Animations, the agonizingly appalling uncanny valley


I’ve been hoping that the game would up it’s animation game ever since I first posted here more than a year ago - it was my very first post and the most glaring issue.
Now as we’re getting close to release, I’m still not seeing anything getting any better almost anywhere.
I came here since I saw the new Sentinel animations and thought that if THIS was the best you could do and THIS is worth showing off - I should really set my expectations 20 bars lower for this game in the animations department!

All these are MAJOR( with not just capital letter but full on caps lock) problems. Every movement in this game creates a sense of uncanny valley cringey feeling in me which no other game has managed to do so far.
If a small child moves as fast as a grown man without moving legs any faster, we get this eerie, confusing and awkward feeling which is called “uncanny valley”.
Uncanny valley happens because our brains are context and sense making machines, we’re used to seeing bodies be a specific way and work in a specific way; our brains quite literally calculate depth, colour, missing patterns & speed based on what we observe - completely unconsciously. While this term is mostly used to mere appearance of beings, it is not only limited to it.

Here are just some of the few very obvious ones which I bothered to write down after watching half of a single 4 minute patch 0.7.8F build video.

There is no sense of motion easing, acceleration or hardness in almost any skill or attack by either the player or mobs - throwing a heavy object like a hammer looks more like throwing a feather. It’s like gravity doesn’t exist!

Monsters are all gliding all the time because while their legs are moving, their bodies don’t move in sync with appropriate force.

In our universe, only non-limbic creatures are able to have an invariable speed of movement, everyone else does not. This means that limbic beings have to have their movement varied all the time because they exert different amounts of force depending in which state their limbs are.

Monsters keep their running animation while hugging the wall

Monsters mostly, if not always turn by simply gliding with their limbs being static or just teleporting the other way.

Every animation seems to have only 1 variant which just awkward. This can work in games that use attack animations once every 5-10 seconds but not every second or less.

When characters or monsters jump, there’s no sense of gravity just gliding through the air with same speed of motion.

Small mobs and big ones seemingly move with the same speed although their legs don’t move any faster although smaller.

All of these problems are emphasized even further by the unnaturally heavy distinction between the background and the NPC or player entities.

Thank you for listening to my Ted talk and don’t forget to drink water if you’re thirsty.


Wow… I drank a glass of water right after reading your post. Thanks for that hint :grin:

You made up some good points. I have to admit that 50% I did not realise before you wrote about it.

I agree with you contentwise. Personally I don’t have that much if an issue with most of the points. It’s more a minor issue for me that I like to see fixed at some point in the future.

One example I want to add is the following:
The animations of the Rahyeh soldiers got an overhaul. I think they are nicely done. But the speed of the death animations when they fall on the ground or are knocked back seems to slow for my taste. To give the impression they are truly knocked to the ground they should fall and roll faster. Actually it looks like their corpses don’t have any weight.

Yeah, in general the kinetic force is not visible in most of the animations.

I agree, the animations do need to be improved, but they are a small team, there’s limits to how much they can put out at any one time.


Oh you absolutely do get used with it eventually but I can see it being a very strong detractor for people who are first observing the gameplay.
I mean I played quite a high level myself and saw no problem with it eventually but every time when I watch even my own videos I get this weird nose, forehead and upper lip movement : >

True, plausible, maybe, I guess? I don’t know how big their team exactly is or what their excuse possibly could be. I’m just not seeing the same effort put into animations as lets say models which are quite often pretty good.

Not sure how big their team is, but I think it’s pretty small (I want to say under 10, but I may just be pulling numbers from my arse). As for the quality of the animations, shrugs. How good were the animations in PoE back in the closed beta (like, 2011/12)?

I think the improvements they’ve been making to animations have been great. When I first started playing the primalist animations were very stiff and the update to them has felt very nice.

It seems quite strange to be making a thread calling out animation when two of the four classes are getting complete animation overhauls sometime in the next week or so. I think it’d be fair to play those classes when the patch drops for a week and then make the post again with specific examples of the updated animations you think are uncanny.

Last I read, there are currently ~35 team members. The exact distribution of roles within EHG is something I’m certainly not privy to; such as how many of these are programmers, artists, level designers, sound engineers, network engineers, community roles, testers, etc. and clearly the team wasn’t this size the entire time of its development.

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Maybe it was even worse, I don’t know - all that I can say is that from what I see from a year ago compared to now, there are close to no changes and what has been changed seems minuscule. Now since we’re nearing the release, as harsh as it might sound, the current state does not compete with anything modern.

I’m sorry but this isn’t just 2 classes needing small touch-ups for some skills; the whole game looks iffy, stiffy and as mentioned now 4 times by me - uncanny valley.
And another sorry but it’s not my job to work on animations, I’m just providing feedback on the most obvious.


