Creature movement patterns

coldsnapcoldsnap Advanced user Join Date: 2015-12-26 Member: 210395Members Posts: 60 Advanced user

I've spent a lot of time lately just zooming around exploring the surroundings and observing the wildlife in the newbie zones. The game looks fantastic in general, but something that really bothers me is the movement of many of the creatures. One of the first larger creatures you come across is probably the Gasopod, so I'll try to explain what I don't like about them.

Firstly, the swimming animation is great, but they move way too fast! They seem very similar to manatees in shape and behavior, so I suggest looking at some manatee videos and compare their movement speed.

Also, they look really weird when they turn. They rotate on the spot, without a turning animation. It would be awesome, AWESOME if their bodies flexed as they turned, the tail should lag behind and bend. Now it's completely stiff which doesn't look organic at all. Same with their head and flippers, it feels they should be affected in some ways as the creature turns, instead of just looping their usual animation.
Also, the gasopods tend to react to terrain in some funny ways. They often swim full speed into a wall, then quickly rotate on the spot and go full speed in another direction, without ever slowing down.

A more natural movement for this gentle giant would perhaps be to turn slowly, BEFORE hitting the wall. Also, it would make sense to slow down, maybe even stop as they come close to terrain.

When they turn, they often seem to rotate in large increments, 20 degree or so, swim forward for a second and then rotate again. This results in a very jerky, robotic movement. Same thing when they go upwards to the surface. If they follow a slope, they will often rotate up 20 degrees, back to straight, then up 20 degrees again, over and over. Their fast movement speed increases the jerkiness.

I believe an animal that big, going slowly and using flippers for movement, should really turn VERY SLOWLY. Their flippers often clip through ground. Perhaps if they stayed further away from the sea floor this would not be an issue. One can also imagine that they use their flippers to whip up small critters from the sea floor. Then maybe there should be small sand clouds.

They make a lot of noise. Sound is good, but it's almost too frequent! It would be awesome if the gasopod making the sound released some bubbles from it's mouth.

I tried attacking them with my survival knife. It didn't provoke them much. In fact, I didn't get much of a queue at all if I hit it or not. (The knife sound always sounds like I hit something.)
I felt there should be blood released in the water every time I cut it, perhaps even a wound where I cut it releasing a continuous stream of blood particles. I only saw some small, occasional blood splashed that vanished extremely fast. Also, there should be an immediate radical change in the creature's behavior as I cut it. It should trigger it's defensive behavior, or flee, or anything! It seemed like it made some attempt to get away from me, but I couldn't tell if it was just coincidence or not.

As it dies, it very quickly rolls over on it's belly. This also looks very weird, since it's floating in water it would make more sense to just go limp and then slowly, slowly turn on it's belly. It immediately begins to sink quite fast, it might look better if it started sinking slowly. It also keeps looping a twitching animation which looks strange and isn't really neccessary. It keeps looping even after the dead gasopod has hit the bottom. If it lands on a slope, it will keep sliding down very slowly. Still twitching and clipping through the terrain.

Will we ever see refined movement patterns and/or procedural animation/mesh deformation? It would make most creatures so much more believable and natural!

ChaumurkyPulsedTheLordEternalsubnauticambrian

Comments

  • TheRelicOfOwlsTheRelicOfOwls Fully active user Texas Join Date: 2016-01-06 Member: 211014Members Posts: 28 Fully active user
    I very much agree with getting some more fluid movements, especially for the larger fauna where it's more obvious. Another example outside of the gasopod are the stalkers, they seem notorious for hitting metal scrap (as is part of their behavior) but then wigging out on impact doing all sorts of weird barrel rolls, jerky turns, and often colliding with terrain just sliding against the ground or a cliff side.

    I believe different behaviors for each creature are in the works, but I would very much like to see fight or flight responses from more of the creatures than just peepers. Most others seem to just casually stroll away if they haven't died.
    Chaumurky
  • TenebrousNovaTenebrousNova Advanced user England Join Date: 2015-12-23 Member: 210206Members Posts: 641 Advanced user
    edited January 2016
    I very much agree with getting some more fluid movements, especially for the larger fauna where it's more obvious. Another example outside of the gasopod are the stalkers, they seem notorious for hitting metal scrap (as is part of their behavior) but then wigging out on impact doing all sorts of weird barrel rolls, jerky turns, and often colliding with terrain just sliding against the ground or a cliff side.

    I believe different behaviors for each creature are in the works, but I would very much like to see fight or flight responses from more of the creatures than just peepers. Most others seem to just casually stroll away if they haven't died.

