DEVELOPER DIARY | X360, PS3, PC Friday, February 17, 2012 | 6:03 PM

GR Future Soldier: Cover & Animation

GR Future Soldier: Cover & Animation

Here comes a brand new gameplay video for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier that deals with the game's animation and the cover system. Plus a Q&A with creative director Jean-Marc Geffroy and new screenshots. The game will hit stores on May 22nd in North America and a couple of days later in Europe.


Q&A Believe in Ghosts – Cover and Animation


Creative Director – Jean-Marc Geffroy.

1) There are many comparisons with other military shooters, what makes Ghost recon special and how do you address the FPS Vs Third Person debate.

Being a third person shooter allows us to put the player in the heart of the action while also creating a connection with the story. This perspective is more immersive in that it gives the player a different relationship with the character and team. It allows the player to engage more naturally with the protagonist, and in GRFS it gives an insight into the world of Special Forces.

In terms of actual gameplay it allows us to do several things, besides the added visceral and physicality of seeing your character, we have an advanced cover system. This allows you to have a secure position to plan your attack and to analyze the battlefield. It means you can recon and prey on your enemies. Obviously you also have the peek feature which allows you to see around corners or pop up easily from behind cover and pick off enemy targets.

The third person view also allows us to inject supportive elements such as the UAV drone more naturally. You can secure a cover position and throw up your drone to plan your attack or use the “Tag ‘em and bag ‘em” feature to have you and your unit carry out synchronized kills.

Finally, we wanted to make sure the player felt like they were playing a precise shooter. You are an elite operative and the experience is all about shooting. We were very conscious of how an FPS has that precision and that is why we have 3 states for the player to choose from. You have the OTS “Instinct” view, “Aim” and then “Scope” all workable simply and on the fly.



2) What else has been added to the Ghost Recon since the previous series?

We wanted to provide the player a modern “Recon” experience. The game was founded on similar principles described by Charles Alvin "Charlie" Beckwith. Some people know him as one of the founding fathers of Delta Force. He was responsible for changing the perception and functionality of Special Forces in the 70s. He created special units of elite soldiers, able to adapt to all situations effectively and in a highly autonomous manner.

What’s key with these types of units is that they are made up of highly trained warriors who carry out missions very differently than traditional soldiers. This is what we want the player to experience and we constructed the game with all of these principles in mind. Intel and information dictates how they will attack and deal with an operation whether it’s taking out a key target or rescuing a VIP. Throughout, we give you various gadgets, such as a drones, sensor grenades and added intel that are fun to experiment with and use on the battlefield.

The cover system also adds to this “preparation” and intel gathering phase. The cover system allows you to quickly identify your next cover position (using the augmented reality provided Via CROSS COM device; the blue projection over your eye) and move to it fast and fluidly. When you’re in danger of getting pinned down, this allows the player to reach a safer position as fast as possible. It is especially useful since covers are dynamic and can be destroyed with sustained enemy fire, leaving the player out in the open and vulnerable. The cover swap varies depending on your approach. If you cover swap in recon: your visual signature is very low and you can get close to enemies while keeping your cover. This allows you to flank quickly without being spotted and giving you a tactical advantage to start the fight.

GRFS is the only modern military shooter, that allows you to pass from recon to action whenever you decide. It means the game supports true classic recon throughout, but the fight scenes are not scripted. The AI reacts to the situation and the player, not to what a designer decides will happen. This means when you approach a situation, you use your intel and tools to prepare and you trigger the fight that gives you a tactical advantage over the enemy. Just like the principles taught by Beckwith. It allows the player to push the limits of how they want to play.



3) Could you tell us a little more about the animation and what makes it special?

First, it’s about working with the best, most elite operatives. We aim to be the most authentic and realistic military shooter on the market. Authenticity is the foundation of both the franchise and of the Tom Clancy Universe. Throughout our motion capture, we worked with former Navy Seals who gave us guidance and helped us capture that precision and realistic movement. These are big guys, but their training and skills allow them to effectively move like cats, which is crucial to their survival in the field. This led us to creating over 2500 animations on the main character alone to ensure that the player really enjoys the movement and can identify with his Ghosts. There were two phrases that they used that always stuck out in my mind: “Be a predator don’t be the prey.” And my personal favorite, "Fast is smooth, but slow is f'ucking slow" J

One of the most rewarding aspects of our animation system and something new to Ghost Recon, are the CQC attacks and Stealth kills. We are really proud of the character’s movements as he busts out some Krav Maga or Jujitsu moves to take down an enemy and finish them off. We also extended this into the Ghosts’ characteristics - things like little twitches, peeks, ducking their heads when under fire, all the things that real humans do naturally.

