View Full Version : Particles to represent and aerial dog fight

04 April 2007, 11:43 AM
Folks I am stuck. I am two particle systems set up to represent my fighters. I have a sphere in between them both and have them both set to find target so they head in that direction. What I want to have happen is a dogfight between the two groups of particles. Basically they will be chopping and change and moving around like they are chasing each other. This is not a hero shot so the camera will not be real close to the action. I have a wind in the middle and a speed by surface after the find target. The idea is to keep them central to the sphere and the negative value of the wind will keep pulling them around.. but it looks crap.

Can anyone suggest an approach to this that will look even semi believable. The other issue I am going to have is how to get the plane to constantly move in the right direction.

Any tips on this one would be VERY handy indeed.



04 April 2007, 01:14 PM
Thats one tricky setup.
I guess u could try to animate the target sphere, mayb with a noise controller, to give it a more random and snappy movement/rotation. Would also be worth trying to use a animated Keep Appart Op.
Its one of those things... experiment, experiment and experiment.

04 April 2007, 07:05 PM
check the Max help files, I think there's a tutorial on getting a swarm of insects to follow a swinging lantern, and that sound like you maybe be able to take alot of that info and apply it to your project. It may also be something for the Crowd features of Max. Again, check the help files for crowd.

04 April 2007, 08:02 PM
what version of Max. I have 8 and the PF tuts are the explosion one broken up into the various bits then the plane missles again broken up in the seeking and smoke etc.. neither of which will help me with my task.

Can you let me know where the tut is located and I will see if I can find it there.



04 April 2007, 09:20 PM
Any tips on this one would be VERY handy indeed.


Try this.
Use the realtime motion capture tools and program your mouse , keyboard or whatever and just fly the planes ! you'll be very happy.

04 April 2007, 06:51 PM
I have 8 too. In the help files and the tutorials, search "crowd". Or look in the "what's new" section, i think i remember seeing a picture of it there.

try these too.

04 April 2007, 11:22 PM
For what you want to do you'll be better off using the crowd system in max. Its easy to setup, and you have better control over the flight paths of your fighters.

04 April 2007, 02:07 AM
I'll tell ya, I've been down this particular road many times in the last 8 to 10 years or so. It's a very complicated issue trying to mimic the seek/avoid motion along with some kind of realistic flight model. I was able to do very simplistic "swarming" behaviors in the past with particles, but the best actual procedual dogfight I ever did used Crowd to drive the aircraft and some not-so-procedural use of particles for gunfire, smoke and debris. It was very tricky, very wobbly, unpredictible and it was hard to make aircraft do things that aircraft would (could) do in reality. I've been considering tackling this again with Box #3 (or Houdini).

The process involves creating complex seek, pursuit, and avoidance behaviors. There's also a lot of the basics of flocking that you see in Craig Reynold's work such as maintaining distance, speed and following a leader.

In the Crowd approach to animating a dogfight, I created two "teams" of delegates and gave each a seek behavior so they would try to head towards each other. They also had avoidance behaviors so they would try to get away from each other. Ideally there would be FOV limitations and lots of randomization. For example, there should be a variable that determines whether one delegate can see another as well as track him. Crowd is a state machine of sorts so unrealistically all delegates know where all other delegates are at all times. I got nice behavior out of this system and it no doubt worked well for background motion, but trying to prevent delegates from doing maneuvers that were very un-aircraft like was difficult.

This is something where, if I was doing a film with hundreds of dogfight shots, I'd hire a game programmer to write the animation engine ;)

04 April 2007, 06:04 AM
Thanks for the replies, I have been trying to do a crowd based system but at the moment it is doing my head in.

I will keep chipping away at it to see if I can come up with anything that looks decent.

Thanks again.


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