Carl Coss: The first thing I do is get up and walk it myself, and say “What am I doing here?” and usually that’s plenty. Beyond that, for something specific, like for Stargate, we’ll watch the show. For the Asgard I was watching a lot of what they do to get the idea of what we can do and how far we can take that. And a lot of stuff with Teal’c, the fighting, we want it to feel like the show as well, but we’re pushing the realism to a more stylized direction because I think that’ll be more fun.
GateWorld: Yeah! You can either follow the show to the letter or follow real life, or take it in a slightly stylized direction.
CC: Right. And I think in games people don’t want real life. They’re playing a video game. And I think you can go too far with that. But I think if you go just right — you’ve got this Hollywood area where it’s surreal, exaggerated, stylized to a point that’s bigger and funner.
GW: Most of the races in Stargate are bipedal.
CC: Right. That means “two legs.”
GW: Does this make things easier because it’s a common form of locomotion, or more difficult because it’s easier to spot flaws in terms of a player?
CC: Oh yeah, it’s more difficult in that sense. Everybody’s a critic when it comes to human motion. If you see a human walking in some computer-animated thing and it’s bad, you know, even if you’re not an animator. Because everybody knows how people walk. Even subconsciously. You’ve never thought about it before. Something’s not right.
So it’s difficult in that respect. But like I said, because a lot of them are similar we can transfer some of the base animations around, save time that way, and tweak the attitudes and proportions. Also it’s easier because we can just get up and walk it.
Now if I have to do [an] eight-legged spider I can’t just get up and go “How would a spider move?” I’ve got to really think about it or watch a bunch of videos. It’s both. People are more critical about those things, but at the same time there’s more resources available for us to use.
GW: Is there any particular kind of animation you’re developing that’s specific to Stargate that you’ve never developed before? The squiggly movements of a symbiote?
CC: There will be. We’re going to do a symbiote, which is exciting. We’re supposed to do that pretty soon. And the Jaffa with their pouches and everything. I’ve done a little bit of staff combat. There’s more staff stuff. The firing from the staff is new. Because a lot of the people are human it is pretty standard, but when you get to the Asgard, I’ve never done anything like that. That’s really exciting.
GW: That’s really a level playing field. We’ve never even seen them fire a weapon. And we’ve only seen one shot once in Season Seven. So, yeah. I remember you contacting me a few weeks ago wanting to know where the switch on a staff weapon was. I thought that was really great! That detail.
CC: People are going to notice those things. And I personally respect what it is. We’re doing Stargate so we need to do that kind of thing. And also it’s important to get it right just in case other people at the company are going to see that later and say “Oh, go back to it.” If we have time to figure that stuff out, and we’re at the point where we can put that in, then yeah, absolutely. I like to find that stuff out. Make sure we’re accurate in those counts. Because they do. It has a trigger.
Now whether or not they’re always consistent with that in the show is a different story.
GW: Well, Chris Judge. He’s always firing the staff weapon differently. Sometimes he’ll hold it with two hands at his waist, or over —
CC: Or he’ll tape two together and spin around and somehow fire them both.
GW: And hitting people with them!
CC: And in our game probably sometimes the handle will be in the wrong spot because of the blending. We’ll try.
GW: The point is — exactly. Pretty sick to be that minute about it. “They didn’t get that right. The staff weapon’s misplaced!”
CC: In an old version of the staff that we had, the hands were way up on it. It wasn’t even ready. It was very funny. That’s not going too far, the trigger on the staff. I want it to be Stargate. I don’t want it to be something else.
GW: Are you pleased with the progress that your team has made so far?
CC: Oh, absolutely. And these guys, this is their first real game job. They are absolute pros already. It’s awesome. I couldn’t have three better animators. It’s really been easy to give them stuff and let them do it. And they’re really good about feedback, really good about working together and unifying the look of all the characters. It’s been awesome.
GW: Do you plan on playing the game?
CC: Well, I do. Because I’m making it. I’ll need to play it a lot just to test it, to look at the animations.
GW: Will you be sick of it by then, when it comes out?
CC: I’m excited to play it. There’s so much going on and there’s so many people working on this.
I have no idea a lot of times what other people are working on. What other departments are doing. I go and I walk around just to see that. Get a glimpse of the art and some of the content, and I read some of the stories. But I’ll never be able to get as much of it as if I play it. I’m excited to play because there’ll be things in there that I didn’t know were in there, but that I’ll know the people that made it. So it’ll be exciting in that aspect.
I don’t play a lot of MMOs. I just never got into them. But I have played some, and I like what we’re doing here. How we’re doing a lot of things differently. I want to see how it works. If I get more into it. So I’m interested in seeing what we create, but also seeing if it’s fun. And it looks like it’s going to be.