Search For A Star - Rosie Summers - Bob The Robot
A downloadable asset pack for Windows
Outline of intentions
For this brief, I wanted to focus on character. There are so many characters in the game world which are animated well but devoid of character and personality. To me, character animation is mainly about bringing the character to life through motion, letting the motion tell a narrative of the character, and this is what I hope to achieve in my submission.
Story time – Meet Bob
Meet Bob. He is a quirky looking but loving AI robot. He was called bob by his owner because of how his head bobs up and down as a result of his weirdly wired neck. He has been a free robot ever since his owner passed away last year. After 65 years in ownership, Bob is finding it hard to adjust to the free robot life, and misses his owner greatly, still wearing his tie… His owner was a dancer and showed Bob how to move freely, he taught him the art of grace. His flow of movement is the envy of all the other robots. His dancing techniques aren’t great from a professional dancer standpoint, but for a robot, he is outstanding. Bob is now considered an old robot in society, at 118 years old, he is the only one of his generation still working, there have been 35 generations since him. His owner claimed his longevity was due to his dancing athleticism keeping his wires 'oiled'.
Society has changed a lot, humans now live alongside a singular AI. Human and machine have finally found a balance after the Machine War.
A computer virus is spreading throughout the robot network, implemented by a human terrorist in an attempt to shut down the AI. It didn’t work in the terrorists favour, as it is turning the robots into killing machines. It’s spreading fast, the infected now outweigh the healthy. Life is depleting fast, as both human and AI can’t fix the virus.
Unfortunately, Bob is one of the infected.
But, as he is such an old generation, and the virus was made to target the newer AI, Bob hasn’t been fully infected and instead has lapses.
Society is descending into Chaos. It is up to Bob to save human and machine-kind, through his inner binary lies the cure, can he save the world??
In the game that the animations will be made for, you control Bob on his journey to save machine and mankind through powers of dance and destruction. Bob will save the world in style. Discover the code which stops the virus through Bob’s part immunity, through a series of tasks and trails, whilst watching out for his lapses, can you save human and machine kind?
Bob’s animation is invigorating and playful, reflective of his personality. He is bouncy, riddled with follow-throughs to give him that graceful essence, passed down from his owner. The fact he still wears the tie his owner wore, gives him that sensitive essence, a contrast to an otherwise disturbing appearance. When Bob lapses, his animation state changes to show his shift in personality. Things become less fluid, his shape distorts and his eyes red. Bob lacks in facial movements because of the robot he is, and so I have tried by best to inject these feelings and emotions into his body language instead to show you don’t need facial animation to have emotion and character. In my Unity version I have animated materials to pronounce the evil-ness with a eye colour change, and VFX to show him breaking and transitioning. VFX aside, jerky animation movements expose this transition further, and contrast to his otherwise fluid animation.
I have animated on the spot, as through experience with game engines I have found it to be more complex when you translate in Maya and want to trigger translations in the game engine too.
Pre Production Process
Bob's aesthetic is a stylised one, he has a fractal low-poly appearance which makes him look quite quirky. Through the pre-production process, I used VR as a pre-vis tool to get a 3D visualisation of Bob really fast. I did some sketches to pronounce the aura of Bob, trying to weave in his personality into sketches, in the hope I could achieve this through his motion. I story-boarded roughly, the exaggerated keys I wanted to use, then recorded my video reference and got blocking. After blocking out, I then animated the root control first to make sure I get the weight shifts right, before getting secondary motion. I rigged Bob prior to the competition and have used him in another animation, meaning I have a great connection to the character and saw great potential of him having his own game, now I am really happy that I'm one step closer to making this a reality!
3D Model prototype made in VR, using Blocks: