Age of Empires Online Animations Part 1 Dear John

By chaz on April 14, 2011, 10:12 pm in Age of Empires: Online, animation, production diary, work
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Age of Empires Online (AoEO) is now in the hands of Gas Powered Games, so my work on it is complete. I was one of two animators on the project. My initial role, once the art style was finalized, was to concept and visualize the animation style that best complimented the game’s art direction. It was great pulling reference from Looney Tunes and old Disney shorts. Through animation reference, exploration, pushing, pulling, trial, error, I eventually hit a style that was wacky and exaggerated in some circumstances, and kind of an overly animated subtlety for most cases; both with an overall defined timing and spacing that melded the extreme and subtle together. Wow, I hope that doesn’t sound like a bunch of babbling bullshit.

For example: during some attacks and deaths I could just go wild and create an animation that was really extreme. Other attacks were “ordinary”, but still shared the timing and spacing that was a staple of the style. Idles and movement animations were pretty subtle. Boreds were a mix of extreme and well… boring, and other animations were a bit of both: extreme timing and holds with a nice subtle overlap on limbs, capes, and other floppy bits on the main action.

Once that phase of the project finished, and the animation style squared away, it was time to move on and actually create animations on characters for game purposes. So I could actually put to good use the knowledge gained from creating the style used, which was somewhat of a first for me: create the style and create nearly all animations for the characters in the game. So, just a bit of explanation, though I was one of two animators, the other is our technical genius Juan Martinez. He creates all of the art tools used on all projects at Robot Entertainment, which was his primary role during the course of AoEO. That took up the majority of his time while my only role is to animate because I suck at the smartzz. That’s how I ended up animating almost the entire game, which is definitely a fun and challenging undertaking.

This is getting wordy; time for purdy moving picatures. I want to share (and will over the course of time) all of my work on the project. Since there is so much, I’ll space out the animations in different posts. This being post numero uno.

I want to start the first post off with the deer because she’s one of the first characters I animated for the game while also coming back and adding in more animations over the course of the project; and I feel it shows the animation style well. I wanted to convey a cheerful, fearful personality. Happy-go-lucky, clueless, but yet… there’s always death around the corner.

Click on the images to view the animations. Animations require quicktime to view.

I typically start off with Idle and Jog animations to get a feel for the character.

Deer | Idle Idle Deer | Jog | 1 Jog 1 

Deer | Jog | 2 Jog 2 Deer | BIGJog BIGJog 

The bored set of animations is where I wanted to present the “fearfulness” of this helpless, juicy, meaty, tasty, animal.

Deer | Idle Bored 1 Deer | Bored | 2 Bored 2 

Deer | Bored | 3 Bored 3 

Every one has to die sometime, and in AOEO deer die all the time.

Deer | Death | 1 Death 1 Deer | Death | 2 Death 2 

If one of the buddies kicks the bucket, this is the “johnny just bit it, and I’m getting the F out of here” run.

Deer | Run Run 

Munching on some bush.

Deer | Graze | 1 Graze 1 Deer | Graze | 2 Graze 2 

Relaxin’

Deer | LayDownSet LayDownSet 

I hope you enjoyed the deer set of animations for Age of Empires Online. There’s more to come… later. So stay tuned. 🙂

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Just in case you missed them (though I don’t know how you did), here are all of the posts in my Age of Empires Online Animation series:

Part 1: Dear John
Part 2: Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh MY
Part 3: Mr Hoppy and the Axeman
Part 4: Mount Up
Part 5: Fish Under Siege
Part 6: A Compacted Geology Wink
Part 7: On the Range
Part 8: May God Be With You
Part 9: The Tale of the Big Bad Boarolf
Part 10: I Will Embark Upon Your Quest Good Sir
Part 11: Speared, Stabbed and Clubbed
Part 12: The Village Bitch