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.


danny said...

Good stuff here. The last one - lack of polish and tweaking - has always been a tough one for me. With as many assets as we have to produce in a given product cycle, it is incredibly frustrating to not be able to go back and turn all of our workable movements into really kick-a$$ animations. Of course, it's tough to add that extra polish when things like gameplay and people's moods change mid-cycle, and we're forced to redo a boat-load of animations. No, I'm not bitter. :P

El Snoozo said...

For sure...I always thought that the lack of polish was just something that smaller, and 3rd party developers had to deal with, until I talked to one of my pals at Bungie.

He really wished he had time to go in and noodle his anims more, but some felt he should just move along because " It does what it needs to do " or just sheer lack of time in production.