Modding Rundown: Animations

Started by thetommyboy2002, March 10, 2007, 11:21AM

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Heres where to post what you know about Animations, AKA Skeleton files, AKA Keyframes.

What I know:
So far I haven't been able to export any animations that can be used in-game as, for instance 151_cannonball.igb or 151_cannonball_4_combat.igb
What I HAVE been able to do is export animations within the mesh that, when the mesh is placed in the "mannequins" folder give working animations in the team-select menu background. This suggests to me that the basics of animation remain constant, and that I may be able to create new animation sets.
But I stll don't know how to export them from Max, nor how the note-track, etc should be setup. If these arent correctly done, no animation will ensue (which might be why mine dont work). And of course I have no access to the Max files that the WORKING animation files were derived/exported from, so I can't base mine on working animation sets..
So that leaves "looking at the animation files in a Hex editor". Since I'm Not That Bright, all this has got me so far is the names of some of the animations (ie power_1, fly_fast etc) and the fact that the bips (bones) are referenced in the animation files, which is hardly a surprise, really.

Fun factoid Number one:
you know how herostat/npcstat set up the "   characteranims = 04_yellowjacket ;" parameter, calling the animations from the 04_yellowjacket.igb file in the above case?
Well, if there IS no 04_yellowjacket.igb, OR 04_yellowjacket_4_combat.igb, the character uses a default set of animations (that look a bit like thor's animations to me). This is also true if the 04_yellowjacket.igb etc are non-functioning (ie PSP animation files, or my not-working-yet-ones).

So, anyone else got any thoughts on the subject...? 

I would expect that exporting a primitive mesh (unskinned but rigged equally to the mesh we're animating) with the animation lines inside would work as a skeleton. Then again, I'm currently more concerned with discovering the depths of "How Does IGB Work" in general rather than the details of specific animation processes...

I can also tell you that the tags needed for the menu anims are menu_action (character is chosen OR skin is swapped); menu_idle OR idle (character is selected and is idling, this is looped) and menu_goodbye (leaving the Team Selection menu).

Crimson Dynamo says:
In Soviet Russia, the games mod YOU!

If anyone needs any art for icons or portraits, feel  free to ask, I'll see what I can do.

I'm thinking that if your theory is right(and its also pretty much the theory I'm already working to), exporting an "ordinary" mesh, ie one with skin, bones/bips and animations should also work too. And since I have/am trying this method so far without joy there must be something else I'm missing. I'll try just the bips and anims, just to rule it out. But I'm thinking it's more likely that some setting in the alchemy properties and/or exporter in Max is the stumbling block (just as it was with the hiding_segments bits of meshes, which didnt work till just the right combination of flags were set, and were named correctly)..
Since my meshes work with the existing keyframe/sleleton/animations already (whether they contain what the alchemy exporter labels a "default animation" or not) I'm guessing I'm pretty close, in some respects. It may be that the game is fussy, and a Valid animation set must contain ALL the necessary animations (mine as yet dont) before it will play

Not really - after all, XML2's NPC skeletons house two or three anims and that's it. What you HAVE to have is the idle anim and that's it. Oh, and the afakeanim tag, which may or may not be an animation title :D

Crimson Dynamo says:
In Soviet Russia, the games mod YOU!

If anyone needs any art for icons or portraits, feel  free to ask, I'll see what I can do.

Looking through the alchemy Docs I come across references to the alchemy animation rollout, and I notice that the one in the docs differs from the one I find in Max.
Docs version on left, Max version on right.

Now I'm guessing that the one I've got is a later version (see how it has more platform options, ie PC and gamecube?), and it may also be that they decided references to "use keys" were redundant. But I wish it were still in there because I understand the one in the docs more than the one i actually have to struggle with.
Now, you may notice that "animation" has become "default animation". If this is unchecked, no animations are exported with the mesh, which at the moment only affects my meshes in MUA Mannequin mode, but information is information. So my current guess is to have "default animaton" checked.
On the far right we see the "export settings", which I think is the bit to play with. If "save full igb" is unchecked you can select or unsekect the various component parts. For my "usual" meshes, I have "save full igb" checked. Possibly ony the "anims" "extract" and "save" should be checked for exporting keyframes.
What "extract" means as opposed to "save", I dunno.
So I export with only "anims" "extract" and "save" checked, and copy the results into Actors, renamed to 151_cannonball, and also 151_cannonball_4_combat (because hes who I'm working on, and he NEEDS his own animations).
Aaaand he still uses the default animations, meaning the game "sees" mine as invalid.
So now I export with only "anims" and "save" checked, and still get the default animations.
So now I export with only "anims" and "extract" checked, and still get the default animation.
Which seems to rule the out as "stand alone" parameters, though some combination of them and others may be the correct one to use.
In short: still no joy, still just blindly guessing (wrongly).

