Destiny Character-Animation System and Lessons Learned



Tuesday, 12 August 2:00 PM - 5:15 PM | Vancouver Convention Centre, West Building, Rooms 211-214


© Bungie 2014.


Course Description

This course discusses the practical challenges in creating the animation system for Destiny plus solutions, lessons learned, and future development. Bungie's Destiny is a multi-player persistent-world action game that requires responsive character animation as a foundation for core game play. The course summarizes how that goal was achieved in Bungie's new game engine, emphasizing interaction with the networking model and distributed AI, under a tight CPU budget and memory constraints. Topics include:

• Integrating dynamic-object-update time slicing, performance gained, and challenges encountered.

• How research-project solutions for locomotion evolved to suit the constraints and needs of a practical game pipeline.

• Examples of Destiny’s character-action features.

• Content workflows and improvements in data specifications and verifications that delivered a more robust and efficient system.

This in-depth presentation of real-world problems will help researchers and game engineers avoid mistakes and achieve better systems in less time.



02:00 Introduction / Overview (Yongjoon Lee)
02:10 Design and Animation in Destiny (Joe Spataro) [slides] 
02:40 Action System (Tam Armstrong) [slides] 
03:20 Destiny's Runtime Animation Rig (Tam Armstrong) [slides] 

03:40 Animation Layers (Joe Spataro) [slides] 
04:00 Networking Models for Animation (Yongjoon Lee) [slides: pending]
04:20 Performance Challenges (Yongjoon Lee) [slides: pending]

05:00 Conclusion and Future Work (Yongjoon Lee)  [slides: pending]






Basic understanding of character-animation concepts, such as playback, interpolation, and layering. Understanding of locomotion mechanisms, AI path finding, networking, or object-update loop helpful but not required.


Intended Audience

Researchers and engineers interested in game animation, especially for multi-player action games. The course delivers in-depth presentation of real-world problems to researchers and is designed to help other game engineers avoid mistakes achieve better systems in a shorter time.

Organizers and Presenters

Yongjoon Lee is a senior engineer at Bungie, focusing on building Destiny's animation and action systems among others. He published numerous research papers at SIGGRAPH and SIGGRAPH Asia as well as other conferences, until he graduated with a Ph.D degree from the University of Washington in 2010 and moved into video game industry full-time. Having been in both academia and the industry, his hopes at SIGGRAPH is to help the communities build closer relationship to foster even faster advances in the state of the art in games.

Tam Armstrong is an Engineering Lead at Bungie.  He has worked in the game industry professionally for over 10 years after having decided many years prior that nothing else would do.  The first few of those professional years were with a very small team at an independent startup.  With that group he was focused on small projects, the most notable of which are the card games provided with each copy of Windows since Vista.  He joined Bungie in 2008 to work on much larger but equally enjoyable projects such as Halo and Destiny.  Across that decade he has engineered special effects, artificial intelligence, physics, animation, general game simulation and engine architecture.

Joe Spataro is a Technical Designer Lead working in Bungie’s Animation department.  He has over ten years of experience in the Games industry in total and has held positions as a Tester, Game Designer and an Animator.  At some point along the way, his inclinations turned technical.  After all of that, it became clear to him that the only thing he knows for certain is that he doesn’t know anything at all.  Thus, he keeps learning.