Animation in Guild Wars 2: A Summary

On the latest episode of Guild Chat, host Rubi Bayer was joined by Game Designers Crystal Reid and Jason Reynolds along with Animator Matthew Tate to talk about animation in Guild Wars 2. The previous episode revealed the Slothasor, a sleepy but deadly raid boss. Crystal confirmed that players will be able to face him in battle on March 8.

Jason said that Gorseval—which is now built on a wyvern rig—originally used the same bipedal minotaur rig that Slothasor uses. The same rig has been modified for use with several different creatures, including minotaurs, steam minotaurs, oakhearts, and what was described internally as a “buff sloth.” That buff sloth would eventually be known as Slothasor.

Models that have been scaled up to boss size have slower animations, and Matt said that since sloths already move slowly, special care had to be taken to make a giant sloth that moves at an appropriate speed. Special walks and runs were created, and the giant Slothasor model was exported at three times the normal speed. This translated to the boss moving slowly—but not too slowly.

Next, the designers took questions from Twitch chat. Matt explained that key frame animation is largely done in a program called Maya. He said that his favorite creature animation that he’s worked on is one in which a wyvern appears, tears up the side of a cliff, and then pounces on players below, but he had the most fun working on animations for the hylek.

Matt also described a transformation in the “Slay the octovine!” event in which players turn into mushrooms and glide. When he saw that the glider bisected the mushroom model, the team created new animations to ensure that mushrooms will be able to fly properly in the future.

Another fan asked how much time it takes to animate each creature. Matt said that it depends on the project, but that it takes about a day to a day and a half on average for the animation alone. Additional time is needed for concept work, and a project like the Tequatl fight, which has several unique animations, can take much longer. Crystal said that it’s helpful to reuse existing rigs for raid bosses because they have several available animations, and this means more animations overall than if they all had to be built from scratch for a new rig.

Crystal, Matt, and Jason were asked what their favorite content is to play outside of their own area of work. Jason likes to run around doing the meta events in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™. Matt enjoys hanging out with the hylek, particularly the musically inclined ones. Crystal said that when she was ill she enjoyed going back and working on world completion.

If you missed this episode of Guild Chat, you can check out a recording below!

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