IAMA first person weapons animator at Infinity Ward. My work includes Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Call of Duty, CoD2, CoD:Modern Warfare, MW2, MW3... AMA about 1st a person animation.
I am Chance Glasco. There was interest in /r/gaming in me doing an IAMA about first person view model animation. I've done roughly 50% of the first person weapons animation on every Infinity Ward game as well as Medal of Honor: Allied Assault.
I will not answer any questions about my current project. Questions must be related to animation/game development.
Proof: My Reddit username on the back of the javelin. Also, If you go to my Twitter (@ChanceGlasco) you'll see I tweeted I'd do an IAMA.
It's Saturday morning, and I'm back on answering some questions. So don't feel like it's too late.
One common concept of animation is to avoid mirroring. You don't want two sides of the body moving exactly the same way at the same time, you should offset. There are exceptions for everything though.
Also those small make-up mirrors are great for facial animation and tweezing.
Why can't I look at my legs/torso when playing?? Come on son.
It's one of those things we technically could have done, but have always found features more important to add.
Often the difference between a good game or a bad game is someone putting the hammer down on cute and fun little features that take as much time as important features that might be seen or used often. That was also a huge run-on sentence.
Not trying to hate on COD (though I personally dislike it), but the addition in BF3 of adding the animation of seeing your legs while jumping over an object is truly wonderful. I took it for granted until I went back and played BC2, and was really pissed off by not having it.
I can understand leaving legs out of most things. I think 75% of the time it would be distracting to look down and see them. During procedural movements though, I feel it is a great addition.
Congrats on your work. I don't play it, but I respect it greatly.
Yeah, they did a good job at taking what they learned from Mirrors Edge and applying it to their game.
Do you ever copy your previous work for in the next game, since the difference wouldn't be much anyway?
If we bring back a gun from a previous game, we might be using the same reload animation for it instead of doing a brand new one. It's better to spend that time doing something new, rather than re-doing something you've probably already done well.
If you want to a weapon to feel unique from other weapons, it needs to have it's own set of animations.
On the other hand, there are a lot of people posting their own reload animations on Youtube. Often they are copies of my animation or another animator. I think that's pretty cool, actually.
Did you do the animations for the G3 in MW or the FAL in MW2? I loved those.
I did the FAL, but not the G3. The G3 was done by the talented Grigsby, who is also the model and voice for SSGT Griggs in CoD4:MW.
The FAL animation is kind of interesting. I personally thought my FAL animation was one of my weaker animations in the game, but it was literally saved by the concept being the animation. People like it because you knock out the empty magazine with your new magazine, not because it was my best animation. There are some things I wish I could have changed/cleaned up in it. It really goes to show you how a good reload idea can really propel a gun into popularity.
I don't really have a favorite. I'd actually have to go through every single CoD to give you an accurate answer.
Why is jumping so bloody difficult to animate? Jumping animations look like hell in most games. Seriously, just frozen spastic abominations.
As far as multiplayer goes....
When the player hits the jump button he/she expects an immediate response. In reality if you were to jump there would probably be a good half to full second of anticipation. Because the server you are playing on isn't psychic, it's going to end up playing the animation from instance you actually leave the ground. Anticipation is a basic rule of animation, so if you get rid of it it looks awkward.
You also have the issue of looping. If you're jumping off of something there's going to be a point where you might have to loop an animation until it is told to play the landing portion of the animation. The more you see this loop, the more gamey it feels. Gamey, like a BBQ Duck at Sam Woo BBQ.
Sam Woo BBQ... I take it you frequent this place often enough to warrant a reference? What is your favorite dish? I kill for their Won Ton Soup.
I don't really like Sam Woo but I love Pho So 1 next to it. Order #19. Get an Ice Coffee. This is of course you're talking about the one in LA 818 area code. This ancient wisdom will likely be overlooked and not up voted enough.
Not very fun, considering it would just be floating sleeves, hands and a gun.
why was that purple?
Someone posted it yesterday.
I was quite concerned for my sanity
I'm glad to be blowing minds, here.
Where did you get your education for working on games? Did you think it was good? What's your salary, if you don't mind?
Full Sail University. I hate celery.
Wait, they're legit? I recall getting a bunch of materials from them sent to me, but I'd never heard of them and it gave off a bit of a diploma mill vibe. TIL.
Yeah, they're legit. We've had a few students work here.
do you prefer COD or Battlefield. I know they are totally different games but its always interesting.
I like both, actually. They're not the same game despite both being an FPS and modern day. People approach me like there is this big rivalry amongst the two studios, which is just silly. I've met many DICE guys are they were friendly and awesome...I'd say we tend to like each other's games.
But CoD of course, if I was forced to pick.
What do you think of Battlefield having the ejectors on their AK on the wrong side?
It keeps me up at night.
Any reasoning behind the serial number on the javelin? A random choice or something with a little more meaning?
I had one of my buddies in the art department use that as the serial number. Actually, most serial numbers on guns in CoD have significance. On the side of the SPAS12 you will see GB72BJJ. That's secret code for 'Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-jitsu'. It's just a very subtle shout out to my gym. Maybe you could call it a 'whisper out'.
Any more secret hidden treasures?
Captain Price died in Call of Duty 1 in 1943.
Figure that one out.
I forget which gun it was on, but I recognized the serial number as some SoCal area codes. (619 858 760? I forget exactly) Was I right or am I completely insane?
818 represent! Where are you from?
How much hands-on time (or round count) with the weapons did/do you get?
I don't know a round count, but I usually go to the range about 4 times a year. A couple of those might be out of state (to avoid California's horrible gun laws) and for our project, while a couple more might just be personal range time.
The great thing about my job is I can write off guns and ammo on my taxes.
