- "You're inside the Animus. It's a projector which renders genetic memories in three dimensions."
- ―Warren Vidic to Desmond Miles.[src]
The Animus (plural: Animi) was a virtual reality machine, rediscovered, developed and sold by Abstergo Industries. It was able to read a subject's genetic memory, and project it onto an external screen in three dimensions.
The machine was notably used in Abstergo's Animus Project and the Animi Training Program. The former analyzed the genetic memories of several select subjects, usually to gain information on the Assassin Order or on Pieces of Eden, while the latter was used for the training of Abstergo employees.
The Animus was created by Abstergo Industries in the later half of the 20th century, basing it on previously discovered First Civilization technology. Dr. Warren Vidic's leading authorities on genetic memory guided the machine's development and became the overseer of the Animus Project.
The earliest known use of an Animus was in 1985, when Dr. Vidic used it to manipulate the genetic memory of Subject 4 of the Animus Project; Daniel Cross. Since the Animus' conception, the machine has went through several major cosmetic and technical alterations, but even by 2012 Abstergo had not yet managed to perfect it.
By 2000, the appearance of the Animus bore a resemblance to a chair, and required a lot of external wiring to properly function. This version of the Animus was used by Daniel Cross upon his return to Abstergo's Philadelphia facility in November 2000.
In the two subsequent years, the machine again underwent major technological and visual changes. As noted by Vidic's assistant Dr. Sung, subjects who were used to the model commissioned in 2000 would have difficulty interfacing with the newer model. The newer model bore a closer resemblance to a bed and had a chrome-colored appearance, though a cushion was nonetheless used for the subject's comfort.
By 2002, Abstergo had also begun to produce Animi in greater numbers. A large Animi room had been created in their Philadelphia facility, and another one later in their Rome facility. The Animi room in the Philadelphia was utilized to relive the memories of Assassins captured during the Great Purge, including Paul Bellamy.
Over the course of the next ten years, the appearance of the Animus only received minor updates. In 2012, the Animus had been update to version 1.28, and was created to be more comfortable than previous models. This model was notably used for the Animus Project inside the Rome facility's laboratory, and later in the Animi Training Program in the Rome facility's Animi room.
When in use, the Animus extended a glass panel over and around the head of the user, on which the genetic memories being accessed were projected. The Animus 1.28 was not very energy-efficient, however, and was prone to overheating after extended use. Upon overheating, the blue lighting flashed orange instead.
- "Baby's twice as awesome as anything you'll find at Abstergo!"
- ―Rebecca Crane, speaking of her Animus.[src]
The Animus 2.0 was an upgraded model of the Animus that had been developed by the Assassins in 2012. According to the Animus developer and maintainer, Rebecca Crane, her "Baby" was much better than the ones at Abstergo. She had started developing it with partial schematics sent by Lucy Stillman, the Assassins' spy at Abstergo, and had improvised on the rest.
The Animus 2.0 was different in many ways to the Animus 1.0, both physically and within the three-dimension reality it projected. For example, the background color of the loading sequence changed from an icy blue to white, with the entire region of a memory slowly loading up each time one was accessed.
The external properties of the Animus also changed greatly, with the 2.0 returning to being an actual chair, and offering increased comfort to the user. However, due to this, a catheter in the user's arm was required, in order to access genetic memories and link the user into the Animus itself. Despite these improvements, the Animus still suffered from lagged translation software, and was unable to prevent the Bleeding Effect over prolonged use.
The new Animus model allowed for remote interaction from an outside source, which included uploading database-like information packets for the user to view. During Desmond's time with the Assassins in 2012, Shaun Hastings, a historian and tactician for the Assassins, made great use of this utility, providing countless files on historical figures and locations.
The Animus 2.03 was also used as a life support system for Desmond after he had fallen into a coma; his consciousness threatened by the Bleeding Effect. At this time, Clay Kaczmarek's virtual intelligence took over the role of writing the Animus database articles.
Upon waking from his comatose state, Desmond entered the Animus 3.0 to relive the memories of yet another of his ancestors. As he did with the Animus 2.0, Shaun continued to write database entries for the Animus 3.0 system. The 3.0 upgrade was made during Desmond's time in a coma, and was mainly a software upgrade which included new user interface and changes to the pupeteering motion controls. The hardware of the Animus remained the same as before.
The Animus did go through cosmetic changes though nothing drastically different from the Animus 2.0. The main difference being that the Animus equipment (namely the head and arm rests) no longer needed to be attached to a chair in order to function, meaning that the Animus now could be set up on almost any flat surface. This made it much more portable, being able to be carried down into the Grand Temple in a trio of boxes carried by Rebecca, Shaun and William.
