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Not sure if animation or blueprint - help making playable character with procedural animation

I’m mostly a hobbyist environment artist, but recently I’ve been trying to put together a rough prototype or mockup of a game, and try to get a better grasp of BluePrints and all the features of UE4.

The character I am making is in a wheel chair, so the animation challenges are a bit unique. The character is going to be a hybrid of a vehicle and a character, which UE4 has plenty documentation on both, but knowing how to combine then is getting be a little confused and lost. There is a GDC talk on procedural character animation from David Rosen of Wolfire Games ( http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1020583/Animation-Bootcamp-An-Indie-Approach ) that seems to really fit my goals and desires for the character movement, but I cannot find much about how to implement the movement and procedural animation for something like this, even some non-engine specific documentation would help me get started.

Any suggestions for tutorial/reading to help get me started? Should I be looking more at character animation/movement or vehicle/movement to get me started? It seems like the templates for either one of this isn’t going to help much with my goals.

Have you played around with poseable mesh components? With a poseable mesh you can set bone transformations using blueprints.

A poseable mesh component can be any skeletal mesh. The key difference is a poseable mesh’s bones can be set by code, where a skeletal mesh can have pre-made animations applied and played on it.

Check out this little demo I made with UE4. It almost entirely uses poseable meshes to do procedural animation. Albeit very strange not-realistic animation, but still it’s animated. I used a lot of Timelines and Lerping and Arrays of Bone Names to achieve these effects.

I should also mention Blend Spaces, in case you’re not yet familiar with them. With those you can dynamically blend two pre-made animations, perhaps based on a character’s speed (or any variable, really). The most common example is smoothly blending from a walking to a running animation.

I’m looking to experiment with procedural animation as well. Maybe we can help each other :slight_smile: Have you gotten any further since you posted this?

Thanks for sharing that GDC video. Going to watch it now.

Also Morph Targets might be relevant. Set them up in Blender/Maya/etc, and then use code/Blueprints to modify your mesh.

Procedural animation is of interest to me as well as I plan to combine it with pre-recorded motion capture to animate everything from weapons to non-bipedal Monsters in my game. I dabbled slightly with BP Animation and haven’t quite wrapped my head around all the features.

Looks awesome, TechLord! Especially that monster system.

New ideas tonight: a procedurally generated building or vehicle, based on the number of players, and based on their VR setup (different room sizes, from seated to walking around). Interfaces would also need to be dynamic (procedural?) based on player room size settings. Lots to toy with. I’ll post results somewhere on UE4 forums :slight_smile:

It seems like you already have some good answers here but I would like to add a bit to it. Take a look at this forum: https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?389-Kinect-4-Windows-v2-0-Plugin

This is procedural animation based on input from the kinect. I have a few posts in here about how to do this and I know there are a few other posts in there about it as well.