50+ upgraded unit animations based on inverse kinematics

We have revamped all walk animation scripts for better quality and deeper immersion with use of powerful inverse kinematics!

Let's look closer!

How's it going folks? We'd like to present some big developments in Beyond All Reason! As you might have figured from previous news posts, we like to invest far too much time and effort into polishing the smallest details of the game. This update is all about those little details, that when put together create the unique and immersive experience that are the reason you love BAR.

Back to Total Annihilation

This tradition goes back to the times of our grand grandfather Total Annihilation, a game from 1997 which to this day amazes with its immersion and sets the standards for real-time strategy genre. The attention to detail in TA was extraordinary, from solar generators closing when attacked, to tanks recoiling when shooting, and units shaking on a bumpy road. These may seem unimportant, but oh man do they make you go wow when you it all comes together.

With this in mind we've spent the past few months reanimating K-Bots with a powerful tool that allows us to focus on the details. Each unit's animation was designed to accentuate its defining features, making commanders at least 300% more intimidating. Animations are now also fully dependent on the actual velocity of the unit: they slow down on turns and when walking uphill. No more gliding commanders!

Reanimate with Inverse-Kinematics!

Beherith developed a script for Blender that  "skeletizes" unit models. That means it simulates bones based on how pieces in the model are connected.

Then we use Blender's inverse-kinematics to produce all keyframes of the animation. This way you don't have to move every piece separately, but ie. just move the foot and the rest of the leg will follow the realistic paths that make this move possible. After setting up all the keyframes the addon allows you to export the automatically generated script that can be used for animating the unit in-game.

The Process

For those interested in the process, it can be adapted to any SpringRTS game using s3o unit models, we have prepared some documentation to look into.

But enough technicalities! Let the new animations speak for themselves :)

Ow.. and...

Death is coming...

With all the new shiny tools at our disposal we are planning to take the animations to the next level. With some more scripting magic, Beherith was able to create a setup for idle animations and even death animations. Soon there will be no more disappointment seeing units turn to wreck without any intermediate movement. More on this when we have juicy stuff to show!

Some images

Mentionable team members

Beherith
PtaQ
Flaka

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