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Topic: Soldier / Battle Animations

chuckw
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Joined: 2010-03-15, 16:23
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Location: New York - USA
Posted at: 2010-10-21, 23:10

With the completion of the basic animations for the other workers in the game, I've turned my attention to the soldiers who, in addition to basic "idle" and "walking" have been programmed for battle animation.

As the original blender models for all of the soldiers are not retrievable, these characters must be completely remodeled.

This provides an opportunity to reconsider each tribe's military representation. So I have started this forum topic to promote discussion and gain a clear concept of how the soldiers and their conflicts will be depicted in the game.

The current soldier animations, which exist only as 2D png files and are limited to walking poses, seem a logical starting point and model from which the new animations can evolve. They provide good definition in styles between the tribes.

In my opinion, we can widen the difference in appearance between the tribes' soldiers even more.

Here are some of my thoughts in consideration of the current animations:

1) While capes/cloaks provide a fine element to display player color, IMHO the barbarians should be without cloaks and appear a bit more "rag tag" or "un-militaristic" except for their helmets and shields.

2) The imperial soldiers should be obviously using spears, their defined weapon in the game.

3) Similarly, the Atlanteans should be obviously using tridents.

4) I imagine the battle animations should be short and to the point. (Pun intended.) face-smile.png Currently, each "roll of the dice" and its result are presented by approximately one second (1000ms) of animation that defaults now to one second of walking in place in a direction other than east or west.

5) Battle should also be as sanitary as possible, i.e. Absolutely NO blood and gore. Preferably comic or "cartoon-y" in nature.

6) Attack animation could be depicted by a thrust/swing of the weapon with a successful attack appearing undeflected while a failed attack could show the weapon moving outward and away from the opponent. More large movements could be incorporated like jumping up to attack or hopping to one side to evade. The scale of the engine makes facial expressions so small they would be practically invisible.

7) Evade animation could involve the soldier's shield moving forward if successful or move outward and away from the soldier's body if the evasion failed. Again large movements should be incorporated to communicate the result of the attack.

face-glasses.png When a soldier dies, it might be depicted by the soldier becoming an angel or ghost or skull and crossbones or just disappearing (THAT's sanitary)! face-wink.png

I'd like to hear your thoughts and ideas on how we can best depict this unfortunate necessity of military conflict.


I see little people.

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Nasenbaer
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Joined: 2009-02-21, 18:17
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Posted at: 2010-10-22, 10:02

Hi :),

I was not aware, that the soldier animations were missing. I really liked them - especially the atlantean one with the oversized trident, looking like a ballon trident from a county fair :).

However I agree with what you wrote and just want to add some ideas and points: face-smile.png

1) While capes/cloaks provide a fine element to display player color, IMHO the barbarians should be without cloaks and appear a bit more "rag tag" or "un-militaristic" except for their helmets and shields.

Barbarian soldiers do not have shields (at least from the game engine point of view face-wink.png ) - if it looks nice, this should not be a reason to not ada a shield to the barbarian soldier. However in the campaigns and in the description of the barbarian soldiers is mentioned, that they are very aggressive and don't pay much attention on a good defense, so... face-smile.png

The same applies to the imperials: they do not have shields (but only) from the game engine point of view. But in that case - never mind and give them one - they are surely better trained in defensive fighting than the barbarians. face-smile.png (my point of view face-wink.png )

face-glasses.png When a soldier dies, it might be depicted by the soldier becoming an angel or ghost or skull and crossbones or just disappearing (THAT's sanitary)! face-wink.png

or a ghost that vanishes in the air. face-smile.png

Edited: 2010-10-30, 11:17

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smoku
Joined: 2010-07-19, 09:37
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Posted at: 2010-10-22, 10:32

I don't really like the idea of introducing ghosts, angels, skeletons and other imaginary things. In real life a dead body just falls down and that's it.

So, for me the best death animation is the solder falling down and disappearing after. If one carried some weapon or shield they may be dropped first, before body falling down.


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Nasenbaer
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Posted at: 2010-10-22, 10:38

smoku wrote: I don't really like the idea of introducing ghosts, angels, skeletons and other imaginary things. In real life a dead body just falls down and that's it. So, for me the best death animation is the solder falling down and disappearing after. If one carried some weapon or shield they may be dropped first, before body falling down.

In real life yes, but this is a game ;).

I understand your point, but I am at least against a "real" dying animation. However I really like the idea that the soldier drops his weapons and shields. So what about dropping the weapons, while the soldier itself vanishes in the air?


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Venatrix
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Joined: 2010-10-05, 20:31
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Posted at: 2010-10-22, 14:35

I must say, I like the idea that soldiers of different levels also look a bit different. For example: As I see it, the Atlanteans don't have shields, too, when they become soldiers. They just get it with their training. So that's one thing that could change. But I suppose that's too much to ask for…

And as Nasenbaer wrote, the imperial and barbarian soldiers don't have shields at all. I never understood, where they got it from ;-).

