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PixelTricks
04-25-2008, 11:16 PM
http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/52403

When it arrives next Tuesday, Rockstar North's Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, X360) will be the first retail game to feature NaturalMotion's euphoria animation technology.

In advance of the title's release, NaturalMotion sent over a video demonstrating how the real-time animations of the euphoria engine differ from other solutions, such as ragdoll physics.
The euphoria technology is also being utilized the physics-intensive PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 editions of LucasArt's Star Wars: The Force Unleashed as well as NaturalMotion's own football game Backbreaker (PS3, X360)


High quality video:
http://www.naturalmotion.com/euphoria.htm

Anyone know if anything like this is coming to 3d applications ?

KOKE
04-26-2008, 12:27 AM
Looks very cool, I really like the idea that each time the movement generated will be different.
That will contribute a lot to realism in games, specially when dealing with areas full of enemies where you can really see those different moves.

Never been a GTA fan myself but I am looking forward to Lucas Arts new game.

nice!.

JK.

:D

Ashz0r
04-26-2008, 12:54 AM
I saw some preview animations to euphoria on youtube a while ago when looking for videos for GTA4 and it looked really good.
The physics would be awesome for American football / Rugby games.
Getting GTA4 on Tuesday, looking foward to seing how well it works in game.

Chinwagon
04-26-2008, 02:30 AM
As an animator, this technology scares me.

I know a program won't be able to portray the subtle emotive power of good character animation (any time soon!) but it just narrows the range of what work can be given to animators.

I applaud naturalmotion's awesome achievement with this but I just think that as it gets better, easier and more popular, the more companies will use it and the less they'll be employing animators.

:/

P_T
04-26-2008, 04:00 AM
On the other hand, as games are getting bigger and more realistic, I think procedural techniques will become more and more important. I remember seeing a procedural city generator a while back, Subversion or something it's called. There's also Pixelux's Digital Molecular Matter that applies procedural damage to objects according to their substance, also featured in The Force Unleashed.

Kabab
04-26-2008, 04:16 AM
On the other hand, as games are getting bigger and more realistic, I think procedural techniques will become more and more important. I remember seeing a procedural city generator a while back, Subversion or something it's called. There's also Pixelux's Digital Molecular Matter that applies procedural damage to objects according to their substance, also featured in The Force Unleashed.
Yeah i totally agree..

There is also http://www.allegorithmic.com/ (high quality procedural textures for games) which looks rather interesting...

switchblade327
04-26-2008, 04:19 AM
As an animator, this technology scares me.

I know a program won't be able to portray the subtle emotive power of good character animation (any time soon!) but it just narrows the range of what work can be given to animators.

:/

I have to admit, Euophoria has come a LONG way since the last time I saw it demoed. The Force Unleashed demo didn't really impress me (the stormtroopers behaved like those old barrel-of-monkeys toys) but this is pretty slick. The animation has no personality or charm (but neither do a lot of game animations and mocap these days) and it definitely doesn't have the precision or snap to it that melee combat animations need. Plus we have no idea what kinda of headaches this means for an AI programmer.

Still, assuming it's semi-easy to implement, I can see this being good enough to replace a lot of game animation needs once the practical implementation looks as good as the demo (and it won't for a long while if ever; that's the nature of demos).

What I'd really like to see is this behavior on a properly skinned, high resolution, next-gen, realistic game character running this demo. Animation is very much a part of the uncanny valley and I just don't see this looking 'right' on a realistic human character. Not yet anyway.

We'll see how it looks in GTA4 and I'm sure it'll be great but even then, there is no way the game itself is as 'mocap or keyframe-free' as this demo is.

biliousfrog
04-26-2008, 09:40 AM
nevermind the animation system, no GTA4 for PC! :cry:...San Andreas was awsome, especially when the online multiplayer mods were released.

