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AndyGeers

Animating character-world interaction

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Hi there, I'm sorry if this seems like a really obvious question to some of you, but I'm struggling with the issue of how to animate interactions between my game character and objects within the game world - e.g. getting the character to pick up a piece of paper from a desk. How is this kind of thing done professionally? Is it a case of relying heavinly on Inverse Kinematics, or of building a custom animation for every single anticipated interaction that relies upon the character standing in exactly the right spot? What kind of tools are out there for getting the co-ordinates right when you hand-animate such things?

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Is the lack of replies to this question because:
a) The answer is too obvious?
b) The question is phrased badly, and too hard to understand?
c) The question is too boring, so nobody was interested to contribute what they know?
d) You just didn't notice it last time around?


Just in case, let me try and rephrase the question:

* I'm making a 3D point and click adventure game
* There are lots of interactions between the character and the world they inhabit, such as reaching to pick up an object from a table/the ground
* How do the pros animate these kinds of things? High quality Inverse Kinematics that just figure it out? Or a specific animation for each picking up event in the course of the game?
* If the former, isn't it hard to do the IK well enough to look natural?
* If the latter, what tools do you use to get the actor standing in the right place and reaching to the right co-ordinates?

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I have no experience or anything like that to relate to, but it seems to me that the most simple way to do it is by having one or more standard animations that you play depending on which is most appropriate. You might for example have three pick up animations. Each at a different high (low, mid and upper). If the character is picking down an apple from a tree, play the "high pick up" animation etc. You might want to move the character to a predefined point as well to make it look a bit better. I think this would suffice for a graphical adventure game similar to lucasarts point 'n click games.

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Speaking from my experience (which is minimal), i'll try to show an example:

Let's say you've got a weapon you need to have in constant position with the player's hand.

What you do is, have a "tag" bone named, e.g., "player_weaponholder", that you use to place the weapon and transform it according to where the player is oriented to.

The same thing can be used for your problem, you move the player to where the object should be (maybe have an Axis-Aligned Bounding Box there to figure out if the player's in place) and then make the player move the arm into the object, and attach the object to the tag bone. That way, it'll be "interacting" with the player.

However, in order to make it look realistic you have to (usually) make a custom animation to grab the paper, at least, the rest can be done automatically since you already have the tag bone's orientation data.

Sorry that i cant help much, my experience is minimal. Hope i was able to help, though!

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Quote:
Original post by nuno_silva_pt
The same thing can be used for your problem, you move the player to where the object should be (maybe have an Axis-Aligned Bounding Box there to figure out if the player's in place) and then make the player move the arm into the object, and attach the object to the tag bone. That way, it'll be "interacting" with the player.


Thanks for the input. It's definitely this stage - *before* you actually attach the object to the players hand - that's the one I'm struggling with. Once you've picked it up I can take it from there, but it's how I get the hand to where the paper is sitting on the desk that's my question.

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