Morrowind Animation Groups

Quentin Preik


Abbreviations contained in Group Names:
Death and Hit Animations:
Idle Animations:
Movement Animations:
Weapon Animations:
Spell Casting Animations:
Attack Animations:
Sound Notes:

Please note that this is not a 100% complete list, but hopefully it one day will be.  This is made primarily for my own reference, but I hope that it will be useful for others as well.  As I fill it in I may add descriptions for use, etc.  This list also basically assumes that you already have a passing knowledge of Morrowind animation.  If you have gotten an object to animate in-game with a basic Idle: loop then you should be okay.

An animation group is a complete animation in TES:CK.  Some animation groups are Idle, Crossbow, Death1, Jump, basically each its own action.  There may be several variations of each.  For example there is Idle (but no Idle1) and then Idle1, Idle2, Idle3 ..., Idle9, but also Idlehh, Idle1h, Idle2c.

After the animation group comes the frame reference (just what I call it, I don't know what Bethseda calls it).  It breaks down the animation into various events.  Weapons in particular have a lot of frame references, all of which should be present.  Examples of frame references are Start and Stop, but also Chop Slash Start, or Thrust Large Follow Start.

When creating your actual animation note you end up with notes that look something like this:

Idle: Loop Start

As far as I can tell these are not case sensitive.  The ':' must come directly after the group name, and there must be a space after the colon, before the frame reference.

The most basic animation is a Start, Stop animation.  The animation starts at Start and then stops at Stop.  This is fairly straightforward.  Many animations also have a Loop Start, and a Loop Stop.  Here's a little example of how they are used:

Idle3: Start  The idle3 animation has begun, let's say for your idle3 you want a wolf to take a nap.  At this frame though, the wolf should be in his basic (Idle) position, probably just standing there staring straight ahead.  Idle3: Start signals that from this frame on, wolfie is going to be lying down.
Idle3: Loop Start Okay while doing his Idle3 we want the wolfie to be sleeping right?  Between the frame we called Idle3: Start and now the wolf should have settled down into whatever basic sleeping position you want, the basic doggie sleeping pose.  Including a separate loop start after start means that wolfie isn't going to snap instantly from standing to sleeping positions.
SoundGen: Moan What is this?  We are animating not doing sound right?  Well you have determined at whatever frame this is the puppy has opened his mouth for a yawn, and you'd like him to run the Moan sound.  The actual sound that the moan sound plays is determined in the TES:CK.  All you are doing is saying that whatever moan sound the wolf has should start playing now.  You can also call a specific sound by using the Sound: note and a sound ID.  Keep in mind though, that we are in the middle of a loop here!  This is going to happen over and over as long as our wolf is sleeping.  This is not so bad if the moan sound is subtle and your idle3 loop is like 10 seconds long, but if this is a short, 1 second animation, then this sound is going to play over and over and annoy the player.
Idle3: Loop Stop Between this frame and Loop Start the dog has been doing some sort of sleep animation.  Let's say he's just been breathing.  at Idle3: Loop Stop he should be in the same position as he was in Idle3: Loop Start.  Because from here he's either going to keep sleeping - and thus the animation is going to go back to the start of his 'sleep' loop at Idle3: Loop Start, or he is going to start waking up.  The game determines this, under the AI function there is a percentage chance of whether he's going to be doing Idle3 or Idle4, or walking around.  Of course if a player attacks wolfie, he's going to wake up.  For whatever reason wolfie gets up he's going to animate from this point down to the next note, or he's going to go back up to loop start and continue sleeping.  (now there are in-game circumstances where an animation can be interupted)
Idle3: Stop Okay wolfie decided to get up and so he's played the animation frames between Loop Stop and now.  He should be back to his default rest position (remember, probably standing straight on all fours staring ahead) and he's ready to do something else (go to a different animation's start).  Remember as an animator, you are not concerned with why or how he has decided to wake up, that has nothing to do with animation notes!  You just need to make sure that he is able to smoothly go from standing to sleeping, sleep for awhile (or just for a second), and stand up again.

