Thursday, April 16, 2009

Assassin's Creed

*okay, it's bad blogger etiquitte but I'm gonna just copy paste Christopher Evan's post with his notes about Assassin's Creed animation

Under the Hood: The Inner Workings of Animation on Assassin’s Creed

Sylvain Bernard, Animation Director, Ubisoft


* All animation was done in 3dsMax with Biped
o ‘Our animators do not like MotionBuilder for creating animation’
o Would have meant porting all their tools to MotionBuilder
* MotionBuilder was only used to clean mocap
* They decided to ignore foot sliding in order to concentrate on a better performance and gameplay experience
* They stressed the importance of Technical Animators
* Up to 15 animators worked on Assassin’s Creed
* 40% of all animation was hand keyed
* There is no procedural animation(not counting blending)
* They showed the entire move tree
o sprint, run, walk, jog, slow walk, banking, strafe, 4 idles
o 168 ground animations for altair locomotion group
o 122 anims in climbing group


* 90% of work was integrating animation into the environment
* The key was pairing animators with programmers
o Sit them together
* Before they started one main goal of the project was ‘to do as much animation as we could’
o They saw Next Gen as an animation showcase
* They prototype gameplay in max to show programmers how the game should look/feel
o How AI should react
o How a character should interact with the environment
* ‘In the beginning designers were given free reign to make anything they wanted, in the end we had to make a 20 page document telling them how to create levels’
o Too much freedom leads to chaos
* Stressed the need to involve animators in animation system development


* All characters share the same skeleton (male/female npc, altair)
o ‘the art director wanted characters of different heights, we said ‘no”
o made mocking things up easy
* They call their movement locator the ‘magic bug’
o Locators ‘joined together’ when two characters interacted
* NPCs use simple hinge constraints for ponytails and things
* They had ‘no working AI for almost the first two years‘ of the project
* They do edge detection on the collision mesh
* Auto nav mesh generation
* Auto ‘animation object’ placement

found by Matt Ornstein (another pimp animator)

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