Chilano: Hey, everyone. Thanks, Paul. So character and concept really had a great foundation for the Crusader. It is taking these keywords: medieval, mid-range melee, squared, a character that would hold his ground. And they gave him a face.
And it’s the animator’s turn to bring it to life. And we started with an eye to pose. That eye to pose will really capture the tone of the character.
We started with this right here. Now what we like about this is the square shoulders, and broad chest. He is militant and stoic, and he’s not scared of the enemies in front of him.
In theory, this is actually really great. We really dug this, but in practice we ran into some issues. You are going to see here that he’s going to go in a dynamic action, but then he is going to hit this very rigid resting pose. It’s causing visual noise. It’s distracting to look at, so we got to kinda rethink this.
The good news is that we can take this pose that hits a lot of these core elements of the Crusader and apply it to his town idle. So when you are talking to a vendor, and you are in town, we still capture that element of the Crusader that we want, but now in-game you are more battle-ready, here even without his weapons.
He’s a square — mentioning the shape language that Paul talked about — and when you put it in practice, it flows much better.
Now it’s fluid. It’s dynamic. It’s not distractive, and it feels pretty good. Once we solved this issue, we can continue to animate more of his locomotion and his base moves, and more weapons. But this time, we actually got asked to get involved in something that was new for the animators, which was the signature weapon.
Now when you started to see the concepts of the Crusader with the shield, we always knew they would be part of him, but the flail really stroke a tone with the team. It was medieval. It was mid-range melee, and it was very physical for a weapon.
When it got in-game, though, there was some issues with it. As you could see here this is not reacting well at all. It is just all over the place. It’s got a mind of its own. So what we ended up doing is — we focused a lot of time now to make it feel right.
Every click, every time we change gravity, physics, weight or material we had to then click a hundred times to see how it reacts. And what you learn is — it’s not about the action, it is about the reaction. So it is: What does the flail does after the movement?
I remember we had a meeting. I went in there and I was talking to my art director, and some tech leads — and I believe Andrew was there, and I was like: “Sorry guys, either we fail or frail.” Alright, I won’t quit my day job on that. (laughs)
But we ended up with something good, and you will see when you play in the showroom floor and more videos that you won’t even notice it. It is because it is working how you expected.
Now finally, we get to the meat and potatoes for the animators — and that is the skills. Every hero has its style. The Barbarian is very consistent. The Monk hits and holds, the Crusader has a bit of a build-up to its animations. I am going to show you Shield Bash and it is slowed down, and you are going to see a character who really gathers that energy in the back, holds it and then explodes forward. It’s very physical. Very powerful, and it is going with the line of action for the skill.
Here at full speed you will just see how powerful it really feels. The timing feels right. We are giving enough hold so that when it hits it feels really impactful, and this is when you get character concept, animation effects and design really working together; and you get skills that feel really good and really fun, and they look really awesome.
Now to talk a little bit more about designing skills for the Crusader, our senior designer Andrew Chambers.