I need to know the best method for animation in cinematics and gameplay.
For gameplay, I don't really understand how to do skeletal animation when you define the movements in code but in key framing you cannot control physics (that well).
In gameplay, I will rarely use physics and have everything controlled by key frames, except for clothing (a brain-killing concept, don't you think?) so I think key framing will suit me.
However, I would like freedom to apply physics to anything I wish, so I would really love some input as to what, how, and why to choose a method.
Possibly some referance to a physics and animation engine that has the capacity to do what I require.
Thanks in advance.
If you're doing the implimentation, and havn't written any sort of animation support before, start simple with keyframe animation.
Keyframe can do everything you need, cinematic scripts ect.. Its only big downfall is you wont be able to interact with physics, or reach out for objects ect. In a non-commercial game, that's nowhere near as big a deal as it sounds.
the outstanding new method imho is constraint ragdolls. the technology is developed for the fight night game. try google its. its very impressive.
publicENEMEY : maybe you could elaborate a little more instead of pure name dropping ?
Ragdolls aren't really an animation method, they're a physics method. Basically, you take the skeleton and add constraints on the angles that each of the bones can make with each other (so as not to allow the body to self-penetrate), and let the physics system move the bones around as the body hits things. It's a good way for doing death animations or any situation in which you have a limp body, but afaik they're not useful for any other animations.
well... the question then is where you draw the line. i think it's valid to say that ragdolls perform a certain part of animation. in the way that you specify movement through setting keyframes ragdolls do the same based on a physical model. your transformation data has to come from somwhere...
well, it's true that they animate in the sense of making the model move around. but they're really only useful in specific situations, meaning that even if you have ragdolls you still need skeleton keyframe data for the "general case" so you can make the model do arbitrary things. That is until we have virtual muscles and nervous systems so our characters can figure out how to walk all by themselves =D
my apologies for the 'name dropping'.
computer animation is an extremely huge topic. i rather not argue with what others opinion. i see computer animation as two broad field. animation controlled by user(which is keyframe animation) and animation controlled by constraint(usually physical based animation). old games usually resort to keyframe animation for its low cpu comsumption. newer games like counterstrike source, implements two fold animation systems. keyframe(or something similar) and ragdolls systems. when the player walks, the engine animate the model using keyframe animation. but when the player died, it switches to ragdolls systems. this kind of technique is widely used in games(hitman, max payne etc).
fight night is different. without further ado here's the link http://www.city-net.com/\~amandel/portfolio/index.html