Did HL2 Cap Facial Animation?

Jimmy T. Malice

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Dirty Hipsters said:
JB1528 said:
The Mass Effect series had pretty good animations too if I remember correctly.
Yes, the best facial animations...



Nope, not creepy at all.
That's not even part of the game; it's someone messing around with the facial expressions in the game engine.

I think Valve pretty much have animation in general nailed. And they did it while most companies were still working on stiff, robotic character with flappy mouths.
 
Mar 19, 2010
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Jimmy T. Malice said:
Dirty Hipsters said:
JB1528 said:
The Mass Effect series had pretty good animations too if I remember correctly.
Yes, the best facial animations...



Nope, not creepy at all.
That's not even part of the game; it's someone messing around with the facial expressions in the game engine.

I think Valve pretty much have animation in general nailed. And they did it while most companies were still working on stiff, robotic character with flappy mouths.
Nope its legit he does that face in ME2 talking to Miranda pause at about 3 seconds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMiX9AUssiI
 

Leaper

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Well it's about technology being used. I'm not sure on details, but current Unreal Engine FaceFX just doesn't hold out against whatever Valve was using almost 10 years ago. Kind of sad when you think about it.

And don't compare this to LA Noire, it was using face motion capture, both any UE or Source Game I know of used facial animations made by hand, that's a massive difference on many levels.
 

tzimeworm

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I had the making of Half Life 2 art book (Until someone borrowed it....) and I remember being fascinated by an article on the facial animations. If I remember correctly, their approach was using an old psychology/medical study that was carried out with the aim of finding out the limits of a human facial expression, kind of creating a library of facial expressions, and the approximate limits a human has in terms of movement.

They took all the old information from this study and used it to actually limit the facial movements so they would constantly be within a realistic range. This was kinda the jump of point to approach all the animation. Let me see if I can find an article on it.

there you go, it was based on this stuff http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_Action_Coding_System

this was the book. (MUTHAFUCKA ITS WORTH $170 NOW!) http://www.amazon.com/Half-Life-2-Raising-David-Hodgson/dp/0761543643

Right, I'm going to go hunt down the guy that took my book....
 

Vetta E-dom

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I was rather impressed with the animation in Red Faction Guerrilla, both in the character models and the facial structure. At least from the bit I've played.

I expect nothing less from a game that has so many assets made by Massive Black.
 

bug_of_war

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Sgt. Sykes said:
Will people ever shut up about HL2 already.

I replayed it a few weeks ago. It's still as mediocre as it always was. As for facial animation, it was definitely interesting in its time, but I always felt the animations (and everything else) is too overplayed. Too much 'in your face'. It's like the characters were doing movements just for the sake of moving, like they had too much caffeine or something. I guess the engine couldn't display subtle movements so they made everything un-subtle.

Honestly I'll rather take a bit wooden character than empty 'look how much we can animate'.

Of course most games these days kinda suck in all areas except the amount of explosions, so this 9 year old game suddenly starts to look impressive again...
^Pretty much my thoughts, although I played it last year and was just as disappointed with it as I was with Half Life 1. The game just didn't click with me, and the graphics looked like graphics I expect in 2003, nothing more, nothing less. Resident Evil 4 has pretty decent facial animation, at least for it's time, and unlike HL2 they didn't, as Sgt. Sykes pointed out, "the characters were doing movements just for the sake of moving". Also, recent games like Resident Evil 6, Hitman Absolution, Assassin's Creed 2/B/R/3, Aliens vs Predator, Max Payne 3, etc. all have rather decent animations both in gameplay and cut scenes.

I understand that Half Life is considered by some as the Jesus of video games, but it's really not. It's story was convoluted, it's been so long that it's (I should say the series) cliff hanger ending is no longer that interesting as it's clear Valve really just want to move on, Gordon Freeman is a boring character (totally subjective), and it basically tried to be Doom for people who wanted more story. I'm sorry Valve, but your game just didn't click for me.
 

Leaper

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bug_of_war said:
Sgt. Sykes said:
Will people ever shut up about HL2 already.

I replayed it a few weeks ago. It's still as mediocre as it always was. As for facial animation, it was definitely interesting in its time, but I always felt the animations (and everything else) is too overplayed. Too much 'in your face'. It's like the characters were doing movements just for the sake of moving, like they had too much caffeine or something. I guess the engine couldn't display subtle movements so they made everything un-subtle.

