Age of Empires Online Animations Part 7 On the Range

By chaz on May 27, 2011, 9:00 am in Age of Empires: Online, production diary, work
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All ranged units can, obviously, attack at a distance, and they are mostly good for taking down melee infantry units because they [melee] cannot [attack at a distance]. Too bad for those melee chumps. However, some ranged units have better purposes, such as taking on cavalry. I remember one 2v2 playtest session, I used my level 40 Greek character with decked out archers (well, everything was pretty uber) and I mutilated both of my level 30+ opponents with no help from my team mate in about five minutes. I laughed for a long long time. I think I’m still laughing. Man that’s funny.

I’m starting with the Greek Archer animations because ALL other ranged units are inspired by this character utilizing the same game functionality. Though, artistically, the Archer as a base for the others is because we used “body types” for each class of human units. This was to help with recognizing the character at a glance, if you saw them, if only for a split second, you knew what type of unit they are. (Ranged = Slender body type. Melee = Bulky. Riders [anyone on a mount] = Average. Villagers = Civilian Male and Female body types. Some Riders share the civilian male, but all females have the Civilian Female body type.) Though, even some NPC opponents have bulky body types for units that shoot arrows. That’s weird.

You’ll see in the Idle and Jog animations that the archer model is the first iteration before we moved to an even more exaggerated slender body type. He’s still as tall, but a bit beefier up top. The slender body type has really long legs, and I remember it being difficult and taking a long time to get a jog animation that looked any good on the character. So once I found something that worked (I like it anyway) I used that as the basis for all the other slender characters, but didn’t modify it much.

Animations require quicktime to view.




This next unit, the Gastraphetes is like the direct descendant of the Archer, and he is Greek only. He uses a crossbow, and can only be trained in the fourth age, which is why I never used him. Most games are over in the 2nd or 3rd age. You need to step up your game.



This next character is the Peltast, another Greek only unit. I treated him like a baseball pitcher and javelin thrower; only exaggerated. (Looking back at these renders, I think I modified the animations to make them slightly more exaggerated.) Again, he’s based on the Archer.



The only Egyptian ranged infantry unit is the Slingman. He slings rocks. What else is there to say?



A lot of my reference for the Slingman came from these animated shorts Looney Tunes: Baseball Bugs

and Disney’s Goofy’s How to Play Baseball.

I did the above attack animations, and overall people thought they were too exaggerated, so when I made the others I took the three Peltast attacks, since they were already approved, and modified them to work for the Slingman.

That’s the end of part 7 of my Age of Empires Online animations post. Thanks for viewing. Stay tuned for part 8!

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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