Sily blocking animations, and how it's done in other games

So i guess many of you noticed how ridiculous the blocking animation looks, and i hope some of you may even thought why it’s that bad and how it can be changed. So i’ve done my “research”. Lots of pictures below
First how it looks in Vermintide 2 (if you’ve managed to forgot)

Doesn’t looks like Kruber knows how to block properly, he looks fine without bloking.

And now how it should look

The thing is in foot position, the position of the shield (not blocking the vision and so on)

The game is The Elder Scrolls online, and i think they’ve made a good job on animation. Maybe it can become the inspiration for Fatshark, because if other games thinks that proper animation is important why would Fatshark think otherwise?


What I don’t understand is how the blocking animations are so completely different from first to third person. It always looks silly. Especially Bardin with Dual Axes.


The reason he holds the shield like that is so you can see it reads “Sigmar” without having to tilt your head, obviously.

Kruber is just being polite to the ratmen before cleaving them in twain.

Being honest, yes, the blocking animations do look a bit “eh”. I wouldn’t mind polishing them a bit.


I’ve wondered this too. I remember reading somewhere that different people make first person animation than those who make the the third person animations, so that’s part of it. I suspect latency may come in to play as well, since most third person animations seem shorter than their first person counterparts.

Either way there is a lot that could be done to make third person animations look less… janky.

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It’s mostly that the requirements for what is informative and looks good are different for first and third person. For example, in third person you don’t need to care about the weapon (including shields) obscuring the vision of the character (and realistically, they certainly would), but in first person that’s a prime concern.

To be honest, though, I too would like some more realism in the animations (in both states) and better correlation between modes, but full realism and correlation is functionally impossible because of the different requirements.

Well most of 3rd person animation are lacking or just quite stupid, slow attacks comparing to that what you see from your perspective.


If you stand still and fire the rapier pistol you will be able to enjoy one of the best 3rd person animations.

Neither of the pictures you posted shows proper use of shields. Contrary to popular believe, shields were not used to simply hold against enemy attacks as a static barrier. They ARE a static barrier for the side they are wielded on, but blocking with a shield in the way it is portrayed in video games is very likely to get you killed because you’re not making proper use of the shield. A shield’s function in a fight is not to create a bullwark to stand there getting wailed on, but to a.) passively ward of your “weak side” where very small movements of your shield will prevent your opponent from connecting their weaponry with you, b.) proactively protecting your “strong side”, meaning the hand wielding the weapon, since this is otherwise one of your opponent’s primary targets (it is necessarily your closest body-part to him, it has to be somewhat exposed in order for you to attack and disabling or damaging the strong hand will eleminate practically any threat your opponent might pose), and c.) binding, probing, feeling and trapping.
In recent years, ALOT of work has been done in the HEMA, thanks to some very pro-active people with a strong FMA background (which is the closest thing we have to original european martial-arts techniques using at least somewhat european weaponry), thant shed alot of light in this regard.
Of course, it depends on what kind of “era” we are talking about. Viking “round shields” worked COMPLETELY different from kite shields and bucklers (and gives good explanation why Viking era weapons are usually very top-heavy, have large pommels and small paries), but generally speaking, video game designers and movie directors have absolutely no idea how shields were used.

I highly recommend watching some of Roland Warzecha’s videos, a German martial artist that is probably the most prominent figure in HEMA when it comes to shields.

E: Just found a good example from one of his videos. Of course, they are playing and not going at it full force, but you can very well see how sword & shield play probably used to work, at least in one on one combat. Weaponry and shield are very close together all the time, only moving further apart do create an opening, to do a bind, or when you commit to an attack. Both players make alot more use of the weapon’s parry/hand guard, which is a very prominent feature of later medieval weapons and which probably evolved due to changes in shield design. The shield hand is probably more “active” than the weapon in the engagement. Shieldwork is anything but static.



Welp, someone beat me to it.
What Kekmaster said is correct.
I’d like to point out that the front leg is usually on the weapon side, to increase the range of the weapon.
I know a guy who actually block almost exactly like Kruber, but he normally would support the shield with his weapon hand, instead of letting it hang loose.

Other than that I agree, the attack animation especially look very weird

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They’ve explained why they had to create different animations for 1st and 3rd person, take a look if you are interested


The third person animations in general are pretty lame. It makes the game pretty boring to watch.

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I’m not going to defend them. With enough time and resources they would’ve made some better 3rd person animations, that’s a fact.
But, again, this is a first person game. That being said, IMO this is the best 1st person melee experience out there and for that reason alone I will put a blind eye on 3rd person animations.


That was a really interesting video to watch. Thanks for the upload.

Interesting video, even if I only watched the play-combat part that you timed for now. I actually see an interesting resemblance to sword-and-buckler in that style. I’ll toss out a guess though that battlefield shields (what Kruber and Bardin would certainly use) would’ve been slightly larger (and heavier), and certainly used somewhat differently than in a duel, like shown on the video. Still, the point stands - shield use was much more active than what popular culture depicts. I do know that a small group vs. a similar small group (and a battlefield after the formation breaks) tends to turn into a series of chaotic duels and ganging up, but in this particular case the Skaven tactics would pretty much prevent that.

Now, to find a sensible way to represent it in a video game…

Edit: Okay, now that I watched the whole thing, he touched upon the style point pretty directly immediately before the demonstrations. In a battlefield (or rather, in formation) the style would be more static and the shield used more as portable cover than the dextrous tool it is in a duel. Still, according to what I’ve seen (and slightly tested, too), it still isn’t static and you’ll certainly never only block or only attack, but rather keep the shield up and try to work around it (and obviously, your opponent’s weapon too).

While I don’t think the kind of context this game (and most other computer games, and RPGs) has has ever happened in real history, and especially not enough to develop an organised teaching for it, I think it’s somewhere between true formation fighting (where each side would have lots of combatants, armed similarly and acting in a more organised fashion) and the dueling seen in the video, prompting also tactics and styles somewhere between them. The overwhelming amount of enemies would prevent the kind of mobility seen in a duel, but the style would also need to be more active (because of the differing armaments of your comrades, lack of tight formation and simple numbers) than in a real battlefield formation. Personally, I’d find that a pretty interesting thing to research and/or test out.

I think this is something that’s getting a little out of the scope of the thread, though. Might be fun to continue in the Lounge, if others have more to add…

Yeah, they do look janky. I did watch the dev stream where they talked about it, and their primary focus with third-person animations was making it so your allies could tell what you were doing easily. And personally, I always assumed that blocking with weapons was more of a “parrying” stance. Just my head canon, lol.

I think that’s really the crux of it, though; no game is going to be able to realistically portray melee combat. It’s just so complex and the weight and momentum and incredibly precise timing matter, and we don’t really have a full first-person view, we lack so much peripheral vision. Even in VR you can basically just flail around since you’re not actually holding anything.

I admit that I really WISH we could use shields better in the game, more offensively. I love the ancient Irish myths with “razor-edged” shields and such. Shields were, as others have said, so much more dynamic.

However, I kinda feel that, while Vermintide can’t accurately portray melee combat, that they do a good job of getting the FEEL of it authentic. Footwork and position are all important. I kinda wouldn’t want them going back to alter this stuff solely because it’s time and resources that could be used in making other stuff.

Great vid, btw, thanks for sharing it!

Legit complaints, but I would think that the fact shields are virtually pointless in this game to begin with should be addressed first.

That’s a matter of perspective, I say. I think they’re fun.

Not pointless, they’re fun and effective if you know how to use them.

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What about two handed swords?

I think if we will rotate sword by 180 degree clockwise, we will get proper guarding stance.