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Old 18th Dec 2003, 09:54 PM   #1
Eyegore
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Vertex animation question

Hi all,

I have made a mesh and vertex animated - it will be a substitute mesh for an adrenaline pickup, by the way, but there is a problem with the way the animation looks

I used ActorX to export the vertex animaition and imported it with no problem, but the vertecies aren't tweening smoothly. While you get the impression that it's animating OK, it doesn't look anywhere near as smooth as the animation in Max or the other meshes in the game.

Has anyone had to deal with an issue like this before? If so, would you be willing to point me toward a tute or tell me what I could possibly be doing wrong?

Thanks!!
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 08:21 AM   #2
Captain Kewl
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I think might be a 2k3 thing. The the monsters in the bonus pack were more or less directly ported from U1 sources and their animations are choppy as well.
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 09:13 AM   #3
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Hmmm...that's interesting.

But then how did they get the banners to animate so smoothly?

I tried a couple of different methods of animation, the first being to animate a noise modifier, then manually moving the vertecies.

Neither method seems to have produced in game the same smoothness of animation as the banner or other UT2k3 animated meshes.

I tried to change the rate of the animation in the script, to no avail, Well, actually, I only reduced the speed. Maybe if I kick up the speed, that'll help.

Yeah, the animation doesn't actually look like it's tweening at all. Heck, it doesnt even look like it's playing all the frames. though the browser info indicates all the frames that are playing, it looks like it's only rendering every 5th or 8th frame.

Thanks
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 09:37 AM   #4
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Banners are made with xProcMeshes, not vertex meshes, that's why they animate nicely (xProcMesh = Procedural Mesh BTW). I don't know what your problem is though, the goop mesh for the BioRifle works fine, as does the ShockCombo vertex mesh. I've never bothered with vertmeshes though - I like skeletal meshes - so I can't help I'm afraid.
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 10:15 AM   #5
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I'll have to look at what is going on when I get home from work tonite. I'll try a couple other things, though the tute at UDN simply explains the whole process (which by the way is slightly incomplete).

I like skeletal animation too, but for this object I'm making, I need surface deformation, i.e. soft body animation. Therefore, vertex animation is necessary.

Nevertheless, thanks for the help. I'm sure I'll figure something out sooner or later. There must be a property setting somewhere I need to find.

Thanks
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 10:53 AM   #6
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how many frames are you exporting, Eyegore?

this sounds odd, but i did a huge hanging banner anim using a wave deformer in gmax, 96 frames (4 sec @ 24 fps) total, but only exported 16 of them to UEd and let the engine do the major 'tweening -- it's smooth as glass.

i didn't use ActorX, though -- instead a rather a longish export pipe via a gmax QuakeIII exporter and then into Milkshape & out again as .3ds and then into UEd vias 3ds2unr (whew!) with a dash of scripting to top it off.

maybe try exporting fewer frames, like just the major keys?
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 03:28 PM   #7
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I exported every single frame, 201 to be exact.

Could you explain the process of letting the engine tween the major keys, though? That is I don't actually mean the entire process, I have a very good grasp of 3dsMax, and a decent grasp on scripting, but I mean - the property settings in the script to set the frames for tweening. I guess I just assumed that if you exported every frame of your animation, it would come out as smooth as in the modelling program and that if you only exported major keyframes, it would considerably shorten the animation. This is not necessarily true, as I have learned.

I know there are TweenTime settings in Actor, but I thought (and perhaps incorrectly) that they were actually for smoothing between separate animations, i.e. running to resting.

In the meantime, I will of course experiment for myself...

Thanks
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 05:18 PM   #8
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basically i just imported 16 frames (of .3ds filetype, exported from MilkShape a frame at a time) via 3ds2unr, then set the anim rate in the script for the banner. by using a very slow rate (0.08), the frames were stretched over quite a time, but the anim is still very smooth. i didn't have to set any special tweening values or call any anim-related functions other than LoopAnim().

not sure how this might be done via Max & ActorX, though.
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 05:43 PM   #9
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Max has a .3ds exporter.

I'll give it a shot and let you know how it goes.
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 06:24 PM   #10
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if you plan to use 3ds2unr, here's some info & a d/l link if you need it:

http://unreal.epicgames.com/Models.htm

keep in mind that this utility was made in the Unreal 1 days, so it's a bit awkward to use, but still functional. it's been largely replaced by ActorX for vertex anims out of Max -- ActorX seems to produce similar final results with many fewer steps.
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 06:24 PM   #11
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Here's the verdict:

Exported every 25th frame with ActorX
Set the rate to 1 and compiled
MUCH BETTER!!!

Thanks Chip!
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 06:29 PM   #12
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most welcome! glad it worked out.

the trade-off is what meowcat called reduced "movement resolution" -- some types of really detailed moves will be lost (which is probably why the CTF flag anims are fully 254 frames), but for broader moves it seems to help.

Last edited by chip; 19th Dec 2003 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 08:27 PM   #13
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Welp, I got the new adrenaline in - animations and all - and tested it in game. It looks pretty good - I'm quite happy!

Thanks again Chip - when my big top-secret new level is done, you'll see why it's critical to have the vertex animations present.

Later all - I hope this thread helps out anybody else with these issues.
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 08:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyegore
when my big top-secret new level is done, you'll see why it's critical to have the vertex animations present.
sneak previews? beta testers needed? (hintage)
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 10:09 PM   #15
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Well, I'll definately need beta testers -

As far as the top-secret goes - I had a dream several weeks ago and was inspired and finally came up with an 'original' theme - well, maybe not the most original, and I'd better get finishing it up before someone else comes up with the idea.

Now, that I've hyped it up - I sure hope it doesn't end up suckin'!
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