How Child of Light uses fluid physics and animation styles

Ubisoft's upcoming fairytale-inspired Japanese-like role-playing game, Child of Light, uses fluid-based physics and combines 2D with 3D animations to give the game its visual style, according to the game's official Tumblr.

Technical architect Jeff Preshing explained that heroine Aurora is animated in the same fashion as regular 3D games. However, to make the character fit into the game's 2D world, the team must "flatten her completely." This impacts the character's fluidity in her movements.

"In order to achieve a reactive and fluid result we experimented with different combinations to get it just right," Preshing said. "We benefit a lot in animating Aurora in 3D, especially with the transitions when she changes directions in flight or turns around."

Fluid animations were especially used for Aurora's hair, which was designed to appear as though it's floating underwater.

"At the start of the project Aurora's hair was 100 percent driven by this fluid simulation," Preshing said. "It was a neat idea, but the results were a bit too lifeless. Her hair ended up looking like a bunch of spaghetti just floating around.

"Even though its not the main driving force behind Aurora's hair we still use fluid simulation; for example, when Igniculus flies past Aurora, the hair gets swept up in the breeze."

Child of Light was announced in August. The game is being led by Far Cry 3 director Patrick Plourde. For more on how Ubisoft hopes to reignite the love of classic JRPG mechanics, check out our interview with game writer Jeffrey Yohalem.


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