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News & Features Discussion  » General: Dana Massey: Why Not Well Animated MMOs?

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Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/26/05
Posts: 1266

5/14/09 10:54:09 PM#21

City of heroes has ragdoll physics. Anyone who ever planted an enemy into a blue mission wall knows how fun it is. short super nova vid.


And after watching that it's made in 2004 before they added the ragdoll physics and they all get up the same. Man I can't find a good video showing it.

How to post links.

"classification of games into MMOs is not by rational reasoning" - nariusseldon
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Advanced Member

Joined: 5/29/04
Posts: 677

Leader and founder of the Excessum Gaming Community

5/14/09 10:57:27 PM#22

Seriously just give me Ragdol or full psychics in new mmo and il be happy like a little kid  ;)

Played game Called Requiem, as one of very very few games uses Ragdol system, and unpredictable body death etc animations.

Its just so fun that i played the game for 2 months even if its total crap :P It was just fun to kill things! It was never the same and always felt right in a very wrong way.

Small thing but how much fun you had out of it ;D

Anyway about animation, Aion got realy good ones tho no ragdoll or full psychics still :(

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Novice Member

Joined: 1/03/05
Posts: 60

5/14/09 11:05:42 PM#23
Originally posted by redhands123

Fury used ragdoll effects. Damn, I had fun in that game. Too bad it died.


Oh, I had forgotten about that one, was in the beta for that game, wasnt really my style. I do agree that AoC has good animations as well though. So my new count for Ragdoll physics games is 3. I'm sure there are at least a couple more.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/23/05
Posts: 759

5/14/09 11:08:13 PM#24
Originally posted by Khebeln

Anyway about animation, Aion got realy good ones tho no ragdoll or full psychics still :(


Aion does have some nice animation going for it. The way they do it, it increases immersion within the environment because the characters actually react to their environment, if it's raining, if it's hot or what. Too bad it's very noticeable what it's missing, they cover up the death animation, make it look cool in other ways. Also they cut animation costs by eliminating swimming, so while there are great benefits, there are also so negatives. "You can fly in Aion, but you can't swim!"


Novice Member

Joined: 12/28/08
Posts: 323

Grammar Nazi since 2004.

5/14/09 11:16:50 PM#25

I completely agree.

I think my most notable time that I have been dissapointed with my character death (in WoW) was when I was lagging. I believe I had hit my cap for the month (because in Australia, our internet is about 10 years old, and we still have "internet caps" where it gets slowed to either Dial-up speeds, or adsl speeds (5kb/s, or 25kb/s))

Anyway, my internet was lagging like nothing else, maybe 1500ms ping or something stupid, but I was addicted, so I played... I fell off a cliff face, hit the ground, far below. I'm standing there, going "huh. I'm not dead." So I jog forwards for a little bit, the game then registered the 7800 health or something (all of it) and I fall over, dead.

Good times.


I would much rather have the game register my fall-speed, and, in the moment before I hit the ground, send to the server that yes, I am going to die at this speed, and set my body (now turned corpse) to rag-doll physics, and crumple into the ground. That would have been excellent, and hilarious for me to watch.

In fact, there is a game based entirely on falling with rag-doll physics (and sound effects) applied. I think my top score was something like 122k...

Anyway, yes, there is definitely something to be said for death animations for MMOs. Rag-doll phyics effects are obviously going to be one of the best ways to show this on a good rig, and for other computers, hell, just give the same ol' clutching chest animation and give them the simple physics of "body is moving x,y,z at x,y,z speeds" so that the corpse is at least in the same place for everyone online (resurrect spells...)


I am playing EVE and it's alright... level V skills are a bit much.

You all need to learn to spell.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/09/04
Posts: 68

5/15/09 12:32:21 AM#26

I've played from Ultima Online to Age of Conan - you name it I've probably played it.

From what I've seen many games to feel similar - I would defently say as other people have pointed out that Age of Conan had some of the better "animations"

I believe one core reason why some animation are just your character swings its sword and the guy gets hit and all he does is a small shuffle could be to keep combat quick. Most mmorpgs are you basicly target the person and hit a button to start swinging.

I can see a game that is more first person shoot style to allow more room for more advance animation.


Over all this just theory and I am not 100% certian why animation are still tather low on the lsit for looks.

But I don't  think saying that ther ehas been any improvements is slightly false in my book.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/15/07
Posts: 577

5/15/09 12:41:37 AM#27

I think there is a lesson to be learned from Age of Conan in relation to this issue; In AoC animations are motion captured and people really do look like they get hurt when you cut off their arms or have them disembowled.

