With the release of our 4th Realm Beyond update, we wanted to highlight the changes to Character Models and Animations, and share a bit about what you can expect to see in future updates.
To get more insight into these updates, we asked Product Manager Joris Four, Animation Team Lead David Prenoveau, and 3D Artist Team Lead Damien Devaux about the changes and the process of updating the Character Models and Animations in Dead by Daylight.
What is featured in the new Realm Beyond Update?
JF: For the first few updates, we focused mostly on Level Art with reworks of several Realms. As we mentioned during the 4th Anniversary, the Realm Beyond is about way more than just map reworks. With this new update, players will be able to see the first changes on other areas that we really want to improve through the Realm Beyond project: Characters and Animations.
What was the process for updating The Nurse? Were there any big challenges?
DD: When Dead by Daylight first launched in 2016, we did not imagine the success or the number of different outfits we would do in the future. Since then, we have changed the process for how we design new characters. The more recent process for each new character is to create a “naked body” model that acts as the base for every other outfit we create for that character. The Nurse was created before this new process, so the first task was to give her a base body. Since the goal was to push the quality, we decided to use 3D scanned models and textures as a reference to achieve a high level of detail. The biggest challenge was mostly updating our pipeline using scans. You can see in the end result that there is a big difference between the old outfit and the new one.
What has changed in The Clown’s update?
DD: When we started talking about updating the character models, we knew that older Killers would require more of an update than some of the more recent additions to Dead by Daylight. In the case of The Clown, who is not as that old compared to others like The Nurse, the main goal was to update the First-Person View (FPV), which meant updating what the player sees in the Killer’s point of view. We reworked the textures of the hands, including The Clown’s weapon and bottles, to have them look better when in FPV.
This is the first Realm Beyond update to feature Character Models – should players expect more of these kinds of changes in future updates?
JF: YES! Some Killers will receive the same treatment as The Nurse and The Clown. The idea is to make them more beautiful without changing the look and personality of each character. We are also working on a bunch of updates for Survivor models – I cannot say more for now, but I’ve seen the first results and it looks really promising.
What is the locomotion update? What exactly is changing?
DP: For the updated locomotion system, a new pose and new animations were created for when Survivors are standing, crouching, or crawling. With these new animations, we needed to create transitions in and out of these states. One example is the new standing-to-walking and walking-to-standing animations - before the update, these were just a blend in the engine. The new locomotion system also consists of updated walk, run and crouch animations in both Injured and Healthy states. The states where the Survivor is injured now have longer cycles with more variation to really get the feel of stumbling when injured. In addition, whereas before when the Survivor was changing direction it was just a blend, now we have all the 180/90-degree transitions in every Health State.
The update also includes a new Flashlight idle pose, and you can now use the Flashlight while crouching.
There has also been an update to the crawl animation – you can now stop crawling at any point in the cycle, as well as slowing down the turn and adding a transition to give more of an immersive look and feel.
We wanted to update the animations and add transitions while keeping the same input, speed, velocity, and acceleration, without latency. This allows animations to be interruptible, which makes movement feel more fluid without impacting gameplay.
JF: As David said, we wanted to boost the immersion by adding details and transitions to bring more life and fluidity to the animations. I really like all the additions that the team has made to make Survivors’ movement look better and more realistic than ever before.
Will these changes have any impact on gameplay?
DP: We were very mindful on staying true to current gameplay locomotion system and the reactiveness for the player. Under the hood, the character controller moves the same way as before, but since the visual representations have changed, it may have an affect on how players perceive their character's movement.
JF: The future of Dead by Daylight continues with each new Realm Beyond update, and we can’t wait to show you what’s to come.
The team has been working hard to enhance the Dead by Daylight experience while maintaining the core of the game. We will continue to share these new updates with you with each coming release.
See you in the Fog,
The Dead by Daylight Team.