Three-dimensional animation is used in films, television, and video or computer games to provide the viewer with a rich and realistic view of a fantasy world. Yet creating animations specifically for video games involves different aspects of the design process than you would need for movie animations. What’s important to remember is that film animation is designed to be passively viewed, while 3D animation for a game will be interactive. This can make the animations used in video games more complex in many ways. The following are a few aspects of video game animation to consider.
Range of Motion
When playing a 3D video game, you’ll often be put in the shoes of a character travelling through a wide range of different surroundings. Players can turn around and see the environment around them at a 360-degree level. Films may only involve a single point of view, with animators having no need to worry about what is off screen. This can make the environmental design more complex in a video game animation. Video game animators must consider the big picture when they’re designing a 3D environment for players to interact with, including views of surrounding rooms and the full range of motion that each character has.
The major difference between a video game animation and a film animation is that the game is designed to be interactive. When you’re watching a film, you can simply sit back and passively enjoy the animation. Designers don’t need to program the environment to react to stimuli, because you won’t be able to go in and interact with the animation as a viewer. In a game environment, all of the actions are dependent on what the user chooses to do. When an animator is designing their game using 3D software like Autodesk Maya, they’ll need to think about programming these interactive details into the characters and environment of the game. Actions are set off by certain motion sequences, using complex animation layering systems.
Interactivity is built into video games not only in terms of characters interacting with one another, but also of the characters interacting with their environment. Video game animators must approach this type of design on several different levels, to provide a more interactive experience for the user. Games can have hundreds or even thousands of objects to potentially interact with, each of which must be programmed to be responsive.
More Complex Characters
Animated characters in a film are bound to the single story that is told. Although cinematic characters can be remarkably lifelike with well-written personalities, characters in video games have to be given added artificial intelligence. They can learn behaviours as you play the game, storing past actions and progressing throughout the different levels of the game environment. 3D software has also allowed video game designers to create the same incredibly lifelike characters that you see in many films, built on human anatomical structures.
Today’s animation software allows film and video game designers alike to create realistic, complex environments and characters. Yet what separates these two mediums boils down to interactivity. Video game designers must think about these few added features when creating their addictive storylines.