My colleagues and I have been working on some animator-focussed tool for a while, which is currently in beta. It is made to be used in combination with an SDK that can load the things you setup, and use them in a game or other realtime application.
So what can you do with it? Basically you start with setting up a state machine. The state machine contains state the character can be in. Think of things like: idle, moving, attack, etc.
Now each state can be either a simple (looping) motion, or it can be a more complex blend tree. The blend tree contains a hierarchy of nodes. The leaf nodes of this tree probably contain motions, which then are input to some blend node again, who's output can be again input for some other node.
The blend trees and behavior of nodes, like how to blend things together, can be controlled through parameters such as speed, direction, slope of the terrain or the weight of the character.
The game would then control these parameters and state changes. How the character responds to that is all defined by the animator inside this tool. You can also hook it to your joystick or game controller to test it live. This way you can make a completely controllable game character already, without any programming or scripting.
Models and motions can be exported from 3D Studio Max and Maya. The 64 bit versions are also supported.
Here are some screenshots of a very simple example:
We are basically searching for some people that want to play around with this and give us some feedback on what they think is missing or what could be improved etc. Or if you are just curious, you are welcome too.
No strings attached. We are just curious what you think about it, to make it as cool as possible.
If you are interested in trying this out, please contact me at john [-at-] mysticgd [-dot-] com.