Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Gearbox Software

My Title: Technical Design Animator

My Contribution:
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands was the first project I was able to take a point position on, in our small TDA team. While other TDAs mainly focused on other projects I was able to work on all our characters in the game, in some form or another. All character animation systems behind Player Characters, Guns, Enemies, NPCs, and Missions.

Building off of the technology that was created for Borderlands 3, this was the first project where I was responsible for the animation systems for all our Player character classes and our gun systems as well as the majority of the NPCs and Enemies. I also helped to create the animation systems behind the major new features to Wonderlands, the player character creator and overworld, Completely new features to any Borderlands game prior.

Borderlands 3 – DLC – Bounty of Blood
Gearbox Software

My Title: Technical Design Animator
My Contribution:
My contribution was very similar to Borderlands 3, helping to create new characters to build out the third DLC expansion. I was still focused mostly on the friendly NPC characters. However, I was also able to help design animation systems for several of our new enemy characters that were added with the DLC. With this DLC our team also started to get involved in the earlier and later stages of a character’s development. Where we started creating early animation systems planning documentation alongside the main character designer’s documentation. We also authored animation systems planning documentation for how characters would need to act in each mission and what type of animation support would be needed from them, as well as help implement those animations in the actual mission moments.

Borderlands 3
Gearbox Software

My role: Technical Design Animator
My Contribution:
I was hired on in the middle of Borderlands 3 production to join the newly formed team Technial Design Animators (TDA). Our job was to Design and implement animation systems, facilitating communication across Animation/Design/Code departments to ensure all our characters can do everything they need to for fun gameplay and look great doing it.
Out of our small team of two, my main responsibilities were to maintain the animation systems of our diverse cast of friendly Non-Player Characters, as well as several of our enemy characters.

Master’s Project

MFA Abstract: The purpose of my project is to showcase my skills as 3D Character Animator and expand my skills to implement these animations into a game engine. I want to create the most fluid and impactful animations possible in an interactive environment, specifically focusing on the transitions between animations during gameplay.

Download link: Download and play for yourself!!

My thesis served as a detailed documentation of the full development of this project
Google Docs Link: Nick Benke MFA Thesis


My Contribution:
I was lucky enough to be responsible for bringing life into the massive creatures that inhabit the alien worlds of InnerSpace. One of the groups of friends I worked with on projects during undergraduate school brought me on as an animator for InnerSpace, which would become our very first fully published game. I created all the animations for the massive god-like creatures that preside over the alien worlds the character explores in the game. Working in Blender and Unity, I got to animate massive creatures like a crab god, a holographic monkey AI, and a sun-infused fish.

Available on: Steam / Xbox / PS4 / Switch

Panopticon 2016

My primary job on the team was creating all Character Animations and helping with implementation into Unreal Engine 4. I worked very closely with the creative director to get the exact character feel he was wanting. I also worked very closely with the character rigger and programmer to make sure the pipeline was a smooth as possible to get the best character motion in the game possible.

Panopticon is a 2.5D platformer where the player must manipulate and evade spotlights to escape a prison. The gameplay experience is inspired by Michel Foucault’s writings on panopticism in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.

Bot 2016

I helped my friend Michael Stewart by creating the character animations for his Masters game project. The character, Bot, is a small cute robot with a simple cartoony feel to his movements and actions.

BOT is a 3D adventure platformer which turns the collectible into a resource that players need to manage during gameplay. BOT is also followed by a character called CAM which is solely controlled by the player.