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ChrisE

What I'm working on now

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Sounds Great,
I am esp looking forward to playing with the Character Studio Stuff.

Just a few questions/ideas for the CHR Studio.
1 - I presume with layers, you can have a different character mesh on different layers, which refers to the same BIP info, allowing you to easily implement different character selection.
2 - I am planning(hopefully) to use the BIP info in the following way,
(a) have a character animated for running normally.
(b) when firing a weapon, the BIP info from the shoulders out to the fingers is actually derived from a different bip file, giving a nice run and fire anim. Hopefully if this can be implemented, it will mean we can have a character running and firing at different angles as well.(Possible?)


Cheers
Darrin


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Hmm... I hate to be the first one to say this because Im beginning to build a "quake addict" reputation in this forum, but (sigh)...here we go.

The new Q3 model actually has 3 md3 (md2) objects linked into one single char, each object is (or can be) animated separately. One object is the legs, the other is the head and the third is the upper torso including arms. This way you can have a character that is running/crouching aimming with a lot less animations than before, also this is a very feasible way of aiming your gun/head to a specific direction using the camera aim function.

It is possible to do it today by manually linking three char objects, but It will be really neat if the new char system had some support for this. Of course the linking could be made to have more than just three objects, opening a world of possibilities.

I imagine (but Im not sure ) that this way you could also link weapons without having an animation sequence for them, thus making it easier to model them.


[This message has been edited by Azrael (edited December 17, 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Azrael (edited December 17, 1999).]

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Hi Azrael,
As far as I can gather the new Character Studio support in PR3, knocks Q3s Character
System on its ear. The Q3 System still uses Precalculated morph meshes, where PR3 calculates the meshes on the fly, in the same way they are calculated within 3DSMax's Character Studio. This means the PR3 system, uses a bone system, which in theory could apply to all character meshes.
Imagine just creating one off bone animations, and then any character can refer to these bones, and deform the mesh on the fly.
This also does mean that you should be able to override the bones system and tell limbs to position manually if required. (Imagine just telling the head to look in one direction and it does, or telling the left arm to rotate 90d) Things you cant do easily with precompiled meshes.

So in answer to your question about using the Q3s system of linking MD2s, I think it would be unnecessary, but still possible to do with PR3 as it stands.
ie You should be able to tell the characters legs to run & the body to fire & the head to look up, etc with thew current PR3.


Cheers
Darrin

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hmm.. I agree, but there's a good reason why a linking system like the one I described is still useful: speed and ease of use.

Quake 3 initially used a bone system like the one you describe but it was dropped because it took too much FPS cycles (and Im talking about a game that needs a p500 and a good 3d card to work properly)

Granted quake 3 curved surfaces hog most of those FPS cycles, but in our own games other features can take those too, like Better AI, Real Time calculated shadows, radiosity you name it. Although most probably it will be those damned curved surfaces and internet support too.

Ease of use: what is easier to show, a frame animation with your character being shot, or calculating the movement of arms head and torso after your character has been shot?

I can see this as precalculated against real time movement you could use either of them but precalculated is always faster and easier (from a programming point of view).

On the other hand, the bone system can have other uses as well, like presenting dents on a car estructure after a crash, realistic liquid surfaces, etc.

I think PR should work for both of them.

p.s. What do you mean by PR Char system knocking in quake 3 door?

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The PR character system can play back animations from Character Studio if you use the entire body. There's nothing built in to control an individual limb using a different animation. There's the problem of how to describe this, and what happens if the limb animation finishes before the rest of the body.

It is possible, you will just need to modify the code and make it possible to take the animation for a particular limb from another animation set.

You can also apply additional rotations to bones after the Character Studio matrices are figured out. This is probably easier to use because you can apply small movements like head turns and making an arm snap back shooting a gun. You will have to keep track of how much rotation is added each frame and adjust the matrices yourself.

Another thing you could do is scale the individual bones for different entities, so you could make unique looking characters using the same mesh and animation. For example have a fat head on one of the guys.

From my experience it's easiest to design complete animations in CS and play them back entirely, so that the way I've set the system up, but there's nothing stopping you from mixing animations.

Oh and by the way, I have PR using DX7 interfaces now. I'll have a beta of that on the site soon.

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Currently I'm fixing up bugs in the character studio playback like having more than 1 character playing different animations on the screen at once.

I'm also doing more 3D Now optimizations in the clipping and lighting routines.

After this I'll be doing DX7 libraries, hardware T&L, and then a Watcom version.
Watcom is not high on my list right now because it's not even supported by Sybase any more. I'd rather work on these new improvements on one compiler and make sure it works right before supporting another.


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Hi Guys,
Thanks for the Info Chris, I thought like all of your stuff, it would be possible to modify characters in this way with a little tweaking.
I am also thinking of having a character who gathers armour along the way, and we just add the armor mesh to the bips as we go.
Keep up the good work.

Cheers
Darrin

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