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Gestalt Halcyon
11-12-2002, 10:49 PM
First off, I don't know whether or not this is an appropriate topic for the advanced board. But since you guys have the most experiance with opengl and 3d graphics, I thought I would get the best responces here. Sorry if this is not advanced enough of a topic.

Anyways, I am making a massivly multi-player online rpg, and one of the things that I'm having trouble finding information on, is 3d animation and character models. Part of the confusion comes from the many web pages about 3d graphics that promote the use of 3D Studio Max and other such programs. I am not sure if these types of programs are for realtime animation in a video game or only finished high quality, pre-rendered graphics. If someone could clear that up for me that would help a lot. Also if you know of a good file format and modeling tool for making 3d characters plz post a recomendation.

I am also looking to get a more in depth understanding of 3d animation with c++ and Opengl. If you have read any books that clearly explain it I would appreciate it if you would post the title. Or if you know of any indespensible texts that have helped you in learning 3d graphics, I would appreciate their titles too.

Thx for your help and advice in advance.
§LateR§

SergeVrt
11-13-2002, 02:12 AM
Originally posted by Gestalt Halcyon:
many web pages about 3d graphics that promote the use of 3D Studio Max and other such programs. I am not sure if these types of programs are for realtime animation in a video game or only finished high quality, pre-rendered graphics.

Max could be used to draw characters and export them into game engine.

There are several graphics formats which support animations though most only particular features.

For that reason
ususally game developers have their own exporters to their engines ( thanks max goes with some samples and there several animations exporters out there ( for example search for Half Life SDk they have exporter for Half life animations..)


also for most purposes MilkShape will cover all the needs for character animation creation for starting developer ...
and it costs much less than Max/Character studio ....
though the new character studio 4 for max( which is due this year ( possibly ) should have very nice features to animate persons.

as for papers

search for words 'character skeletal animation' or such at google and you will get enought info also you may serach for "Lander"
and finally
resently ther was a book ( see for ex amazon or bn.com)

Programming Dynamic Character Animation
by David Paull

Gestalt Halcyon
11-13-2002, 02:06 PM
Ah, that clears up a lot thx. MilkShape it is then.
When I was looking at "Programming Dynamic Character Animation" at amazon.com I saw another book that might be even better. Have any of you read "Realtime 3d Character Animation With Visual C++" by Nik Lever? There was only one review of it, so it was hard to tell if its any good. It looks like it includes more though. Do any of you know if its any good...? or which one is better? Or know of any other books on the subject that you thought were good? I'm trying to get as many oppinions as possible. Thx a lot for your help with this.

yakuza
11-13-2002, 05:28 PM
I just received that book yesterday, got it from one of the private dealers listed there with "Buy it used" for $14.99, but it didn't have the CD. That's alright with me 'cause most of the source is printed in the book, and I'm only using it as a reference not to grab code.

It's definitely an interesting book to me, being a novice at character animation. It contains a Lightwave model loader, as well as 3DStudio .ase file loader. I've just scanned through the book and haven't exhaustively read it or tried the code yet, so I'm afraid I can't offer much of an opinion yet.

In summary, I wouldn't have paid full price for it, but I feel at the cheap price I paid I will get my moneys worth.

Hope that helps.

jwatte
11-13-2002, 06:56 PM
"Anyways, I am making a massivly multi-player online rpg, and one of the things that I'm having trouble finding information on, is 3d animation and character models."


Wow! Solving all those horrible network bandwidth, packet loss and game sync issues, balancing game play, integrating a back-end billing system, implementing distributed AI, and generating all that content, only to be thwarted by an inability to find reference material on character animation. What is the world coming to?

Sorry for being sarcastic, but if your goal is to learn about character animation, I think people will take you more seriously if you claim that that's the case. If you claim you're writing an MMORPG, well, that MAY be your long-term goal, but making such a sweeping claim while asking for reference material on the very basics of game graphics will only serve to put people off.

Anyway, if you can swallow that, you might also want to have a look at http://www.b500.com/~hplus/vert_weighting.html -- it gives a few lines of code which shows you how to actually implement skinning of a vertex array, assuming you have already derived your pose as an array of matrices.

Gestalt Halcyon
11-13-2002, 10:44 PM
Sorry if I misled you. I really am making a MMORPG though. I’ve tried learning how to do a certain type of programming and then use it later when I need it, but that doesn’t work very well for me. I do better if try to make something and learn what I need to as I go. It may not be the best way, but it’s the way I’m doing it. Currently I have enough recources to make the basics of the network code, and for displaying a given scene, but I don’t have enough reference materials for the animation of that scene or its characters. I’m sure that it will take rewriting most of the code many times to get it right this way. I’ve already rewritten the code 5 times to try to get the basics of files down… 5 times and it is still 2d. When “network bandwidth, packet loss and game sync issues, balancing game play, integrating a back-end billing system, implementing distributed AI, and generating all that content” become an issue I will probably have to rewrite a lot of the code another 30-50 times at least. When I’m done though, I fully intend it to be a fully functional, sellable, state of the art MMORPG. Currently my goal is to learn about 3d animation, and I didn’t think I said otherwise. Everything that I’m asking on these boards is for use in this MMORPG though and asking questions with that as a background does not seem unreasonable to me.
I disagree with your opinion of my presentation of this question, but I thank you for the link. In the future I will make sure that I present the MMORG as a long term goal. Maybe people will take me more seriously.
I’m still looking for people’s suggestions for a good book on animation or opinions about some of the ones already mentioned. I plan to go down to Barns and Noble to see if I can find these books in actual paper format to see what they cover and which one looks better. Any opinions or help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Ysaneya
11-14-2002, 12:20 AM
Vertex weighting might be overkill for a beginner; if all you want is a character with some animation keyframes, i'd suggest to have a look at the MD3 format (Quake), and a MD3 character viewer. That's what i'm using for my current project, and loading an animated character from disk doesn't take more than 100 lines in C++.

Y.