About the dying animation: For my CPU's sake it should not be too complicated ;-). I just like the idea of dropping the weapons and fading away in some way…


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chuckw
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Posted at: 2010-10-22, 15:00

Venatrix wrote: I must say, I like the idea that soldiers of different levels also look a bit different. For example: As I see it, the Atlanteans don't have shields, too, when they become soldiers. They just get it with their training. So that's one thing that could change. But I suppose that's too much to ask for…

At this point in time, we have no code to differentiate between soldier character images at various levels of training/experience other than the health meter above their heads, so it will have to be one appearance used for all of the soldiers of a particular tribe for now. It would be cool, though, to see "heros" wearing nice shiny armor with "recruits" in leather or even cloth. But for now, "one size fits all". face-smile.png

And as Nasenbaer wrote, the imperial and barbarian soldiers don't have shields at all. I never understood, where they got it from .

Well, also as Nasenbaer put it, "...it is a game..." after all. When is the last time you saw somebody carrying a real anvil on their shoulder, for example? face-wink.png

About the dying animation: For my CPU's sake it should not be too complicated . I just like the idea of dropping the weapons and fading away in some way…

I like the approach of dropping the weapons and fading away, too; as opposed to just popping out of site.

Well, as I said, I've started work on the remodeling. When I have something to look at, I'll post it in this forum thread for everyone's comments.


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Nasenbaer
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Posted at: 2010-10-22, 15:02

Venatrix wrote: I must say, I like the idea that soldiers of different levels also look a bit different. For example: As I see it, the Atlanteans don't have shields, too, when they become soldiers. They just get it with their training. So that's one thing that could change. But I suppose that's too much to ask for…

I completely understand that idea and like it as well. However at least with current graphics engine, this is not possible. Perhaps this gets implemented some day, but it is a rather big change (especially from graphician point of view), as there are not only the different levels, but various ways of reaching them (level 1 can mean, that the soldiers has +1 attack, +1 evade, + 1 defense or +1 health points -> level 2 has even more possibilities and there are 10 levels per soldier (9 at the atlanteans) ) so for now let's keep it simple ... face-smile.png


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chuckw
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Posted at: 2010-10-22, 15:22

Regarding different looks for soldiers at different levels:

Nasenbaer wrote:

Perhaps this gets implemented some day, but it is a rather big change (especially from graphician point of view), as there are not only the different levels, but various ways of reaching them (level 1 can mean, that the soldiers has +1 attack, +1 evade, + 1 defense or +1 health points -> level 2 has even more possibilities and there are 10 levels per soldier (9 at the atlanteans) ) so for now let's keep it simple ...

My math isn't great, but even I can calculate that is a LOT of possible level combinations which could result in a LOT of graphics =>(files=>space requirements=>memory requirements) for an aspect of the game we don't necessarily wish to glorify.

As SirVer likes to say, "KISS" - Keep it simple ______. face-wink.png and "Simple" is something to which I can surely relate. face-grin.png


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chuckw
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Posted at: 2010-10-22, 18:42

Okay. Here are some samples of the new barbarian soldier as he currently stands. The images are to scale as they would appear in the game.

You'll note he looks very similar to the original.

I kept the horned helmet although if we add a Northmen tribe in the future, the barbarian headgear will have to be changed. (You can't have northmen without horned helmets!) face-wink.png

On the shield, I reversed the player color areas and added player color to the back of the shield.

Instead of a cape, I gave him a tunic-like, sleeveless outer-shirt. (I don't know the proper name for it in armoring terms.) face-smile-big.png

These changes will provide lots of player color on the new model.

original Old Barb soldier - angle1 Old Barb soldier - angle 2 Old Barb Soldier - angle 3 Old Barb Soldier - side

new Barb soldier - front angles Barb soldier - back view Barb soldier - side view

So, what do you think of the new look? Any other ideas? Let's hear 'em!

Edited: 2010-10-22, 18:57

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SirVer
Joined: 2009-02-19, 15:18
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Posted at: 2010-10-22, 19:08

Hello,

here are my 2cents. First of all: I like the new soldier face-smile.png

1) I agree. I'd love to see them get away with their shields as they are really weak on the defense. 2) and 3) agreed.

4-7) Settlers 2 had a weapon swing animation where the attacker leaned forward quite a bit so that the sword actually hit the enemy. The enemy would then glow white for a split second. It the enemy evaded, he would jump or step sideways towards the camera (so to speak), so there were one attack and two possible evade animations. I liked it, but obviously I am happy with other stuff as well ;). hiding behind a shield could be nice as well. When a soldier died, he dropped his weapon and went up in smoke. It was a good visualization without much gore.

5) Yes. Absolutely.

face-glasses.png I am looking forward to these. I think they are the most difficult to get right.

I am also for other looks for better soldiers. What I'd like to see is a visual difference in the amount of traininess a soldier got: level 0 soldiers all look the same, level 1-4 all look the same (no matter what levels they have trained) and so on till level 10 which look awesome. I do not want this for the gameplay value, but only for the optics. It is hard to make those models so that they stay recognizable and are not easy to mix up.

!SirVer


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