Dynamic procedural character animation system

Most of you probably know overgrowth, I just saw a very awesome talk about its dynamic procedural animation system by David Rosen (who also started the humblebundle project as it seems). Here is the talk:

My question is, is it possible to build something like this in jMonkey as a plugin. I dont realy get how he does the mesh interpolation between the 13 keyframes he has but it looks really amazing and when I understand it correctly it could be done with any character model. So wouldn’t it be possible to create an animation control where you just set some of the parameters add it to mesh (which has bones?) and tada you have a fully animated character?


Its not really a case of “is it possible”, but more of a case of “who has the ability and knowledge to do it”.

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But how for example are the poses morphed from one to another. he must use bones for this right?

This guy is one of the most talented programmer I know.
I’m following his blog since I came here and most of the things I did for JME were inspired by a wolfire blog post by David Rosen.

So…I’ve seen this conference before, and he may sounds like it’s easy peasy, but it’s not.
As Jay said the question is more “who is capable of doing this with JME?” than “is it possible to do it with JME?”

To answer your questions on the “how?”, here is how it works IMO.
The characters are obviously rigged and the keyframes he’s talking about are bone animation keyframes. But, instead of having animations as we have in JME (bone transforms data for each frame), he interpolates the bone transforms between those keyframes. The mesh transformation is done by classic skinning
His point is : instead of having an artist tweak the animation, we can automate it with math.
He doesn’t use a linear interpolation as he explains, but spring like interpolation but that’s basically what an animation editor would do (blender let you choose the interpolation type between key frames.)

Imo this is working pretty well because those are simple animations (walk cycle, run cycle) that don’t need extreme limb positioning, and leave out the rest to physics and ragdoll.

It’s getting really hardcore when he starts to talk about inverse kinematic and physics. I like the moment when he says “we don’t need complex inverse kinematic computation here that’s just trigonometry”.
I have no idea how he does the wall walking, how the character protects himself with his arms (how does he even know he’s jumping into a wall?).

Anyway, other things that were almost like magic to me in his work : Automatic character bone weighting through voxel calculation (WTF???), and BVH animation retargetting to Overgrowth skeletons (I tried, I failed).


I am looking into something similar for walking animations for my game, and I found this presentation helpful:

Dynamic Walking With Semi-Procedural Animation