The Spell-Zerker: Part 3

Been a while since I last updated. Part of that’s been due to some mental health bumps – hey, depression’s a pain – and some of that’s because, frankly, there isn’t much to show.

Now, that’s not to say I’ve not done much; far from it. In fact, I’ve lain the groundwork to really bump the quality of this project up a notch! Thing is, it’s mostly backend work with the anim blueprints, plus figuring out a little thing called “additive animation.”

Additive Awfulness

In the past, I’ve not had much luck with getting additive animation set up. Every time I’d do it, it would twist and distort the rig dreadfully. But it turns out I was overcomplicating it a bit by feeding the cached posed into the additive anim before blending it back together. But if I simply let the additive sit on its own before the blend, it functioned perfectly! Next, I tried both Local and Mesh Space additive, and Mesh Space produced far better results. I’m not sure of the differences between them that led to the differing results, and I’d love to figure that out.

Simplify, Simplify

With the additive set up, I simply set the blend value for it as a float variable and tied it into the event graph. With the blend values dynamically changing, I could have it sit in the background and turn on and off when needed. For the locomotion, I moved from a 2-Axis Blendspace with Speed and Direction, to a simple 1-axis Directional Blendspace (going from -180 to 180 degrees) and tied the Speed variable into the blend for the locomotion additive.

This setup also meant that I didn’t have to create a separate locomotion animation for the Time Stop anims on the left hand – I could simply rely on the standard weapon mode locomotion additive animation to affect the left hand at any point.

Sword Logic

Another challenge came with the new Sword Attack animation. I began to iterate on the sword attacks, drawing from games like Dishonored to get more impact on each swing. But now the sword was clipping through the left hand when I had the Time Stop active. I tried a few different techniques involving additive animation that would play over the standard left hand sword attack animation , but ultimately I decided to go the simple route and use those animations as standard anims that worked as part of the Time Stop animation montage.

Next Steps

With a new style for the first sword attack figured out, I’m now going to iterate on all the sword attacks, and create and implement the third and fourth sword attacks. I really want to get the sword swings feeling fast and impactful, so I’ll dedicate my next chunk of time to getting those seen to.

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