Bohemia Interactive have unleashed some interesting tidbits regarding the new animation technology they’ve been working on for their upcoming military shooter Arma 3. An interview has been posted on their website with the studio’s lead animator that goes into great detail on the strides Bohemia Interactive have made in the animation and character technology on Arma 3.
The Arma series, short for Armed Assault, is a sort of spiritual successor to the classic military shooter Operation Flashpoint. It is a PC-only series that takes advantage of the unique control scheme of the PC to deliver an extremely realistic military experience. Most consider it to be a simulation more than a shooter, as the latter implies needless action. The Arma games bring true-to-life tactics, weapons, vehicles, and situations to your fingertips—it is not a game for the achievement-grabbing no-scoping audience that has gripped so tightly onto the modern FPS genre. Realism and authenticity means everything to the Arma team.
A massive piece of the realism puzzle is animation. It’s easy for the illusion of photorealism to be broken when the characters move around like stiff cardboard cutouts. To continue the high standard of authenticity that Bohemia Interactive have set for themselves, they have introduced lots of new technology to improve the animation in Arma 3. The studio has invested more in higher-quality motion capture technology, and added features such as enhanced recoil and weapon dynamics that are affected by the characters’ positioning and stance. Everything in the game will be much more dynamic.
Perhaps most interesting about the new character animation system in Arma 3 is the addition of what the team are referring to as “alternate poses”. In current games, one animation cycle is created for any given circumstance. For instance, a reload animation will always be the exact same no matter how many times player sees it. The Arma 3 team are experimenting with alternate poses which will essentially add high/low or left/right variants to the games various stances (standing, kneeling, and prone). This adds more possibilities to the character animation, allowing for realism improvements to things like finding cover and firing from it.
Today, Battlefield 3 is considered the gold standard for character animation in a shooter. Based on the sneak peek provided to us in the video below, Arma 3 looks to be on track to at least meet the bar set by BF3, if not surpass it. Character movement is extremely fluid and natural looking. It seems as if the developer’s efforts are paying off.
Arma 3 is expected be released in Q4 2012, exclusively on the PC.