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Star Trek Online Animation dev diary

by: Sean Colleli -
More On: Star Trek Online
Star Trek Online might be a scant three days from full release but the hailing frequencies are still open on media and dev info. Today we have insights from Tracy Jasperson, who talks about animating the various aliens species with iconic moves and attacks. That's all well and good, but when I heard that you could assign an epic maneuver roll to your character I was sold. I just hope they include that thing Picard does to straighten his shirt.

Look after the break for the dev diary.

Klingon weapon sets, Species 8472, IP emotes... These are just a few of the things I was extremely excited about working on when I joined the Star Trek Online team. My name is Tracy Jasperson and I am an animator on STO.

I have worked on a variety of different types of animations for STO from Player Powers to Critter Groups to Emotes and Encounters. These are all interesting and exciting, but I enjoy working on IP content the most; species specific animations like: Borg Assimilate, Klingon Bat'leth Strike, Gorn Boulder Throw, Devidian Mind Drain, Vulcan Nerve Pinch, and Species 8472 Slash Attack. These animations help make each race distinct and unique. It is definitely a challenging and rewarding experience to make Star Trek characters behave the way fans expect them to while adding something extra.

Working with the rest of the development team, we have been able to discover creative solutions for all of our animation needs and requests. My animation process usually starts with a Designer and the Art Director. When I am assigned an animation I first figure out what the Designer and Art Director's vision is for the animation; then, I determine if there are any guidelines or limitations that need to be addressed. The next step after that is research. Research is an important part of my animation process. I do a massive scavenger hunt to find as many movie clips, television episodes, books and videos that I can find. After that I film myself acting out the animation. I do this for additional reference and to also get a better understanding of the basic body mechanics. Armed with my arsenal of reference material, I jump into Max and start animating. During and after the animation process I'll get feedback and approval from the Art Director, the Lead Animator and other members of the animation team.

The STO animation team is a close-knit group that works together, helps each other and shares a common goal. That goal is to give life to the amazing characters and environments the rest of the STO development team has created. The entire team has been living and breathing Star Trek for over a year now and we are working extremely hard to give the fans an exciting, engaging, unique Star Trek gaming experience. I am proud to be part of this project and there is no doubt in my mind that it will be a success.