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Third party engines, again

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hplus0603

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I've been noodling around a little more in C4, mostly to figure out some things in an environment that's a little more complete than my home environment, but not as big as my work environment. And guess where I got stuck?

If you guessed "animated character pipeline," you're right! Just like with every other engine I've ever tried, except our work engine, I ended up running into bugs in Collada import, making an animation that is smooth in Max, have nasty kinks when imported to C4.

I'm starting to become a little more frustrated with this area than should be allowed. OgreMax is getting there for Ogre, and I'm sure Eric will fix the C4 problems (he always does -- major bonus for C4 owners), and the kW X-porter for X files makes it reasonable to do your own engine, should you need to. Torque, I don't go near anymore, as the support is non-existent, and you have to wait years for updated tools for new versions of Max, which then don't work. None of them is Actually There Yet. This includes spin-offs of the above, such as Multiverse, using Axiom, using Ogre.

Here's a tip to anyone who wants to take over the game engine world: Make a working character art pipeline. Everything else is simple by comparison.
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Just so I'm clear on this, what exactly is the "animated character pipeline"? I'm assuming from context it's the process of processing an animation from a modelling program like Maya to be used in a game engine.

I'm interested because it's something I'm getting close to in my 2D art and programming experiments, and I don't really have much experience with animation to know exactly how I'm going to solve this.

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Thanks for your question. The answer is as you say: Creating an animated character in 3ds Max or Maya, exporting from there to some file, importing that file into the game, and drawing the file with animations in the game world. Sounds simple, but there's close to a million steps that can go wrong in the code.

If your 2D game uses sprites/images, then it's a very different thing; you just draw the frames in Photoshop, and it's hard to screw that up. Or you can render from 3ds Max to an image sequence, but that's till fairly fool-proof. If you're using 3D models in a 2D or Isometric setting, you might run into the same area of problems, though.

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In my case I'm planning on using a paper doll model with a series of animated sprites for individual body parts, so I'm going to have to deal with some method of representing the body parts locations for the animation. I'm a complete novice at animation though, so I'm not sure how I'll implement this yet. I've recently got a copy of Flash though that I'm going to use to learn 2D animation basics.

I can see though how there can be discrepancy between Maya/Max and the game, especially if rag-doll physics or inverse kinematics is thrown into the mix.

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