just wanna know if I should interrupt that or not!

     

    I'm not sure how difficult it would be to code in different animations based on the spell/ability being detrimental or beneficial. But watching a wall of text to see "X mob begins to Gate or whatever" can get tedious.

    • 36 posts
    November 27, 2017 8:06 AM PST

    The thing that really keeps people playing games like WoW is the interaction/immersion of their character(s) due to Blizzard's ability to manipulate the uncanny valley theory.  This is the theory that killed EQ2 for me (personally).  The character graphics (at the time) were so "realistic" with facial features and physiques that the character seemed like it could be incredibly immersive, but as soon as their animations triggered you were pushed out of immersion and forced back into button-pushing game-grinding.  Some people are creeped out by things like clowns or porcelan dolls because of subconcious reasons similar to this.  I understand the need to make a functioning game before being concerned with appearance, but I think animations may be of high importance by late Alpha and definitely before Beta.  Those of us that are fans need the people on the fence to support out communicty and may be greatly influenced by the very real psychological effect of the uncanny valley.  The subconcious decisions can have more influence than the concious decisions. 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley

    • 14 posts
    December 8, 2017 11:57 PM PST

    I would be happy with stick figures if the substance is there, ok thats a bit of an exageration but MMOs have swung so far into appealing to the eye candy alure of their games that i think the substance has suffered for it.