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Spell-Zerker: Part 4

Been a while! Since my last update, I’ve completed a contract gig for Nifty Island, putting together emotes and supplemental animations, as well as helping to develop the animation pipeline. But now that’s over, and I’m back on this old project, using what I’ve learned to push it forward.

First things first – workflow! I couldn’t believe how messy my workflow and file organization had been. I had been working on all the animations in a single scene, and it was a nightmare to remember how it all flowed together, with multiple different animation layers for slightly different functions and very unclear gaps between different animation sections. So, I basically started over.

Not from scratch, of course. I used the AnimTool Pose/Anim transfer functionality and my increased familiarity with that toolset to transfer over as much of the better animation into new scenes, and went back into the rig to reorganize its setup. From there, I altered the curves of the Walk and Idle animations to improve the posing while maintaining the timing, which I was still satisfied with.

I also began from scratch in-engine, updating to Unreal Engine 5.1. This allowed me to improve the setup and naming of the blueprints and other files, and to bring in a wider knowledgebase where I could pick the most-relevant areas from each workflow and combine them into something suited to the Spellzerker’s first-person melee/spellcasting gameplay. This also gave me an opportunity to familiarize myself with UE5.1’s tools and processes, as well as to address certain issues with the locomotion of the previous setup. For example, the previous setup caused some hitching when moving backwards due to the setup of the locomotion blendspace, but by streamlining the number of animations I used and reimplementing the blendspace axes, the problem was eliminated.

From there, I’ve added new animations for sprinting and jumping, and gotten them set up in-engine, as well. I’m drawing from Far Cry Primal and Dishonored for the gameplay experiences, so I’m replaying them for artistic study, particularly for framing, camera movement, and understanding the best ways to actually implement the animations. This has helped me cut back on the number of animations that I need to do and simplify the animation systems.

Next up: aim offsets to indicate turning!


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