P_T
04-26-2008, 01:14 PM
I have to admit, Euophoria has come a LONG way since the last time I saw it demoed. The Force Unleashed demo didn't really impress me (the stormtroopers behaved like those old barrel-of-monkeys toys) but this is pretty slick. There's a Penny Arcade take on it... :D

http://www.penny-arcade.com/images/2008/20080201.jpg

switchblade327
04-26-2008, 09:38 PM
There's a Penny Arcade take on it... :D



Holy crap that is awesome :) Thanks for sharing.

SheepFactory
04-27-2008, 01:46 AM
I have been watching a lot of GTA4 live playthrough videos today to check this out and I am not seeing the believable motion they advertise. It still looks like the floaty ragdoll anim to me.

I think this is a great tech and is necessary for a game with the scope of GTA4. There is no way you can keyframe animate all the scenarios and characters in the game. But I think its still a far stretch from replacing keyframe anim in games.

Geta-Ve
04-27-2008, 05:42 AM
I have been watching a lot of GTA4 live playthrough videos today to check this out and I am not seeing the believable motion they advertise. It still looks like the floaty ragdoll anim to me.

I think this is a great tech and is necessary for a game with the scope of GTA4. There is no way you can keyframe animate all the scenarios and characters in the game. But I think its still a far stretch from replacing keyframe anim in games.

And you're surprised by this? :D

ThomasMahler
04-27-2008, 07:44 AM
I think Sheep just wanted to say that we're FAR from replacing animators wit some automation algorithms.

It's much like the tools that'll let you create variations of humans - Maybe they're passable now, maybe they make sense in some game pipelines and maybe they'll produce 'good' results in the future, but I don't think this stuff will ever replace an artist at work, be it an animator, a sculptor or whatever. I think we'll always see the difference between an algorithm doing it's job and an artist working for hours on a subject that he's specialized in.

JoshBowman
04-27-2008, 08:09 AM
It's more a passable approximation of the movement someone would make because it does the job and it's a lot cheaper to buy that programming package than pay animators to make 1000s of different reactions.

Eitherway, I'm finally succumbed to buying a PS3 because of this game (and MGS4 when it comes out).

SheepFactory
04-27-2008, 08:35 AM
It's more a passable approximation of the movement someone would make because it does the job and it's a lot cheaper to buy that programming package than pay animators to make 1000s of different reactions.

Eitherway, I'm finally succumbed to buying a PS3 because of this game (and MGS4 when it comes out).


Animators dont have the time to do 1000's of reactions anyway. It makes much more sense to have animators animate the stuff that matters the most and have this kind of variation stuff taken care of by euphoria. Again it is totally game specific too. If you have a game with a million characters and open sandbox environment like GTA it will benefit greatly from it.

I cant wait to see this tech evolve to the point that we can see believable motion in games. The ragdoll physics are just plain stupid and looks so bad. Here is an example from gta4:

http://i32.tinypic.com/2jd000x.gif

Everytime some new tech comes along someone quickly cries wolf about how keyframe animation is so dead! I dont think anyone has anything to worry about. :)

priscillademon
04-27-2008, 09:48 AM
wohooo! :D

ThomasMahler
04-27-2008, 10:04 AM
But dude, it'd be a lot of fun to animate THIS certain situation! ;)

Brettzies
04-27-2008, 10:09 AM
I have to admit, the video is very cool. Since there is no mocap or keyframe, how is it setup? Someone still has to define the poses correct? Or something like that. I mean, how does it know what a "wave" greeting is, etc.

McGreed
04-27-2008, 02:54 PM
While it might not replace animators, I think it will be a good tool to help blocking out animation, as long it doesn't lock the animation down too much, and make too much garbage key frames, if you understand what I mean. Like the Frontpage WYSIWYG thing, might look okay on the surface, but the cleanup afterwards when you want to manual edit something ugh. :)

Example of use: Have a guy running towards a cliff edge and jump. Would be easy to adjust and test how long strides he need to make with this tool.

Wizdoc
04-27-2008, 04:32 PM
Anyone know if anything like this is coming to 3d applications ?

It already is. It's called Endorphin.

