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Re: the competitive value of 3D animation

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  • Todd Zircher
    ... I m currently playing Overlord and I heartily agree with your observations about comedic animation. How often do you find a game with urinating NPCs? :-)
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 3, 2008
      Brandon Van Every wrote:
      >
      > Have you ever played a game that you especially liked for
      > its 3D animation?

      I'm currently playing Overlord and I heartily agree with your
      observations about comedic animation. How often do you find a game
      with urinating NPCs? :-)

      Perhaps the most memorable 3D character scenes that come to mind
      recently are from Bioware's Mass Effect. During the intro, an alien
      crew member has a total WTF? moment. Without saying a word the
      animators convey this reaction even though the alien's motions are
      definitely non-human. There are lots of little moments like that in
      ME that make it a joy to play (and play again several times.) There
      are multiple scenes with Saren, the main bad guy in the game, that
      are wonderfully animated. The only downside to the XBox 360's
      rendering of these animations is texture loading delays that
      sometimes ruin the illusion that you're watching a movie.
      --
      TAZ
    • Brandon Van Every
      ... I think though, making a cutscene compelling is a helluva lot easier than making in-game animation compelling. It s usually nothing more than people
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 3, 2008
        On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 3:21 PM, Todd Zircher <tzircher@...> wrote:
        >
        > Perhaps the most memorable 3D character scenes that come to mind
        > recently are from Bioware's Mass Effect. During the intro, an alien
        > crew member has a total WTF? moment. Without saying a word the
        > animators convey this reaction even though the alien's motions are
        > definitely non-human. There are lots of little moments like that in
        > ME that make it a joy to play (and play again several times.)

        I think though, making a cutscene compelling is a helluva lot easier
        than making in-game animation compelling. It's usually nothing more
        than people shooting their guns. The animated illustration of most
        game mechanics is perfunctory. I've been thinking about how an
        animation would actually *be* a game mechanic, but no lightbulbs have
        gone off. I figure, abstractly speaking, an animation is a
        propagation of forces / events / values / pick-your-word through a
        number of riggings. However the riggings interact, that's your game
        mechanic. Easy to contemplate if you're writing a fight game, hard to
        contemplate if you're wondering what mental depth would mean. Yet,
        animators communicate all sorts of mental states via complex character
        behaviors. Maybe my problem is that billiard balls don't think, they
        just collide.


        Cheers,
        Brandon Van Every
      • Todd Zircher
        ... ME s cut scenes are in-game engine animations. So, I figure that they d qualify. But, I can see where you re coming from since they are probably custom
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 3, 2008
          Brandon Van Every wrote:
          >
          > I think though, making a cutscene compelling is a helluva
          > lot easier than making in-game animation compelling. It's
          > usually nothing more than people shooting their guns.

          ME's cut scenes are in-game engine animations. So, I figure that
          they'd qualify. But, I can see where you're coming from since they
          are probably custom rigs for that scene.

          > The animated illustration of most game mechanics is perfunctory.
          > I've been thinking about how an animation would actually *be*
          > a game mechanic, but no lightbulbs have gone off. I figure,
          > abstractly speaking, an animation is a propagation of forces /
          > events / values / pick-your-word through a number of riggings.
          > However the riggings interact, that's your game mechanic. Easy
          > to contemplate if you're writing a fight game, hard to
          > contemplate if you're wondering what mental depth would mean.

          Ah! What about Oblivion's socialization mini-game where you have to
          read the NPC's animated facial expressions and determine if they are
          most susceptible to jokes, flattery, bragging, or intimidation? It's
          impressive given that we have dozens and dozens of NPCs including
          some really non-standard geometry such as orcs, tiger folk, and
          lizardmen.
          --
          TAZ
        • Brandon Van Every
          ... Cutscenes aren t interactive, whatever the rendering technology. We know that animated films can be compelling. The question is whether interactive
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 3, 2008
            On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 4:34 PM, Todd Zircher <tzircher@...> wrote:
            > Brandon Van Every wrote:
            > >
            > > I think though, making a cutscene compelling is a helluva
            > > lot easier than making in-game animation compelling. It's
            > > usually nothing more than people shooting their guns.
            >
            > ME's cut scenes are in-game engine animations. So, I figure that
            > they'd qualify. But, I can see where you're coming from since they
            > are probably custom rigs for that scene.

            Cutscenes aren't interactive, whatever the rendering technology. We
            know that animated films can be compelling. The question is whether
            interactive animation can make games compelling.

            > > I figure,
            > > abstractly speaking, an animation is a propagation of forces /
            > > events / values / pick-your-word through a number of riggings.
            > > However the riggings interact, that's your game mechanic. Easy
            > > to contemplate if you're writing a fight game, hard to
            > > contemplate if you're wondering what mental depth would mean.
            >
            > Ah! What about Oblivion's socialization mini-game where you have to
            > read the NPC's animated facial expressions and determine if they are
            > most susceptible to jokes, flattery, bragging, or intimidation? It's
            > impressive given that we have dozens and dozens of NPCs including
            > some really non-standard geometry such as orcs, tiger folk, and
            > lizardmen.

            I suppose it could be. I haven't played Oblivion. Ok, "guess the
            info" by studying the character. PunchOut! did that, each character
            had "tells" that if you studied long enough, you could figure out how
            to exploit. Like the fat guy whose bellybutton got exposed. In a
            straight duke 'em out he'd cream you; the trick was to hit him in the
            exposed bellybutton when his shorts dropped. Once you got the 1st
            bellybutton hit, you'd slug him again and again and again in the same
            place, and he'd probably go down.


            Cheers,
            Brandon Van Every
          • Richard James
            ... Not really. Recently I was playing TrackMania and the American car in the desert levels has some quite good animation. If you bump it and then go around a
            Message 5 of 7 , Mar 4, 2008
              Brandon Van Every wrote:
              > Have you ever played a game that you especially liked for its 3D animation?
              Not really. Recently I was playing TrackMania and the American car in
              the desert levels has some quite good animation. If you bump it and then
              go around a corner too fast the door swings partway open and then closes
              when you stop turning. Because I have been driving a car and had the
              door open, this little effect made me feel more immersed in the game's
              world.

              I think the important thing to remember from that was it was not
              something unrealistic.

              Richard James
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