A new PlanetSide 2 dev spotlight introduces us to Senior Technical Animator David Thornfield and his work for the game. In it he talks about his career and how he got started in games animation, while spending most of the time on his time with Rogue Planet Games on PlanetSide 2.
Among Thornfield's first work on the game was part of the Endeavor weapons. Since these weapons reloaded in a way that involved pulling a slider back on the side of the gun, animating it required completely new animations for first and third person versus other models.
He also goes behind the scenes of the creation of the Chimera battle tank. Since the tank rotates in the front, they had to figure out how to rig it so it could be animated smoothly and also follow the requirements of the vehicle in game. He and his ream managed to use two sets of front wheels on the rig, where the front wheels remained invisible but were really what propelled the tank. The second set of wheels are visible and seem like they are the ones in control of moving the tank, but they're really only there just to be seen. Finally, they animated the tank with those movements and then had to fine tune the looks and make it work at all angles.
The rest of the spotlight is some advice on breaking into games as an artist and a great behind the scenes look at the way new assets make it into the game. We're all going to love some new gear or shiny new loot sometimes, but the creators do go through quite the process to bring us those sweet weapons and vehicles.
For the complete in-depth look, including videos and more from Thornfield, check out the dev spotlight here.