The Road to Mithril Hall

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Niubie Interview

I was fortunate enough to be interviewed for a spanish language website similar to Kotaku called Niubie. If you know how to read in spanish and would like to check the interview out then please follow this link. For everyone else I would like to share the interview translated in english. I hope you guys enjoy it:

- Bruno, can you tell us who you are and what is your typical day like being lead in-game animator in Sony?
My name is Bruno Velazquez and I the Lead in-game animator for God of War3. I have always had a passion for animation and video games and I feel lucky to have the chance to be involved in both at the same time. My place of birth was Mexico City and I moved to the United States when I was 12. I’ve been working in the game industry as an animator since 2002 and some of the titles that I’ve worked on include Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks and God of War 2.

A typical day at Sony is mostly divided into half my day involved in meetings and supervising other animators and the other half doing my actual animation work. It is quite challenging since we have a large group of animators. I am also responsible for animating Kratos so I need to make sure that I do the character justice with my work.

- Describe us the process used to create animations for God of War 3

Usually each animator is responsible for and entire character from beginning to the end. Each animator works closely with a Combat designer and together they come up with ideas of how a character should move and behave with feedback from the Game Director and the Lead Animator. Before we start animation however, we have various meetings to analyze the concept art and to discuss the personality of the character and how they fit into the God of War universe whether he is a simple soldier or Zeus himself. We have a realistic approach to our animations but we always keepin mind that the gameplay comes first.

- What's the advantage of doing animation by hand as opposed to motion-captured animation?

The biggest advantage would have to be that we don’t have to worry about putting a Centaur or a Minotaur into a motion capture suit. No but seriously, there so many mythological creatures in our game that it wouldbe impossible to be done with motion capture. Even though Kratos is human and could potentially be motion captured, I feel that no actor could capture his brutality as well as the animation team. I do feel that motion capture is a valuable tool and we are actually going to use some of it for our cinematics which involve subtle acting and dialogue. All the in game animation however will remain 100% key frame.

- How much of the game's animation has been reworked, and how much is taken from God of War 2?

I would have to say that probably 80% is brand new and about 20% from Godof War 2. However every animation will be polished and reworked to bring it up to the next generation standards. You can also expect to see many brand new abilities and moves for Kratos as well as various new brutal finishing moves.

-What software did you use, and how did you decide what was best for God of War 3?

The software that we are currently using is Maya. This software has been used at Sony Santa Monica since God of War 1 so the team is really familiar with it. We decided to continue with this program since it has worked well for us in the past.

- What major challenges did you encounter in working toward the levelof excellence that God of War fans will expect and how did you address them?

The major challenges comes from some questions that we ask ourselves everyday from each other when working on something new: Does it feel likeGod of War? Is this something Kratos would do and why? Would the Fans like it? If the answer is no to these questions then we go back and work on it some more. We are constantly trying to find ways to make things bigger and better that the previous game and we feel that making the God of War fans happy is the most important thing.

- How has your experience working in games changed over the years, specifically with the current generation?

As far as animation is concerned, things have not changed as much as the other disciplines such as modeling. There have been several advancements such as motion capture and rag-doll physics but the basic principles of good timing and weight are still the key ingredient to making animation great.

- Are there any features of the PlayStation 3 that excite you as an animator?

The features that excite me would have to be the ability to have much more detail on each one of our characters. We can now get much closer with the camera and see much more detail in the movement of the characters. We are also able to include new levels of facial animation which is especially important for Kratos. Now you will be able to see his facial expressions much better as he take his enemies apart. The Kratos character model is also much more detailed that he will be used for both in-game animation and cinematics.

- Any closing words of wisdom for all the aspiring game animators reading this interview?

I would have to say that if you want to be an animator you should start by looking around you and studying life. Look at how people walk and act, analyze the way you dog runs or how your little brother plays soccer. The key to animation comes from observation. Of course I would also recommend taking classes and reading as many animation books as possible. Watch making-of documentaries on how animation was created for Hollywood films and don’t forget to play lots of video games as well!

Thanks for reading!

35 comments:

godofwar3 said...

nice interview

GuyaneseG said...

pretty good interview
thanks for the update

Anonymous said...

http://www.thebitbag.com/2009/05/05/tons-of-god-of-war-iii-footage-and-motion-controls-at-e3/

Anonymous said...

SWEEEET INTERVIEW !!! one question though i was one of the people that wants the super strength function in the game i just wanted to know if the creators liked the idea and are putting it in the game because not just me but ALOT of people want it so please if you read this Bruno can you put it in the game and let us know that the function is in the game

Anonymous said...

http://www.hiphopgamershow.com/?p=8978

E3 Is Coming Home Along With God Of War 3 Demo hiphopgamershow 5/10/09

Around 13:40 into the video he mentions a GOD OF WAR 3 demo.

lastpanzar said...

^What this guy said! Demo in June would be crazy!!

Check this out also:
http://www.badassgamerblog.com/2009/05/god-of-war-iii-live-stage-demonstration.html

So pumped for E3... and great interview by the way Bruno. Thanks for the read.

Anonymous said...

cant wait for e3!!!

ENDLESS.com.cn said...

It's pity that there is no substantive new things relative to GOW3,nevertheless,thanks to post them.

BTW,swine flu is fxxking everywhere...

Anonymous said...

17 more days!!

Anonymous said...

13 more days!!

Anonymous said...

11 more days!!

Anonymous said...

