A Tool Request

Community Forums/Developer Stations/A Tool Request

Rogue Vector(Posted 2004) [#1]


(muh.SHEEN.uh.muh) n. An animated short or movie created entirely on a personal computer and "filmed" in real-time using computer graphics rendering software or
computer game technology.

If I had time right now, I'd be working on a machinima tool for Blitz 3D.

If anyone out there does have some time on their hands, how about taking a crack at it?

I would really like to be able to create a short animated film using Blitz 3D and render it to an .avi, .flc or .mov etc.


Rogue Vector.

Falelorn(Posted 2004) [#2]
Well i know someone is working on something similar. Ill see if he is wanting to annouce it earlier then later.

Beaker(Posted 2004) [#3]
You can do this already with the b3dpipeline, gile[s] and a small amount of code.

Rook Zimbabwe(Posted 2004) [#4]
b3dpipeline??? Whats that???

jhocking(Posted 2004) [#5]
Well, saying "and a small amount of code" is rather misleading. He is saying to animate your scene in 3D Studio Max and export it to b3d using B3D Pipeline (look in Specs and Utils.) But then you have to write quite a bit of code for all the other stuff (camera control, lighting, sounds, any particle effects, etc.) plus you probably want to write an editor to tie all the content together. I assume he suggested gile[s] as an editor for adding that other stuff, but it is at most a dropper for placing entities; at that you might as well suggest Droplet since that is free. You would need something with a timeline to trigger effects and camera moves at specific times in the movie. Depending on what you are doing you might even want a way to write text to display, and then set triggers on the timeline to popup the text boxes.

I had been thinking of writing tools to do this stuff. That is, an editor for composing a scene, and then playback code that parses the scene file exported from the editor. I had been thinking only of cutscenes for use in games, but you definitely have a point that this would be an interesting tool for doing machinima.

I eventually decided not to undertake this project however. It would be an enormous amount of work for a tool I do not currently need, nor is there much demand from others for a tool like this.

But, now that you've gotten me thinking about it, I think a simple cartoon/movie creator app could be really popular shareware. Probably with lots of provided animated characters for hobbiests to drop into their movies. In fact, I vaguely recall someone I know once worked on an app along these lines for kids to use.

Jeremy Alessi(Posted 2004) [#6]
Funny, I was just thinking how great Blitz would be for Machinima the other day. I think Machinima can become pretty big time if you create something with a lot of character that's really super who knows ... you might get it on a movie screen or something and with a good setup you could do scenes easily without having to pre - render it all. Now with realtime graphics on Doom 3's level you might actually have a shot to make something almost like a Pixar movie and it would take less time possibly once you had the tool set up and running.

jhocking(Posted 2004) [#7]
Well, comparing Doom3 graphics to the animation in Finding Nemo is quite a stretch.

Beaker(Posted 2004) [#8]
Sorry, I meant a small amount of code relative to the amount you would require without b3dpipeline, and relative to the amount of work you would have to do creating the characters and sets etc.

boomboom(Posted 2004) [#9]
again the problem is not with cameras etc, it is with the animation....

and you might as well just buy XSI :)

Anyway didn't microsoft make one of these a while back that sucked?

yes, it was called 3d Movie Maker

Idaho Razor(Posted 2004) [#10]
are you talking something about FRAPS
www.FRAPS.com ?

jhocking(Posted 2004) [#11]
"again the problem is not with cameras etc, it is with the animation"

Again? Who said that previously? And you're wrong, animation is not the main issue to address. There are already tons of existing animation tools you can use to generate that data. I suppose camera control can to a large degree be taken care of via existing animation tools too (by exporting the camera movement with the b3d file as a pivot, and then in code parenting the camera to that pivot,) but that still doesn't help you for triggering effects on a timeline, stuff like sounds and particles.

ragtag(Posted 2004) [#12]
If you're going through the process of doing most of the work in another app, just to render it out in real-time in Blitz....the whole exercise becomes kind of pointless. If you create something like 3D Movie Maker, it will be fun for kids to play around with, but will generally be too limited. Most 3D apps have a hardware renderer, and if you use light game style geometry, you should be able to render it more or less in real time straight to an .avi. Some of them even supports advanced shaders, shadows, multi-pass (for anti-alias, motion blur and dof) and so on.

I think the Machinima folks are interested in making movies quickly and easily, e.g. tell the character to walk there, bend down and pick up that thing and hit that other character with it etc...without going in and adding lots and lots of keyframes, moving polys and so on. The tool I would use for creating Machinima movies would be Second Life ( www.secondlife.com ), it has everything you need...including people who would be willing to star in your movies. I've also heard some rumors that Sims 2 will contain good tools for creating movies with your sims, so that might be an option.


Rogue Vector(Posted 2004) [#13]
I was thinking in terms of an extension plugin for an existing Blitz 3D editor.

So, essentially, you create an entire scene with animations and then have a camera system that can be pre-programmed to film events in the scene. (Maybe have multiple cameras set up, with different behaviours)

The final stage would be a Render To Movie system - in other words a built in screen grabber.

As the scene plays-out in real-time, frames are grabbed and then compiled into an output file such as an uncompressed avi.

The detail resolution would obviously be created by the graphics card screen resolution.


Rogue Vector

Pudding(Posted 2004) [#14]
If you have 3d Studio Max, B3d Pipeline can already export cameras, lights, etc. as fully animated B3d Extensions.

position, rotation, field of view, near clip, far clip

type, color, range, inner angle, outer angle

background color, ambient color

color, near, far

Render Properties:
draw order, billboard, auto fade, auto hide, simple occlusion, camera linking

reference external b3d files using XRef Scenes (preserving position, rotation, and scale)

Animated Materials:
animate UVs, color, alpha

export an object's visibility track

All of these extensions can be instantly previewed in Max using the B3d Viewer. You can use the B3d Extensions library (or parse the exported data yourself) to incorporate the extensions in your projects.

Future versions will support note track events (to trigger sounds, etc.), particles, and camera editing, as well as exporting arbitrary properties (e.g. Tokamak data) from Max to xml data files.

However, I haven't had much time recently to work on the pipeline (been working 7 day crunch weeks at work!). I'm also thinking about restructuring the exporter to make it easier to add this kind of functionality. So it might be a while before the next version!