View Full Version : Ape Escape UT2004 playable character

09 September 2005, 12:41 AM
Hi, there.
I've started a very big Animation project right now involving Unreal2004. I began converting one of my old models ( as an playable UT character complete with custom animations, ragdolls, etc.
I'm doing the Ape Escape monkey from Konami. So far, I've got Idle_Rest, RunF, and RunB done. I'm doing about a cycle or two a day(there are about 40 total, yikes!)
Also had to uprez the textures to 512x512 and render the light information into the texture more so it'll read clearly ingame.
Here are some pics. Model, texture, rigg done by myself. I'm using maya trax to keep all my cycles nice and organized, plus I can speed up or slow down clips and edit the motions easier this way.

Hopefully, when I finish all the cycles, my animation ability will improve which is my goal for this project.

I made a little movie testing out some of the cycles "ingame", you can look at it here:


If you've got UT2004 installed on your machine. You can view the demo in actual realtime. Download the .ut2 file here:


I recommend launching the map from UnrealEd using the "playmap" button within the editor. You can also "doubleclick" the .ut2 file, but you'll get bots spawning into the map which is a little distracting.

Thanks for looking!

Here are some stand alone cycle exe files for the cycles done so far:


09 September 2005, 02:04 AM
the UV layout looks so cute. aww.

09 September 2005, 02:31 AM
ooooh, sooo cool! Awesome job man, it looks so cool! I gotta learn to get my characters ingame!

09 September 2005, 05:05 AM
Run Right cycle done! Woohoo! Run's are a pain with IK legs. I wish I could use my FullBodyIK rigg I got for him in Maya 7(you can switch IK/FK legs "on the fly" and floor contacts are cool as hell), but currently, there is no ActorX plugin for Maya 7.. sigh(chop, chop, Epic!)
This took me the entire Jet Set Radio OST to do.. Time for sleep.....


Thanks for comments so far :)


09 September 2005, 06:45 AM
Looking good - ive never played ape escape, but i remember the cheeky lil chappies slapping their ass in the MGS3 'snake vs monkey' subgames!
I actually grinned when i saw the video - theres something great about seeing something youve worked on actually in a game!

How are you able to make bink videos? Is it a special codec you apply to premier or something? Bink is simple, fast and good quality.

09 September 2005, 08:52 AM
I remember when i used nearly all my time on playing Ape Escape, damn funny.

09 September 2005, 09:36 AM
man they make me wanna grin. tribute to an excellent design.
youve captured that manicness of the anim perfect.

09 September 2005, 03:38 PM
How are you able to make bink videos? Is it a special codec you apply to premier or something? Bink is simple, fast and good quality.Hmmmm....

They have a lot of good info on their site and it looks like the tools for making Bink videos come in a tidy little package (only 1.2 MB). I think I'll be testing it out soon. :)

09 September 2005, 05:06 PM
Thanks, guys! Your comments always make me feel better about what I'm doing and believe me, when I saw him "ingame" for the first time, I did more than "grin", I jumped up and down like hyper school boy. It was a long and painful trial and error process to get Maya's bone and weighing information to sync up correctly with UnrealEngine.

I've been a big fan of the APE ESCAPE games since part 1. I even got the Japanese import of part 3 when I was in Japan this year and the APE ESCAPE 2001 monkey pants catching spinoff game along with all the others in the series. They are among the funnest in my collection and one of the few games to make use of dual analog.

Here's a little BINK tutorial for you guys. BINK is fantastic! I first saw it in a PC game called "Tachyon"(starring Bruce Campbell..hehe). I was amazed at the quality of the cinematics at such low file size. Since then, it's become the standard choice for cinematics in many games(Blizzard seems to love Bink also) and there is even a PS2 version for game developers.

Ok, here goes..

