The developer defends Starfield’s facial animations. Saying “faces are hard”



Highlights of the story

  • Delaney King, a character tech artist, recently took to Twitter to explain why Starfield’s facial animations feel so off.
  • According to him, the game doesn’t contract large muscles properly, giving faces a fake feel.
  • He concluded that the faces are difficult to design, but fans have noticed that this is a recurring problem. Bethesda the game.

Delaney King, a character tech artist who has worked on a number of titles including God of War, recently explained on Twitter Starfield’s less spectacular face animations. The developer stated that there is a major problem with the game’s character smiles that give them such an unnatural look. it is orbicularis oculi muscle Which doesn’t contract in the game like it does when people smile in real life.

This results in NPCs a “Artificial smile” or a “Fake Smile”. In addition, King explained another reason why smiles are rarely seen in the game. The apples of the cheeks should also rise, otherwise, it looks like you’re actively resisting a smile, causing Constipation. This is why a large number of NPCs in the game seem reluctant to even talk to you.

Face animations in Starfield
Face animations in Starfield

There’s another muscle that isn’t working as well as it should, King continued. it is zygomaticus major muscle. It contracts when a person smiles, pulling the corners of a person’s mouth upwards. But in Starfield, it just doesn’t do that. It continues to increase. Unusual sight The game’s NPCs have Players have already taken note. Some of these issues but at first weren’t sure how to put into words why the animations looked weird.

said the king They are not sure If the solution Bethesda is using for their faces is facial capture fed in bones or composite shapes. But the result definitely requires one. Manual adjustment pass Smiles to work again. As it is, the smiles and facial animations in the game are absolutely terrible. For what it’s worth, the developer mentions that these muscles have movement. But right now, it’s not in sync with the mouth.

The full Twitter thread has plenty of other insightful tidbits. But in the end what the king concluded was simply that “Faces are hardAccording to him, getting good facial animations is something that requires tons of people from multiple departments to coordinate together. And even then, you need a decent amount of money. Time and money To do it right.

Add in the fact that all of these require a good understanding of human facial anatomy, expression, and visual communication, and it becomes clear why even a major studio like Bethesda can struggle to create polished facial animations. . A title as big as Starfield. That said, even with King’s insight, some fans feel that way. Not enough justification.

Bethesda games often come under fire for having horrible looking NPC faces. And much of that can be attributed to the aging creation engine. With so many other games nowadays having very expressive and realistic facial animations, Starfield’s poor attempt at this holds up even more. Baldur’s Gate 3 for example, has been defined For its animations despite the large amount of cutscenes and dialogues.

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