Possible Solution to Long Ladder Animations

JimboJamboJimboJambo Join Date: 2018-01-25 Member: 235708Members Posts: 42 Advanced user
One of the things I love about Subnautica is how much personality is conveyed by its first-person animations, with so many interactions having one. One conspicuous exception is in-base ladders. What makes them different from ladders like on the cyclops or moon pool is that they can be stacked on top of each other and can potentially be infinitely long, and nobody wants to watch their character climb a ladder for five minutes every time they want to visit their base in the depths of the abyss.

To ensure that ladders get their due, I propose the following solution: animate just the top and bottom of the ladder, and have the camera quickly sweep past the intermediate parts while the character model teleports to the correct position off-screen.

Example image:
Example animation:

This allows the important parts of the ladder to be animated while cutting out the long (and boring) middle part. And by moving the camera, rather than instantaneously teleporting, you can still get a sense of how much ladder is being climbed without having to watch every rung. Another nice feature of this is that it doesn't necessarily matter how long the ladder is: the camera can just move faster for longer ladders, taking as much or just slightly more time than shorter ones.

"So we'll still have to watch Ryley/Robin climb part of a ladder every time we want to move between floors?" Yes. That's the price of being able to stack base parts vertically with a component that takes up virtually no floor space. It's really not that bad. If it becomes that much of a pain then I feel like it should be your responsibility to design your base to minimize ladder trips.

It's not a perfect solution, and some people will probably think it's still immersion-breaking, but I think it's a heck of a lot better than what we have now.


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