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An Interview With PUBG’s Animation Lead Pawel Smolewski

Author: Gina

Want to know about what goes into making the most successful Battle Royale game? The animation lead on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Pawel Smolewski talks future plans for the game as well as ‘catering to the zombie fans.’

Q. There has been lots of discussion online regarding how certain elements of the game are rendered client side and as such appear differently to each player, what are your thoughts on this?

A: It is true that some of the animations played on your character appear differently to other clients connected to the server. These for instance include the idling animations or inertia and sway of the gun. These differences are made on purpose in an effort to ensure the players get maximum control over the characters – for instance an animation of extensive stretching played while your character does not move need not suddenly reveal your location to the enemy as you have no control over its randomness. Therefore it is only displayed on your screen as a visual ‘eye candy’ by conscious design.

Q. What else is on the horizon in terms of player animations?

A: We have very extensive plans for the future in terms of animations available to the players. In terms of time, the closest new additions or improvements are related to melee combat (better looking attacks, movements and new features, executions and takedowns), vehicles (entering and exiting, jumping out, switching seats) or grenades (better movement and control, improved look of animations). On top of that, we are constantly revising and improving the standard of existing animations. At a later date, we will also want to cater to the zombie fans by providing them with more non-human animations.

Q. Gameplay videos showing off unexpected glitches are proving extremely popular on Youtube, do you have any favourites?

A: I love tuning in every two weeks for dearsomeone’s highlights and skipping the pro plays straight to the glitches section :)

Q. What are the challenges in introducing vaulting to the game?

A: Typically, games use simple vaulting mechanics which involve creating obstacles to specific standards that support vaulting animations. These objects are typically of same height and/or similar shape so that they match the animations and can be placed by level designers where needed. However, our environment is much more varied. There are tens of thousands of objects that should technically be vaultable or climbable but they are of different shapes, heights and scales. They are very often mixed together to create more elaborate geometrical structures. Therefore, our vaulting system is based not on predefined objects or locations on the map to perform the action but rather on dynamic detection of object geometry to analyze whether a vault or climb is possible. On top of that, in PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS players will be able to scale very high objects – a sparse feature in shooter games – making the algorithm even more complex to make. Because, by design, this system is hardly predictable, it requires a lot of testing and fine tuning before it can reach its full functionality without breaking the current gameplay.

Q. How do you like your Chicken Dinner?

A: Earned with a frying pan squad assault!

Just played with Smookie (dev team) and I got the winning kill with the pan!