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Animations in Dev Demos - lacking

Bit of feedback on what i have seen so far ~

I do not know how much work has gone into the character animations, but there is a lot to be desired. Things don't seem fluid, they still seem like they are skating around, the footsteps arent impactful enough for immersion. The new leaning system helps, but you cant just incorporate leaning left and right, there are shoulder and torso movements and twisting that enhances the realism alot, vaulting seems okay, but it looks like a race car suddenly hitting a wall when you start vaulting/ climbing, the timing is all off. The characters all look like that are pegged to a pole with a carrot up their preverbial.

Not sure on your production scale or budget, but it may be worth looking into something like RADiCAL (AI driven real time animation creation supported by Epic and FBX exports available) Getting a pakour actor to help with movement animations, and get the sound team to make the foot steps feel more impactful. This will improve immersion a lot. One thing i noticed about new world although there is MUCH to be desired about gameplay, they really nailed the sounds, all the actions and movement feels really impactful with the use of very well timed sound bites and this improves the feeling of the game by a lot.

TL DR
- Animations feel un-imersive and unrealistic. Use something like RADiCAL (AI powered real time animation generation) to improve animation movements and help with naturalization of movements
- Improve sound bites to provide more impactful movement in game.
- something new world actually got right, sound and movement animations are pretty on point, not that i would take any leaves about game design from them, there are aspects of that game that make it playable, even with the mess it is in.
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    ZarrathZarrath Member
    edited January 2022
    I got a lot of the same thing from watching character combat animations. I was really happy about hearing their stance on not implementing giant unwieldy looking weapons, but in addition, what they do have needs some weight. In the videos I have seen so far, it looks like they are swinging around weapons with the weight/consistency of plastic.

    I am sure a lot of this is just due to production focus though. That kind of stuff is a lot less important than hammering out the systems. There is still a long way to go, I expect they will put some focus on that at some point.
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    AncientIncantAncientIncant Member
    edited January 2022
    I don’t think they are at that stage yet my friend.

    It appears as Intrepid is working on networking, engine migration, prototyping combat, design, render optimization, node simulating, and other core functions.

    We all saw the obvious. As @Barrakus said, “There is still a long way to go. I expect they will put some focus on that at some point.”
    969ac0db3fed38b86a2d982c8bda68c7c372cb4f.gifv
    "Knowledge is Power and I know a lot."
    - Dalaran Aspirant
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    @AncientIncant

    The question is, when its time to work on that?

    Everytime someone mentions something about the animations people claim that this is alpha. Well I think the first thing they should work on is fluidity of movement in the game, good gameplay, and then the world. I honestly don't know much about game design but its important to disscus this, and with people that understands what they talk about.
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    Marcet wrote: »
    Well I think the first thing they should work on is fluidity of movement in the game
    Marcet wrote: »
    I honestly don't know much about game design

    Then, let's leave it to the professionals, shall we?!
    This link may help you: https://ashesofcreation.wiki/


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    AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    In order to get the Alpha into a playable state for testing those things, priority in Animation design would have needed to go into attack animations and creatures. A big empty world with perfectly animated individual characters would not go as far for immersion nor stand out amongst other projects.

    Since creatures don't often have overlapping animations with player characters, things like that would be held off until there were enough creatures, standard animations for NPC guards just standing around, etc.

    In Alpha there was a lot more focus placed there, so I can only assume that the team was working on immersion. That's fairly vast, and one of those things you might not go back to as often, whereas character animations are a constant tuning process.

    Better to get 'the way the Blacksmith in the node fidgets sometimes' perfect now and then 'consider it done and move on', than 'make perfect character animations and then have to remember and go back through all the dull NPCs and forgotten mobs'.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
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    AncientIncantAncientIncant Member
    edited January 2022
    @Marcet
    Marcet wrote: »
    I think the first thing they should work on is fluidity of movement in the game.

    In what world does a process begin with the finishing touches?

    - A car must have it's frame before we can begin the paint job.
    - Your body must have a skeletal structure before you get your face.
    - A video game must have a functional engine before we can iterate effectively.

    Don't you think these should come first? "networking, engine migration, prototyping combat, design, render optimization, node simulating, and other core functions"

    According to this Production Milestone article from cgspectrum, core elements are implemented before art assets and animations.
    Marcet wrote: »
    The question is, when its time to work on that?

