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Genjix

Procedural skeletal animation

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Hi, I remember seeing a SIGGRAPH paper on this but I lost it and never got round to reading up on it. Now I see games like Spore, UR2007 and Indiana Jones are all using it for dynamic fluid animation. Where can I find more info on how to implement this? With a rigged skeleton and marked bones (hip, feet, hands), I then do some IK or such on it? Thanks.

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You can do many things procedurally.
Spore and indiana jones use different methods.

Spore likely uses some sort of IK, while indiana jones links AI to a physics system.

You basically train character a given behavior in an offline training process, where the AI system builds some "brain" which uses physics to control the bones in the character.

There are different techniques for this training process again. One example is teaching a character to walk. You can work with a point / penalty system that rewards your character with points per unit that it moves. And you give it a penalty (negative score) when it puts its foot on the ground.

Then the training process will figure out how to maximize the points. The inputs of this are a description of what bones can be adjusted and on what ways. Then can try out and find the best possible way. It's really cool to see this learning in progress. You will see your character falling over all the time, until it actually does a few steps and falls over again. After a while it knows how to walk by applying physical forces. Also it can adjust directly based on external forces being applied.

Another example would be balance control, which is used in Indiana Jones as well. You can give your character points for the time it is keeping its balance and not falling over, and give it negative points when it looses balance.

Most likely you do not want to use this for everything though. Most games will use this for limited things, like balancing and other interactive parts of the game. Artists still want to have control over given motions.

Next to the physical based procedural animation you can also go into the direction of motion synthesis using pre-animated data. You can combine and modify these input motion files to generate new motions on the fly.

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Thanks, I will have to do a bit of research into this then. :)

Say I wanted to get a character to walk? How would I use pre-animated data- whats the procedural animation then used for in this case?

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