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HeroEngine Support => Art & Art Pipeline => Animation => Topic started by: gaarzen on Jun 09, 12, 04:40:37 PM

Title: [Resolved] Trying to follow Dynamic/Animating Character tutorial with no luck
Post by: gaarzen on Jun 09, 12, 04:40:37 PM
Hey guys,
I'm trying to follow the dynamic character tutorial and I am very confused ???
I have a skinned, rigged & animated character and I followed the tutorial down to "Animate your character" where it redirects me to "Animating Characters Tutorial".

In Animating Characters Tutorial something is very confusing in the order of the instructions (probably just my fault).
1. First it explains about exporting Animation then it explains about how to create the animations such as the Walk & Run Animations. It explains a few basic rules for those animations and then it says "once your animations are exported" then do the following though I can't really understand how to export the animations, I'm guessing just the skeleton with the keyframes? Looking at the thumbnails it seems to be that way.
2. It explains that an Animation Sequence File needs to be created (asq) though it didn't explain I should upload what I have so far to HE and how is best to upload the animations to the repository and where to put them as a guiding idea.
3. It shows how the Animation Set looks like inside HE and only afterwards it says I should add the animations to "Animationset.dat", only then I realized I can't make an Animation Sequence File without Animationset.dat so how come it comes afterwards?
4. After I'm done with that it says I should wire the character with the animations with the Animation Agent Script which is not a tutorial but a file with general information about .AAS file instead.
5. Back in the Dynamic Characters Tutorial after the Animation part it says I should create a .dat file for the new character, the dat contains information about file locations though it doesn't explain how it reads it, for example "Model=Guard.dyc" and "Agent=Character\Gaurd\animation\lightless.aas", how come the Guard.dyc is being located in the same folder and lightless.aas is being located in a specifically written directory.
6. Eventually the Dynamic Character tutorial redirects me to a doc about creating Part files, the doc is not a tutorial but seems more like a complex scripting guide.

Anyway I wasn't able to actually bring an animated character into HE, I was wondering if I'm missing something? Maybe there's a more detailed step by step tutorial somewhere?
I imagine many of you simply got it right but I'm new to the idea (just an Artist with Artist friends trying to make a basic starter game) and I need to ease in to the whole concept  :D

Thanks a lot !
Title: Re: Trying to follow Dynamic/Animating Character tutorial with no luck
Post by: HE-BENNETT on Jun 11, 12, 09:05:34 AM
That's an older page and is actually high on my list for revision, but first let me see if I can help you out:

1. To export the animation, it is best to hide everything but the skeleton.  The tools will attempt to exclude everything that isn't the skeleton automatically, but if that doesn't work due to an unusual setup, manually hiding everything but the skeleton is sufficient.

   Then, for each animation in the file, you need to change the range in the time slider to the beginning and ending of that animation, so if you hit 'play' in Maya or Max you will only see the relevant frames play. 

   Then you can go to the heroengine export tools and click "Animation VDA" for export type and click 'Export Visible'.

2. There should be a detailed explanation of how to upload characters and where the files go here: http://wiki.heroengine.com/wiki/Hero_Character_Tools  Though, if you use the character tools properly, it will set up the folders and generate template data files for you to edit.  Then you can just upload the created directories (which would be created at ...\HE\Character\...  to the same place on the Repo.

The character tools should create a stub idle animation from your scene file and accompanying ASQ file for you.  Additional ASQ files are created in Heroblade in the animation panel.  http://wiki.heroengine.com/wiki/Animation_panel

3. Good question!  Sounds like the original documentation was created with one learning path in mind and you came at it from a different angle.  *shrug*  Suffice to say, this documentation will be/is in the process of being improved. :)

4. The AAS file is what decides what animation to play.  Based on the inputs defined at the top of the file, you specify different sequences to play.  The ACCC (advanced customizable character controller) sets those inputs based on user input or ai, but that's another story.  This is a complex part because writing the aas is like simple scripting.  If you've never programmed before it might take you a while to get the hang of it.  This is the realm for people like me, 'Technical Artists'. 

There isn't a true tutorial for the AAS in part because it will always be different based on what you define the inputs to be and what you need your character to do.  Try looking at some of the example character's AAS files to get started and I can answer any specific questions you may have.

5. Err, well HeroEngine reads the dat file (the How of that is complicated, but I can give you the relevant parts :P) which tells it where to find all the other files it needs for that character spec.  A character spec is created in HeroBlade which knows the location of a character's .dat file.  You tell the engine "Make me a SampleCharacter!" and it looks up the dat file, reads the files listed there, and uh... does some magic and boom, character.

Again, if you use the character tools to set up your character it will generate the .dat file for you.

6. That is essentially true, except it really isn't that complex.  The character tools will also generate a template parts file for you, which will probably help a lot.  It goes like this: 

Parts go in slots, slots are grouped into divisions. 

Divisions can be whatever you want or whatever makes sense for your characters, they're just a way for the engine to be able to refer to an arbitrary group of slots. (upper body, lower body, that kinda thing.) 

So first you define your slots, you need enough to show every part that should be visible at once, this will be different for everybody.  Then you define your divisions as lists of the slots you just defined.  Then you define parts by listing them as a possible entry for a slot and giving them a display name for use in HeroBlade's GUI.

Have you tried creating a 'static' character yet?  you can still use the character tools to get it setup, but they do not require the dyc and par files and are a much simpler way to get started.
Title: Re: Trying to follow Dynamic/Animating Character tutorial with no luck
Post by: gaarzen on Jun 16, 12, 09:14:44 PM
Took a long time but I was finally able to do it.
Even understood the PAR & AAS scripts a bit.

Here is the test:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnO298Nguio (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnO298Nguio)

Thanks a lot for the very detailed explanation, Bennett ! It surely helped a lot.
Title: Re: Trying to follow Dynamic/Animating Character tutorial with no luck
Post by: HE-BENNETT on Jun 18, 12, 08:49:37 AM
Nice video, It's great you were able to get it all figured out and I'm glad I could help! :)