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Needed for Standalone: Animated Werebeast


Springheel
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My latest idea appears to work reasonably well. I have now a new skeleton with some basic IK. It is nowhere near as good as the one Arcturus made, but it is a start. In the last days I tried to create the first of the missing animations. I think there is still a lot of room for improvement, but still wanted to ask you guys, what you think. Unfortunately, I still have no program for recording from my screen, but I will try get one working this weekend. So far, I can provide the animation files for the people who know how to use them, so I can maybe get at least some feedback. Hm, apparently I have overwritten with the pain animation, because I forgot to change the name to the search animation :wacko: Well, at least I can provide the file for the search animation.

werebeast_search1.md5anim.txt

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I still have no program for recording from my screen,

 

 

Try this: http://screencast-o-matic.com/home

 

I doubt you'll get many people who have the right combination of time + know-how + interest to install it themselves.

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Thanks, I will have a look at this. So far, I did not have the need for a recording program, and consequently saw no need to look for one.

 

I thought so, too. That's why I want to make a video. Unfortunately, my weekends are pretty swamped, so I hope I can find the time, but for now I am positive.

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Ok, I have made a video of the animation. I have tried to capture different angles. I hope, it is sufficient to get, how the animation will look:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ydvp5frcyk7g49z/Werebeast_Search.mp4?dl=0

 

I will recreate and upload the pain animation next week.

Edited by Destined
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Ok, I have made a video of the animation. I have tried to capture different angles. I hope, it is sufficient to get, how the animation will look:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ydvp5frcyk7g49z/Werebeast_Search.mp4?dl=0

 

I will recreate and upload the pain animation next week.

It's rather good, for as much as supernaturals can look in-game.

Maybe it only lacks a little more hand movement during momentum but otherwise it's good enough.

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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Thanks! I want to make an additional one where the werebeast is more sniffing than looking (even though smell is not implemented), as I think it would fit well. But first I want to make the pain and running animation so that they are done and the beast is one step closer to being done.

Maybe it only lacks a little more hand movement during momentum but otherwise it's good enough.

Yeah, to be honest, I am not sure what to do with the hands. I will have another look at it later on.

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Yeah, to be honest, I am not sure what to do with the hands. I will have another look at it later on.

 

In that case it's where it should be!

The golden rule is not to do anything with your hands if you don't know how to gesticulate. :)

Edited by Anderson

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

badge?user=andarson

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Maybe I will add a bit of upper body movement. Currently, the beast only turns its head, so this might suffice. But if the animation is good enough for the moment, I want to focus on the missing ones, before improving the old ones or extending the number of animations per type. This morning I worked on a simple pain animation (Oriented on the Pain3-animation in human AIs), so the AI does not stagger in this instance:

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fltu61xjfuxih7h/Werebeast-Pain1.mp4?dl=0

 

If this is also sufficient for the moment, I will take a shot at the running animation, so the base set is complete and add further/improve on the current animations later on.

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I'd recommend speeding the pain up a bit, otherwise the player will be able to spam attack.

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For the walk cycle. It's shaping up! Here's some criticism. If you look it from the front view it seems like he isn't shifting his body weight from one leg to another. His head moves smoothly like a pendulum. I like the idea of making it look around but that's a very unnatural way of doing that. I would recommend having it look forward the whole time though, because walk cycles are short animation loops that anything specific like looking around or scratching the arm will become obvious quickly.

 

A few more general tips: I recommend adding more subtle movements. Nothing ever is completely still, and it goes a long way in selling realistic movement when things have micro movements. Noise, if you will. But only do that once the main movements are done. Also, play around with transition curves. An animation can change dramatically without even adding extra keyframes just by messing with transition curves.

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Thank you very much for the tips! I will remove the head movements. So far I have not really payed attention to the transition curve. I will watch/read a tutorial on that. Regarding small movements: What would you suggest? My only idea would be for the hands to move more. Usually the hands are moving contrary to the legs while walking, but for the human searching animation the hands are mostly still to transfer the cautiousness of the AI, which is why I also left them mostly still.