Moving along with the toss-up from the Proof-of-Concept post: for those who THINK they don't have enough menu stances to go around with.

Click to see the source models (yes, I know I used MUA Nightcrawler in place of the XML2 Optic Crawler, but who cares?):

Which, you know, opens lots of miniscule mix-n-match optionses.
Like these:

Again, click to see the sources of the animations :D

Tommy, is it even possible to assign names or tags of some sort to the anims in the export files? Mayhap that's the reason you're meeting resistance?

Crimson Dynamo says:
In Soviet Russia, the games mod YOU!

If anyone needs any art for icons or portraits, feel  free to ask, I'll see what I can do.

Quote from: Noelemahc on March 11, 2007, 06:40AM
Tommy, is it even possible to assign names or tags of some sort to the anims in the export files? Mayhap that's the reason you're meeting resistance?

The way it works is you have a "note track" within max which defines a start, end and a label, and this information forms part of any keyframe/skeleton/animation file. These enable a game to know where the "run" animation starts and ends and to play it rather than the "fly" animation.
What I've done is to take a set of keyframes I made for Freedom force and to rename the likes of "melee_1" to Attack_light1", "melee_6" to "power1" etc etc, trying to match the animations approximately to the right labels for MUA.
The next trick is to find the correct settings to export the animations in a format the game will recognize. I know from Freedom Force meshing that the wrong box ticked in the export dialogue will lead to non-working animations, so thats what I'm guessing is wrong.
I'm assuming that just as the geometry and bipeds remain constant between the two games, the rules for animation will too, but this assumption may be wrong.

(Good work on the menu idle stuff, BTW). 

March 12, 2007, 05:49PM #7 Last Edit: March 12, 2007, 06:05PM by BliZZ
tommy, can you run down all the basic anims that get used? I've figured out why I can't get the grab-smashes to work: the anims are built into the 4_combat. (The current plan of action is to name the XML2 skelie XX_char and the MUA char whose grab-smsh I want _4_combat, after busting it open and renaming/removing the tags for all anims BUT the grab-smash :P)

EDIT: Nevermind, they are all lumped together. Yay! I OFFICIALLY gave Juggs Thing's Grab-Smash! Which means (barring any glitches others discover in testing), I just gotta add passives to his costumes, wait for Noel's icons, and he is the first FULLY done char! I'm gonna go ahead and go back to add a Grab-Smash to Cyclops, so we have 2 done chars :P

March 21, 2007, 03:58PM #8 Last Edit: March 21, 2007, 04:32PM by Burning Rage
EDIT:  Meh, phukit.
Some day, someone will best me.  But it won't be today, and it won't be you.

The artist formerly known as Burning Rage.

So are there any npc characters that have menu anims?

Well, ANY npc anim can be used as a menu_idle by just putting it in the menu skellie slot, some of them are cool enough. But only XML1 Havok and XML2 Dazzler contain an actual full set of menu anims (as in menu_idle, menu_action and menu_goodbye).

Crimson Dynamo says:
In Soviet Russia, the games mod YOU!

If anyone needs any art for icons or portraits, feel  free to ask, I'll see what I can do.

Just tried pasting 19_havok.igb as the menu anims for Angel (_nc).  Maybe I pasted it wrong, but I didn't see anything unique.  He just stood there as though he had no special anims at all.  Has anyone gotten havok's menu anims to work?

May 01, 2007, 07:45PM #12 Last Edit: May 01, 2007, 07:49PM by cvc
I know its a small file like 18kb's thats why I haven't used it,may only have those menu animations.
And their turning us into Monsters its all designed!!

May 01, 2007, 07:55PM #13 Last Edit: May 01, 2007, 08:07PM by Teancum
Yeah, I'm a doofus.  I named it 70_angek instead of 70_angel. 

DESCRIPTION: (19_havok.igb)
menu_action -- puts his left hand in the air, much like Cyclops does
menu_idle -- stands at a 45 degree angle from the camera, with head facing it.  Arms move in and out slightly (no other animation on the body)
menu_goodbye -- holds left hand to chest with left elbow sticking out to his left and nods his head

So not that exciting, but it is another menu animation.  With that plus Rogue and Gambit's XML1/XML2 changes there's plenty to go around (if you want the _action and _goodbye anims)

Below are listed all the animations I know of so far:

















menu_action (character is chosen OR skin is swapped)
idle (character is selected and is idling, this is looped)
menu_goodbye (leaving the Team Selection menu).

If anyone knows of any more, let me know (the quest to export custom animations continues)