Winning, losing, and other animations needed for Smash fighters in kart-racing

Mostly copied from https://smashboards.com/threads/winning-losing-and-other-animation-suggestions.485862/

Spreadsheet for writing suggestions (some cells have aleady been filled by me): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1uu4C5yMC_KTVcISCpHnVvpiCewZSNfFBJ3_jeJRRhlw/edit?usp=sharing

I’m having trouble coming up with animations for all the playable fighter characters, as there are just so many more than usual. Though this is for a Smash Bros. related project of mine at https://gitlab.com/Worldblender/ssbu-karts-for-stk (add-on karts for the free/open-source racing game SuperTuxKart) (forum post: https://smashboards.com/threads/unofficial-smash-bros-kart-racing-game-kit.476481/), any suggestions made here or on the spreadsheet are useful in the development of future Smash Bros. games (that many of us have no control over). The following resources will help when coming up with suggestions:

Specific to SuperTuxKart:

Specific to the Super Smash Bros. series (some geared towards Smash Ultimate, but also some fan work is also sprinkled in; feel free to use resources not listed here, but cite the source if possible):

For those who have experience with Blender, and would like to help me in implementing animations, the best-known free/open-source 3D pipeline suite, here are additional resources to help you out (I will be the one doing all the implementation work if nobody can help me):

Background: In the current state of this project, all of the Smash Ultimate fighters (excluding the Pokémon Trainer himself/herself, but including the Pokémon; also including Piranha Plant but excluding the Mii Fighters) only have animations for steering, which always involves turning their heads and sometimes their bodies. Back in March, when I made my first release of these karts, I had no access to their animations at that time. However, with the release of my own set of Blender add-ons to aid in importing models and animations from Smash Ultimate, I now have an opportunity to redo all of the karts, and add more karts that I previously did not do (I only did the default costumes of all fighters; in the case of R.O.B., I used the Famicom costume instead the the NES one).

Purpose: Implementing more animations is the only way that I can give all the fighters some character, flavor, and representation of their home series during races. However, if I receive no suggestions at all, I will implement generic animations for all, which may be un-representative of each characters’ home series, and continue to stick with Smash Ultimate default costumes.

List of suggestions that can be made (Blender marker names included for each animation in italics):

  • Straight (not animated, the default pose when driving a kart forward without turning) -> straight
  • Steering (plays when a kart is turning left or right) -> left, right
    Jump (optional, always looping, plays when a kart drives off an upwards slope and then flies in the air) -> start-jump, end-jump
  • Winning (optional looping, plays if a karts finishes a race with a rank in the top half of the total karts) -> start-winning, start-winning-loop, end-winning
  • Losing (optional looping, plays if a kart finishes a race with a rank in the bottom half of the total karts) (note that most characters clap if they lose in the Smash Ultimate; I deem this animation to be unsuitable for this scenario) -> start-losing, start-losing-loop, end-losing
  • Kart Selection Screen (optional always looping, plays only on the kart selection screen; the winning animation is used if this does not exist for a kart) -> selection-start, selection-end
  • Backpedal/Looking Backwards (optional, plays when driving a kart in reverse) -> backpedal, backpedal-left, backpedal-right
  • Change the default costume? (most characters don’t need this, applies only for characters who have costumes that are not just recolors)
  • Add additional characters? (applies only to characters who use additional ones as part of their moveset and/or victory animations)
  • Change vehicle used? (currently I use the same base kart for all of the fighters as a time-saving measure, as most characters don’t use a vehicle in-game)
  • Santa Claus Hats & Easter Bunny Ears position (note that they appear only around Christmas and Easter, respectively; they also share the same position; usually the most appropriate position is on top of a character’s head, even above any other headgear some may wear)

Caveats to watch out for when making and/or implementing suggestions:

  • The STK engine is quite sophisticated, but not as complicated as Smash Ultimate’s engine (or most other AAA game’s engines), so do not suggest overly complex animations.

  • Suggestions do not have to be limited to from the Smash Bros. series. They can be based off of characters’ home series themselves if needed (cite the source if possible, a URL pointing to it is enough).

  • If an animation originates from the Smash Bros. series, the best types to pick from are taunts, victory poses, and defeat poses if appropriate. Animations from Smash Ultimate can be used directly, with alterations afterwards.

  • All animations to be implemented assume the character in a sitting position during regular driving, unless the character is small enough to just stand. Additionally, characters are almost always assumed to both hands on the steering wheel during regular driving (Samus and Dark Samus are the exceptions), so any weapons that some characters wield have to be removed. During the special animations however, they are free to be standing up and/or not hold the steering wheel.

  • Animations that have a character talk or play a voice clip cannot be implemented, unless closed-caption style text bubbles are added so that it is possible to see what characters are talking about.

  • Multiple suggestions for a category can be made, but I will implement only one suggestion.

  • By default, STK’s engine is configured to allow up to 1024 bones to be rendered, including those from karts and track objects. Should this limit be exceeded (usually by using too many karts at a time), these objects may not be displayed at all. To raise this bone limit, edit stk_config.xml in the game’s data directory, and edit the line as found below:
    <!-- Maximum bones from all animated meshes in each frame to be uploaded for hardware skinning, For gles 3.0 the specification guarantees at least 2048, for TBO in desktop at least 65536 (max buffer size) / 64, SSBO at least 2^24 / 64, so 1024 will work everywhere. --> <skinning max-bones="1024"/>

  • Therefore, bones that won’t be used at all (all of the helper bones beginning with H_*, all bones ending in *_null, bones that are not used in a character’s idle pose, especially for wings and weapons) should be separated to another armature, or removed to cut down on resource usage.

  • Characters that have something that can blow in the wind (such as headband tails or long hair) can have such objects converted into speed-weighted objects, where their animation speed depends on how fast their kart drives.

  • On the style of karts (from https://supertuxkart.net/Making_Karts:_Notes):

    Remember that SuperTuxKart is a game for kids. Good characters like Tux, Beastie, Adiumy, etc. are smiling and happy, while evil characters like Nolok are mean and nasty looking.

    That means that I won’t do anything involving profanity, sexually explicit content, hateful content, and anything else that would be inappropriate for children (even if a character originates from a teen-rated or mature-rated game, they don’t need to be completely omitted).

    Unlike Mario Kart [games], SuperTuxKart doesn’t support sharing karts between different characters, so there’s no need to meet a lowest common denominator. Generic plastic-looking karts are rather dull unless it’s something iconic like Tux’s kart (which has been in the game with more or less the same design since the first release of SuperTuxKart), so go ahead and make a kart you think fits your character. Wilber’s kart, for example, is a tube of paint because he’s the GIMP mascot. Puffy’s kart is a moving aquarium since he’s a blowfish.

    Some characters unfortunately have never been in a racing game before, so if it decided that another vehicle be used for some characters, original designs will have to be made. However, a traditional kart does not have to be used! It is also possible to have karts without actual wheels.

When making suggestions, you don’t have to do all the characters or categories, to save all of you a big burden, but do state the characters and categories you will do. If you don’t have experience in 3D modelling and/or animation, that’s fine; The suggestions are the bare minimum I’m asking for. I could do all the research by myself, but that would be very time-consuming for me to do what will be ultimately 80+ characters. I look forward to hearing what other people suggest.