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Atavism Dev Log 9 – Tribal Animations

Week 9: March 1-7

Thus begins the task of implementing the enemy. Most of the talk is my plan while the webm’s do the real heavy-lifting if you just want to see some progress. I can also confirm this is a Wednesday blog now.

I’m a bit satisfied with my pose work here, but his hand is right flat.

Ready for Action, but not for Strafing

So after last week, I spent some time polishing up the rig and sat down to plan out each of the animations I’m gonna need – some of which I plan on making immediately and the vast majority of which will come later. After that I grabbed my roommate and we went down to a big empty room on campus to record a bunch of reference footage, which is to say video of me acting out each of the animations the way I want them to look so that I can use them as a guide. It was not only a lot of fun, but good exercise as well, and so far it’s been invaluable to see exactly what I’m making instead of trying to rely off my mind’s eye, so I think that was a good call.

Here are the currently “finished” animations (they could use plenty of polish):

The attack:

The walk cycle:

The above is an attack animation split into two parts, the initial attack, and if the AI deems a second one useful, a follow-up attack. These are going to need recoil animations following them if the player parries as well, but those are a lower priority. The below animation is a walk cycle, which is for walking forward at a slow pace. There’s currently no upper-body movement because that will be handled by masked animations, so I can swap a blocking, idle combat, or idle calm animation on top of it.

I still need an idle animation, a run cycle forwards, and a slow left, right, and backwards walk cycle as well. In addition, I need some smaller idle masks for blocking, ready, and calm (as mentioned earlier) for the upper body, and then a backstep animation. Low-priority flavor animations are getting hit (while blocking and not), dying, animations for getting parried, various idles, more hits and run cycles, not all of which I can guarantee for demo day. I also recorded a bunch of footage for injured versions of all these animations, but that a final-release material, not demo-day (not to mention a bunch of unique animations for certain scenes).

It sounds like a lot, and it is, but working on it gets it done little by little and it doesn’t need to be perfect. The attack animations are probably the biggest of them anyway.

Next Week and then Next NEXT week


Well next week I’ll keep chiseling away at getting these done. If the stars align, all of them will be, and I’ll show what I have anyways next Wednesday, but it’s likely I’ll have a few left afterwards, which I can get done over spring bre-

Oh yeah, over spring break I’m going to GDC!

Yeah I’m going to the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco again this year for my second time; I’ve got an expo pass and a hotel room with a few of my mates from the Game Dev Club and we’re gonna be checking out the floor and going to panels from Wednesday to Friday. Because I’ll still be free on the weekend before it, it probably won’t even affect my regular progress that much.

In any case I’ll keep working on it, but the blog might come out on the 20th or something instead and not Wednesday. We’ll see.

I don’t think a ton of people are following me, but if anyone sees this and wants to talk to me at the conference, I’d absolutely love to meet!


By Steven Zwahl

I'm a Computer Science undergrad at Kansas State University.

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