1. First, install radgametools and run "radvideo.exe" in your directory. Bink works best with .avi or .mov files. For render movies, I use an uncompressed .mov file because Bink has a problem compressing .avi files over 1gig. With .mov, it doesn't matter how big the file is. Select the .avi file a hit "BINK IT"

2. Here is the settings menu. This is the settings I usually use. You can increase the settings for better quality or decrease them for a smaller bink file. If your movie doesn't have lots of quick movements, go with a much lower setting. When the compression settings are too low on a movie with lots of quick motions, it looks like crap. Uncheck compress audio if your file doesn't have sound. When ready, hit "BINK"

3. Now you'll get the compression screen. It'll tell you when the file will be ready and you can hit "preview" to see what you've got thus far(really cool).

4. The result will be a very small, but DVD-like quality file of your huge-ass movie file.(I've compressed a 3gig .mov file to 25mb with little quality loss) However, this .bink file can only be viewed by people with Radgametools installed on their machine. Now it's time to make a standalone .exe file which has the BinkVideo codec and player "embedded" into the .bink file.
Select the "movie.bik" file and choose "Advanced Play".

5. Here are some useful settings like "loop animation" which is great for cycles. Also, you can choose to play in fullscreen which gives you a nice "ingame" effect. When ready, hit "Make EXE"

6. You'll get this screen. Simply choose a file name and location and hit "Compile" and you're good to go!

Some useful controls when in the player:

SPACEBAR= pause/play movie
. = still step
ESC =exit player

You can also convert bink files back into .avi's with the convert video option. Also, you can mix in sound later(like for a demo reel) with the MIX AUDIO feature.
Unfortunately, these .exe files won't play on a mac(they've got their own version of bink) but if your on Windows(and most of you guys are) it's fine.

============END BINK VIDEO TUTORIAL=============

-pod :)

09 September 2005, 06:11 PM
Thanks for that. For someone extremely idle and scared of unfamiliar programs, that guide is just what i need! Ill give it a go for my next showreel (that i havent even updated yet)

09 September 2005, 09:24 PM
WalkF is done. Tried to put some wacky personality into it. I can't wait to get to "ASS SMACK", that should be fun. :) (


Thanks for looking. :)

09 September 2005, 09:29 AM
I like the funny little way you have given them, has Ape Escape 3 comed out in USA yet?

09 September 2005, 11:18 AM
I agree with others too, really awsome dude

09 September 2005, 12:03 PM
yeah thanks alot dude, ive been trying to figure out how to get me stuff on the net at high quality for ages,

i have loads of videos,etc that ive never shown no one(thats not my girlfreind, and whos vaguely interested).

Thank you again.

09 September 2005, 09:45 PM
I got WalkB and WalkL done. This concludes all the walking and runing cycles. Next will be swimming and dodging.
I was playing around with raytraced shadows so these look a little prettier. (

WALK B ( (


I also updated the "realtime" .ut2 file ( above for those who have UT2004 installed. My little monkey room is getting crowded. Had to start labeling these guys...

Thanks for looking. :)

10 October 2005, 07:48 AM
Podman, when you are finished are you going to make a small tut about how you got your characters into the engine

10 October 2005, 11:05 AM
:thumbsup: looking sweet only slight crit is that the sideways walk cycle is a little jerky, should be a little sneakier/smoother in my opinion.

arnt bink videos great.

10 October 2005, 11:00 PM
kOmoo, my main resource I am using to get this stuff "ingame" has been from the folks at ( whom have helped me for quite some time, and also I've got this HUGE book that I page through when I'm stuck. It's "Mastering Unreal (" and it's the virtual Bible for learning the basics of UnrealEngine 2 with an emphasis on getting Maya content into the engine. It's quite a big read.
Also, Sunny-D's tutorial ( been very helpful.(check out his awesome Alice models/animations on his site, btw) The only problem I foresee is creating custom ragdolls with KAT, epic's physics authoring tool. I haven't been able to find much documentation on that process and I've never tried anything passed a simple hanging latern. Anyone got the skinny on ragdolls?

