Age of Empires Online Animations Part 3 Mr Hoppy and the Axeman

By chaz on April 22, 2011, 9:00 am in Age of Empires: Online, animation, production diary, work
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In my opinion (which doesn’t count towards much when we’re talking about gameplay), these two melee characters are the staple of both the Greek and Egyptian skirmish unit lines. I mean… they’re just so cool looking! You’ve got the “this is sparta!” guy, and the guy welding a gigantic axe; what’s not to like?

This Hoplite character seems right out of the movie 300, one movie I watched over and over and over and over again for reference. He was one of the first units animated that helped solidify the style for the game. Some boreds are on him (one of which is unique to this unit type). Some deaths (which are shared across all units, but he had a cape so I had to put them on him). He even got a run before we decided that wouldn’t be used. He also got a fair amount of attack animations, which a lot of those early melee units got second rounds on for more animations (hence the different outfit in the renders as the Hoplite went through different iterations, and the model just kept changing every time I opened the file to animate).

I fair amount of units in the game re-use this animation set. If he has a sword or spear and a shield, they’re probably using the Hoplite’s animations. You’ll notice that many of the units share animations, as there are far too many units to create unique animations for. So, I tried to create solid sets of animations that would be easily used by, and still look good on, other units.

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

Hoplite | Idle Idle Hoplite | Jog Jog 

Hoplite | Run Run Hoplite | Bored | 1 Bored 1 

Hoplite | Bored | 2 Bored 2 Hoplite | Attack | 1 Attack 1 

Hoplite | Attack | 2 Attack 2 Hoplite | Attack | 3 Attack 3 

Hoplite | Attack | 4 Attack 4 Hoplite | Attack | 5 Attack 5 

Hoplite | Death | 1 Death 1 Hoplite | Death | 2 Death 2 

When I found out about the axeman I immediately started grabbing reference from an awesome video game called The Mark of Kri. The main character in that eventually gets an axe, and boy does he tear guys apart with it! The axeman was one of the later units animated on the project, and I tried to push the boundaries further and further the closer we got to the end. The first round of attack animations I did for this unit were way too over the top, exaggerated and crazy for a little character in a RTS game. They didn’t work. So that’s how the ones down below came about. They have the same idea and essence of the craziness I wanted to convey, but toned down a bit.

The axeman set of animations was also a shared staple for some of the other Egyptian units. My mom always taught me to share. Also, towards the end, I started to tie down how many animations the units actually needed, since we were on strict deadlines, melee units weren’t getting 5-7 attack animations anymore, and they were sharing almost all bored animations. This goes back to my statement of creating solid animations that will get seen over and over again, rather than create lots of animations that you’ll see fewer instances of because there are so many.

Axeman | Idle Idle Axeman | Jog Jog 

Axeman | Attack | 1 Attack 1 Axeman | Attack | 2 Attack 2 

Axeman | Attack | 3 Attack 3 

That’s the end of part 3 of my Age of Empires Online animations post. Thanks for viewing, and I hope you enjoyed the Spartan and the murderous axe wielder. Stay tuned for part 4 coming soon!

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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