Problem is that this cost a LOT of money and resources to create and didnt really make the game more popular, in fact people thought that it was irritating that so much effort had been used on the graphics and animations when the rest of the game was in such a poor condition and the content were so shallow.

Good animations and graphics in MMOs is the topping on the cake. Do it if you have the resources and the engine can handle it _after_  you have created a solid foundation to put the graphics into.

MMOs are different from single player games in that they are meant to be played for a much much longer time and not just to be admired graphically for a few weeks. And no matter how good or bad graphics is in a MMO then over the playtimes involved in MMOs they step mentaly into the background because you get used to them and then its the gameplay that takes over as enjoyment or annoyance factors.

"You are the hero our legends have foretold will save our tribe, therefore please go kill 10 pigs."


Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/08
Posts: 1656

5/15/09 12:44:02 AM#28

Graphics and animation dont make an mmorpg.

C:\Users\FF\Desktop\spin move.gif


Novice Member

Joined: 10/08/08
Posts: 1554

5/15/09 1:35:36 AM#29

To me Graphics and animations do make an mmorpg.

1. I can't like my character if it looks ugly. Example - Lotro
2. I can't like the combat if it has poor animations. Example - Lotro
3. I don't like to explore a boring looking world. Example - Darkfall

You're looking at the graphics all the time so they damn well better look good. World of Warcraft nailed it because they got better graphics outta their engine than Everquest 2 did outta theirs cause WoW has amazing art and EQ2 is bland and ugly.


Anyways do people remember Star Wars Galaxies Pre CU motion captured animations? They were pretty sweet......


Novice Member

Joined: 3/27/06
Posts: 948

5/15/09 2:16:01 AM#30

You lost me at 'toon'.

Yes, I am that anal. It is a tortured existence.

Favorites: EVE, VG, LotRO | Playing: None | Anticipating: SC, ED, TD, EQN, CU


Advanced Member

Joined: 12/17/07
Posts: 1467

Celebrated pariah of

5/15/09 2:18:35 AM#31

Crazy thing is, is that these are mostly turn based MMO's, that have different animations for eah attack / move / magic spell. <-- What good animation looks like.

A bigger question for me, is that why haven't any MMO's used rag doll physics yet? (or am I mistaken?). Mortal Online uses rag dolls and the hit boxes look clean and animations more fluid.. It also might be a game where your own death might frighten you a little..


Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/27/04
Posts: 1848

"Pablo Picasso said art is a lie that tells the truth."

5/15/09 2:39:59 AM#32


This is something i've talked to people about for years.

The way my character is animated is immensely important to me and its a major contributing factor as to why I'm not currently playing any MMOs. If you play a game like Fable II and then go and fire up LOTRO... the difference in your character's animation/interaction with their world.... is immense. LOTRO feels like your character is a wooden doll, where Fable II makes your character move around like a fluid creature that bounds across the ground with a realistic weight and feel to their motion. The same can be said for a game like Gears of War... your characters in taht game move about like the MASSIVE tanks that they are, it Feels... perfect.

No MMO has done this. Its as though they believe that poorly animated characters are a part of the necessary key to making an MMORPG.

And I'm sick, to death, of it.

I adore the idea of an MMORPG.. I... loathe, the MMOs that have been made to-date. They're all doing it wrong.


Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5671

5/15/09 2:52:27 AM#33

Animations which occur often, like walking are important. Animations which do not occur often like dying are not. Bum cheeks are more important than animations when you have to look at them on your avatar from the moment you switch on the game till the moment its switched of.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/03/06
Posts: 86

If you don't know where you're going you're never lost.

5/15/09 3:56:19 AM#34

I don't think we need an uber-rig for good animations. It's just a question of interest from the Devs. In EQ2 animations were updated a few times in the past years and now look very realistic (especially the running animation). This means that the Devs realized it's an important part in the game and decided to actually do something about it.

I quit Vanguard and Lotro only because of the horrible animations, nothing else. If my character is standing like a scarecrow, runs like a wooden string puppet and drops dead flat like a pancake it is preventing any imersion in the game (and seeing your character moving in 3rd view is part of the "RPG" portion of an MMORPG). So yes, Devs need to understand it's a major part of the game and it needs to be adressed (whether it's done before release or by patching like in EQ2).


Novice Member

Joined: 4/10/05
Posts: 878

5/15/09 5:20:58 AM#35

"However, a lot more could be done on MMOs than is being done and, honestly, I don't believe that a lot of it would overload an average PC. Most computers can handle rag doll death, for example, but few (or no?) MMOs use it."

