14 Questions for Joel
This week Joel, Head Of Animation, answers 15 questions thrown at him by the community about the animation in the game and our plans for the future with it.
1) Any chance of faking some sprinklers? I would also like to see you create our buddy John on the course and let him carry my bag.
Love the idea of sprinklers! I’m sure I could easily provide the sprinkler head popping up animation but the effects guys and optimization SE’s might throw a hissy dealing with all the added particle effects that I’m sure would tax the GPU. Love where your head is at to bring more realism but that one is likely down the priority list a ways… Added nonetheless.
Getting ol’ Johnny boy on the course as your caddy, eh? Haha! There has been some high level discussions about the addition of caddies… If tourneys continue to evolve then I think this is a detail piece that we pretty much need. Will it be John? We can only hope.
2) Yes finally, I don’t act like an idiot in RL so why do I have to view myself as one in TGC everyday?
Please, please remove or give other options (hopefully ones with more class) for animations for when we miss a putt, I don’t go around swinging my club at others nor do I kick my cleats into the green in frustration for missing a putt. Also maybe a slight fist pump for those 15 ft drains?
This is actually pretty high up the priority list. The current and limited post-shot animations are simply a by-product of having certain early constraints for our original mocap shoot. We never planned on having a lot of ‘post-shot reactions’ as the plan for TGC was to move the cameras away from that. Expect some nice changes to this down the road! I’d love to see it set up so you could choose your reactions from sets of ‘happy’, ‘sad’, etc. but let’s not get carried away. We’ll start with some fresh stuff that works globally and then take it from there.
3) Boats that move. The present static ones add limited effect.
Agreed! Two things I’d like to see happen:
1) (As you said) add some motion to them, nothing crazy but keep them alive. Can’t see this being a problem.
2) Close the sails and/or add some motion to the sails if they are at full mast. Obviously any sort of cloth simulation is expensive so I’m not getting my hopes up on that, but maybe we can figure something out to help the realism here.
4) Lightning strikes player dead when mic detects the word “squirt” preceded by or followed by swearing of any kind.
Sounds more like a SE/coding request with a little help from the good Lord above. All we can do is hope and pray!
5) What would you realistically like to change or add to the game animations that you could implement at some point? I think the animations are absolutely fine.
To be perfectly honest (Anthony, I’m sorry) but I’d like to re-shoot the majority of the motions (especially the male) as well as look at some of the areas that have been called out by the community (i.e pitch shots), as well as some additional things like many more pre and post-shot animations, digging feet into the sand in bunkers, gimme tap-ins (if you want them), and a few other odds and ends to help polish things up. It’s a tall order and I’ll do my best to continue to bring as much realism and immersiveness to this game as I/we can. Mocap ain’t cheap so unfortunately I can make no promises but there will certainly be some room in the budget to do ‘something’.
6) I use the female players in the game because I prefer the swing animations especially when putting I find the stroke loops too much with male players. Would you be able to straighten this out?
Also when putting, the legs of the characters move like they are taking a mini swing but, if you watch good putters IRL, their lower body will remain absolutely still.
A lot of this would come down to the re-shoot I mentioned above (I know what you’re saying with the putting… It’s just how the guy we captured played. Too unique unfortunately.) but there may also be some balancing/tuning that can be done to try and keep both male and female completely on par (mind the pun) with each other.
7) What about Water Fountains? The ones you see in the middle of a pond or lake.
I also think it would be cool to have a nice sunny day turn dark and stormy, rain a little, then go back to being sunny.
How about having the alligator move in the water, seeing only its head?
Most of that stuff is out of my realm and into the realm of 3D art and effects and even some programming when it comes to the weather patterns. Great suggestions nonetheless, and would certainly add some great atmosphere. Just can’t say for sure what will and won’t be doable out of that… Particle systems (especially water stuff) tend to be pretty expensive and can have a real hit on performance and downright disastrous if over used by designers.
The swimming alligator request seems doable, but again that’d be down the priority list of things we want/need to get in.
8) When are we going to see ocean waves crashing into rocks etc and running streams instead of the mostly static water with slight movements?
Swaying more towards the effects department here again but technically it’s an ‘animation/movement’ observation so it’s all good. I think is something all of the really detail oriented folks notice and something we’d all like to see… But if it ever comes at the cost of less than a solid golfing experience on the course, it’s likely to continue to take a back seat. It will most certainly be investigated though!
9) Would it at all be possible to tie the avatar swing animation to the stick movement after the swing has been completed?
What I mean is if I yank a swing and pull of the stick real quick (post ball contact), the avatar would pull out of the downswing accordingly (in frustration).
When I toast a real nice drive and leave the stick pulled back while I admire my drive, the avatar would hold the swing follow through position and admire the shot.
Not sure how well I articulated my idea or how feasible it would be but it might add some additional authenticity for people who don’t use the follow cam.
It’s funny you mention that because the studio is currently working on a game with a similar mechanic to what (I believe) you’re getting at… Essentially complete ‘club control’ tied to a stick. While in theory that sounds like a lot of fun and can make for some really good laughs, if we tried to implement that in the golf world you’d end up with something that looks good sometimes, is usually funny no matter what but for all the wrong reasons, and most of the time it’s straight up awkward to watch. The arms would flail around while some sort of body movement is scripted to try and make sense of whatever the heck you’re doing with your stick, haha!! Now in some instances this IS super powerful and REALLY fun to play with (stay tuned)… Just not in golf I don’t think. Now perhaps in the VR world this may have a place but just the thought of the technical hurdles to jump over to make it look and feel “sweet” is a bit out of our reach at this point.
Also, the plan is to capture a solid variety of pre and post-shot motions so that those of us who don’t use the follow cam have some nice realistic movement on your avatar to watch as well as a wider selection of how you’re reacting to your shots in general.
10) Can i get a button control that allows me to throw my club John Daly style into the closest body of water?
On the list.
11) Can we please have some animation after tee shots with the Driver, 3W, 5W where the golfer does one of the club twirls and picks up the tee quickly after you nail it in the center of the cone?
You got it, Matt Kuchar!
Question for you… Are Skechers really that comfortable?
12) Are you the person who dictates how the ball takes off from the club face in the wind?
I am not that person.
13) Hi Joel, Simple question from me: what sort of things are you working on at the moment?
Well I’ve certainly got my hands full, that’s for sure. I’m about to start putting together a new mocap shot list. I’ll be focusing on filling some gaps that are currently there (ie proper chip shot, and I’d like to see players digging their feet in when they find themselves on the beach, as well as a nice selection of pre and post-shot reactions). That pretty much it right now…
14) I beg of you, do NOT include anything like the post-shot reactions that are currently in RM.
Always aiming to keep it simple and clean, my friend! Just looking to add some more variation to what we’re all tired of seeing now. It happens regardless after you’ve played the bejesus out of any game, but we admittedly need some more in there.