Clipping

Can any artists (or art managers) in the audience talk about your process for graphic fixes? Comments and links appreciated.

For example, clipping is a frequent issue in games. I think of City of Heroes/Villains, which had a variety of capes, robes, and flowing garments; a variety of spikes and big shoulderpads; several weapons, which might be held or sheathed; and of course a wide variety of animations that combined them all. A martial artist in spandex had few problems, but a swordswoman sliced through her cape every few seconds, and often just with the running animation.

Players would sometimes find that annoying or amusing. As an artist on the team, you probably would have found it infuriating and spent days fantasizing about fixing it. But maybe it was a limitation of the engine, and definitely there were bigger priorities, and always your manager has something else you need to work on because his manager says the new content must ship on Tuesday.

We spend a lot of time on mechanics here because that is how I think. I would like to hear about how these things happen on the art side, if anyone would like to take the microphone.

: Zubon

5 thoughts on “Clipping

  1. SynCaine

    Clipping is easily in my top 5 of issues I hate in games. Nothing pisses me off more than loading up a game for the first time, watching the in-game intro movie, and spotting clipping issues right away. Hopefully you get some artists here to comment, because I would love to know more of the ‘why’ here as well.

    1. Zubon Post author

      Despite using it as the example, clipping rarely bothers me much. Although Vatec is on point: LOTRO was really had for clipping.

      1. Vatec

        It’s one of those issues that doesn’t bother me so much … until the company producing the game does something to really annoy me. Then it starts bothering me more and more.

        All the clipping in LOTRO amused me more than anything else. I took it as a challenge to find ways to avoid the clipping (like switching to my one-handed sword during long periods of travel and choosing my cosmetic armor carefully). Even after the game went F2P, it still didn’t bother me. Then their monetization started getting greedier and more intrusive. And then all the little quality of life issues really started grating on me. Like so many things in life, it’s all about perception.

        Provide a fun game and treat customers fairly, and they’ll let an awful lot of minor annoyances slide.

  2. Vatec

    LOTRO was famous for this. A Dwarf with a two-handed axe would hamstring himself every time he jogged somewhere. And the axe would sever his pony’s spine every time he rode somewhere. And let’s not even talk about Captains stabbing themselves in the throat with their shoulder spikes every time they rallied their Herald or placed a Mark on an enemy….

    Definitely one of my pet peeves with a -lot- of MMOs and even some single-player games.

  3. Incunabulum

    My SWAG – clipping issues are caused because *all* the player characters use the same skeleton, adjusted for size, and only *one* model of thing (clothing, accessory, weapon) are made.

    Add in only one attachment point for your thing, and you get a mess of clipping problems.

    As an example – Skyrim. Look at quivers. They look pretty good on heavy armor but stick waaaaay out when wearing light or cloth.

    Because it costs money to have someone make multiple attachment points (and the scripting needed to use them appropriately). So they go with a middle-of-the-road scheme that looks good in the majority of cases (ideally) but will look bad with some combos. That’s why Skyrim’s gear looks right on heavy armor – they really expected everybody to play as the dude in the adverts – but increasingly funky if you wear light or cloth.

    Like every decision in game design, it all comes down on how to prioritize limited funding.

Comments are closed.