And here are Karel´s answers to your community questions:
Greetings to Thee, Baron Blacksmith. Thank you for your questions.
This is my favorite question in the batch. You could write a thesis on this topic alone. It touches upon animation, game design, programming, hardware and more. Unfortunately I have neither the time nor expertise to give you a deserving answer. Let me try my best.
We have several distinctive animation sets for normal, subordinate, regal etc. characters. These were required by designers and will be used throughout the game. That is why it makes sense to create whole sets of motions for them.
Why only make full sets for selected character types? One reason above all is RAM. Every animation that is being played must be loaded into RAM. That is every motion of every bone in every character on the screen. This is the main reason why all game characters in all games tend to share the same sets of motions. It is also why game characters have so few bones. For example the rat I modeled and rigged for DayZ had a limit of 18 bones only!
Obviously more character variety is needed and it is usually achieved by inserting characters with limited motion sets. For example a beggar who can only beg and react to people passing by in both positive and negative ways.
Technically we can do lipsync for any language. The automatic process that we use is only a start though and there is a huge amount of hand tweaking and polishing. Because of this and because of the very many hours of cutscenes and dialogues, lipsync will be fitting for English only.
Nope, I am only an animator
There is never enough time. Neither in game development nor in life. But I would like to pass the question to Martin Klekner who will be certainly happy to answer in more detail in the next Weekly Torch.
Nice idea, but arm wrestling was never intended to be a mini game and as of now, there are no plans to make it into one.
In the beginning, Warhorse Studios bought some mocaps of a horse. We did it because we needed those motions very fast and also because the horse did not fit through the corridors leading to our mocap studio. I am not joking. There are mocap studios designed specifically to let big animals or vehicles in. This requires a ground floor and an appropriate building. Our mocap studio is on the fifth floor and covers 99.9% of our mocap needs. It is possible to mocap animals though, but it is very difficult especially with those that are not easily trained. Also animals tend to find mocap markers all over their bodies very unnatural and often reject wearing them. Can you imagine attaching mocap markers to a cat? You can find horses tamed enough for that or dogs trained for obedience, but even they may prove quite a challenge in the studio. I know this because I worked with a dog mocap and it was quite unusable. It would work for an episodic character in a movie, but could not be used to create motion loops needed for a game. Currently we animate all animal motion manually in the studio. Even the original horse mocap was heavily altered during the production and there was no other mocap/animation purchase after that.
@savvym has already answered your question correctly, so I will only fill in some details.
Accidentally you ask the right person, because I did the animations for the trebuchet. We now have anims for loading up the rock, pulling down the trebuchet arm and firing; including all the trebuchet motion. They are now at the disposal of designers and scripters to use as they please. As far as I know, the trebuchet will be fired both in a cinematic and by the player and I think it’s been already implemented.
Facial mocap would produce much better results than manual animation of facial rigs, but we don’t use it on purpose. Firstly recording facial mocap and accompanying contact sound and reference video for all of our cinematics and dialogues would require tremendous amount of storage. Mere management of this amount of data would require much more hardware, a lot of additional manpower and time. Secondly, it would take much more time and manpower to polish facial mocap than it takes to animate the rig by hand. In both cases we are talking a difference between a car shop and NASA. That is why facial mocap is so successfully applied in film production but not so often used in computer games. It is about the difference in the amount of data (i.e. animation) that needs to be processed at every stage of production.
Hi! Thank you for your questions and good wishes!
Cumans will play a very important part in the story, which is very unfortunate for our hero.
KCD was designed from the get go with the first person view only in mind. A lot of the production is heavily influenced by that.
For example all the player animations, that we see through the POV cam, were tailored to look as good as possible in the POV cam. The modifications we apply to achieve that often make the animations look unnatural in the 3rd person cam.
If there is a 3rd person mode in the end, it would only be in a form of an Easter egg, but it will not play well.
Hi and thanks for your questions. This is what I’d call the Andromeda effect. One thing is the animation itself, while the way it is used in the game is another thing alltogether. Animators cannot really influence in any way how characters move around the streets or the country. We can do the animation cycles as well as we can, but the motion of characters around the world is totally in the hands of scripters, AI guys and programmers who then combine those animations to create illusion of living beings. You may need to approach them for a more detailed discussion.
Yes there is an awful lot of foot sliding and there is no way around it. I know, I couldn’t believe it either. Although again this has nothing to do with the character animation. The reason is Cryengine’s way of interpolating feet between two animations. Instead of going from one pose into another, it sort of interpolates the first anim feet into a kind of default pose and then into the feet of the next anim. Our technical animators would be required for more in-depth explanation.
Perhaps Dan would be better qualified to reply.
Absolutely no bad feelings. Thank you for your time. Best of luck to you too!
Hi, umar! I am not sure what part seemed wooden but again this appears to be related to how the animations are used rather than how they are created. The dialogue system is in constant development and characters are still being heavily worked on. I can’t really tell more without better description of the parts you found displeasing.
NOTE: Karel didn´t saw the E3 presentation, so he don´t really know what exact animations you were talking about.
Thank you everyone for your time and your questions. Best of luck to you all!