Dev Diary, 15 June 2014: #womenaretoohardtoanimate



This week I was going to talk about the great job Chantelle was doing coding the A.I, but somehow the entire game-o-sphere (can that be a thing?) is alight because of something that didn’t happen, and a stupid thing that was said about the thing that didn’t happen, by someone who was responsible for not doing it.

I have since been asked personally 3 times what I thought about the non-happening of this thing, so I decided to have a ponder on the issue, and in conclusion, I hereby announce that since it’s too difficult, we’re not going to bother animating the female protagonists in The Living Dungeon.

You see I thought about it, and since Ubisoft are one of the largest, most powerful, richest, most technically advanced, most experienced, and most talented games developers in the world, yet it turns out they can’t animate a woman protagonist, then what chance do we have as a tiny, poor, independent developer with little experience.

I mean our lead animator is a girl just out of uni, who has almost no experience at all. What is she even doing in this industry? We’ve all heard how clicking on a mouse and tapping on a keyboard is a hugely demanding physical task that requires chubby man fingers. You ladies wouldn’t want to break a nail on a dangerously stiff enter button would you?

WAIT! I’m being defeatist. Maybe we don’t have to be so sad about this. Maybe we can all band together as an industry and help Ubisoft with this seemingly insurmountable challenge. I just might have a few ideas that could make it easier for them to animate women in future. Here goes.

It’s true. I’ve seen them. Women do have breasts, but they actually come in different shapes and sizes rather than just humongous and spherical. If your assassin is going to be jumping around a lot then you’ll have to do less work in the animation department if you scale those things down a bit.

But there’s more. Just imagine for a moment that as an assassin who is jumping from rooftop to rooftop, that she might want get those things under control before they start to hurt. Maybe, and I know this is a crazy idea, but just maybe she could put them away. Even bind them down a little. Don’t panic, she can always wear something a bit more revealing in cut scenes, and just sit still right in front of the camera so she doesn’t have to animate.

I think we’ve managed to cover breasts now (at least until the cut scenes), so even though it’s difficult, let’s try and look away from those to another problem area I can walk you through: shoes. We know that women wear stilettos, and there are a lot of things that could go wrong with this. I mean you can’t run in them, you can’t jump across rooftops in them, you can’t fight in them, you can’t even walk across soft ground with them.

It’s tricky. You’d just need waaaaaay too much memory on the console to load in all the gigs of motion capture data for the protagonist falling over and breaking her ankle, plus the limp animations for when she just sprains it, and the hobble animations for when she got one caught in a drain and snapped off the heal. It’d be a nightmare technical scenario I understand… but the thing is, women don’t actually have to wear high heeled shoes all the time. I’ve checked with the law in a few countries, and surprisingly it’s not mandatory.

So in conclusion, I think that if you take some sensible precautions, and work on your skills a bit, in the future you guys might be able to use a tiny fraction of that huge wealth you have to build on your great franchise and introduce a female protagonist. You could even go crazy and make her a minority too…

What!?  You guys already did all that? Her name was Avaline? In that case your excuse makes absolutely no sense at all and you just sound like an idiot.

I’m just off to tell the animator she’ll need to do the female characters after all.

See you all next time when I will reveal some dots on a grid… Coder stuff sometimes is far more impressive than their visuals might imply.

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