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zer0wolf

Good Reading Material for Run-Time Adjusted Animations?

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At work we're working on a game that requires a metric butt load of animation variations due to physical interactions between multiple objects. This probably seems like a really general question, but I was wondering about good reading resources / programming tricks to handle things in engine to generate new animations off of existing animation data? Basically, I'm wanting to figure out a solution to keep the animators from having to to create so many iterations for their animations. I'm wondering if there is a way (that doesn't require a bunch of money to be spent on middleware) to look at the two closest animations and create a new one based on the new angle of impact, given bone translation and rotation data? So for instance, if a character is hit by a car from the rear left, then the game would grab the rear hit animations, the left animation, and generate a new hit animation based on the angle of impact? Or would it perhaps be easier to just go ahead and generate all of the variations of animations with the aid of a script for the 3d packagae that interpolates these animation variations for the animators?

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A few techniques I've found useful for creating dynamic animations without any physics or IK (this all falls rougly into a track-based layering system):

*Simultaneous animation blending (blending between multiple animations that are running in sync; game-code and/or script decides the blend values, i.e., blend 50% between North and NorthWest (yielding North by NorthWest))
*Partials (sub-skeleton anims pushed on top of base anims, modifying only a subset of the bones; so now you can push "flailing_arms" animation on top of idle, walk, and run)
*Additive animations (i.e., animators can create a bunch of static poses, and just a few additive anims, then combine using tracks, getting a lot of bang for the buck).

Unfortunately I don't know of too many good reading materials describing these techniques. I've developed my own implementations a few times over the years, which I could elaborate on in more detail if that seems useful. I'm not sure if this is the kind of thing you're looking for...

This is a decent high-level overview of the animation workflow from Drake's Fortune (Naughty Dog); it's mostly from an animator's perspective, but still provides a view into their feature set.

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I second emeyex's answer: Animation blending, layering, and masking, perhaps integrated into an animation tree, are the keywords of such a task. You may be interested in this article at gamasutra. It also deals with faked IK animations.

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