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Hi all, I need animated 3D characters for my game. Should I create the animations using key frames in a 3d package or import the bone structure and manipulate that in-game? Does the tiny.x example in the sdk use bones or keyframes? Thanks for any help with this.

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quote:
Original post by bloodshot
I need animated 3D characters for my game. Should I create the animations using key frames in a 3d package or import the bone structure and manipulate that in-game?


You can use the .X file exporters from the Extras in the DirectX SDK to export from common 3d packages or conv3ds.exe to convert from a .3ds file.

For characters, skinning with bones is most common. For each key frame the orientation and position of the bones is stored.

With "morph target" animations, all of the vertices are changed for each key frame.

Skinning/bones require much less data to be stored. I''d use them unless you need to animate "soft" things (even then there are things such as performing FFD in a vertex shader which are more efficient than full morph targets).

quote:
Does the tiny.x example in the sdk use bones or keyframes? Thanks for any help with this.


Tiny uses bones. Each keyframe of the animation contains the (relative) bone positions and orientations.

--
Simon O''Connor
3D Game Programmer &
Microsoft DirectX MVP

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Hi S1CA,

Thanks for your help. I''m new to this so I''m still a little confused. I intend to model my characters in MAX. Assuming I use the skinning/bones method, I create my models in max, add bones, envelopes, etc. Do I then have to animate the character (e.g. walk cycle) within MAX or is that somehow handled after I import the mesh to directx?

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For my game I wrote a plugin for 3DS Max that will give me the bone information and blending weights, however I never came up with a good way to do the animations in max and export them, I wrote a seperate animation tool that runs in game to do this instead. I''m sure that there is a way to export a bone animation from max, just have to find it.

~alfiare

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If you write an animation system using the .x files I would be greatly interested in using it. I am writing a game called Parp! and the one huge final task is to get animated characters in, currently I am using jusr rigid objects, some of which I animate using code. My game is available here:

http://www.jeremypardon.com/
http://www.jeremypardon.com/parp/pages/downloads.html
http://www.jeremypardon.com/parp/pages/gallery.html

I would be extremely happy to use your code if you we''re willing to share it? Perhaps I could help you with something in return?

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tiny.x uses bones, there are several articles in the directx documentation describing skinning and weights.
dolphin.x has 2 animation frames in it, it moves in the demo using vertex tweening, interpolating the positions between the two extremes.

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