Our designers were very demanding and wanted to inject the best of everything, reactivity in the player’s movements, a wide range of moves that are compatible between all different stances and movement speeds. However, the most important was to achieve perfect accuracy in the character’s movements and aiming as we are a precision shooter above all! Much of the development in terms of our animation system was created to allow for this agility. The system uses a huge number of transition animations, mixes additive and procedural animations, inverse Kinematics and other tricks. This enables the animators and programmers to match the designers’ expectations in terms of functionality, reactivity, and realism. For the player it means they fully control an elite soldier of the future, who has a group of highly trained warriors backing him up. It means he feels part of an intelligent, elite unit that supports you and knows what they have to do.



4) How does the animation deal with the 20 million different varieties of Gun Customisation?

This was a real challenge with Gunsmith as our system has to adapt to the 20 million different variables. The fact is that real operatives in the field customize their guns, so we had to figure out how to do the same with our animations system. We are very pleased with how the system now adapts to each weapon, but it also allows the player to see the left to right shoulder swap. This may sound like a small detail, but it’s an important tactic that is primarily used by seals which allows for a better line of sight when peeking, or breaching.

INSIDE RECON #1

All comments

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Commented on 2012-02-17 18:38:11
it sure can look a bit bland texture wise, i'll say almost as bad as MGS4 wich gives the same vibe. But it looks way better in colors and levels, GRAW2 levels were atrocious compared to GRAW1.
Commented on 2012-02-17 18:50:56
Looks freaking awesome IMO.

Love the agility of the movement animations they added, something I can always get behind and like it.
And also a very nice job on the intense camera work during intense movement and firefights, feels a bit like Bourne movies, shaky lol.

One thing I find it odd, they said they looked into the real special ops for animations and behavior, do they really sprint with their hand they holding the gun pointed up? Thats abit odd.

Anyways, looking forward to seeing more. Very happy they went with very futuristic approach, liking the design and art.
Commented on 2012-02-17 19:06:08
The more games ubisoft release the less i like them as developers. Pass.
Commented on 2012-02-17 19:28:01
Something about this game is very boring to me.

Will still be keeping an eye on it but for now Ubisoft has my money with Far Cry 3.
Commented on 2012-02-17 19:39:37
game is looking great, cannot wait to try this out
Commented on 2012-02-17 20:02:17 In reply to KORNdog
Posted by KORNdog
The more games ubisoft release the less i like them as developers. Pass.
Ok I don't even have to watch it! KORNdog says "Pass" therefore I will probably Love it! I have always been a fan of Ubi and most of their core games... I'm not a PC gamer so DRM hasn't been an issue! also KORNdog likes them less so I must like them more now right?... I mean thats how this goes right!?
Commented on 2012-02-17 20:07:31 In reply to manicproblematic
Posted by manicproblematic
Ok I don't even have to watch it! KORNdog says "Pass" therefore I will probably Love it! I have always been a fan of Ubi and most of their core games... I'm not a PC gamer so DRM hasn't been an issue! also KORNdog likes them less so I must like them more now right?... I mean thats how this goes right!?
LOL funny stuff.
Commented on 2012-02-17 20:54:47 In reply to Kostchtchie
Posted by Kostchtchie
game is looking great, cannot wait to try this out
Agreed, It's starting to come along nicely now which i really didnt think it would.

