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AndyGeers

Character animation systems

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I'm developing a 3D adventure game in a Monkey Island kind of style, and I'm feeling slightly stuck as to how to develop a decent character animation system. I don't mean in terms of "how do I make the character move into different poses?" - I've got that sorted - I mean more along the lines of "how do I define what poses the character should take as they deliver their lines of dialogue?". At the moment I have a very static, linear approach, e.g.: 1. Say dialogue line one 2. Begin waving hands around 3. Deliver dialogue line two and wait 4. Stop waving hands around 5. Look at Bob 6. Start saying dialogue line three 7. Whilst saying that, start pointing at the cheese 8. Wait for dialogue and animation to finish This worked fine for an old 2D game like the original Monkey Island, but really starts to look dated next to modern animated adventures like the recent Sam & Max games, etc. I really want to avoid having to manually animate the entire length of the conversation (like you would do if you were making a film like Toy Story) but I can't really think of anything in between. Does anybody have any experience developing something like that? Any Open Source projects you could point me to? At the very least, can anybody give me any good tips on what to search Google for - "character animation" just turns up everything I already know about like skeletal animation. Thanks a lot!

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Can't you just have two independent script sequences, one for sound and one for movement? Or allow asynchronous events (that is, you can specify the start of an action before the previous one is done) ?

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I'm developing something similar (character animation-wise... not game-wise). I'm not sure if it's the best way but I can at least share what I decided to do. You'll definitely need to develop a tool to do aid you in this. Basically I'm loading an audio file with the spoken dialogue, and I place markers throughout the audio. At each marker I can define one or more actions to take place. These can be general actions as you mentioned like "look at bob", "begin waving hands around", "end waving hands around", "walk over there", etc... or they can be very specific actions like "blink once" or "blink really fast 4 times". I mean... it's your scripting so you can define the actions you want. You can even use such a system to sync mouth movements...

Cheers
-Scott

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Quote:
Original post by popsoftheyear
Basically I'm loading an audio file with the spoken dialogue, and I place markers throughout the audio. At each marker I can define one or more actions to take place.


Yeah, this is pretty much the approach I'd decided on after chatting to some of my animation buddies here at work. I need to spend a bit of time thinking of the nicest way to input this stuff.

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