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CannedCourage

Models, Animations and XNA

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CannedCourage    100
I've recently began working on a small group project with some people from my university and we are attempting to build a short game using XNA. I'm fairly competent with recent Direct X, as far as most topics are considered. However there is a significant gap in my knowledge when it comes to animating models. I have a couple of artists on board and they are about to start rigging and animating. They are using Maya for this. I'm having trouble finding resources or tutorials to help me find out how to use the animations. I'm wondering if anybody here knows any good tutorials or is willing to give me a rough place to start with this? I have friends who have suggested 'XNAnimation' as a possible solution, but I'm getting mixed reviews. Thanks.

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remigius    1172

I don't have any experience with any full XNA animation libraries, but you might want to look into the skinning sample. It falls short of a full animation system, but it does provide some understandable basics you probably want to know. It's also quite extensible to get some more advanced features off the ground if you want to do that stuff yourself.

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bennyboy2    100
I'm guessing using Maya is not going to be fun unless you are a VERY good programmer and willing to learn both Python and the .x animation formats-- a major project. I tried animating a sphere with 2 bones, and got garbage-- but maybe that's just me.

There is a good free .x exporter that works with the newest Maya, but I think you'll find that the animations will be completely buggered, not to put too fine a point on it. The meshes will be fine, though.

Okino Polytrans will convert Maya animations correctly. It will also cost you (or your university if you can make a good enough pitch) some big bucks. IF you can possibly get your hands on the newest (read NEWEST) Polytrans for Maya, you'll be set, I believe. (Although I haven't bought it because it's quite expensive)


If you DO get some useful info, please come back and post, because getting Maya animations to work in DirectX is currently my Holy Grail. :)

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matthughson    588
I suggest looking into XSI|SoftImage's free modeling software, Mod Tool. It has been fully integrated into the XNA work flow and supports a lot of different features (skinning, materials, etc). It seems like Mod Tool is becoming the standard modeling tool for XNA going forward.

Aside from a few issues, I have been extremely happy with it. Especially coming from D3D in C++; this was quite a smooth experience.

Our artist also works in Maya. He does his modeling there, but exports to OBJ. He then loads that OBJ into Mod Tool to do any animations, and final tweaks, and then exports to the dotXSI format.

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bennyboy2    100
Thanks for the good lead, Matt.

I think a Maya -> export as DAE_obj (or something) -> XSI -> .x is going to work out pretty well. However, I'm not sure if Mod Tools limitations allow animations to be exported-- haven't got it to work yet for .x

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Buckeye    10747
I like working with XSI, though the initial learning curve is somewhat steep.

However, you're correct. XSI (at least 4.2 and 6) does not support export of animations to x-files. It will export animations to SMD files (through the ValveSource add-on) but those files require a conversion from the "right-hand" SMDs if you want "left-hand" meshes/animation.

I don't know about the XNA add-on and what it's capabilites are.

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