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'Borderlands 3': Animating 87 Bazillion Guns

Michael Sewell (Head of Technical Design Animation, Gearbox Software)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core+Summits Pass, Core Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Visual Arts

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: Intermediate

Where other shooters scope their weapon content to a reasonable range, Borderlands 3 shipped with nearly infinite weapon variety. This talk is intended to break down how the Animation team was able to solve this problem, and how the solutions influenced nearly every character in the game. We touch on alternate first-person content techniques, how we granted animators additional control over all facets of the system, advanced layering to reduce animation cost, and how this granted design the freedom to express more creativity than ever before. We also touch on custom DCC tools that simplified the process of authoring animation content for these weapons, and some of the pitfalls we ran into while building the Borderlands 3 weapon animation system.


Attendees of this presentation attain an alternative perspective on how to approach hand to weapon attachment systems, condensing animation lists around like-weapons, and the benefits of letting animators explore and prototype new systems in the engine.

Intended Audience

This presentation is intended for developers in the animation or design fields, with the expectation that attendees have worked on player or enemy content relevant to weapons. This is focused primarily on in-engine implementation, but extends to methods of structuring animation lists to support a greater variety of content.