Monday, August 15, 2016

Interviews & Me!

Hey Internet!

Hey Pat! What’s the happy haps?

Not too  much...not too much at all. Oh wait...actually there’s a thing I wanted to share with you!

What is it? Tell me. Tell me now! C’mon do it! Tell me now!!

Was that...?

No! Maybe...Yes.

Nice. Well, I had the privilege of doing an interview with the fine folks at Autodesk about game development. Or as they put it:
In this episode we talk to Patrick Gillette, lead gameplay animator at 343 Industries with a long history working on the Halo series. Most recently he's been working on new weaponry for Halo 5: Guardians. Patrick talks about how they approach the creation of new combat animations for the game while taking into account a million-and-one different factors: how to keep gameplay balanced, how to evaluate animations aesthetics versus the needs of gameplay, taking into account the opinions of pro gamers to account for e-sports, and the importance of not bringing a plasma pistol to a sniper fight.

'Sounds' amazing...ha...get it? Sound?

Yes, well done. You're on fire today. Feel free to take a listen and let me know what you think!

Until next time. Stay nebulous Internet!



Showreels & You!

Hey Internet! Thanks for swinging by!

No worries man. What’s new?

Oh, not much...just wanted to talk a little about show reels and why someone should bother making one.

A showreel you say? What on earth is that?

Thanks for the setup. I set em up, you knock em down Internet. Wikipedia says a showreel ‘is a short piece of video or film footage showcasing an actor or presenter's previous work’. That sounds about right to me. It’s basically a selection of shots from a project, game, or show.

Why should you do that?

For a couple of reasons:

  1. So people can see how freaking awesome you are!
    • Demos are a great (and sometimes the only) way to showcase your talents to prospective employers or clients. Show em what you got people!
  2. To remind yourself how freaking awesome you are!
    • Projects, games, or films can be long, tough, and humbling experiences. Sometimes, in all the craziness of work we can forget about the cool stuff we’ve done. Going back through your work on a project is a good reminder that you’re not as terrible as you think. Heck, you might even be the greatest of all time!! Well...maybe not THE greatest but...pretty good...or at least fine.

Cool! Do you have a showreel?

Why yes I do! I’ve got my Halo 4 Showreel posted below for your viewing pleasure.

Pat Gillette - Halo 4 Show Reel from Patrick Gillette on Vimeo.

Coming 2019 ... Pat Gillette's Halo 5 Showreel! ... if I'm lucky!

Thanks for stopping by internet! It’s your turn to go make some magic and share it with the world! Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section. Until next time!



Monday, April 4, 2016

Critique & You!

Internet! You’re back! That’s terrific because I wanted to talk to you about critique!

Sweet! Why?

One of the the most valuable, yet most devastating aspects of being a professional creative is giving and getting critiques of your work.

You don’t say.

I do say. First, let’s talk about getting critique, as it can be a pretty horrifying experience. In fact, we can basically use the 5 stages of grief to get through it. That might sound extreme, but the truth is critique can be seen as the death of an idea. The trick is learning to get through that process and come out stronger on the other side.

So...I assume you’re going to tell me about the stages right?

Actually I wasn’t, but that seems like a good idea. Let’s do it.


“You just don’t understand what I’m going for.” “This is how it looked in my reference.”

The usual lines we regret uttering after we realize it’s nonsense. Yes, animation is subjective but when you’re working in games or film, you’re not just animating for yourself. Look at the big picture dum dum! Embrace, don’t deny!


“Uggh! Why didn’t they tell me this sooner?” “ They still don’t know what I was going for!”

This is the part where you’re starting to realize you’ve lost the fight. You feel like the room has turned against you and the barrage of feedback is coming fast and strong. The best thing to do at this point is to frame the feedback you’re getting. Restate the goal of your piece and don’t let the feedback go off the rails.


“But this pose still works right?” “The timing is still working though….no?

This is the part of a critique where even you start to acknowledge something is wrong. Really dig into the feedback here and get clarity where there is none. Found out what about your work is helping you achieve your goal and what isn’t.


“I wasted so much time!” “I’m a terrible animator.” I don’t know what to do.”