    During tail end of production and before testing.

    Combat is still being prototyped. Therefore, character animations cannot be finalized.
    969ac0db3fed38b86a2d982c8bda68c7c372cb4f.gifv
    "Knowledge is Power and I know a lot."
    - Dalaran Aspirant
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    arsnnarsnn Member, Intrepid Pack, Alpha One
    edited January 2022
    Fortunately Intrepid has been very reciptive of feedback, though for combat they seem to have a very converging vision to most players.
    They have been working on combat on and off for years (apoc), but the recent push for alpha combat has been goin for around 1 year with only incremental progress.

    That being said there seemed to be a real lack of willingness to engage with anything that makes combat smooth and impactful in video games.
    Im not buying the "they need to test backend and stuff, they cant implement good Vfx and animations yet, they still prototype".
    Maybe it´s been a lack of talent/competence in that area or technical stuff compatibility issues with some aspects like IK animations or notifiers, but implementing completely out of place animations and vfx is plainly bad. Prototyping for 1 year with hardly any changes and depth of tools you can utilize is kinda ..?!
    Hopefully their recent hires that seemed to focused around combat can help with that, but i personally dont think ashes will stand out in terms of combat, which is entirely ok.

    Here is something that kinda looks like progress when it comes to vfx:

    https://youtu.be/80kJRAk1_mI?t=415 at 6:55

    between

    https://youtu.be/XcDhV0VaAkw?t=1763 at 29:23




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    AtamaAtama Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    They've said repeatedly that animations have not been through very many passes (their words) and so are extremely unpolished.

    Your criticism is warranted, but you're basically saying the cake doesn't look cooked enough before it's put in the oven.
     
    Hhak63P.png
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    bloodprophetbloodprophet Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Interesting how many people want to paint the walls of a building before the foundation is done.

    This is one of the problems with open development. Steven , Jeff and Margret talk about all the time. Most people have no clue how development actually works and get confused when they see a localization alpha vs a true alpha and think they are the same thing.

    True alpha development( where AOC is now) is almost all base systems and zero polish. Many many bugs and most things are not in or not where they are going to be at launch. Most everything we have seen so far is place holder or far from finished. They need to finish getting the base systems in first then worry about the fluff.
    Most people never listen. They are just waiting on you to quit making noise so they can.
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    AtamaAtama Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I don't blame the people criticizing the game either. Unless you follow development closely, read their blogs, listen to livestreams, and so on, you aren't going to know what is done and what isn't. It is definitely the downside of displaying what you have so early in the process.

    I spent a lot of time in Alpha 1 (which I thought was fun, by the way) and sometimes I don't know how to judge what I'm doing because I have no idea how much of the game I'm playing is actually going to be there at release.
     
    Hhak63P.png
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    TalentsTalents Member, Intrepid Pack
    Not sure on your production scale or budget, but it may be worth looking into something like RADiCAL (AI driven real time animation creation supported by Epic and FBX exports available) Getting a pakour actor to help with movement animations, and get the sound team to make the foot steps feel more impactful. This will improve immersion a lot. One thing i noticed about new world although there is MUCH to be desired about gameplay, they really nailed the sounds, all the actions and movement feels really impactful with the use of very well timed sound bites and this improves the feeling of the game by a lot.

    I mean their budget isn't low, but it's not high either. People seem to be expecting Ashes to have the best in the industry everything from combat to graphics to animations to sound to gameplay to voice acting. This simply is never going to happen. The game is basically being funded via Steven's pockets and a bit by community backing through pre-order packs/cosmetics.

    They don't have Amazon or Blizzard or Riot level money. With the scale of the game, some stuff will be lacking, it's unavoidable.
    nI17Ea4.png
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    Well, New World shows that an unlimited budget doesn’t make a game great.

    That said, with the budget they do have - I’d prioritize it toward the node & combat systems and their downstream impact of gameplay and environment over parkour motion capture.
    AoC+Dwarf+750v3.png
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    @arsnn
    arsnn wrote: »
    Prototyping for 1 year with hardly any changes and depth of tools you can utilize is kinda ..?

    The assumption you’ve made that has led you astray is that Alpha-1 was their most current build.