Euphoria is for real-time applications (i.e. games) while Endorphin is a solution for "pre-rendered" stuff (i.e. TV, films etc.). There's a Learning Edition available at Naturalmotion site and it is a blast to play around with.

switchblade327
04-27-2008, 05:26 PM
It's more a passable approximation of the movement someone would make because it does the job and it's a lot cheaper to buy that programming package than pay animators to make 1000s of different reactions.

Eitherway, I'm finally succumbed to buying a PS3 because of this game (and MGS4 when it comes out).

I didn't see a price listed on the website and I kind of doubt it's cheap and implementation in your game engine is obviously a bit more complex then slapping it into your code and calling it good. All middleware has some associated overhead. Sometimes a lot. Something like this? A whole lot. And we can assume even more then that before any game actually looks as good as the demo.

Are you actually saying its a better quality then keyframe animation? Or better because you assume it's cheaper? Because if game animation were all about the bottom line, regardless of quality then I guarantee you the cheapest solution/'what does the job' and would always be to outsource every animation in your game to China. Ask people who've tried that how well that works.

Also, you realize the GTA4 is being released on both ps3 and 360, and 360 is getting exclusive content later on, right? MGS4 is gonna sell me a ps3 anyway but I hope people don't think this is a Sony exclusive anymore.

P_T
04-27-2008, 05:42 PM
I think some of you guys miss the point of using this technology. The way I understand it is to create a more natural way of animating some movements in a game. By "natural" I meant that the characters won't repeat the same animation clip over and over again.

Of course people know they don't look as good as when they're hand animated but this way developers can have pretty much an unlimited amount of animation (that'll never look the same to players) at a smaller cost in terms of hiring animators and (I'm guessing) smaller disk space.

Kage06
04-27-2008, 06:33 PM
Yeah ,usually in games, you hit someone, and they fall/die exactly the same way every time.
Ragdoll physics went a bit of a way to stop this from happening, but this system actaully has the capability, to in some way act mroe human like when in these situations, and learns from its surroundings.

So, as I understand it from the videos, there is a keyframed animation of a jump for example off of something, and then the Euphoria engine takes over the fall, and the land, and then a predestined keyframed animation smoothly follows on (lets say a walk).

I can see the technology in the videos. For instance, the way he goes down stairs one step at a time, and doesn't pass through, doesn't jump loads of steps, and then way he tilts while turning, etc. I think that is partly to do with Euphoria too.

skAt3f0r71f3
04-27-2008, 07:31 PM
I downloaded the Learning Edition and it's pretty fun!
Everything is super easy and enjoyable!

PixelTricks
04-27-2008, 07:49 PM
I downloaded endorphin learning edition.
Its a really nice tool to get a general animation going .
The learning edition works just like the retail but you cannot export the keys only an avi of them.

Too bad its another tool that is priced outside the range of hobbyist.
$9, 495.00

I truly wish some of these companies would consider allowing lower pricing for people that do not intend to profit from the work.

I already paid 4K for Max, a lot of money for a hobby.
I can't justify 10K just for animation software.

FabioMSilva
04-27-2008, 07:53 PM
:eek:whaa? 10k? thats expensive as hell

its almost as much as a mocap suit

skAt3f0r71f3
04-27-2008, 10:44 PM
:eek:whaa? 10k? thats expensive as hell

its almost as much as a mocap suit

I know!
That much money could get you a nice used car!

Kabab
04-27-2008, 11:54 PM
:eek:whaa? 10k? thats expensive as hell

its almost as much as a mocap suit
Sounds really cheap to me to be honest....

What does a decent animator cost per hour? $50+ an hour?

Michael5188
04-27-2008, 11:59 PM
Awww, so no more ragdoll arms and legs flipping out and flailing in the air? Isn't that why we play games?

Shletten
04-28-2008, 03:14 AM
Awww, so no more ragdoll arms and legs flipping out and flailing in the air? Isn't that why we play games? Well usually I would tend to approve you but actually I was really looking foward to ragdolls that are still alive and not all limb. Ragdoll physics is one of the first thing I check when I get to play a game, sometimes I play just for the ragdoll.