This is the ‘hell on earth’ portion of critique. You know people are right. You know your animation isn’t working but you also haven’t really figured out how to move on. Instead, you just sit there lamenting what could have been. This is the worst. At this point, it’s best to make sure you’ve heard and understood the feedback. Stay focused on the goal and restate the feedback as a plan of action.


“I see what you guys were saying!” “Oh man, I have an even better idea!” “You guys might actually know what you are talking about...occasionally.”

This is the breakthrough! You’ve found a way to move past defeat and start anew. Full redo? Sure! No problem! Ideally you’ve reached this point knowing more than you did before with a clear vision of what to do next. This can be a high point in the creative process. Newfound knowledge and enthusiasm for the same task/idea. Winning!

Acceptance seems like a good step. How can I just live in acceptance?

Unfortunately, I don’t think you can or should live there. If no critique ever made you want to push back a little, you probably weren’t very committed to the idea in the first place.

So what can I do? How can I make this suck less?

Surviving this process is about being aware of the steps as you work your way through them. Get the most out of each phase so the pain is worth it. Here are some things to keep in mind while getting a critique that can help guide your path to the awesome work on the other side.

  • Embrace the feedback
  • Frame the critique
  • Get clarity. What is working and what isn’t?
  • Plan of action
  • Win!

Now that we know and can ‘accept’ that our beloved ideas will die, how do we carry that knowledge to the other side of the process? How do we help others journey through the 5 stages in a compassionate and effective way?

I don’t know. I didn’t come prepared to answer that question. Should I have?

No, that’s why I’m here! I’ll show you the way!!

First of all remember that creatives are pouring a lot of themselves into their work so any critique of said work can be seen as a critique of the person. Please be compassionate or just ‘don’t be a dick’. Either works.

Second, make sure you understand the intention of the piece. It doesn’t do anyone any good to assume you understand what they were going for. Find out for sure. What goals are they trying to accomplish?

Third, target your critique based on the intention of the piece with focused and precise feedback. Don't be that person who says "I don't like it" or "meh". Be clear! "You're timing isn't working because..." "The pose on frame 37 isn't selling your design goal for this reason..." Don't be lazy, be helpful!!

Lastly, look for ways to fix or improve an idea before inserting your own. We all enjoy being creative and like to think about how we’d approach a shot but throwing a new idea into the mix doesn’t help the person trying to finish a task. Give the first idea a genuine chance before changing it wholesale or encouraging a redo.

Cool. But what if I wasn’t listening just now?

That’s unfortunate but the short version is this:

  • Don’t be a dick
  • Understand the goal
  • Be clear
  • Embrace their idea, not yours

I knew that. I just wanted to make sure you knew what you said.

You’re a real buddy. Hope that helps Internet. Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section. Until next time!



Saturday, September 12, 2015

Gameplay Animation & You! Part 3 of 3: Player

Well well well. Look who decided to show up. I didn't think you'd show your face around here again. Not after what happened last time.

What happened last time!?!

Oh! Internet! Sorry, I was talking to someone else. Just forget you heard anything. 


I SAID FORGET IT! Because we're here to talk about the third and final element of a gameplay animator!

The Player! 

Don't hate the player, hate the game am I right?

No, you are not right. We've got to know if our animations work and actually fulfill the needs they were created to fill. We can only determine that from the end users point of view, the player. So what’s the best way we can we make that determination?




You have to see your animations working in the game in a variety of situations to see what works and what doesn’t. So you test and iterate and test and iterate and so on. Lots of 'so on'.


Viewports and playblasts are nice, but they are notorious liars. The game is the game and no matter how painful it can be, it always tells the truth.

Like a true friend.

    Indeed. Thanks for making it through all three posts about gameplay animation (I'm assuming you did. If not, do it now). Hopefully this stuff made sense to you Internet but if it doesn’t or you want to know something else about me or my work feel free to ask in the comments section.

    Sounds good! I’ll probably do so as one or more of the unique individuals or entities that form me.

    You’re a real weirdo Internet, but I like the cut of your jib.

    Same to you! I think that makes us best friends. Tee hee! See you next time!



    Wednesday, September 9, 2015

    Gameplay Animation & You! Part 2 of 3: Designer

    What!?! Internet, why are you back here? I didn't think I'd ever see you again!

