Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Animation Mistakes In Game Development pt.3

Misappropriation Of Resources
Feature Creep: This is basically the tendency to continually add new things to the game even after your cut-off point for new features has passed. If left unchecked, this can lead to a nightmarish debugging and test cycle and invariably cause you to either push your release date or release a buggy game. While it is good to keep current with what is being released and maintain a competitive edge in the business, it's not good to continually backtrack in production every time a new game comes out with a "hot" new feature that you abolutely must have in your game.
-Cory Barlog, combat designer for Sony's God Of War

Avoid spending 8 weeks working on a feature that 1% of people will notice.
-Trey Ratcliff, CEO John Galt Games

It is fundamental to apply the golden rule of film production: Spend the money on the screen! Too often 3D assests are overserviced and too much work doesn't end up on screen (i.e, in the final shot and cut). Working closely from an early locked off animatic ( or 3D block ) is the best way to optimize your art budget. The simple philosophy should always be " less is more ". Whether it is animation, modeling, effects, etc., don't try to schieve too much ( so everything suffers ). Instead focus on fewer elements and get them right, whatever they may be.
-Thomas Schober, executive producer, Act3animation

Monday, February 27, 2006

Animation Mistakes In Game Development pt.2

Underestimating The Scope Of The Project
Don't over-promise and under-deliver. This applies to everything in your animation studio-budgets, timelines and artist capability. Good studios should know their limits, and know what they can do in that timeframe.
-Mohammad Dovoudian, CEO, Brain Zoo

Everyone wants to make a great game, and at the beginning of a project the tendency is to go as big as you can imagine. But after the initial high-level wish list, you need to have a reality check and see what is really going to be possible within the time and budget constraints. Without this reality check, you could end up with a pitch for a game that sounds like this: " It takes the open-ended sandbox mentality of Grand Theft Auto mixed with the driving tuning and physics of Gran Turismo, all wrapped up in a visual presentation on par with Resident Evil4-all in 14 months". This is probably not very realistic.
-Cory Barlog, lead combat designer for Sony's God Of War

Friday, February 24, 2006

Animation Mistakes In Game Development

Sorry it's been awhile, but I am an animation lead on a new project at my job, and I've been keeping busy and learning a ton...In getting ready for my new found responsibility I read some articles, and a great one I found was in Animation Magazine and they listed mistakes made in Game Development/Animation. I thought I'd pull out the animation related ones and post them up, and see how universal some of these are:

" Timing is one of the main elements for appealing animation. Quite often, I notice animations could be faster, less lethargic and floaty."
-Bob Rafei, art director, Naughty Dog

This is often very true...It really does take that extra time to make things look like they have a great sense of weight in 3D...I think we sometimes have the tendency to rely to much on the program and if the animation doesn't " hitch" or look choppy, then it's good to go. I have also noticed that I sometimes make transition anims to long, and forget that for gaming they need to be quick and not interrupt the flow of the game.

A great example id that I needed to have a character grab an object to push and before I grabbed it, I wanted him to spit into each of his hands and then grab the object. Another one of the animators here ( and a HUGE gamer ) advised against it, saying that in games you just want to grab that object and get moving.

Another problem, is lack of polish and animation tweeking..Sometimes we have to rough an animation out to get to programmers and level designers so they can start testing their mechanics, and we continue to animate...With tight schedules, it is sometimes hard to go back and add that bit of love and add the little bits that keep it from being a " serviceable " animation.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fun With Camera Phone

Ahh memories... I was going through some old e-mails and found this comic strip that my buddy Pete had made from some pics he took on his camera phone from my 29th Birffday Drunk-Fest 2 years ago.

Eats, drinks, fancy cars and chicks who dance in front of Mad Max posters...That's how ya ring it in Baby!!