Why the animation in Spider-Man is so good – on the example of one movement


Analysis of the movement of the hero in space.

After the release, many praised Marvel’s Spider-Man for their model of movement in in-game New York. Managing Spider-Man is not only convenient, but simply pleasant from a visual point of view – Insomniac has carefully worked out the whole variety of animations in the game.

In order to demonstrate this, the author of the YouTube-channel New Frame Plus made an analysis of one movement in the game, with all its nuances and variations depending on the situation

While moving around the open world, Spider-Man has one special opportunity – to attract himself to the chosen object, which is highlighted by a white circle. This is usually either lampposts or corners of the roofs of buildings.

As soon as the player presses R2 and L2 at the same time, the hero pulls both hands in the direction of a given point, shoots the web and, pushing away from it, “springs” towards the object. As soon as the character reaches him, he clings to him with his hands, brings his legs under him and sits down in his classic pose

The author of the video conditionally divided this action into three phases. In the first, when Spider-Man shoots a web, you can see how a new animation is triggered when a trigger is triggered. At this point, the past position, in which the character was before the keystrokes, is slightly blurred and replaced by a new one – without taking into account its previous position

In fact, there is no transition animation – just a smooth change from one to another. This is done because before the triggering of the trigger, Spiderman can be in almost any position, flying down, forward, up and so on. In addition, the movement should happen almost instantly, since any delay can greatly affect the pace

This technique is used in most games, because it facilitates the work on animations and at the same time has no effect on the gameplay. In addition, the player may not even pay attention to the quick posture changes.

During the second phase, Spider-Man jerks back off the cobwebs, fully straightens and flies to an object. There is a clear contrast between the character’s postures: as soon as the hero starts the action, his posture is slightly “compressed”, but if he pushes off the cobweb, he pulls in the direction of the point

After that, the third phase happens, when Spider-Man clings to the object with his hands and tightens his legs to sit down. At this point, you can see how the character with the help of the back suppresses the impulse of movement – to extinguish the inertia after a sharp stop

Schematically, all this can be represented as follows

At first glance, the movement may seem very simple – just three phases that Spider-Man always performs in the same sequence. In fact, everything is much more complicated: animations also vary from the situation and the current position of the character among the objects in the game.

For example, what happens if a player wants to use an ability at a time when a character does not directly look at the desired point? Of course, you can use the same animation – but then the above transition will look too unnatural

Spiderman is turned sideways to the desired point on the railing, marked by a white circle. 

In this case, in the first phase, another animation will play – where Spider-Man shoots cobwebs, turning to the side

Another example is if the hero is not in the air, but stands on a surface. Or turned to the object back. For all this, the developers have prepared their animations

Depending on how far Spiderman is from the target, the animation of the second phase changes. If the object is close, the character is simply pulled forward, if far away, it starts spinning in flight. Most likely, it was done so that, depending on the time of the flight, the correct dynamics could be felt

Ponder this: all these animations, all these alternative options are made only so that a single movement looks good. One! […]

It is amazing how much work is required to make movement look and feel easily.New Frame Plus


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