Creature movement patterns
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!