SHEPEIRO, thanks for that. I will try and massage the animation curves on that cycle. "Smooth" is definately the key thing I'm looking for with these animations, however, my outdated rigg design on this little guy is really coming back to hurt me. I'm doing "ASS SMACK" right now(probably the hardest of the set next to "Wall dodge") and it's taken me 2 days so far for a 60frame animation. The main reason is that I've got only IK arms, IK legs and SpineIK back. ouch! If I were to rebuild his rigg today, I'd go with FK/IK arms, simple IK back and FK/IK legs. Reason why is because if you've ever tried to key "swinging" motions with IK, it's a VERY frustrating experience. You have to adjust and manage keys/animation curves on 3 translation values in world space(x, y, and z) PLUS a pole vector controller(to control the pointing direction of the elbow) just to get a simple rotation motion of an arm. FK arms would be just one keyframe and one curve.

In UnrealTourny, most of the time, IK is what you'll want because the arms have to be "constrained" to the gun, however, in many animation circumstances, FK is the better solution.

I'm going to see if I can work out "plotting" animation from my Maya 7 rigg into Maya 6.5(ActorX, unreal's exporter, currently only supports up to Maya 6.5) because my rigg for Maya 7 is much easier to do motions and if I keep going at this rate on my old rigg, I'll be doing cycles till next year. :)

How well the rigg is built plays such a huge role on how easy it is to animate. I've learnt this lesson the hard way :), but at least with "Crab Dude (", I made sure the rigg was tight.

Thanks for looking.

10 October 2005, 06:29 PM (

AssSmack (

AssSmack(under the hood) (

10 October 2005, 06:45 PM
hey podman, Ive been thinking about getting my hands on a copy of mastering unreal, I have zero experience with the engine though, so I was wandering if it would be an ideal book for an absolute beginner?

BTW the lil ape chap is looking mighty fine in a simian kinda way!

10 October 2005, 06:53 PM
luciferous, the book assumes you no nothing, so it's a good book for newcomers. What I would reccomend is hunting down the VTMs(video training modules) for Unreal from or track down a copy of the Special Edition of UT2004 which has them. They make a great companion set to the book, but they are not crucial. Building maps is not that hard to learn(just VERY time consuming). Building scripted/playable characters is the tricky bit, however, I have found many web communities to aid in my struggle including Epic and Atari's own user forums.

Thanks for looking,
-Rod :)

10 October 2005, 09:22 AM
i like the ass slap, that sounded odd, but its hard to see whats going on a bit, i think thats probably the veiwing angle or something, its just i watched it without reading the title first, and it took me a couple of watches to see what he was doing.

its quite fast, maybe a little more emphasis on the hand to ass movemnet might lead the eye in the right direction.

if the rig is hard to work with, this might be the cause.

dont get me wrong i likey, just a minor crit, but one that if overcome could make all the difference

10 October 2005, 04:06 PM
Thanks for the crit, SHEPEIRO, it's very much appreciated. I will try and slow down the hand to ass frames.

Yeah, the interpolation with IK arms is never as smooth as a nice FK rotation curve. It's a pain, but I'm trying to work with it. This cycle probably has the most motion out of all the clips thus far. ... Man, I've got quite a few tweaks to make. I'm running into another "issue" in UnrealEd with big weapons like the ROCKET LAUNCHER going "through" his body because he's so small, and the guns "ingame" are so big. I need to scale him up a bit without him looking too strange next to the default players.

Thanks again,

10 October 2005, 04:15 PM
hey its cool, i need to get back in to my animation, i enjoy setting up the rigs, and playing around with them, but anything beyond a walk/swim/flap cycle gets me in a tiss woss. its the timing thats the hardest part in my opinion.

nice to see some good game anims up here, as not many models get that attention in this section of the forums. too many posers not enough action.

11 November 2005, 07:37 PM
Whole bunch of cycles done this time. Also did dodges but I didn't post those seeing they are only 10 frame animations. Click to download......

Crouch, CrouchF, CrouchB, CrouchR, Burst, Aimed, Death1, Death2. ( (

LIGHTER FLASH VERSION...rightclick, save as.... (

I exported the "rocket launcher" texture from UT2004 and did a quick modeling mockup in Maya and matched up some UVs. This makes for a better weapon stand in then the cylinder. I had some reallignment issues when I imported into UT and hopefully this will help me avoid those in the future. :)


11 November 2005, 09:50 AM
sweet pod.
all good only crit is i couldnt tell the backwards crouch was backwards, but maybe cos of no reference points.

love the death anims, would it be possible to do a comedy, long drawn out operatic death.

one other thing the standing up aimed shot looks a little wild.

really smooth though.