 

Maybe I could add the head movement as an individual search animation (that has a lower probability of playing, if this is possible)? But this, again, is something I would move to a later time, when the basic animations are done.

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I don't have any strong opinions on hand movement. I even searched for videos of large birds and bears walking on two legs but they're all too goofy to use as an inspiration lol. It's still useful to check them out though! even being goofy, it's nice to see how the weight shifts from one leg to another and stuff like that. Anyway, I think the hands could stay without any major movements just fine. Just small swaying movements that come from the physics of being dangling things attached to another moving thing.

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Interestingly, I was just reading about noise in the brain's computation of human motion.

If you want to think about it mathematically, there's a stochiastic factor, which means the "ideal" is at the top of a normal curve (basically just a hilltop), but statistically it's going to usually fall randomly to one side or the other of the hilltop when the command is sent to the muscles, a little random nudge to the left or bit of hesitation this time, a little random nudge to the right or a quicker spurt next time, and that applies to basically every muscle command. So it might amount to throwing in random noise nudges.

 

I was also thinking the head needed to be forward and not turning.

But I liked your idea of periodic sniffing-like motions where he moves his head/nose forward and quickly wavers the nose or head a few times seamlessly built into it, more like general sniff-walking throughout so it's not like really obvious sniffing that'll stick out in the loop.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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It would be nice, if we could actually put some randomization into animations without making a whole new one. Kind of like "position of this bone should be 1 1 1 with a deviation of 0.2 on each coordinate". This would account for nudges you mentioned.

 

For now I have removed the head movement, but did not add any sniffing-like movement. I will probably add it to a second walk cycle, when I make one (also better to have more for more variation). I have also added a slight movement of the hands, so they are swinging with the legs, and some shoulder movement, hoping it is not too subtle to simulate the shifting of the weight. I also took another look at Diego's walk cycle and noticed that the ears are dropping with every step due to inertia. I have also added this, but currently I am not sure if the drop of the ears is too much right now or if this is just, because I specifically look for it.

This is the current version of the search animation:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bw0ka870dhxytlh/Werebeast_search2.mp4?dl=0

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Since there were no more suggestions for the search animation, I started to work on the running animation. I have nothing to show, yet, but it is getting into shape. As it is a more animalistic model, I decided to include the hands into the running animation, so the beast jumps forward, lands on its hands, places the feet and jumps again. A very rough form stands, but as I said, it is not really worth showing. I am not sure, how quick I will finish, as the hand and feet placement is a bit finicky, but quite soon we should also have the running animation :smile:

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Sounds good; hopefully it won't emphasise the fact our AI can't jump. (There must be some level of support because there's a pathnode for jumping, but I don't know what it would take to get it working even for scripted movement.)

Some things I'm repeatedly thinking about...

 

- louder scream when you're dying

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Well, for a scripted movement, it should not be too difficult, as soon as you have the animation. If you want more variety, I would not know how to make jumps without a separate animation for each height and distance you want for the jump. This includes jumping down from a ledge as well as jumping up (which would additionally need some form of climbing animation). But a simple "AI walks toward a gap, stops at the ledge, jumps over the gap (with a constant distance for the jump) and resumes walking" should be doable when you have the animation. This animation should actually not be too difficult. AI crouches a bit, jumps and lands. The arms go back and swing forward for the jump. Maybe I will try this, when I am done with the running animation. But there was also a request for some animations of cats and dogs in another thread. I surely won't get bored ;)

 

I already wondered, if it is possible to include variable distances etc into animations. It would be nice if you could simply enter the distance you want for the jump in a spawnarg and then the animation is modified that way. E.g. for the jumping animation, the basic movement would be the same, but the maximum height and jumping distance could be varied. But as I said, I have no idea if this is somehow possible...