Remember in 3ds MAX, when you're making your animation notes you can put more than one animation tag per note (there's gonna be enough notes as it is believe me!) So if your animation continues from one group to the next you can stack up two or more animation commands per note (Just hit enter and put the next note on a new line)

Idle3: Stop
Idle4: Start
SoundGen: Roar

Abbreviations contained in Group Names:
1 Hand weapon
2c: 2 Hand Close (such as a longsword where both hands clasp the hilt)
2w: 2 Hand Wide (such as a staff, where the hands grip farther apart from each other)
hh: Hand to Hand

These are used to denote many different variations of Animation groups, for example there is Idle and Idle1 etc, but there is also an Idle1h, which is the 1h weapon idle animation.  In this list I will show when these animations are present like so: Idle, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh.  If you see this and want to make the appropriate animation you would use Idle1h, Idle2c, Idle2w, Idlehh etc when making your note.  There are other types as well such as IdleSpell for the idle animation when the mob is ready to cast a spell.

Death and Hit Animations:

Death1 - Death5: Start, Stop
Start, Stop
Start, Stop

Hit1 - Hit5: Start, Stop

Knockdown: Start, Stop
Start, Stop

Block Start, Block Hit, Block Stop

Idle Animations:
(Start, Loop Start, Loop Stop, Stop)
Idle, 1h, 2c, hh, 2w, Crossbow, Sneak, Spell, Storm, Swim
Idle2 - Idle9

Movement Animations:
(Start, Loop Start, Loop Stop, Stop)
Jump, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
Runback, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
Runforward, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
RunLeft, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
RunRight, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
SneakBack, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
SneakForward, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
SneakLeft, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
SneakRight, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
TurnLeft, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
TurnRight, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
Walkback, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
Walkforward, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
Walkleft, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh
WalkRight, 1h, 2c, 2w, hh

Weapon Animations:
Weapon animations have a lot more sub-notes then the other animation groups, they describe at what frames various events occur.

The melee weapon groups are:

(*I have to verify this group name, as well as all of it's sub groups)

Melee weapons have the following subnotes:

Equip Start
Equip Attach  (this is the point were the weapon appears)
Equip Stop

There are three types of attacks for each melee weapon:


Each of the three types of attacks as its own subreferences:

Min Attack
Max Attack
Min Hit
Large Follow Start
Large Follow Stop
Medium Follow Start
Medium Follow Stop
Small Follow Start
Small Follow Stop

And then after each set of attacks each weapon type has:

Unequip Start
Unequip Detach   (this is the point where the weapon disappears)
Unequip Stop

Okay I realize that this must be confusing, I'll give you examples of some complete notes:
WeaponTwoHand: Slash Max Attack
WeaponTwoWide: Unequip Detach
WeaponOneHand: Chop Large Follow Start

There are three animation groups for Marksmen:
(I have to verify the subnotes and the group name)

Each of these have the following reference notes:

Equip Start
Equip Attach
Equip Stop

Shoot Start
Shoot Attach
Shoot Min Attack
Shoot Max Attack
Shoot Min Hit
Shoot Release
Shoot Follow Start
Shoot Follow Stop

Unequip Start
Unequip Detach
Unequip Stop

For good measure some sample animation notes:
BowAndArrow: Equip Start
Crossbow: Shoot Follow Start
ThrowWeapon: Unequip Detach

Spell Casting Animations:

Equip Start
    Equip Stop
    Self Start
    Self Release
    Self Stop
    Touch Start
    Touch Release
    Touch Stop
    Target Start
    Target Release
    Target Stop
    Unequip Start
    Unequip Stop
*Also remember that you'll have your IdleSpell and various other 'cast ready' animations.  I would include them around here.  Each of the Self, Touch, Idle, etc should return to the same position as is listed in SpellCast: Equip Stop

Attack Animations:
There are 3 animation groups reserved for creatures.  This is because creatures usually don't use weapons to attack:

Attack1:, Attack2:, Attack3:

(no loops so each Attackx: Stop should finish with your default pose to get ready for the next action)

Sound Notes:

(the actual sound that is played for each soundgen is selected in TES:CK - different creatures using one model and animation group can thus play different sounds)

Sound: soundid
(SoundID means find the specific sound in TES:CK)

Return to

Last Update: 2002/10/17