"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."
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.
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.
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.
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 and Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
Desmond Miles • Lucy Stillman • Shaun Hastings • Rebecca Crane | Ezio Auditore da Firenze • Claudia Auditore da Firenze • Maria Auditore da Firenze • Mario Auditore • Bartolomeo d'Alviano • Niccolò Machiavelli • La Volpe
Rodrigo Borgia • Cesare Borgia • Juan Borgia the Elder • Octavian de Valois • Micheletto Corella • Il Carnefice • Silvestro Sabbatini • Malfatto • Ristoro • Gaspar de la Croix • Donato Mancini • Lia de Russo • Lanz • Auguste Oberlin
Pantasilea Baglioni • Lucrezia Borgia • Pietro Rossi • Patrizio • Nicolaus Copernicus • Leonardo da Vinci • Fabio Orsini • Duccio de Luca • Ercole Massimo • Salaì • Caterina Sforza • Juno
Desmond Miles • Clay Kaczmarek • Rebecca Crane • Shaun Hastings • William Miles | Ezio Auditore da Firenze • Yusuf Tazim • Piri Reis | Ishak Pasha | Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad • Rashid ad-Din Sinan • Abbas Sofian • Maria Thorpe • Darim Ibn-La'Ahad • Swami • Niccolò Polo • Maffeo Polo
Laetitia England • Warren Vidic • Juhani Otso Berg | Ahmet • Manuel Palaiologos • Shahkulu • Leandros • Cyril of Rhodes • Damat Ali Pasha • Georgios Kostas • Lysistrata • Mirela Djuric • Odai Dunqas • Vali cel Tradat | Vlad Tepes | Haras
Sofia Sartor • Bayezid II • Selim I • Suleiman I • Tarik Barleti • Dilara • Duccio de Luca • Janos | Jupiter • Juno • Minerva