Character Animation Engines For Interactive Game and Web

Character Animation Engines For Interactive Game and Web

19 Pages · 2000 · 1.28 MB · English

Characters like Lara Croft in the famous Tomb Raider series, were able to respond to their environment. Her scene” sequences, as in Tomb Raider.

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1 of 19 “Character Animation Engines for Interactive Game and Web Applications using hardware assisted functionality" Tice, SE and J Lander, QuantumW orks Corporation 1, International W orkshop on Human Modeling and Animation (HMA) 2000 at Seoul National University (SNU) Seoul, Korea June 2829 2000 1 Abstract Computer graphics based character animation has been a very active topic of research Much of this research has focused on creating characters that are both the most realistic visually and in motion, regardless of computational cost both in time and processing power Creating animated characters for interactive entertainment poses a unique challenge for artists W hile characters for cinematic (or cutscene) sequences can be created by artists using traditional computer animation methods, interactive characters must be rendered at interactive rates As a result, creating these interactive characters now requires the additional talents of realtime graphics programmer “artists” Further, the processing power used to create these characters is strictly defined Traditionally, computer games have used very simple traditional cell animation techniques for creating interactive characters, sometimes known as “sprites” and “sprite animation” Realtime 3D graphics rendering hardware used to be the domain of flight simulators and superworkstations, such as those produced by Evans & Sutherland and Silicon Graphics (SGI) For the production of cutscenes, film and TV special effects companies have used super workstations, but the realtime graphics units of these machines and their output is rarely at an acceptable quality These companies used framebyframe rendering tools on these platforms or sent the frames out to their rendering farms to create the suspension of disbelief aka the highend output However, with the increasing availability of 3D rendering hardware on consumer gaming platforms, an increasing number of game productions are using interactive 3D rendering techniques to create character animation in order to squeeze the most realism from the still limited graphics power This same increase in availability of graphic rendering hardware and increasing desktop computer power has enabled all computer users, not only the hardcore game players, to experience 3D technology W ebbased entertainment and information provide an excellent opportunity to use this new capability as well This paper will examine the problem of creating highly realistic and believable characters which “suspend disbelief,” for interactive entertainment on today's new generation hardware This hardware not only allows basic realtime graphics rendering of characters, but now the hardware allows unique realtime implementations of the traditional framebyframe CPU intensive techniques The hardware includes traditional computing devices such as the PC and Mac, as well as video game consoles such as the Sega Dreamcast, Sony Playstation2, Nintendo 64, yet to be released Nintendo Dolphin and Microsoft XBox The emergence of graphics hardware enbled internet appliances and settop boxes provide further opportunities W e will examine: the authoring pipelines and production techniques; the traditional assets building tools and the game engine specific level/assets creation tools and the runtime engines that play back the characters in the realtime interactive application; and then present solutions using hardware features and techniques in nonstandard ways Specifically, we will examine potential innovations in the three areas that are directly responsible for optimally utilizing the new realtime interactive gaming hardware: • Asset construction pipeline – the general modeling/painting/animation/rendering/compositing suite of tools • Game Engine Specific Creator/Editor – aka the “level editor”, includes the game engine and allows specific asset authoring and review • Runtime Game Engine – the core software component part of the distributed game 2

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