    As a result, you’ve opened the door for yourself to believe you can deduce the state of combat behind closed doors.
    969ac0db3fed38b86a2d982c8bda68c7c372cb4f.gifv
    "Knowledge is Power and I know a lot."
    - Dalaran Aspirant
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    AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    @arsnn
    arsnn wrote: »
    Prototyping for 1 year with hardly any changes and depth of tools you can utilize is kinda ..?

    The assumption you’ve made that has led you astray is that Alpha-1 was their most current build.

    As a result, you’ve opened the door for yourself to believe you can deduce the state of combat behind closed doors.

    This would be true, if not for the fact that they basically told us that the Combat state as of Alpha-1 was what they had, then explicitly gave us an 'A/B Test' of two different functions of it, and supposedly took our feedback on that decision.

    In order to not understand 'the overall state of development of combat' at that point would indicate that they were not only not being transparent about it, they were also sort of deceptive, which, so far, there's been no indication of.

    Basically, it's more reasonable and shows more faith in Intrepid to believe that combat really has NOT seen as much iteration until during or after Alpha-1, than to assume there was more done that we didn't get to see.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
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    Maybe - but I wonder how much of the current combat animations will be thrown out with UE5?
    AoC+Dwarf+750v3.png
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    AncientIncantAncientIncant Member
    edited January 2022
    @Azherae
    Azherae wrote: »
    they basically told us that the Combat state as of Alpha-1 was what they had

    Do you know on which livestream this was discussed? I'm curious and want to look further into it.

    Thanks.

    969ac0db3fed38b86a2d982c8bda68c7c372cb4f.gifv
    "Knowledge is Power and I know a lot."
    - Dalaran Aspirant
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    AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    @Azherae
    Azherae wrote: »
    they basically told us that the Combat state as of Alpha-1 was what they had

    Do you know on which livestream this was discussed? I'm curious and want to look further into it.

    Thanks.

    It's a combination of multiple things, much of which was actually within the Alpha-1 forums which as far as I know are still not open to the public, so I can't say with certainty that it is said in that exact way in a LiveStream, though I do remember explicit references to 'the idea that they need to do a lot of iteration on combat and want our feedback on parts of it over time'.

    It's also related to the way implementation happened and happens, specifically that they were in the middle of a combat rework at the time (which I think I can find explicit reference to, as it comes in the LiveStream just before the Alpha or just after it).

    However, if you need me to find 'those exact words' or something, let me know, because I'd prefer that you just 'believe I'm lying or making it up' or something, than go through all that to then just end up in a semantic argument.

    Forgive my attitude, I'm a little jaded from conversations on this forum from awhile back. Just bear in mind that people who have the Alpha One tag have had 'an entire separate forum to talk on' for a while, so I'm moreso 'corroborating what @arsnn is saying'.

    I'll try to find what you asked for if you care about 'things that require inferences'.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
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    bloodprophetbloodprophet Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited January 2022
    Start at 23:30 goes to 42:00
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3WrvtnSMiM
    Most people never listen. They are just waiting on you to quit making noise so they can.
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    AtamaAtama Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Azherae wrote: »
    Forgive my attitude, I'm a little jaded from conversations on this forum from awhile back. Just bear in mind that people who have the Alpha One tag have had 'an entire separate forum to talk on' for a while, so I'm moreso 'corroborating what @arsnn is saying'.

    And a separate Discord.
     
