Next up are shield-bearing poses and recoveries.
So, The game uses two main poses for shield-bearing stances. One for lighter/faster weapons, primarily daggers and short sword, and one for heavier/longer weapons, meaning versatiles, but functionally, is "the rest" - maces, scimitars and hand axes all use this second pose.
Human-sized models use the same pose data for males and females, and the same is true for halflings. Halflings do use a different pair of poses, however, and for the most part they're pretty decent, but there remain a few errors and clipping issues all the same. Let's have a look at them:
All of these poses are animated; no statics. When I take these shots, I usually try to take the shot in at least close to the same point in the animation, for comparison, but that led me to a discovery that I hadn't noticed before. Human males may use the same pose data for their dagger and short sword ready animations here, but their animation data is not the same for those poses; the dagger pose bounces back further, while the sword pose bounces forward further. The screen shot shows the dagger pose more or less as far forward as it comes, while the sword pose is about as far backward as it goes. This slight does not seem to be present in the female human-sized model (and there's no difference in animation between male and female halflings, in their stances), and I thought it was interesting.
I've made four shots for the halfling poses here because of the first major anomaly: The first two images for both male and female halflings are both with shield and dagger. The first pose is the one they move to initially, and it is solid and looks good, except for some clipping with the shield anchoring on the arm... However, they only hold that pose for a fraction of a second, before their body 'slides' into the second image pose, which is clearly not fit correctly - the old familiar issue with the feet not anchoring properly and sinking into the ground, distorting the rest of the pose.
This ONLY happens with the dagger and shield combination; the short sword pose for halflings is ever so slightly different from their dagger pose, and it doesn't suffer the bug.
Where it comes apart, unfortunately, is with the versatile/heavier weapon stance for halflings. This is another one of those cases where it looks okay, good even, from one specific angle, but otherwise it becomes very visible that the stance is weak and overbalanced. Taking a hit on the shield in that stance would leave these poor halflings to crumple in an instant as the knee buckled. The leading leg also twists and clips into the body a little bit in the current stance, and end up looking like a graphical tear, so hopefully a fix to this will create a proper balance and power stance with the leading foot, which would, in turn, make the whole pose work well.
Stances aside, we can check on the recovery poses as well. This brings up an odd incongruity which is not a problem per se
, but the lack of consistency bugs me....
Shield-bearing stances all use just one single recovery pose, regardless of the main hand weapon. However, they also use different poses between male and female human-sized models, or they seem to, unlike the ready poses which are the same between sexes. I'd like to know for certain whether it is Larian's goal to ultimately have poses differentiated by sex for all poses and animations in the game, or not... so I could tell what's intended or not... the inconsistency of this makes reporting faithfully hard. Oh well.
Let's have a look:
Anyway... Human-sized models seem to use different recovery poses for shield-bearing stances. This is one of the few cases where the female pose actually looks better than the male one - mainly because it's less rigid-looking; The female has a more relaxed weapon hand, and a slightly less broad foot stance, while their centre of gravity is more forward set, giving the pose a more forward-pressing appearance. They're both fine, however. I say "seem" to here because the differences are small, and they could be caused just by the effect of mapping the same pose and animation to slightly different models; there is a good chance that this is the case, in fact.
Halflings use the same pose data for their recovery pose, but it fits the male models better, while the slight model differences cause the weapon for female halflings to clip up through the shield, which is also anchored a little differently. Female halfligns suffer the foot-slip issue here, with some slight clipping into the ground, which pulls their leading leg downward. This pose would look better if the leading foot didn't stretch out as far, and had a more vertical gravity to it - a strong stance puts your knee more or less directly over your heel, or slightly past it, and that would help a lot here. Outside of that, the stance is good, however.
If the recovery poses are meant to be different between males and females, then some tweaking to make sure they each look good on the model they're intended for would be good here. If they're intended to use the same pose and animation, and the differences we can see are just a result of that one pose being mapped to different models, then again, some double checking and individual tweaking so that each type of model looks like its pose fits it.
Overall though, I want to say that the poses and stances here are mostly good; they're certainly appropriate to the size of the model, or close to it, unlike some of the other ones I've reported on so far.