How should I manage multiple animation players?

lets say I have 3 Different play modes: a third person player,
a player mounting a dinosaur and a flying ship, each with their own animations.
at first I thought the best approach would be to place different animation controllers and swap between them at runtime, but that cuts animations in the middle and causes a small pause effect which I don’t like.

Then I thought about having all animations set in one controller with many triggers, which allows me to play a connecting animation and handle them by groups with code.

I am weak when it comes to handling animations so I would love to hear your thoughts :slight_smile:

Managing multiple animations for different play modes in Unity can be approached in various ways. Your consideration of using a single animation controller with triggers is a valid approach and is commonly used. some of them are,

Single Animation Controller Approach:

  1. Single Animation Controller: Create a single animation controller that contains all the animations for your different play modes.

  2. Triggers: Use triggers to transition between different states. For example, you can have triggers like “MountDinosaur,” “StartFlying,” etc.

  3. Blend Trees: If your animations have smooth transitions between them, consider using Blend Trees. Blend Trees allow you to smoothly transition between animations based on parameters, making it seamless.

  4. Code Control: In your code, you can set the triggers or parameters based on the play mode. For example:

// Code for mounting dinosaur
animator.SetTrigger("MountDinosaur");

// Code for starting to fly
animator.SetTrigger("StartFlying");

Separate Animation Controllers Approach:

  1. Separate Animation Controllers: Have separate animation controllers for each play mode. This helps keep things organized.

  2. Animator Override Controller: To avoid the pause effect when switching controllers, consider using Animator Override Controllers (AOC). AOC allows you to reuse an existing controller but override specific animations. This way, you can smoothly transition between controllers without cutting animations.

  3. Code Control: In your code, you would switch between the different controllers as needed.

Considerations:

  • Animator Override Controller: Using Animator Override Controller can be a good compromise, as it allows you to have separate animation controllers for each play mode but avoids the pause effect.

  • Animation Events: Utilize Unity’s Animation Events to trigger custom functions in your scripts at specific points during the animation. This can be useful for synchronization or triggering specific behaviors.

  • Layering: Unity’s Animator allows you to work with layers. You can use layers for additive animations or to blend certain animations independently of others.

You could have both running in the same animator, but separately on two layers. You could then simply blend between layers to smoothly transit the play mode, while maintaining two separate state graphs. If those are similar and only differ by animations, you could set Sync mode for those two layers to make it even easier. I’d say that layer syncing serves this exact purpose.