Age of Empires Online Animations Part 4 Mount Up
It’s a big post because these are BIG units: mounted units, anything being ridden on or being pulled by an animal. All were a pain in my side the entire project. These characters, by far, took the longest to animate. Don’t get me wrong, I loved animating them, and how they turned out; but, man, they were tedious. There were so many bones from the rider and the mount (horses, elephants, and camels). And so many dangling bits (cloth, tails, trunks, pouches, armor… they had it all.)
All of the mounted units share or have animations inspired by this first character, the Hippikon, a sword wielding heavy cavalry unit. He’s the first mounted character I animated, and one of my favorite to use in the game. Hippikons are also the largest horse skeleton used in the game, the smaller type shares the same animations, but I had to do some magic to get these animations on to the smaller skeletons (Greek and Egyptian scouts, Prodromos, Sarissophoroi, etc…) At first we animated attacks for these guys with the horses doing nothing but playing their idle animation, while the guy swung and attacked. We did this because, to my knowledge, all other Age of Empires games only had the rider attacking. This looked pretty boring and static when we play tested, so it was quickly decided to have the mounts animate too. When animating the mounts during the attacks, I kept in mind that the mounts were also fighting for survival so I would have them look as if they are attacking too.
Click on the images to view the animations. Animations require quicktime to view.
The Camel Rider is a pretty goofy character, well, I think camels look goofy, so I tried to animate them that way. The world camel that you’ll see in some of the Egyptian quest lines use the camel animations from this character. A bit more of the sharing to keep the work load under control.
The Egyptian chariot archer is a mix of two units with modifications to get it working, the Greek archer, and the above horse animations from the hippikon. It was a tricky and tedious task to get this all working together, but it was definitely faster than animating this entire character from scratch. You’ll see similar animations here coming together to make this unit work (deaths, idles, attacks, jogs) all pulled from other units.
The Egyptian scout is basically the Chariot Archer from above, except the guy has a spear, pulling animations from the Sarissophoroi cavalry character that also throws spears. I also added reigns on the chariot… that was a
dumb great idea because it was so easy to animate!
The mother of all mounted units is the War Elephant. Train a bunch of these guys for an instant game over for your enemy. I treated him in a similar dopey personality to the Camel Rider. And just like the camel from the camel rider the elephant animations are shared by all elephants (archer and world).
That concludes of part 4 of my Age of Empires Online animations post. Thanks for viewing, and I hope you enjoyed it. Stay tuned for part 5 coming soon!
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