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Lord Uber Dowzen

Multiple Animations on one object

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Hi, I've been thinking about how you'd do this all day. In Mass Effect 2 I've noticed that Shepherd is one object (not split up into a legs and torso object) and yet he has two seperate animations for each. I've been doing modding for Dragon Age recently and in that characters are comprised of two objects, a face morph and a full body but that games does not allow for side stepping so it must use a different animation system.

Fallout 3 does something similar to this but (assuming that it uses the same system as Oblivion) it does that through having limb based animations which I'm pretty sure ME2 does not do.

Any help with this would be cool, it's been bugging me all day.

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I am sure there are various ways to do this, but here is one way it could be done based on what you said.

You could define for a character a set of "guaranteed bones" in one skeleton. Every object created for that singular skeleton would share this base skeleton or a portion of it at least. So you could have a full biped skeleton, then make an arm model that just uses the standard arm bones. When loaded in game the 3 arm bones belonging to the arm model would be mapped instead to the 3 corresponding bones in the base skeleton. You could then use this base skeleton for all major animations either all encompassing or partial ones.

You could still make your models more complex with more bones on them. So you could have a fancy arm that could have gadgets and whiz bangs coming off of it attached to bones not in the original base skeleton as long as those new bones were parented to one of the base bones. You could then make custom animations for that particular fancy arm that could be played on the final character, it would just have to be run after all base animations were run such that it could take advantage of knowing the position of the parent bones the animation is relative too.

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Our system just applied the animations with different blend weights.
You'd, at runtime, manually set a point in the skeleton, and all bones under it in the hierchy get X% of animation A and (100-X)% of animation B.
Since skeletal animation sums up effects using bone weights on each vertex, adding another layer to the weighting process is a rather simple leap.
"under left arm, play gun1 at 80%"
If you need better blending than that, add more spots to paint your animation weights on, or apply the secondary more the deeper down the bone hierchy you get from the set point. So "under left arm" would weight the gun animation really heavy towards the hands(100%) and towards the shoulder would pull back to the specified amount (80%)

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