By 2012, Animus technology had progressed to a point where it would allow anybody to go into the ancestry of someone else provided DNA was in storage somewhere. Abstergo Industries utilized this technology in the form of a subsidiary branch known as Abstergo Entertainment, by having consumers explore points of interest across history in order to obtain information.
Data Dump Scanner
- "The DDS is now in sync. Thank you for your patience. We hope you'll enjoy your experience."
- ―A DDS welcome message.[src]
The Data Dump Scanner, more commonly referred to as the DDS, was software that allowed its user to relive extracted memories. The DDS allowed its user to relive the memories of any person, regardless of whether they were blood related, through uploading the extracted memories from another person's genetic memory.
The software was invented and used by Abstergo Industries, who used it in their Project Legacy to obtain information on the Assassins and Pieces of Eden, among other things, and in their Animi Training Program to train their agents. Memories used in the projects had been previously extracted from certain individuals by the company.
- "When we switched the Animus control scheme to use standard videogame controls, I guessed that the subject's learning curve would improve; but the increased acclimatization rate we're seeing with these slacker types is astounding."
- ―Warren Vidic.[src]
At first, Abstergo found their test subjects having difficulty adapting to the Animus control scheme, so they changed the controls to match that of gaming consoles, projecting the controls into the users' mind and significantly improving their response rate, allowing for quicker adoption.
Despite the core of the technology merely allowing the user to view genetic memories encoded into their DNA, the Animus also allowed the user a degree of interaction with the environment they were viewing. Although this was limited in the Abstergo model, the level of interaction increased greatly in the Animus 2.0, allowing the user to choose the pace at which they progressed through the memories.
- Main article: Synchronization
As the user of the Animus was able to interact with the environment in which they were viewing, the concept of synchronization was brought into play. Failure to follow the memories of an ancestor exactly often resulted in a temporary decrease in synchronization with said ancestor, and continuing such actions would lead to complete desynchronization. This in turn forced the user to reload the memory from an earlier point.
The Animus was designed to put up barriers when the user attempted to interact with an environment the ancestor had not entered at that particular moment in their life, and was also capable of ejecting the user in extreme cases of desynchronization.
- Main article: Bleeding Effect
Use of any variation of the Animus technology was prone to cause mental instability within its users. Prolonged use caused a condition known as the "Bleeding Effect", which blended the real-time and genetic memories of the user, transferring thoughts, skills and experiences from the ancestor to the descendant. Continued and uninterrupted use of the Animus often resulted in mental degradation of the subject, and in extreme cases, total psychological instability.
- "Animus" is a Latin term referring to "the mind" in a variety of senses; ranging from the intellect, the will, or the soul.
- In Assassin's Creed, the Animus acted only as a machine and plot element, allowing Desmond to play through Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's memories the same way the player controls Desmond himself. In Assassin's Creed II, its use was expanded. The Animus became an interface to a new world, including information about the historical locations, people, and time periods. It was developed as a modular tool, allowing the game's developers to explore any aspect, be it additional memories, multiplayer or other content.
- A different design of the Animus was used by Jonathan Hawk in the third issue of the French comic series. Because the modern day storyline of this comic series heavily contradicts that of the main canon it is not known if this Animus exists in the main canon.
- In the Animus 1.28, sprinting long enough during the interactive loading sequence would rid the Animus of the random pieces of data flickering around, showing only a blue, foggy expanse. Additionally, Altaïr could hit an invisible barrier.
- While replaying memory blocks in Assassin's Creed, an unusual red-beige tinted abnormality showed itself for one frame as the memory was initiated. This was the inside of Desmond's face, as the camera for the initiation sequence was shown in 3 ways: starting back and moving forward, starting front and moving backwards, and upside-down. When the camera moved slightly backwards, it glitched into Desmond's face. His eyebrows, nose, and lips were easily seen if the screen was frozen.
- At one point, Desmond praised the Animus 2.0 for having subtitles to make up for the laggy translation software. This was a reference to how there was no option for subtitles in the Animus 1.28.
- Once Ezio's story was completed in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, the option to leave the Animus was removed from its main menu due to Desmond's comatose state.
- The Animus 1.28 made an appearance in every main game so far; used by Desmond in Assassin's Creed and Assassin's Creed II, and by Abstergo employees in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, and in Assassin's Creed III (albeit with new software).
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Assassin's Creed
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - Clusters
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Assassin's Creed: The Fall - Issue #3
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Assassin's Creed: The Chain
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Assassin's Creed II
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- ↑ Assassin's Creed III
- ↑ Assassin's Creed III: Liberation
- ↑ EGM Preview: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy
- ↑ Assassin's Creed Game Manual
- ↑ IGTV: Behind The Scenes - Assassin's Creed 2