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Gen.Kenobi

Animation Pipeline

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Not bad! Doesn't need fingers, so you can cut quite a few polys by removing those. Also, doesn't need a head, since heads are props. (y)

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The count depends what your talking about... just the base model or a model with all the props and stuff?

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I got the poly count down to 708(tris, not quads). Is this the best place for this discussion?

EDIT: @Jason: The base model only. I checked a model with a sling, so I didn't take that into account.

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A fully propped dude currently in the game goes up to 1200 tris. If we go a couple hundred above that with any new body meshes (+props), we wouldn't have any problems.

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A fully propped dude currently in the game goes up to 1200 tris.

Prop polygons are cheaper than skinned polygons (since we don't have to run the skinning code for them), so we might need to be a bit careful here. It may help if someone could create some animated skinned demo units with varying triangle counts - the current dude.pmd looks like 246 triangles, so a range of like roughly 500 and 2000 and 5000 could be useful for testing. They don't need to look any good (they can be made with automatic smoothing or tessellation etc) and the animation doesn't need to be any good, but they should have a realistic number of bones (which should be as few as possible) and should be realistically skinned (in terms of number of bones influencing each vertex, in particular), so we can stick a few hundred units on screen and see at what point performance becomes a real problem on modern hardware.

(Incidentally, it's best if new meshes are fully closed (they don't have any holes in e.g. their necks or the bottoms of their feet to save a few polygons - I think some of the current ones do that), since closed meshes can help with some stuff like shadowing.)

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700 is good. What knocked it down by 500? Removing his fingers and head?

No! That model which you saw was made up of quads :P So it was actually 2k+ tris. I brought it down by 1500 I think by merging unneeded vertices :)

So, yeah, Philip I got a 2000 tris model and now a 700 tris model and I can smooth it to get a 5k one if someone is willing to animate it :)

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Zip up your 3 levels of quality of your models and I'll roughly apply the standard skeleton to them for you guys for testing.

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I had to hack this in, and it is crude. But it will serve well for testing. Here is your high poly model. I had to modify it to scale & position the arms and legs in the same default position as the default skeletons are today. I didn't take a lot of time doing it either. I also just exported a .pmd because I don't have the right version of max currently installed to give you a .dae file... but again it should work for testing purposes.

Pop 100+ of these guys in the game with any of the humanoid animations and see what happens to performance. Also zoom out to a standard RTS zoom level and see if you are getting the meaningful visual difference in profile between the low poly dudes and the high poly dude that your looking for.

To make this process easier on all of us... I'd suggest taking the default humanoid mesh and add/manipulate geometry to it vs. starting from scratch. Are you guys going to redo the UV mapping and planning to redo the hundreds of humanoid textures too?

test.zip

post-3-0-08874100-1333300185_thumb.jpg

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Oh, great! Thanks :)Hmm, no I had planned on mapping this to the current textures, but it might prove harder than I thought (it already is actually, the mesh doesn't work well with the maps, so what looks good on the basic dude texture, doesn't on the Celtic javelin...thrower). But I hadn't thought of editing the current mesh, so I guess we could try that. It will be easier to rig it too, if I'm not mistaken.

EDIT: Did you commit the files?

EDIT2: Here are a few pictures showing the my model mapped:

Using the basic dude texture:

pG7nN.pngx3nkq.png

Using a Celtic infantry texture:

qve2q.png

You can see how weird the thighs look. I maybe able to solve this by pulling the vertices in the thigh lower, but it might the mesh might look off.

Using the Greek hoplite texture:

R9HGp.png

I had to edit this so that it fit the mesh, even though the mapping fit the basic texture. The torso was all wrong.

vrhkq.png

I guess the thigh thing will be solved here by adding the tunic :)

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Why don't you see what it looks like in-game? I think Blender's perspective view is making some parts of the body look distorted.

Good progress! :)

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EDIT: Did you commit the files?
No, it is in the zip file I attached
But I hadn't thought of editing the current mesh, so I guess we could try that. It will be easier to rig it too, if I'm not mistaken.
Definitely easier to rig. The model you gave me would be difficult to work with in the leg region because the legs are close together and the envelopes require a bit of massaging to get just right so that they don't act oddly. It would be much easier too because you would be using a character that is starting in the same default pose position. :ok:

Oh, and .obj files are easier to work with than .dae's to get back into 3dsmax

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So, what did you guys find out in the testing? What did it do to frame rates when you displayed a bunch of of these high poly animated models to the screen? How different does the profile look at a standard view in comparison to the low poly models today?

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So, what did you guys find out in the testing?

This. (Thanks for the mesh :))

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I can't remember if we tried exporting a 3DS Max animation as a BVH animation file and then importing that into Blender? If not, Jason could you export one of the unit animations into a BVH file using 3DS Max for us?

Someone with Blender rigging experience could then try merging the unit mesh with the animation. See some info here: http://www.3dartisto...ender-tutorial/

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Yeah, that is the problem. Unfortunately 3DS Max doesn't export .bvh files. I did a quick google search and it looks like there are some hacked scripts that might do the trick though. The bvh file is intended to be a motion capture data file. So, the 3DS Max developers didn't plan on exporting motion capture data - instead they only needed to import it. Once the animation is in the software, it uses a format called .bip that saves the animation (or you can save the whole scene as a .max file). There are a few other formats that are supposed to be cross compatible. One being .fbx which is pretty much an industry standard, and also .dae... Unfortunately .dae files don't import properly into blender. I think the best option to pursue is... someone mentioned in this thread that an older version of blender imports the .dae files better. I think I need to try that, and see if I can get that working. From what I understand it won't have the IK, but I think you should be able to add that on later in Blender. At least you would have the bones and the rigging (I think).

Can I just backup and ask a question though... what is the ultimate objective here (acknowledging that the low poly body meshes needs some upgrades - which is a separate topic)? Is there some animations that are so poor that they just need to be replaced, or are there just a handful of animations that are missing and need to be created? Or is our target to create a good template for future Blender animators to use for mods and slight animation adjustments? Help me out here, what is the todo list of things you want to see done in terms of humanoid animation.

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Well, what would be ideal, in my personal opnion would be to create a good template for future Blender animators to use for mods and for animation adjustments (recreating old animations and new ones).

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I agree having a unit animation template file for future modders would be very useful. A few other reasons:

1) Increase the variety of meshes/animations available - currently we only have a small handful to choose from

2) Most of our 3D modelers use Blender, so our unit animations should be compatible, which they are not

3) Remove the few remaining PMD and PSA files - only the unit animations use this format, and these are not compatible with most 3D programs

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Is this template file the last thing needed before 3ds Max can be dispensed with altogether?

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I believe so :)

@Jason: Yeah, we might need some new animations in the future and improve some we already have. The attack animations are fine, they look great, its mainly the walk and gather/loaded animations that need to be improved.

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Ok, thanks for the feedback guys. I think my first task will be to re-export all of the existing animations out of max again, but not as .psa files... instead as .dae files. I think you'll find that there are actually quite a few animations. I'm not sure what happened, but several years ago someone went through and "cleaned up" the folder structure for animations. A bunch of (now empty) folders were created and a lot of the files were moved around... I believe some animations may have been lost, while others were duplicated. So, hopefully that might fix one of the issues mentioned above.

Then I'll see if I can learn blender enough to get a template created. I'll probably need some help at some point, and I'll ask Zaggy for some assistance.

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