With a week to go before Eclipsed's release date, things sure are getting heated around here. Guess the old adage, "time flies when you're having fun", can also be applied to when you're on a deadline. As with all projects, some parts are finished quickly, with barely any sweat, while others are more time-consuming and headache-inducing. Today's subject, animations, falls into the latter category.
Although we recorded all animations with a motion capture suit, that was indeed the fastest part of the whole process. The initial editing of the raw animations (cutting, looping, etc.) was done using only the Rokoko skeleton, and was actually very quick and straightforward. The real work began after character rigging, when we linked the edited animations to the characters' skeleton.
Creating Aelizia's animations was actually a trial and error process. Not only were they the first (and everything was new and had to be researched and learned), but there was the cape's cloth simulation to consider and deal with. After hours of editing in Maya, checking the animation's interaction with the cape in Unreal Engine and adjusting the physics, going back to Maya, and repeat times a hundred, we're finally moving on to other tasks. The final result, while satisfactory, is far from perfect, but we'll have to settle for "good enough", as they say.
To give you a small taste of what's to come in Eclipsed, we're showcasing two of Aelizia's animations (looping), previewed inside Unreal Engine.
First, there's Aelizia's Light Ability shooting, followed by her item collection animation. As you can see, her cape still has a few problems due to the animation's interaction with the cloth simulation.
The guard's animations, while easier and much quicker than Aelizia's, presented their own set of problems. Since we recorded their animations on two separate occasions, the skeleton's settings of the two sessions were different from one another, so we had to account for that difference. To make matters worse, when creating the character's mesh, we didn't take into consideration how the different parts (upper body, lower body, etc.) might interact with each other during the animations, so there are a few problems that couldn't be fixed with weight painting or delta mush deformers.
However, as with Aelizia, time was of the essence, so we aimed as high as we could within our very limited time frame and didn't look back. Well, maybe just a glance, like the perfectionists we are! You can check for yourself two of their animations:
First, there's the animation of a guard getting hit by Aelizia's light ability, followed by one of the idle animations. We've created three different idle animations which will be played randomly throughout the game, adding variety to Eclipsed's visual experience.
What do you think of our character animations? Was the struggle worth it? We're almost at the finish line!