11 November 2005, 12:57 AM
Looking great pod. Are you going to get the siren on his hat going? He'll make a great sniper training bot. HEADSHOT! Keep it coming



Brain Trepaning
11 November 2005, 06:16 PM
ooooh, sooo cool! Awesome job man, it looks so cool! I gotta learn to get my characters ingame!

My website has a link to a video on how to get a character model into UT2K4.

11 November 2005, 06:39 PM
Hey, Brain. Just curious if your video covers "ragdolls". I've already managed to get everything ingame with no problems, but I need a karma tools tutorial to finish it up.


Sorry for lack of updates, fellows. I've been Rigging/Animating one of Bobo's ( excellent character models and it has been taking up all my time these days. Check it out(skin by ( ): ( <====Walk ( <=====Rigg ( <===WIP thread

Brain Trepaning
11 November 2005, 06:57 PM
Hey, Brain. Just curious if your video covers "ragdolls". I've already managed to get everything ingame with no problems, but I need a karma tools tutorial to finish it up.

The tutorial is a VERY BASIC character model creation, rigging (in 3ds Max), UV mapping and importing into UT2K4 using stock game animations. It does NOT have ragdoll info, sorry!

11 November 2005, 12:21 PM
I just show your death animations, i think need one where the ape is blasted across a room and then dies.

12 December 2005, 11:32 PM
obelisk: the siren is a good idea. Setting up shaders in UT doesn't seem to be too complicated, I'll see if I can work on that. Basically, I would have to create an alpha for the hat and do some texture animation. Dunno if I can pull it off, though. We'll see if I even get to that. Unreal engine 2 has a pretty robust particles engine too that might be useful.

kOmoo: another death sequence will probably go in there at the end. I couldn't have him fly across the room though, it wouldn't cycle correctly "ingame".

Here's some of the next set:


It's getting tougher to do these motions with my current rigg. I need to "rebuild" it better or try and get my FBIK maya 7 rigg to export properly.

Hopefully, he'll be playable soon. Almost at the end. Need to do ragdoll setup once I'm done with the cycles and that's it. Team skins are already setup and everything else should be good to go.

Thanks for watching,

12 December 2005, 03:20 AM
oh my god, that ass shaking animation is the funniest thing ive ever seen. It actually made me laugh out loud. Awesome stuff!

03 March 2006, 09:01 PM
Well, He's kinda playable right now. There are still lots of kinks I need to work out. Ragdoll's looking a little weird, some weapon alignment issues, but the biggest thing that's driving me mad is the fact that my animations are not "blending" properly. I configured all the sockets in UnrealED correctly I think.
Oh, well. If anyone knows how to fix it, let me know. You can take a look at him with UnrealEd 2 or just play him in the game.

Here's the file. Download and unzip it to your UT2004 folder, overwrite promt.. yes(it won't overwrite files already in there).


Here are some screenshots:


03 March 2006, 10:38 PM
i dont have unreal so cant try him out,but from what i can see of the screenshots youve done an amazing job on this so jealous of people who build and texture their models ,then get to see them in an actual game....let alone have them as playable characters!! well done,look forward to what you come up with next.

03 March 2006, 10:54 PM
Hah! The smaller scale makes em even funnier! Love the shot of em in the jeep! If only one was working the pedals, and the other were steering!

Cos theyre smaller models, does that make them a harder to hit target, or is the collision mesh the same as the regular characters?

Good work - its so rare to see a games model on these forums actually in an engine!

04 April 2006, 05:57 PM
Well, my model made it to SKIN CITY ( as model of the moment, but no one seems to dig it based off the comments. :(

Anyhoos, you can download it on the site right here:

Andy, the model scale doesn't affect the collision too much, I tried to make the "hitable" area wider on him so it wouldn't be too unfair :)


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