Standard Humanoid Animations Skeleton
All humanoid creatures will share a standard skeletal structure or “rig” which will contain a complete library of animation tracks allowing them to quickly and easily be completely animated for all gameplay actions. This will greatly aid 3D artists in adding new creatures into the world which will have access to the full range of animations available for the humanoid skeleton. Artists who wish to add new humanoids to their games need not spend time doing animation work unless they choose, and any animation improvements will become available to all humanoid game characters. The result will be a much cleaner and faster workflow for artists to get their creations into the game client and completely animated for all gameplay actions.
The Standard Rig
The rig has a very minimal number of bones (33). This should aid in improving performance in environments where possibly larger numbers of humanoids will be gathered and animating on the screen. To create detailed animations without the use of a lot of extra helper or IK bones, the bulk of the animations are being created using motion capture data. This data is then cleaned up and improved over time. None of the bones currently have constraints. Initial rigs did employ these but I found times when this was a problem so I've removed these in favour of using the puppet controls to handle fine manipulation of bones.
Files of Interest
There are a few files provided to artists who want to work with the library. A description of these files and their intended use follows.
standard_rig.blend - This blender file contains the full armature with bone connections, and possibly bone constraints or other properties which are not carried over in the BVH format. A modeller should use this for rigging their mesh to the skeleton.
base_t-pose.bvh - This bvh file contains the full armature and a single frame of animation in T-Pose. This is a good base start for those not using Blender who want to begin constructing their own custom rig, or for those who want to map their mesh against a simple non animating armature for exporting.
humanoid.puppet_alpha01.blend - This blender file contains the standard rig armature, the base male mesh and a large number of IK and driver control objects. Primarily it is used for editing the BVH tracks, but it can also be used to create non-mocap based BVH using traditional animation techniques. *Note* - The puppet will be covered in detail on a wiki page once it is out of alpha state.
humanoid.skeleton - This is the most current game ready binary version of the skeleton which contains all the animation tracks listed in the index.txt.
index.txt - A complete listing of the BVH animations with descriptions.
articulation_test.bvh - This BVH file (will) contain the full armature and a sequence of movements designed to aid a modeller in determining if the mesh is weighted properly with the armature. (not created yet)
BVH file naming and organization
The animations will be organized into directories based on category, and the filename will carry the category, action, and a number. This will allow for quick referencing, filtering and selection between variants.
Currently there are 3 categories:
Translate - These animations are commonly used when a humanoid is moving through 3D space in some manner. Walking, Running, Jumping etc.
Action - These animations reflect significant gameplay actions, performing tasks or using tools. Punching, Digging, Eating etc.
Gesture - These animations represent emotive or idle types of actions which may not involve use of the whole skeleton. Waving, Yawning, Stretching etc.
Typically you will want to name an animation track appropriate to signify the action, tool, and specific body part of focus when applicable. An example would be "actn_hammer_pole_RH_0.bvh". Body parts are simplified to abbreviations, and the first version of any animation begins at 0 and any variants are numbered sequencially. This should allow for quick an easy filtering to find animations based on different criteria as the list grows in length.
"Rigging" your model
To do - fill out the details, point to media guides etc... -Checking your model statically first... -Humanoid layout (wiki page)
How to rig and test your bone weights
To do - Add instructions and video...
Getting your exports ready for client use
To do - go over editing mesh.xml, and provide links to model def and animation section info..
Working with BVH
Provide description of the puppet and a link to information video...
To do - Go through common methods and provide videos as guides.
To do: Add mocap links and some information... Provide information and video example on how to use the puppet to make new BVH...