Lets see some online gameplay please!
Commented on 2012-02-17 21:06:12
They're using the best cover system from SC Conviction. That's all I can say, not too interested in the game. But I do love me some swanky animations!
Commented on 2012-02-17 21:06:45 In reply to manicproblematic
Posted by manicproblematic
Ok I don't even have to watch it! KORNdog says "Pass" therefore I will probably Love it! I have always been a fan of Ubi and most of their core games... I'm not a PC gamer so DRM hasn't been an issue! also KORNdog likes them less so I must like them more now right?... I mean thats how this goes right!?
You like what you like. If i have any influence over your taste, negative or possitive, then...well...*face-palm*
Commented on 2012-02-17 21:19:14
day 1 for me...
Commented on 2012-02-17 22:06:13 In reply to KORNdog
Posted by KORNdog
You like what you like. If i have any influence over your taste, negative or possitive, then...well...*face-palm*
Haha! Oh dear man I was joking! (mostly) the whole DRM thing and not being a pc gamer was honest truth! but yea I was just remarking on how most things that look cool you usually have something negative to say about them! I guess it's worked because people on here know you for that reason! Yea this game looks ok... not seeing anything particularly outstanding about it so far! I'm not going to outright pass on it though, I'l wait till review or a demo for that! As I have said before though (everybody now!) KORNdog will be KORNdog Trollolololol etc...
Commented on 2012-02-18 00:23:13
obligatory old ghost recon games were the best, yada yada.

Game looks kinda spiffy though I guess. I have a lot of respect for the animators at Ubi. *thinks of prince of persia* ahh yes
Commented on 2012-02-18 12:25:27
Ubisoft still the king of animations. I do miss the vast open areas of the old games but hopefully there'll be a Terrorist Hunt mode to satisfy those needs.
Commented on 2012-02-18 13:25:05
Wonder if AC3 will inherit something from this animation system....

Game looks okay, and I really appreciate good animations, immersion is key!
Commented on 2012-02-18 20:48:00 In reply to Zarsky
Posted by Zarsky
Wonder if AC3 will inherit something from this animation system....
err... AC1 animation was and still is in a league of its own, even uncharted 3 "look at me i'm touching stuff like a maniac" is a buggy and weak effort compared to 2007's way of crowd movement in AC. The thing is Ac2&Bro didn't do much to add to it beacuse there isn't that much it could be done, and the little stuff they could, they never bothered (horses and such).
Commented on 2012-02-19 16:15:49 In reply to nostradamus
Posted by nostradamus
compared to 2007's way of crowd movement in AC. The thing is Ac2&Bro didn't do much to add to it beacuse there isn't that much it could be done, and the little stuff they could, they never bothered (horses and such).
Except that if you held the "push aside" button or whatever it was, Altair would act like he was walking through a crowd avoiding people even if nobody was around. It kinda exposed some shortcuts the crowd interaction system took. So I suppose that's something that could have been fixed.

That said, GR:FS is looking awesome.
Commented on 2012-02-20 05:18:28 In reply to digi_matrix
Posted by digi_matrix
They're using the best cover system from SC Conviction. That's all I can say, not too interested in the game. But I do love me some swanky animations!
Don't you mean They're using some of the same cover system from Gears of War?
Commented on 2012-02-20 07:55:09 In reply to dargis49
Posted by dargis49
Don't you mean They're using some of the same cover system from Gears of War?
Dont you mean they are using the same cover system from Kill.Switch?
Commented on 2012-02-20 15:08:58 In reply to dargis49
Posted by dargis49
Don't you mean They're using some of the same cover system from Gears of War?
Posted by Sath
Dont you mean they are using the same cover system from Kill.Switch?
Don't you mean they are using the cover system from real life? silly statements. Gears doesn't play much like Kill.Switch, and GR's doesn't play like Gears (In the past, at least).
This game is looking better though...
Commented on 2012-02-20 16:39:54
LOL real life? You went too hardcore :P

Well the fast cover-shooting is from Kill.Switch though, even Cliffy B mentioned it as one of their insperation games for cover system during first few Gears of War 1 interviews.

GR FS doesnt play anything like Gears at all for, I mean look how it acts when you are in cover and getting fired heavy by the enemy, but ah well. Cover system is something that will always stay, just depends how good it is implemented.
Commented on 2012-02-20 21:53:26
Game looks really nice. Seems like it pulls from the last Splinter Cell title with the used of text in the game.

The animations are slick that they show, but for a series that has been on the realistic side of things, they come off pretty unrealistic.
Makes it look like it's caving in to become more arcade oriented.
Commented on 2012-02-21 01:14:13
Uh....so, yea....Look at a video from the first Ghost Recon. Black and white.
Commented on 2012-02-21 08:50:15
I dont think im a sensitive person but at first glance without knowing the story behind the article image i find it offensive
Commented on 2012-02-21 09:31:14
Guys, don't get your hopes up for this. It's been worked over about 50 times, and has been in development hell for a LONG time, and no one has been super hot on it who got press access to any build of the game.
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