Today we have another blog post, this time by Chuck Jackman, one of the motion capture and animation directors for the cinematic conversations in Guild Wars 2. He talks about ArenaNet's iterative development process and how it has enabled the team to add in different levels of completion in stages rather than all at once.
When we started production of Guild Wars 2, we knew we wanted to do more with the story through cutscenes than we had in the original Guild Wars. It was decided early on that we would have three tiers of cinematics in the game.
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We also use a layered and additive approach on the face. This allows us to animate a mood or emotion-based “face idle” and layer on the lip-synch animation as well. We can then drop additive facial gestures at the appropriate time in the dialogue. For example, we can have a character looking timid or frightened while they talk. Then maybe something happens to scare them and we can drop an additive flinch animation onto the character’s face, body, or both independently at just the right moment so that they react to what is happening to them in the scene.