Monday, December 21, 2009

Update: Cutscene work

The past few days have seen me undertake the time consuming process of creating a cutscene. Given the cutscene lasts for under a minute, the amount of time it has taken me is quite phenomenal. The lack of an easy way to make characters do simple actions is frustrating coming from the NWN2 toolset, yet the ability to do more complex actions and also to view the cutscene at will is a refreshing change. Being able to see my characters actions and animations without running the game is wonderful.

The simple actions that proved frustrating were making characters walk and run, and making them equip weapons. To arbitrarily make the characters walk or run, it seems that you have to loop the walk/run animation on the character, and then move them an appropriate distance during that section, adjusting the animation speed as necessary. Unless you happen to be lucky enough to want to make your characters walk the set path of one of the GAD supporting walk animations, this is amazingly frustrating and time-consuming.

Equipping weapons is a two part process. First you need to find the appropriate equip animation for the character's loadout (e.g. two-handed weapon, dual-wielding, sword and shield, etc) and set that as the animation. Then in a separate track for the character, you need to assign the "equip weapons" action at the exact frame where the character grabs their equipment. Of course, if you're dual wielding or using sword & shield, the two items are not grabbed at the same time, so you need to find the correct frame for each item and add in a equip weapon action for both items.

I've found that typically it is best to use the standing neutral pose as the default pose for characters, as this is what most animations seemed to start and finish from. Since you don't seem to be able to blend the end of an animation into the default pose nicely, if you're not using this pose, it seems you'll need to do some fancy camera cutting before animations finish in order to prevent your characters looking jerky.

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