One of the biggest changes in Puzzle Quest 3 is the move to 3D! This meant we needed to expand our team and development processes. Before something can be animated, it first needs to be conceptualized, modelled and rigged. After that, our resident animation savant Joe steps in to bring our characters (and enemies) to life. We sat down with Joe to discuss what it was like bringing all of the many new in-game characters and creatures to life in Puzzle Quest 3.
Salty: What drew you to animation?
Joe: Originally I was drawn to modeling/sculpting! I wanted to sculpt maquettes for movies and games in Z-Brush. Midway through university, I uploaded a sculpt of a gross alien bird head to Vimeo. Someone then reached out to me asking me to animate for a movie. Super weird!
Although I was more interested in sculpting, I decided to give animation a try. My first experience was animating giant spiders for a B-Grade horror movie called “Spiders 3D” – and I loved it. I pretty much haven’t stopped animating ever since.
(Joe got to animate spiders once more, showing that spiders are still a much-beloved part of Australian culture.)
Salty: What did you particularly enjoy about animating on PQ3?
Joe: PQ3 is pretty much an animator’s dream project, at least in my opinion. There’s one camera angle during battle heaps of characters and monsters. By having one camera angle I could focus on making the animations look perfect from the angle the player views them, and being able to animate a variety of unique monsters meant I got to experiment and play with all of their animations. The team at PQ3 were very open to interpretation, so it was creatively freeing. Each time a new creature lands on my desk, I get to figure out how to make it move! It’s especially good when I create something for the game, and folks on the team get excited about it. That’s a great feeling.
Salty: What was your favourite model to animate?
Joe: All the enemies have been fun in some way! It’s hard to pick a favourite… I think the Dragons might be up the top of the list because of how different they feel in the game.
(Wraith in action.)
Salty: What was your least favourite?
Joe: Oh the Arboleth. Too many tentacles… too many.
(Spoiler alert for the afore-mentioned tentacles!)
Salty: What advice can you give to any budding animators?
Take your time. There’s a lot of more beginner animators around who feel this need to jump in at the deep end and do a multi character acting shot with a moving camera, or some very involved long body mechanics with a bunch of really complex actions.
My advice is to slow down, master the fundamentals. Figure out where you sit skill wise and shoot slightly above there for maximal growth.
Over time, our developers will be writing blogs that explore different parts of Puzzle Quest 3.