Honestly I'll rather take a bit wooden character than empty 'look how much we can animate'.

Of course most games these days kinda suck in all areas except the amount of explosions, so this 9 year old game suddenly starts to look impressive again...
^Pretty much my thoughts, although I played it last year and was just as disappointed with it as I was with Half Life 1. The game just didn't click with me, and the graphics looked like graphics I expect in 2003, nothing more, nothing less. Resident Evil 4 has pretty decent facial animation, at least for it's time, and unlike HL2 they didn't, as Sgt. Sykes pointed out, "the characters were doing movements just for the sake of moving". Also, recent games like Resident Evil 6, Hitman Absolution, Assassin's Creed 2/B/R/3, Aliens vs Predator, Max Payne 3, etc. all have rather decent animations both in gameplay and cut scenes.

I understand that Half Life is considered by some as the Jesus of video games, but it's really not. It's story was convoluted, it's been so long that it's (I should say the series) cliff hanger ending is no longer that interesting as it's clear Valve really just want to move on, Gordon Freeman is a boring character (totally subjective), and it basically tried to be Doom for people who wanted more story. I'm sorry Valve, but your game just didn't click for me.
I'd prefer if we would leave fanboyism out of here. You might not have liked the game, but what does it have to do with quality of facial animations or lack of thereof?
 

Casual Shinji

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Leaper said:
bug_of_war said:
Sgt. Sykes said:
Will people ever shut up about HL2 already.
I understand that Half Life is considered by some as the Jesus of video games, but it's really not.
I'd prefer if we would leave fanboyism out of here. You might not have liked the game, but what does it have to do with quality of facial animations or lack of thereof?
Hey man, we can't have a Half-Life 2 related thread without atleast one person jumping in going "Waaah, Half-Life 2 sux."
 

bug_of_war

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Leaper said:
I'd prefer if we would leave fanboyism out of here. You might not have liked the game, but what does it have to do with quality of facial animations or lack of thereof?
True, it had nothing to do with the game, and it probably didn't add much to the argument, but emotion is a catalyst for an assumption. Whilst it has nothing to do with the actual point for the facial animation, it does give other people warning that my opinion is biased, therefore my points should be more scrutinised. I know it sounds weird, but that's the way my brain thinks when it comes to sharing an opinion, I have to be open when there is a bias in my opinion, otherwise I could be saying something that is more or less skewed by my emotions, if so, than someone whom may have more knowledge on the topic than I do could do away with all my points.

That being said, I did refer to Sgt. Sykes opinion on HL2's facial animation as to how I felt, so I did answer the point, I just did it and then rambled on.

Casual Shinji said:
Hey man, we can't have a Half-Life 2 related thread without atleast one person jumping in going "Waaah, Half-Life 2 sux."
Can we have a Mass Effect discussion without someone jumping to the, "WAH, EA RUINED EVERYTHING!" retort?

Half Life is a big-ish franchise that caught the attention of a lot of people, so when someone feels let down or unimpressed by it, they tend to go on to discuss how much they disliked the product, even if the topic isn't really asking for a, "did you like it?" answer. Really, it shouldn't matter if someone says they don't like it, so long as they do give an opinion on why they don't it is a valid opinion. Also, I do believe neither Sgt. Sykes or I ever said that Half Life sucked, we simply stated that we were underwhelmed with it, and to hear that someone is saying that a game that we personally believed was mediocre was the peak in one area, emotion can take over and we can end up dumping more opinions than really necessary.
 

Casual Shinji

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bug_of_war said:
Casual Shinji said:
Hey man, we can't have a Half-Life 2 related thread without atleast one person jumping in going "Waaah, Half-Life 2 sux."
Can we have a Mass Effect discussion without someone jumping to the, "WAH, EA RUINED EVERYTHING!" retort?

