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Today, animation designers find themselves in fully rendered CG worlds, competing in increasingly complex missions with more believable characters. This is where character animation specifically comes in to play. By creating greater empathy for the character, gamers become more involved in the game.
Game animations are created in loops, where the action sequence starts and ends with the same pose. The trick is in creating a seamless transition between one loop cycle and the next. One possible series of actions a player may take is to run, jump, pause and run again. Another potential sequence is a character that runs, walks, stops, and lies down. An animation designer must consider multiple combinations of actions that can be taken. A good animation designer should know how to support that kind of open-ended ness.
In addition, games offer unique challenges to the designer. Animation can usually be seen from all angles in the game so it must look correct from all points of view. Another big thing with games is that you are making an enormous number of animations which are sometimes shared with multiple characters.
This requires a different production pipeline than films and creates much more interdependence among the team working on the game.