    That's weird because you keep telling me to come back. 

    Oh right, because I have MORE to tell you. Follow meeeeee!

    What? Where? 

    Oh! Well, nowhere actually. Just stay here so I can tell you about the second element that comprises a gameplay animator.

    I remember, it's desig....

    Designer! Ha! Beat you to it.

    Indeed. Go on.

    Animation IS player feedback. Along with audio and FX animation drives the core of what connects a player to the reality of a game. That connection needs to be handled carefully and deliberately. Hence, gameplay animators are designers and should acknowledge, accept and embrace that role! Gameplay animators must coordinate with with other disciplines to determine the needs of the game and how best to fulfill them. I like to break down those needs by asking a few questions. Some simple, some not.

    WHY is this happening?

    Any need should have a clear and explainable reason for why it exists. The why is your purpose, cause or belief. This ‘Why’ drives everything; an animation, a feature, a game, a company. Powerful right? Now we can dig into the nitty gritty of achieving our why.

    What’s happening?
    • Reloading a weapon
      • Performing a melee
      • Jumping in low gravity
      • Dying from an explosion
      How does it happen?
      • How should the action make you feel and what does it say about the person/creature/thing doing it?
        • Graceful?
        • Menacing?
        • Clumsy?
        How fast does it happen?
        • Is it responsive?
        • Is it sluggish?

          That section could have used more fart jokes, but I liked it anyway.

          Good! All I want is for you to be happy. See you next time internet. Double Huzzah!


          Gameplay Animation & You! Part 1 of 3: Animator

          Welcome back internet!

          Thanks! What are we talking about today Pat?

          I'm glad you asked because today we're talking about tax law!! You see, tax law is an area of legal study dealing with consti...

          STOP! I don't want to know about that! Why would I come here for tax law?! I want to know about gameplay animation.

          Oh right. Sorry internet. As I said last time, I believe a gameplay animator is made up of three elements. The first of which is in the name. 


          Like the title suggests, we're primarily animators and therefore obsess about things animators obsess about. 

          Credit card points!

          No. Terrible, terrible, terrible guess. We obsess about the 12 principles of animation (Classics!) These concepts defined by the great Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston represent the building blocks of animation. You can see my attempts at simplifying them for you below. 

          Squash and stretch


            Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose

            Follow Through and Overlapping Action
            Slow In and Slow Out


            Secondary Action

          Solid Drawing


          Although I don't animate boxes all day, these principles still apply to everything I animate. They are the building blocks of what I do.

          Fascinating stuff. What else do animators think about?

          We also obsess about fart jokes. You know, for science.

          Ha! Farts...always good.

          Yep! That's pretty much it for this post. If you have any questions about this stuff feel free to ask in the comments section. Otherwise, I'd rather not hear from you until the next post. I need my space.


          Wednesday, March 18, 2015

          Me & You!

          Hello Internet! Thanks for coming to the ‘start’ of my Adventures in Game Development!

          Hi Pat! It’s good to be here...I think!'s not good to be here, because of ghouls or spiders or something. Are there ghouls?

          No. That's a weird question.

          Wait, is this a scam? Are you trying to get a kidney or something? Do I need my credit card?

          Just stop. I'll tell you what's happening. My goal for this space is to explore all areas of game development, but with a focus on gameplay animation because that’s what I do. My name is Pat Gillette and I’m the lead gameplay animator at 343 Industries. I spend my days animating Spartans, Covenant, Prometheans, etc. for Microsoft on the Halo series. If you want to know more about my work history you can check out my   If you want to sell a kidney or hunt ghouls go somewhere else. 

          Nah, I'm good. Let's keep talking about the other thing. Like what is a gameplay animator?

          That’s a complicated question Internet but I’ll do my best to break it down for you since you seem like good people.  I believe a gameplay animator should be made up of three elements; Zirco­nium, Unobtanium and Vibranium...wait no... that's not it. Animator, Designer, and Player. Yep. That sounds right to me now. But Pat you say, what do you mean by that nonsense? 

          I didn't say that. 

          I'm pretty sure you did but no matter, I'll still break each element down for you if you promise to come back.

          Ok. Yay! Learning!

          Huzzah to that internet! Huzzah!