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GTA 6’s Animation Secrets: Could Procedural Blending Create Hyper-Realistic Characters?

Grand Theft Auto 6 (VI) is the next action-adventure game from Rockstar Games. It will be the sixteenth game in the Grand Theft Auto series, and the eighth main one, after Grand Theft Auto 5 (V) (2013). Rockstar Games has developed an advanced new animation system for GTA 6. However, these details are speculative and not yet proven. If implemented as imagined, the animation tech could enable more fluid, dynamic character motions.

Read about our GTA 6 Trailer Breakdown: GTA 6 Trailer 1 Breakdown: Secrets & Details

GTA 6's Animation Secrets
Screenshot from Grand Theft Auto VI Trailer 1

Procedural Animation System

Supposedly, the GTA 6 patent hints at Rockstar Games‘s most immersive game yet. Rockstar Games has created a procedural, data-driven animation framework for GTA 6. This system would blend animations on the fly based on context like character states, environment, and player input. Transitioning smoothly between many layered animations could allow more realistic, responsive character movements.

Reddit user Tobbelobben30 (via Eurogamer) noticed that Tobias Kleanthous, a former Rockstar Games AI and gameplay programmer, filed a patent in April for “System And Method For Virtual Character Locomotion.” Kleanthous said on LinkedIn that he “designed and built this for games” at the studio behind Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. The patent’s abstract says it is “a system and method for animating and moving in-game objects.” This means Kleanthous’ tech could make characters more realistic. Tobbelobben30 explained the patent’s details in their Reddit post:

“Based on this patent, it seems like they’re using a clever system. They’ve built a library of small building blocks for character movements. These blocks can be combined in various ways to create a wide range of animations. For instance, think about a character in the game walking in the rain, feeling tired, or getting injured. Instead of designing separate animations for each of these situations, they use these building blocks to put together the character’s movements naturally. This means GTA 6 can have more diverse and lifelike animations. So, when you play GTA 6, you’ll see characters moving in ways that match the weather, their energy level, and their injuries. This makes the game feel more immersive. It’s like having characters that can adapt to different situations, making the game world feel more real and thrilling.”

Additionally, each character may have a configurable profile defining available animation assets and preferences. The system could blend animation layers with different weights per body part and synchronize motions between joints. Animation speeds and blends could be controlled procedurally for fluid results.

This new approach could also reduce animation data requirements compared to pre-recorded animations for every situation. By mixing and matching animations procedurally, less raw mocap data may be needed.

GTA 6's Animation Secrets
Screenshot from 11 page document by Tobias Kleanthous

Speculative Technology

However, these technical details are speculative and not confirmed by Rockstar Games. While an advanced animation system like this could enable more immersive, dynamic characters, the specific descriptions may exceed actual GTA 6 capabilities. Until official announcements, the imagined animation framework remains theoretical and aspirational.

In summary, the portrayed animation system seems highly ambitious yet potentially feasible to implement. If GTA 6 utilizes similar techniques, it could push animation quality forward significantly. But the precise capabilities described are currently speculative and unverified. As Rockstar Games reveals more technical specifics, we will better understand GTA 6‘s actual animation innovations.

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