    This is definitely something I'd like to see. Peepers are currently the only edible fish with a well-defined behaviour. They close their eyes at night, make those squeaky vocalizations when they flee and they jump out of the water at dawn and dusk. The other fish simply swim around aimlessly.
    The description for the holefish says that they are capable of unpredictable maneuvers when threatened, and the oculus is supposed to be very sensitive to light. It would be cool if, for example, the oculus would flee when illuminated by a flashlight or seamoth headlights.
    coldsnapChaumurkyFrustrated
  • HydrophobicHydrophobic Fully active user Reading, PA Join Date: 2016-01-08 Member: 211082Members Posts: 9 Fully active user
    I am so down with this idea! As of right now this is my major problem with this game. The first large creature I encountered was a stalker and while it was swimming in a straight line it looked beautiful, then it turned. It pivoted right on the spot and pointed straight downward. The movement was completely unnatural and entirely too fast for such a large creature. Another thing I notices is collision. The stalkers and the Leviathan have a tendency to just swim through parts of the seabed and rock faces like they aren't there. I haven't witnessed the other creatures doing this, yet.
    Chaumurky
  • coldsnapcoldsnap Advanced user Join Date: 2015-12-26 Member: 210395Members Posts: 60 Advanced user
    This is definitely something I'd like to see. Peepers are currently the only edible fish with a well-defined behaviour. They close their eyes at night, make those squeaky vocalizations when they flee and they jump out of the water at dawn and dusk. The other fish simply swim around aimlessly.
    The description for the holefish says that they are capable of unpredictable maneuvers when threatened, and the oculus is supposed to be very sensitive to light. It would be cool if, for example, the oculus would flee when illuminated by a flashlight or seamoth headlights.

    Judging from this (posted on the Trello board back in November) more creature-specific behavior is on the roadmap:
    iKJkxXB.png
    I just hope they will also be revisiting general movement.
    Another example outside of the gasopod are the stalkers, they seem notorious for hitting metal scrap (as is part of their behavior) but then wigging out on impact doing all sorts of weird barrel rolls, jerky turns, and often colliding with terrain just sliding against the ground or a cliff side.

    Completely agree about the stalker. If there was only one creature begging for procedural animation/mesh deformation, this would be it.
    TheRelicOfOwlsHydrophobicChaumurky
  • coldsnapcoldsnap Advanced user Join Date: 2015-12-26 Member: 210395Members Posts: 60 Advanced user
    Just noticed there's a note on the Roadmap Trello board that says "Fix creature teeter-totter, getting stuck on random things". Unfortunately, it's in the very last development phase.
    TenebrousNova
  • Morphine04Morphine04 Fully active user UK Join Date: 2015-12-02 Member: 209672Members Posts: 9 Fully active user
    I also feel this should be bumped to the top of the dev list, the game looks lovely now it just needs to be smooth and real in the motion of its animals. I am an animator too if you guys need help :D
  • coldsnapcoldsnap Advanced user Join Date: 2015-12-26 Member: 210395Members Posts: 60 Advanced user
    I'm going to necro my own thread here, because I want to return to this now that the game has progressed a bit.

    Most creature animations seem to have been completely reworked, and now look a lot better!
    In my original post I complained specifically about the gasopod, which has now been properly re-rigged and moved much more fluidly. Still moves and turns way too fast in my opinion. Again, watch some manatee videos.

    Also, the creatures generally still have some collision problems. They swim into a wall, then rotate and go off in a different direction. I saw a rabbitray caught in a small cave today, bouncing around like a ball. :smiley:

    If they could predict a wall before actually hitting it, they could make a slower turn that would make them not collide with it? Would be fun to know how creature movement really works! Does it look ahead, or is it just based on hitbox collision? Is the creature movement path calculated in advance (look-ahead), or is it done "as it happens"? So many questions! :smiley:

    A lot of creatures move so fast you can't really get a good look at them. The rabbitray looks amazing, but like most other creatures, it zips past you way too fast. It also likes to make fast turns and go upwards, which looks a bit weird.

    The fish shoals are one of my favorite details, looks awesome from a distance but not so much up close. Once you take a long look at them it becomes very obvious that the fish are only a flat surface and not an actual 3d model. Also, they will happily clip through terrain, yourself and everything else. I would really love to see ambient fish actually swim AROUND things. (I'm looking at you, Abzu!)

    One creature that you meet early on that really benefited from the new animations is the stalker. It now moves more or less believably in my opinion. I like it! :smiley:

    What do you think about the changes since I wrote the original post? Good enough for release, or still room for improvement?
    subnauticambrian
  • HydrophobicHydrophobic Fully active user Reading, PA Join Date: 2016-01-08 Member: 211082Members Posts: 9 Fully active user
    edited November 2016
    I agree. There have been some great improvements but, and I see this not just with the Gasopod but all large creatures, they seem to turn on a dime and it looks a little bizarre since a creature that large wouldn't really pivot that quickly.

    As for the fish shoals, I don't mind that they are 2D, keeps the frame rate in check when there are many many shoals at once. My problem with them is the clipping. I hate walking through my base and half of a shoal of fish just burst through a wall. That behavior and collision in general with all creatures needs work still. When creatures are in their "wandering" or "chased" swim states they need to be aware of their surroundings, not just make a bee line in whatever direction regardless of what obstacles might be in the way.

    In unrelated news, I am in love with the Mesmers lol...
    coldsnap
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