These critics are valid. I believe Last Epoch was created by a team of passionate people, who focused on complex and innovative gameplay. It is a complete success. But the animations are not up to the standard you describe.

With more time and more money I guess they can make the things better, but not as good as AAA billion dollar compagny like Blizzard’s Diablo 4.

The game feels and looks much different from when I first got the game in early Alpha. As someone who places aesthetics equally with game play (which not everyone does and is totally fine) the look of the game has and is my biggest ‘concern.’ (here’s looking at you two-handed staff runners.) However, that said, having seen the stuff they’ve been adding visually (new animations to spells, new armor skins, etc.) over the past six months and the fact they’ve clearly stated numerous times that the game PLAY is what the first priority is, I have no doubt that on the radar are more and more improvements to the visuals as the game play aspect comes clearer.

I will say that ‘nearing release’ is perhaps not actually true, there’s an entire thread in the past month that has everyone speculating about whether the November release is going to drop, but again, the great thing about a small company like EHG is they don’t answer to shareholders and they’ve also reiterated many times they won’t release a game until it’s ready. So that November date is probably a ‘soft’ date.

Edit: @Jojo_fr that wasn’t specifically directed at you, didn’t realized I hit the reply to comment for your post instead of the overall post.

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I really like what EHG is doing. But the reality of the situation is that this is 2020 and their competition is POE2, D4 and even maybe, gasps, Wolcen. Great graphics and animations are the primary draw for audience today and this will undoubtably disadvantage EHG.

My only comfort is that Judd seems to suggest at his recent interview that the game is doing reasonably well financially. I can only hope they have enough to pull off their vision while improving their animations to compete.


I agree with you, but is it reasonable to compare a game made by a small team that’s had a couple of years work done on it to games with significantly larger budgets, teams and more time such as the ones you mention. I also know that that isn’t going to stop many people from making just that comparison. All EHG can do is keep at it, improving all aspects of the game (like GGG did).

It isn’t :slight_smile: but people aren’t looking to be reasonable when they spend their gaming dollar. Which is why it’s comforting to know in this day where gamers are known for chasing cutting edge graphics and animations, there is still enough of us that want to support and see a passion project reach its potential.

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I think this is a very wrong stance to take.
Players who want to experience a depiction of a fantasy world which is aesthetic, smooth and is based on real life physics and motions are not voice of unreason.
If my eyes won’t like what my character is doing or how the picture of the game is shaping itself into place every second for the next 50 hours - I’m more than likely to not reach that 50 hours and if I know that I’m not going to reach where I desire, it’s very reasonable to not participate in the first place.

came back here to check up on the game and i pretty much have the same thoughts about this lol, to add to these points, i think establishing a good base of solidly rigged models and animations will go a long way into preventing tech debt, if the game gets big, also these animations will enhance the main products they are gonna sell to us (MTX), so yea, i think it would be wise to set up something solid asap.

I am referring specifically to Llama’s question on whether it was reasonable to expect a small indie company to create assets at the same fidelity as companies with much more resources.

Everyone, of course, have their own reasons that are completely rationale from their own point of view whether a game is worth paying for. And I am in no way dissing that.

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I might be nitpicking here now but I don’t think this is a much better stance either.

The quote is

“people aren’t looking to be reasonable when they spend their gaming dollar.”

The only option left here is that people are unreasonable because they’re unwilling to account in the fact that the game was made by a small team.
I’d argue that this exactly is being reasonable and the players caring for how big the development team size is the gang of unreason.
Why would I ever care how big the team is or was?

Yes. You are nitpicking now. Because that’s exactly I what I meant - people generally dont care whether the team is big or small. only that they get what they want out of the game.

Yeah, everybody has their limits on a “minimum acceptable graphics” & nobody else can argue with that as it’s entirely subjective. If a person doesn’t want to spend their Glorious British Pounds :stuck_out_tongue: on a game that doesn’t meet that standard, that’s entirely up to them & I wouldn’t have a go at them for that. The downside is that they’d be missing out on an otherwise great game.

Because it affects what they can do in any given amount of time. A larger team with more resources can do more & create better animations/etc. While I agree that a person not liking the graphics/animations of a game is a reasonable position for that person to hold, I don’t think it’s reasonable to dump on a company because they’ve not create as polished a game as a much larger company with more resources. Of course they haven’t, you shouldn’t expect them to immediately (potentially if at all).

Look at Sanctum Breach. That’s being done by 1 person, is it reasonable to expect them to be able to put out the same quality of graphics compared to GGG, Blizzard, etc?