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There's talk here about leaping during running, as well as jumping across ravines and up onto ledges.

 

Leaping might work, depending on how the AAS areas are defined. Pathfinding would have to know it's looking for a landing spot at the end of the leap, which is guaranteed to be farther out than what it probably determines atm for human walking and running. We'll have to see what happens, but it's possible leaping isn't going to work the way you expect it to. Were there any D3 monsters that leaped?

 

As for jumping across ravines, pathfinding would need to know that the AAS area on the far side of the ravine can be reached from the AAS area on this side of the ravine. Atm, there is no such path across the ravine, so pathfinding wouldn't tell the werebeast to leap. Possibly it could be done with a path_jump that targets a path_corner across the ravine, with some special processing to ignore pathfinding and just "go there". But that's a solution for patrol paths. It wouldn't solve the situation where the werebeast spots you on the far side of the ravine and jumps across to attack you.

 

Ledges are the same as ravines. The werebeast might be able to jump up onto a ledge (or jump down), as we've sometimes witnessed when human AI jump when they're not supposed to. There's pathfinding code that's supposed to keep AI away from ledges, but that might be to keep them away from tiny ledges. For ledge-jumping, we'd have to see what happens.

 

I'm not trying to throw cold water on these design choices; they sound very nice. But it's possible that they'll require a whole lot of code support shoved into a design that assumes monsters don't do these things.

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The leap during running is really only to make the werebeast look more feral. I did not want to imply that it leaps across ravines. Currently the werebeast moves a distance of 100 units (in Blender) with one cycle. The human AI walks around 70 takin around 30 with one step. Admittedly, this is only a third of the distance and leaping over ravines may be expected from the player, when this beast charges him... I will finish the animation that way and we will see how it looks in game. I did not want to create the need for further code support. If this design does not work, I will just make a "regular" two-legged running cycle.

 

The idea that AI might be able to jump over ravines came later and the way I described it, it was meant for patrols. However, you are right, ti would be strange if the AI can jump over a ravine while patrolling, but not while following the player. So, this might be a project for later (if I find people who are willing to lend coding support, when I can provide the animations). Right now I will further focus on the missing animations for the beast.

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So, here is the first version of the running cycle. There are still a couple of small things that need to be done, but the overall movement is ok, I think, so I wanted to ask your opinion. I know that it is too slow (or at least I think it is too slow), but this can be handled later on via the framerate (as I also plan for the pain animation). As I said earlier, the beast moves 100 units with one cylce. If this is too far, I can just move the origin a smaller distance. Here is the video:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/k3b1op8lnifgd8g/Werebest_Run_Raw.mp4?dl=0

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The animation is not bad, but what's going to happen when he runs upstairs or over rough terrain? And won't it be a bit jarring when it snaps from standing to crouch-running without a transition?

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These are very good points! I see on a regular basis that I have much to learn and consider. The rough terrain will hopefully be taken care of by the in-game IK. As long as the height differences are not too big, it should still work, but I will see this only, when all is set up. For running upstairs, I am not sure, how well the IK could handle it. It is very possible that it would look borked.

The transition should also be no big problem, as you can simply use the regular "stand" pose and the "crouched" pose and use a 5 frame animation to link the both. However, I am not sure how to set this up without including it into the running cycle. It would also look very strange if it pounces once, completely stands up and then pounces again. But there has to be some kind of stim (for the lack of a better computery word) that tells it that it is about to start or stop running, so instead of a "stim(start)->running animation->repeat->stim(stop)->resume what you did" we would have to make "stim(start)->change pose->running animation->repeat->stim(stop)->change pose (animation speed -1)->resume what you did". I hope it is clear what I meant. I have no idea how the code handles the transition from walking to running in other animations, so I also have no idea how easy/complicated this is. If it is too complicated (grayman?), I will try to make a two-legged running animation, but personally I like the feral touch of the ponce-running...

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