You are exactly right in what you say and its nice to meet an staff that seems to have a fuctional brain and doesn't seem to let the advertisements do the talking for them.

The downright myth that animation or more complex game mechanics being put in an MMO would cause severe lag is a load of garbage, the truth is, no one has even attempted to actually try and put something more complex in an MMO before because the developers have found that they can get far more money both quicker and more effectively by stringing a select few along with promises of shiny items and epic gear and levels.

What they fail to realize is that this will last them only for so long, people lose interest in these sorts of games, the only MMO's to ever try to achieve something different was both AoC and Darkfall and frankly, their efforts were completely half-assed, if they had actually pushed on and tried to fix what they had they wouldn't be as dead as they are today.

If someone bothered to create something like a Mirror's Edge MMO as a sandbox people would be flocking and not just from the MMO industry, remove the grinding, remove the pointless string along tactics and you will attract far more than the measley few millions that we've been getting.

And I don't care that everyone else is going to tell me "But but! We have millions on what we currently have already!" the huge corporations in other industries consider what we consider a success as pocket change and thats the honest truth, we will get nowhere as an industry if developers act nothing more like scam artists and refuse to give people a tangible product.

Quoting people doesn't make you clever, in fact, it makes you all the more stupid for not bothering to read the quotes you post in the first place.


Novice Member

Joined: 6/21/07
Posts: 12

Alea eacta est.

5/15/09 5:26:10 AM#36
Originally posted by nilden

City of heroes has ragdoll physics. Anyone who ever planted an enemy into a blue mission wall knows how fun it is. short super nova vid.


And after watching that it's made in 2004 before they added the ragdoll physics and they all get up the same. Man I can't find a good video showing it.


Agreed, City of Heroes is the perfect example that what the author of the article wrote is true. It's a 5 year old game, and it still looks great (sure, there have been a few updates, but anyway), mostly thanks to the great effects and great Havok ragdoll animations. All hail Crypitc! :)


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/16/04
Posts: 7461

"Really officer, they're medicinal herbs."

5/15/09 5:28:52 AM#37

A game that has killer death graphics is Mount and Blade.  You can set it to rag doll and when a person dies they fall limp to the ground.  If they right near the edge of a ledge or on a ladder or stairs, they tumble off or down it as they would in real life and sometimes the get hung up on stuff and hang there.   So all most of these games would need to do is just put in rag doll physics and you'd be good to go.

  User Deleted
5/15/09 6:31:21 AM#38

 re: EQ animations

With The Serpent's Spine, they introduced a new race, the drakkin, on a new model base. This would have been a perfect time to give it some jaw-dropping (or at least adequate) animations, right? HA. I'd rather leave my drakkins on horseback permanently than to watch them run (one of the most common animation of all).


I don't mind badly animated. Goodness knows, I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons in the 70's and 80's. What I hate are animations that are distractingly bad, as with the drakkin mentioned above. My dark elf might make the same motion no matter what kind of sword she's holding, but at least it doesn't annoy me to watch her. 

I actually kind of enjoy watching my EQ2 assassin and bruiser fighting. That's not so bad, ya know?


Novice Member

Joined: 11/17/04
Posts: 38

5/15/09 6:36:30 AM#39

Thinking about it overnight, and only other MMo i can say i enjoyed animations apart from AOC that i mentioned earlier was Matrix Online. Was strange combat system, but animation was wicked when you got locked into combat with your enemy. Shame it was yet again one the games that to me didnt have much end game content to keep me interested.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/02/08
Posts: 1984

5/15/09 6:58:15 AM#40

So you're asking for better animations? Well, why not but is it really so imporant?


I look at the past successful games and the evolution of gaming and I see better sound, nicer graphics and many many poor game play. 


Honestly graphics are just a topping in a FUN game even in MMOs.


I'd rather have studios spend more time and $$$ on gameplay and content then and only then if they can afford it, enhance graphics and animations.


But well before that and especially in MMO I wish the studio spent more time on the following key elements that are always poorly done:

  • GUI
  • Chat functionnality
  • Guild mechanics
  • Friend list features
  • Inventory management
  • Auction houses interaction


In fact all that stands between the player and his character.

I'm very surprized such major features are mostly rushed out considering they can make or break the game play.


Don't get me wrong, I'm an explorer type of gamer so I like nice graphics but they always come after the game play. A nice game with poor game play won't last more than a few hours. Honestly when you are engaged in challenging and fast combat you don't really focus on animations you don't have the time to.



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