Western Shooter Devblog #10 | Animating Characters in Unity

We’re not dealing with simple cubes and rectangles anymore! We have some real deal 3D assets with bones, joints, and meshes which mean without proper animations for them, they will just seem like stiff cardboard cut-outs!

Animating your assets can be a challenging venture, especially because it will always be a different experience depending on what your assets are and what your code base looks like. It can be difficult to marry two animations together seamlessly, and still maintain your core functionality and keep your game feeling smooth as well. With that said, as long as you keep those things in mind, and focus on not just creating an animation solution that works, but will work across other characters and assets, regardless of what their features and scripts may look like. Then it could be a lot easier than you may think!

A great way to save time when creating an animation is to find the closest animation to what you want on websites like Mixamo, and then make all the tweaks and changes you need to, to get the exact animation you are looking for.

For example, when you download or create your animation, you will see an animation window like this.

It’s top to bottom with precise keyframes of the position of every bone and joint in your character. So all you would need to do to is find the bone or joint that you would want to change, maybe shift an arm to the right more or twist their left wrist a little bit. You can make all these adjustments at the last frame of your animation until you get the pose you are looking for, and then apply those changes to all the frames in your animation that it would apply.

So for example lets look at this strafe right animation I got from Mixamo.

I went into it’s animation and modified only the parts I wanted to change, which were his left and right hands, arms, and shoulders.

And with this strategy I can skip animating his legs, chest, head, etc., I only needed to animate a few bones and joints to raise his arms like he’s firing a revolver!

I’m able to more than HALF the time I would spend animating a character from scratch by simply finding the closest animation to what I need, and then creating the rest! I applied this strategy to several other animations until I had all the animations I need for my character!

Strafe Left
Drawing Revolver (to Idle position)

With these animations in place, we are able to go from this:

To this!

In the next devblog, we are going to experiment with a new weapon for Cubert to play with!




Passionate self taught game developer excited to learn and share everything I can about game development!

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Ethan Bristowe

Ethan Bristowe

Passionate self taught game developer excited to learn and share everything I can about game development!

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