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New to animation, using X files....many ?s

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I've begun to delve into animation and have many questions regarding the topic. I have looked at the DirectMesh SDK, and it has proved useful. My question is, where do I begin with animation? I want to use X files, rather than reinventing the wheel so to speak. I want to use 3D Studio Max to create the models/animations. I've also begun to pick apart the DX9 SDK sample, and it is riddled with macros and gotos (yeah gotos!)....Ugh. My main problem that I've encountered is the following: I will have a player running around the stage (3rd person), and upon a keystroke, the arms will raise as if to catch something. Would I need to do seperate animations for running, and running with arms raised? Can I create one animation for running, and then another for the model standing still, but raising arms? Then somehow tween between the two? Very confused over here, this is easily the most complex aspect of my game..... Any links/tutorials/help is greatly appreciated :)

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Yeah skeletal animation sounds like what you want. You can easily blend between 2 animations using the DirectX API. Jim Adams has written a book, called Advanced Animation with DirectX. That might be a good start. You can also search the forums- NameThatNobodyelseTook has made a lot of excellent posts on this subject (when you find his post you might want to append it to the FAQ). LAstly, there is the tutoral I wrote on the subject. It's aimed at programmers that are attempting to write their own anim system. It might provide some nice basic information to you though.

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