Half Life is a big-ish franchise that caught the attention of a lot of people, so when someone feels let down or unimpressed by it, they tend to go on to discuss how much they disliked the product, even if the topic isn't really asking for a, "did you like it?" answer. Really, it shouldn't matter if someone says they don't like it, so long as they do give an opinion on why they don't it is a valid opinion. Also, I do believe neither Sgt. Sykes or I ever said that Half Life sucked, we simply stated that we were underwhelmed with it, and to hear that someone is saying that a game that we personally believed was mediocre was the peak in one area, emotion can take over and we can end up dumping more opinions than really necessary.
The irony is that whenever Half-life 2 is brought up on the Escapist, 90% of the time it's someone making a thread about how it's overrated. HL2 is an old game and even the fans hardly ever talk about it anymore. Even the "will there , won't there be a HL3" discussion has sunk away. It seems only the people who disliked it can't stop talking about it. So it's just kind of a running joke at this point.
 

bug_of_war

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Casual Shinji said:
The irony is that whenever Half-life 2 is brought up on the Escapist, 90% of the time it's someone making a thread about how it's overrated. HL2 is an old game and even the fans hardly ever talk about it anymore. Even the "will there , won't there be a HL3" discussion has sunk away. It seems only the people who disliked it can't stop talking about it. So it's just kind of a running joke at this point.
I agree, there is rarely any HL threads on this site, but I'd say it's more 50/50. I don't know what else to say other than...yeah...I got nothing else to say.
 

Coolshark

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JazzJack2 said:
I think Tf2 has the most expressive animations from any game I have ever seen, nothing comes close to it in my opinion.
I agree, and a lot of it comes from the comedic exaggeration being just enough to be cartoony and not distracting.

And then theirs gmod videos...
 

Woodsey

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The further we get away from it the easier it is to see, to me, quite how far ahead Half-Life 2 was. Unfortunately I have resigned myself to not replaying it or the episodes until the next one's out.

Ronack said:
L.A. Noir.

Also, lol Half-Life 2 being good at something. Average everything is more like it.
LA Noire's is negated by everyone having a potato for a skin texture. None of the lips work either, come to think of it.
 

redisforever

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Filiecs said:
I think you're right. None other games facial expressions have been as memorable to me as Alex's in HL2.
That moment when I had just finished a tough fight with the combine and we both jump back into the car is just burned into my mind. I turned to Alex and she's looking at me with the most realistic and impactful look of worry on her face I've ever seen, it's like she genuinely cares about my safety and is willing to do anything to ensure my survival.
I remember that scene. I looked over, and wanted to give her a hug. That was amazing, a character in a game that didn't have to say anything to convey emotion.
 

josemlopes

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Leaper said:
Well it's about technology being used. I'm not sure on details, but current Unreal Engine FaceFX just doesn't hold out against whatever Valve was using almost 10 years ago. Kind of sad when you think about it.

And don't compare this to LA Noire, it was using face motion capture, both any UE or Source Game I know of used facial animations made by hand, that's a massive difference on many levels.
Unreal is actually very powerfull if used right (at least there is one game that does it very well, so there's that).

The scene at 5:18

And yeah, LA Noire while it looked good its in a whole diferent level.
 

Quadocky

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The reason why the Source Engine Facial animations look good is because they are rendered in real time by the GPU. Similar to how a GPU would render something like Particle Effects in real time.

OR at least this is what I understand.

In other engines like the Unreal 3 Engine you can use things like Pre-Set Motion capture for both face and movements of the models.
 

Leaper

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josemlopes said:
Leaper said:
Well it's about technology being used. I'm not sure on details, but current Unreal Engine FaceFX just doesn't hold out against whatever Valve was using almost 10 years ago. Kind of sad when you think about it.

And don't compare this to LA Noire, it was using face motion capture, both any UE or Source Game I know of used facial animations made by hand, that's a massive difference on many levels.
Unreal is actually very powerfull if used right (at least there is one game that does it very well, so there's that).

The scene at 5:18

And yeah, LA Noire while it looked good its in a whole diferent level.
I'd argue that the scene you talking about looked greatly mostly due to artist's effort put into, rather than specific technology used. I remember face close ups from Spec Ops the Line (especially after Willie Pete scene) and most of the time it was fantastic (it uses UE too) in fact that god damn expression on Walker's face looked so convincing that it made me feel a lot worse because of it (yay to animators for making me feel sick).
 

josemlopes

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Leaper said:
I'd argue that the scene you talking about looked greatly mostly due to artist's effort put into, rather than specific technology used. I remember face close ups from Spec Ops the Line (especially after Willie Pete scene) and most of the time it was fantastic (it uses UE too) in fact that god damn expression on Walker's face looked so convincing that it made me feel a lot worse because of it (yay to animators for making me feel sick).
Of course, I was just pointing that UE is capable of good facial animation if the right people are behind it. Mass Effect also uses UE and yeah...