Games I played with nicely configurated ragdoll physics :
Unreal Tournament 3, Stranglehold, Source Engine and not many more.

These games do not feature falling, mistepping characters who are still moving, contracted and featuring behaviors when they're at their ragdoll state. GTA4 does that and I've got to say it improves a lot of things.

Anyway... Check the review, in my opinion the way the characters bouce over cars and die is way better than your average game. http://www.gametrailers.com/player/33327.html

switchblade327
04-28-2008, 05:59 AM
I think some of you guys miss the point of using this technology.

Don't get me wrong; I'm impressed and game animation has a lot of room to grow. And I understand the 'no keyframe, no mocap' statement is necessary to show how powerful it can be. But a lot of people who don't know any better are going to see that and think "Hooray! We can finally get rid of those f#$*ing animators!" And that's just not the case.

Bonedaddy
04-28-2008, 06:22 PM
They put a balance behavior in there? Thank the lord.

I was using Endorphin... 2.5? I think? And trying to get some people to just stand up was... difficult. Almost every other request on their forums were for balance behaviors. The solution was to chain peoples' limbs in place until you needed them to move around.

My impression, after several months of use, was that it was useful to get a base pass, but you needed hand animation afterwards, because you could only push it so far. Maybe they've improved the tech?

SheepFactory
04-28-2008, 06:52 PM
My impression, after several months of use, was that it was useful to get a base pass, but you needed hand animation afterwards, because you could only push it so far. Maybe they've improved the tech?


Would you mind telling about how that workflow works? Does it bake out the animation and you just clean it up afterwards like with mocap?

Pedrotheartist
04-29-2008, 07:46 AM
If you are talking about Endorphin, then yes the workflow is pretty much as you described, it's pretty much like a mocap data, it's just spits out a whole load of keyframes, which you then take to your native 3d app to fix.

I could'nt agree with you more Bonedaddy, getting guys to stay up in Endorphin is a real pain, a slight force and they are down. In my understanding Euphoria is a slighter more advanced system than Endorphin, in which a character can keep their balance a lot better :)

If you are know what you are doing with Endorphin you can get fantastic results.

All this talk of this tech taking the animators jobs is just scaremongering, people were saying the same thing about mocap 10 years ago :)

switchblade327
05-02-2008, 03:59 PM
I'm sure there's already a GTA4 thread but who here has been watching out for Euphoria in the game? The car crashes are kind of silly and annoying (am I missing the seatbelt button?) but their use of Euphoria to simulate drunken wobbliness is AWESOME.

Wizdoc
05-03-2008, 03:35 PM
My understanding of the workflow after playing around with the PLE was that Endorphin would be the last pass in animation before you send it out to render. You first figure out the detailed animation like walking, picking up stuff and other detailed interaction with animating by hand or mocapping, and then use Endorphin to fill out the holes, so to speak.

Despite what the Euphoria demo video tells you, it's not a be-all-end-all animation system. You still need traditional animation methods to have your character stand up, look around, throw a punch or whatever.

But when it comes to character physics simulation like tumbling down, getting hit etc. it's pretty cool.

Nahaz
05-05-2008, 01:10 AM
I cant wait to see this tech evolve to the point that we can see believable motion in games. The ragdoll physics are just plain stupid and looks so bad. Here is an example from gta4:

http://i32.tinypic.com/2jd000x.gif


It has evolved to that point. Euphoria isn't just ragdoll physics. Checkout this demo from their website: http://download.naturalmotion.com/NaturalMotion_EuphoriaDemo_720p_60fps.mov

I tested out a trial version of Endorphin a few years back. I wasn't that impressed, however i did see the future potential of a reactive physics based system to be used in games, i guess NaturalMotion did too.

I'd like to see similar functuality in Maya, where i can define key poses and the animation engine creates intelligent inbetweens for me.

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