9 more days!!!

ENDLESS.com.cn said...

GOW3 NEW 15 PICS:
http://e3.endless.com.cn/html/tvgame/ps3/news/2009-05/25/223036fabd33ec5a280e7b.htm

the graphics,lighting,shader are still not satisfying,sigh...

Anonymous said...

those are old

Anonymous said...

only a week away from e3!!!

Anonymous said...

Please do not let the skeletons too bleed!

It's rather strange..

Anonymous said...

same here, i would rather see bone chipping instead

Anonymous said...

How about a pre-update before the big week Bruno?

ENDLESS.com.cn said...

Anonymous said...
same here, i would rather see bone chipping instead

Bingo,agree.

ENDLESS.com.cn said...

Anonymous said...
those are old

some are brand-new,lol

Anonymous said...

lol yea some of the concept art are new, the other pics were in magazines, now just in better quality :)

EDK1010 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDK1010 said...

To ENDLESS.com.cn-
They are not exactly skeletons, they do have some skin on them. So it's not like they have nothing on them.

Also we should compare the graphics to other games in the genre, not games like Crysis.

So in that sense, the game looks pretty good!

GuyaneseG said...

5 more days to go!!

Anonymous said...

www.update.com ! :D

GuyaneseG said...

3 more days!!!

Bruno Velazquez said...

Hi everyone, thank you for continuing to post here and thanks fro your patience! The team has been working very hard the last month or so on what we are going to show next week. I hope that you guys enjoy all the footage and screen shots that will be released. Please feel free to post any comments that you guys might have.

@Anonymous: I share this blog with many member s of the team so they have surely read all of your feelings in regards to the “super strength” feature. I cannot promise anything however. I can say that the stuff that we are working on right now should be a nice addition to Kratos repertoire.

@Endless.com.cn: Thanks for posting images on your site. However, as some of you have commented, those images are quite old by now. Half of them were shown at the press event we had a while back and the other half (the images of the interior of a cave) were created for the Game Informer issue. Expect to see some changes next week!

@Anonymous: The enemies that we have shown are not all completely skeletons and do have some muscle left in them and that why they still have some fluid in them. Some of them do have more bone than others and adding bone splinters might not be a bad idea.

I’ll make another post in regards to E3. Thanks everyone!

godofawesome said...

hellzz YEA !!!! I REALLLLLLY hope the super strength feature pulls through

JOEthegamer said...

YESSSSS PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!! PUT THE SUPER STRENGTH FEATURE IN THE GAME PLEASE I SAW THE DEMO AND IT WAS SOOOOOOOOO BAD ASS AND IF YOU ADD THE SUPER STRENGTH FEATURE IT WILL BE 100 TIMES MORE BAD ASS BECAUSE ITS SOOOOO KRATOS IT WOULD ADD TO HIS BRUTAL NATURE LIKE HE COULD GRAB A CHUNK OUT OF THE GROUND(OR A COLUMN OR TREE) AND SMASH IT ON HIS ENEMYS AND WHILE HES DOING IT YOU SEE THE ENEMYS LIMBS START TO BREAK AND GET CRUSHED INTO THE GROUND AND BEING HIS SMASHING IT HARD ON THE GROUND YOU START TO SEE CRACKS AND MINI CRATERS APPEARING AND NOT JUST THAT HE COULD SWING THE COLUMN OR TREE AROUND SEND ENEMYS FLYING IT WOULD BE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO AWESOME PLEASE YOU MUST LET THE SUPER STRENGTH FEATURE COME INTO THE GAME PLLLLLLLLLEASE I KNOW IM NOT THE ONLY ONE HOPEING FOR IT

Anonymous said...

WOW dude that would be amazingly awesome i totally agree with you man i would reallllllly love to have the super strength feature in the game that would be SICK !! and the way you discribe how its done and how it effects the enemies i can really picture it and it definately would add to kratos' brutality i to want this to be put in the game pleeeease !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

YESSS !! do that ! i red the convo of that on the magic discussion blog i am really intrigued to see the super strength feature be put into the game and from what i saw on the blog other people want it in game as well so yea pleasssssssse put it into the game also i when i saw the blog on the magic the person who posted on April 8, 2009 3:17 PM his magic system in pretty bad ass cuz i really wouldnt be fair to only have one magic to return so yea please think of that to bruno !!!! especially the super strength it is sooo necessary to have plus it would be fun to have :D

gogobajoo said...

YESS i agree super strength feature is soooo needed you must put that in bruno

weaponmaster said...

SUPER STRENGTH FEATURE PLEASSSSSSSSSSSEEEEE we defiantly need it in the game it would be sooooo AWESOME !!! and KICKASS to have that in the game and able to use it to fight PLEASEEEEEEEEEE PLUS the way JOEthegamer at June 4, 2009 9:47 AM described it it makes us want it more pleaseeeee put it in Bruno

Anonymous said...

BRUNOOOOOO PLEEEASEEEEEEEEE PUT THE SUPER STRENGTH FEATURE INTO THE GAME PLEASEEEEE i know that you and your crew are probably thinking how to put this ability into the game and how it will work take the idea that JOEthegamer proposed for it and how he discribed it would happen at June 4, 2009 9:47 AM but like to make it fair have the objects (column,rock,tree,piece of the ground) that can be picked up glisten to let you know that it can be picked up and/or grabbed

Anonymous said...

HELLZ YEAH that must be put in the the game SUPER STRENGTH !!