Tell us about your personal arsenal.
That will remain a secret.
Did you happen to animate the KAR98K in either MoH:AA or vCoD? Both were my favorites. Ohh s&d on mp_harbor.. how I miss you
Oh yes, the Kar98k is my favorite gun I ever worked on The satisfaction....It's that feeling like when you grew up playing baseball, quit, and then 8 years later start throwing the ball again. It's been forever, but it feels natural and part of you.
These are some of my deepest thoughts on the Kar98k.
Do they take you guys out to a range and let you fire the weapons in question?
Yes, every project I do this. Usually out of state due to CA gun laws.
Even the rocket launchers? My brother in the Army has gotten to fire one once for training but they sound rather expensive, like $40k per shot, and I don't know if stuff like that is available to civilians.
No, I've never fired a rocket launcher.
What are the process of making these animations specifically the recent COD games?
Before I start animating, the gun will be modeled and textured by an artist and then given to a rigger to add bones and skinning (attaching model to bones) so that I can animate it.
My animation file will have that particular gun in it, with the first person arms and hands to animate. From there I basically just start animating every animation you would see in the game. Tactical reload, empty reload, pull out, put away, aiming down the site, etc... Once you've created all of the necessary animations, you need to setup exports so you can get them in game. After exporting there are a bunch of technical hoops you need to jump through like converting the animation to the game's animation format, making entries for every animation, and setting up the weapon in an asset manager.
I would say about 75% of the time or more is spent on doing the reload animations.
I'm not a huge FPS player, so for some reason I find it interesting that you mention "tactical reload" as being separate from "empty reload". I can guess that tactical is reloading when you're not empty, but why would the animation be different?
Because if your chamber doesn't have a round in it after emptying a magazine, you're going to have to rack the bolt in order to get a round in the chamber.
Do you find it difficult to provide unique renders in each of the games when many of them do involve similar or the same weapons?
In game dev speak, I'm pretty sure you're asking me how do I make my animations unique from others.
This is actually one of the most difficult aspects of my job, especially as time goes on and I've worked with so many weapons. Before I start I usually research how the weapon is operated if necessary. I do try to keep it realistic to a point. I don't go 100% realism because 100% realism is often boring and flat. If you want to be tactical you should always keep your rifle pointing forward when reloading, but frankly that doesn't make for a very interesting animation. So often I will meet your /r/guns type of person and they will tell me that I made a mistake here, or I should have done this. Usually that 'mistake' is a creative choice to show off the weapon or make it feel unique or special. I do keep it balanced though, as I don't really add super flashy actions to my animations like twirling a pistol or flipping a magazine before inserting it.
But great question...this is definitely an issue because many guns operate exactly the same. An HK416, M16, M4, ACR, or SCAR are almost the same gun in many ways.
Thank you for both answers you've provided.
And my apologies on the incorrect terminology used in both questions, and please know it was not meant as any disrespect towards your art\trade.
It's all good.
What's with the showy bringing out of the FMG9?
It's not usually a primary weapon for most people, so Mark got a little more creative with it. YOLO.....YOLO.
What will be the next big innovation in the FPS genre?
I'd personally like to see Nintendo come out with a console that is this paired with an advanced Kinect-like technology that actually does motion capture. They could redeem the Virtual Boy. I think VR will make a come-back in our life.
By the way, this is hopeful thinking.
Why cant we have these!
I was just playing CoD2 today, you guys did a great job on the graphics and animations. The only things that give away the age of the game are some of the world textures and, of course, the infamous AI. But the game still looks great today in 1080p; based solely on graphics, I'd think the game was released only ~3 years ago. The animation in the game is fluid and natural, and I just wanted to say thanks to you and your co-workers, CoD2 is and always will be one of my favorites.
Thanks for the encouragement. Glad you enjoyed...
I can now say I've upvoted Pvt. Glasco. He once died for me.
Give my wife this letter. Tell Anderson Pooper I love him and there's a chew toy stuck between the couch pillows.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
this is an area i would like to get into for a career. any tips and advice you would give someone wanting to get into this kind of work?
Figure out specifically what you want to do and start practicing now. If you want to be a designer, start making your own mods for games you like. If you want to be an artist, draw or paint every day. Don't wait until college to start learning. The majority of the people I work with got there start in some way or another when they were a teenager.
Depending on what you want to do, college is optional. If someone applies for an animation job, I could care less what school they went to or even if they went to school. All I care about is that this person can animate well. If they were motivated and disciplined enough to learn to animate on their own, then great. But still, the vast majority of people I work with have some sort of college experience that relates.
But I went to college 11-12 years ago. If you ask me, college in the United States presently (not sure if you're American) is in a government created economic bubble, much like the housing bubble. That being said, be careful where and how much money you spend on school.
Are there any videos of you doing your work? ie you holding the gun and reloading/aiming/shooting
Before we started doing more mo-cap, this is how everything came about....
Then we tried mo-cap....Here's a video of Mark Rubin giving me whiplash for the next few weeks.
Then after that I figured it was better than we just hired professional actors and stuntmen.
Chance what's your dogs name??? =)
Come on Mr. Pooper, you're a poopin' dog! Gonna poop everywhere, where you don't belong! Mr. Pooper...yeeeeah!
I just want to say: I feel amazing to have a guy who worked on MW2 (my favorite CoD, personally) have the same name as me. (Chance)
A game developer who shares my first name... I feel blessed.
Next time someone calls you "Chase", punch them for me.
Did you go to any secondary art schools?
What advice would you give a young university student (Me), aspiring to be an animator, such as yourself?
I answered a similar question if you can find it.
Alright I'll say it. How do you render mirrors?
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