Built-in cinematics in game/render 3D engine

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yannischris 101 Jan 22, 2012 at 09:31

Hello there,
I am looking for a render/game 3D engine which has a built-in cinematics library, e.g. for creating cutscenes. I know that I can create a cutscene in a 3d modelling tool and import it to an egnine as a video file, but I specifically need to be able to create cut-scenes programmatically.
So do you happened to know of any 3d render/game engines with a cinematics library, as a built-in or add-on feature?

Thanks,

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TheNut 179 Jan 22, 2012 at 15:05

Blender can do this quite easily. Blender is a 3D modelling and game engine in one. You can take advantage of modelling and animating your scene as you would in any 3D modelling package, but instead of rendering a final movie you can export your project as a Blender game. If you’re only interested in cutscenes, you can leverage the camera and animation tools available in blender with little to no programming (in python) required.

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fireside 141 Jan 22, 2012 at 15:40

Yeah, Blender is going to be as close as you get. Game engines aren’t movie makers. They’re built for real time and some just have the ability to play a video on demand. Some don’t even have that, like the free version of Unity. Blender just happens to be a combination game engine/ modeler. I take it things aren’t going well with your project, yannischris, or is this something else? You have some very strange rules, and the project seems to be outside your area of expertise. I can’t understand why your final project would be that.

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yannischris 101 Jan 23, 2012 at 10:19

Hello fireside, all,
While in search for an engine that would be appropriate for the needs of my project, I realized that the basic requirement (from which these “strange” rules derive) is that of a scheduler-kind-of class, a time managing module, which will enable me to specify animations/transformations over time, in order to create a script that would generate the cut-scene. And the reason is that the aim is not to just create some cutscenes, but a prototype tool for cutscene creation. That’s why it all has to be done programmatically. And it’s not quite the final project. It is just a component that is needed for my work.
So, do you think that this feature is supported by Blender? Does Blender have some kind of time scheduling class for such purpose?

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fireside 141 Jan 23, 2012 at 13:44

So, do you think that this feature is supported by Blender? Does Blender have some kind of time scheduling class for such purpose?

No, Blender is very specialized and most of it is non-programming kind of stuff that you aren’t supposed to do. You can program blender with python, but I don’t think it would work out like you have in mind. Those type of time schedule decisions are made in games all the time and are generally done with a type of AI called finite state machines. The character is in the process of reaching a goal, reaches a goal, then shifts to another goal, etc. Games, of course, are more dynamic so you might not need something at that level. You would just be stepping through. The problem is most game engines don’t come with that type of behavior built in. Probably you would set up way point behavior. Go to this way point, when you reach it, do this, then go to this way point, when you reach it, do that. Game characters are made to track objects, as they do that, they are assigned a walk animation. The way points are generally invisible. As you get more and more specialized to your task, you will need to write your own functions. What you will be given is generally a “lookat” function, which turns the character toward something, and a way to make a slow turn over time, etc. You’ll probably need to write your own functions for doing tasks and scheduling tasks. I think a game engine would be your best bet. It’s going to be a lot of work and I don’t think their will be an “easy” way around it. It usually takes me a couple months to learn an engine enough to be able to do anything.

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yannischris 101 Jan 23, 2012 at 18:25

Luckily, I just found this:

http://jmonkeyengine.org/groups/development-discussion-jme3/forum/topic/cinematics-system-for-jme3/?topic_page=1&num=15

Maybe this is the answer to my prayers, and a relatively “easy” way around.. :-)
Do you reckon?!

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fireside 141 Jan 23, 2012 at 18:55

Yes, as long as it’s all right for your project rules. It’s basically someone writing a lot of the functions you’ll need. The trick with JME is getting a model into it. I think they use the Ogre format. Blender exports it.

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yannischris 101 Jan 23, 2012 at 20:04

I hope so! ;-)
So supposing that I have an animated model of some other format (e.g. collada or obj), do you suggest that Blender is the best solution for converting it to Ogre? Any other options that I should have in mind as alternatives?

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fireside 141 Jan 23, 2012 at 20:45

I’m the most familiar with Blender, so that’s what I would use. I’m not sure a collada animated model will import or not. I know it has a collada importer, but I’m not sure if it has animation. I know Milkshape3d exports and imports to a lot of formats so you could check that out also. It’s proprietary, but the test version is fully functional. Another thing you’ll have to watch on free models is that they don’t have an enormous amount of polygons. Otherwise it will slow your program way down. Blender has a decimate feature to eliminate some of them, but it may throw off texture positions.

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yannischris 101 Jan 23, 2012 at 21:11

Ok, I will go with jMonkey and Blender and see how it goes…
Thanks again for the useful info!