12 March 2011

My Jump Notes

Here I'm sharing some of the notes I had take on jump when I was on a working on an (unannounced yet) video game at Ubisoft Montreal. Jump are certainly one of the of the hardest thing to do in video game animation. As the hard thing isn’t (just) to make a jump, but also to make a jump that will match the situation and character.

Here are the notes I had. It cover in some sort of way the following subjects :

-Vertical Jump
-Physic of Jump
-How arms and legs could work in a horizontal jump
-Inclination / Angle change in a horizontal jump
-Few things to keep in mind while doing an horizontal jump (check list)

To get jump references, you could either check out some others video game (as I did) or go to one of these video reference web site :  Getty Image, BBC Motion Gallery, FramePool

Click here to download the .doc file

Then is a compilation of jump references I did when I was working on our (yet unannounced !) video game title.

To make some fun of it, at the end of the compilation below (2:10), I've done a little evolution of the vertical jumps use in the Prince of Persia series.

It's kind of ironic that the best vertical jump in the row (2:10) is from Prince of Persia : The Forgotten Sand (the last entries in the series) as the animation in that game isn't consider particularly good. The thing is, even if the animation is not so bad compare to the others game in the series, it is just to common for our today standard  as it lack any "wow" effect and is sometime not as good as it could be. It is interesting to note that these "middle class game" as this Prince of Persia the Forgotten Sand  are probably going to disappear in the current ultra-competitive video game market. As only triple AAA game will be able to sell the millions copies they need to get into budget. It's mostly what Cliff Bleszinski, one of the head behind Epic Game (Gears of War), explained during the recent Games Developer's Conference in San Francisco.

Now animation-wise, if you observe each of the vertical jump from Prince of Persia series. You can see that the one from Sand of Time (2003) is to slow and the poses doesn't look so good. Then the one from Warrior Within (2004) is actually worse as the recoil from the jump is happening in two time, something that look like a jerk. Then the one form the Two Thrones (2005) look pretty much the same as the Sand of Time one, not very good in today standard. And finally, the cartoon shaded Prince of Persia (2008) is certainly the worse one as it doesn't have any recoil after the jump and the pose at the Apex is also very symmetrical and unappealing (as the others jump to).  Then, because all the previous Prince of Persia vertical jump suck, the one from the not so good Forgottten Sands is ironically the "better" one! One good example would be from God of War if you ask me (see notes above).


Alex said...

Thanks for this post, I was just going to animate a girl doing parkour jumps. It is very very interesting! Again Thanks!

John Smith said...

Animation has so many little moves that are so hard to recreate. I'm always happy when I can find stock video footage about something I'm looking to animate so I can make the animation more realistic!