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    AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Quick thanks to @bloodprophet for finding it instead, just confirming that the linked one is the one I remember (but I haven't rewatched enough of it to be sure of exactly what was said).
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
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    bloodprophetbloodprophet Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I think an important part of the video is at the start when Steven reiterated this is a systems test and not a content test.
    Not crapping on people as we are seeing a large influx of new names (which is amazing and welcome) but a lot of new people see the videos either from Intrepid or someone else. Sometimes people don't clarify this point so first time eyeballs seeing the game think they are further along then they are.
    Most people never listen. They are just waiting on you to quit making noise so they can.
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    bloodprophetbloodprophet Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    More follow up from them 21:00 - 30:10
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcDhV0VaAkw
    Most people never listen. They are just waiting on you to quit making noise so they can.
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    Thanks all. Will watch these. Apologies for speaking out of turn. So are you two (@Azherae and @bloodprophet) in support of @arsnn assertion that the combat’s progression has been incremental? Would you say it’s concerning?
    969ac0db3fed38b86a2d982c8bda68c7c372cb4f.gifv
    "Knowledge is Power and I know a lot."
    - Dalaran Aspirant
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    bloodprophetbloodprophet Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Yes. Mainly because we have yet to see the other 5 Archetypes. We have seen progress and Intrepid has listened to the feed back and changed some things. If you watch some of the videos around the same time frame the mage used to jump to cast fireball. The community spoke out about how it was to flashy for a basic skill. They changed it.
    Playing the alpha 1 we saw improvements as it progressed but there is still a lot of work that still needs done. I don't think we will see anything close to a final look/feel till beta 1.
    They will continue to iterate and change stuff. Probably up to and past launch. But so far we have seen changes. Then personal preference comes into play. Are the changes good or bad? Some of it is personal preference some is sounded good on the white board but in practice not so much.

    For example for the PAX West demo 2017 they had a quick time event when casting you can see it in the videos. Sounded good in theory but in practice not so much. So they dropped it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miNthlJqkOc
    Most people never listen. They are just waiting on you to quit making noise so they can.
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    The animations as they stand, Alpha or not are horrendous. We can all agree on this, however, I dislike the consistent use of the 'Alpha' scapegoat. It's old and used to shut down constructive criticism, a lot, especially on the forum. Just because they aren't finished doesn't mean we can't help direct the developers down a path that results in animations that are interesting instead of bland and/or generic.
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    AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Thanks all. Will watch these. Apologies for speaking out of turn. So are you two (@Azherae and @bloodprophet) in support of @arsnn assertion that the combat’s progression has been incremental? Would you say it’s concerning?

    I don't think it would be fair for me to say anything much more than 'yes, I'm in support of @arsnn assertion', as I have multiple unfounded concerns. To me, they are heavily concerning, but they have no real evidence to back them up other than my intuition and code/design experience.

    In other words, I'd guess, and I rather trust Intrepid than guess, for now.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
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    bloodprophetbloodprophet Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Merek wrote: »
    The animations as they stand, Alpha or not are horrendous. We can all agree on this, however, I dislike the consistent use of the 'Alpha' scapegoat. It's old and used to shut down constructive criticism, a lot, especially on the forum. Just because they aren't finished doesn't mean we can't help direct the developers down a path that results in animations that are interesting instead of bland and/or generic.

    No we can't all agree on this. I don't agree and there are many on both side of this.

    What direction would you prefer they go with this? Stay constructive.
    Most people never listen. They are just waiting on you to quit making noise so they can.
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    Thanks all. Will watch these. Apologies for speaking out of turn. So are you two (@Azherae and @bloodprophet) in support of @arsnn assertion that the combat’s progression has been incremental? Would you say it’s concerning?

    I am currently working on a small indie arpg and the thing I can tell you is that combat's progression is not tied to other systems unless one person is doing multiple jobs. First you need to make good models that look pretty and could even be two different people working on this, one to do the model sculpting and the other for drawing the textures. Then you need to make a rig(skeletal system that affects joints and movement control during animation). Rigs require quite a bit of testing and remaking to make sure things twist and bend properly for the next part. Animations come next and will require repeated tests that can get intense with a process of finishing an animation, sending it over to be added to the character model, making sure it flows properly, and if there are any issues you repeat the process. After allll of that is done you still need someone to craft the skill effects for the animation if it needs them such as a fire bolt or summoning a bolt of lightning.

    Hopefully this makes some sense, but what this means for this topic is that as long as they have multiple workers each part can be done separate from the other systems. The person working on node mechanics will almost never be needed to help with combat mechanics unless they really need to hardcode certain things in.
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    Commissioned at https://fiverr.com/ravenjuu
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    No we can't all agree on this. I don't agree and there are many on both side of this.

    If you don't think there's an issue with these baseline, near store-bought animations you've got very low standards.
    What direction would you prefer they go with this? Stay constructive.

    A mix between New World and ArcheAge, the only way they'd be decent.
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    bloodprophetbloodprophet Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Perceptions. But fair enough.

    I think both of them look like garbage but we all like different things.
    Most people never listen. They are just waiting on you to quit making noise so they can.
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