Use Neoaxis for a non-interactive, machinima-like 3d app?



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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012
Posts: 2
Country: Greece (gr)
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:34 pm Post subject: Use Neoaxis for a non-interactive, machinima-like 3d app?
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Hi all,
I am currently a CS PhD student and my research is on knowledge engineering and particularly on modelling film direction knowledge.

For the purpose of conducting some experiments, I have been searching the web to find a high-level, open-source 3D engine/API, preferably for Java but any other suggestion would be useful, with fair documentation/tutorials and an active community, that will enable me to easily generate some basic "film scene" examples programmatically, without having to go in the deeps of 3D programming. And this has to be done through code, rather than in some 3D platform like 3DMax or Blender.

For example I may need to generate a room, then place some objects (e.g. furniture, everyday-objects) and some human characters in it, and then create basic animations for the characters (e.g walk, sit on a chair or lie on a bed, bend, make simple gestures such as wave, point, hug or grab an object, etc). I will also need to move the characters around, so I need to be able to create motion paths (straight or curved) for translating the characters and the camera in space along these paths, or define the position/orientation of objects frame-by-frame by providing pre-calculated values for translation/rotation for each frame. And all these need to be done programmatically, i.e. through code. Finally, regarding animation, I need to load meshes of 3d models (in some format) together with their animations, and then activate/deactivate the animations through code. And also I may need to activate more than one animations simultaneously (e.g. walking cycle and waving hand simultaneously).

I have spent a lot of time checking out a large number of 3d/game engines and the truth is I have got quite confused... I don’t have any experience in 3D programming and for that reason I need the API to be as high-level and easy-to-understand as possible. Note that I don’t care about audio, networking or high rendering quality. Also I don’t want this to be interactive at all (as opposed to games). I just need to generate a rendered clip through code, according to a number of specific directives.

I came across Neoaxis and it sounds really promising! But I am wondering whether Neoaxis would be the optimal solution for what I need to do. Is it high-level enough to easily tackle this task?

I will very much appreciate any help/tip/hint!

 
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010
Posts: 337
Location: HK
Country: Hong Kong (hk)
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:09 pm 
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I would say this is an ideal engine for it as it makes the task pretty damn easy. I'm not a programmer but I've found NeoAxis to be very straight-forward to work with, using the "CutSceneManager" via the "Logic Editor" you can rig a simple timed cutscene in just a few minutes. Mapcurves are also easy to work with and there's a good amount of examples to check out from the demo to learn how. "Designer Type" mode in the Logic Editor makes it possible to learn some coding, pull things apart and read through them backward, which is great way to learn more complex scripting methods.

http://www.neoaxis.com/wiki/Documentati ... gic_Editor
http://www.neoaxis.com/wiki/Documentati ... nager.type
http://www.neoaxis.com/wiki/Documentati ... Curve.type

I should also mention that getting animated meshes into the engine and looking good is very easy and quick, too.

 
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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012
Posts: 2
Country: Greece (gr)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:42 pm 
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Oh that's great! But a restriction that I have in my project is that everything has to be done through code (i.e. loading models and transform/animate them), rather with the help of some editor. Is that possible through the NeoAxis API?
And a couple of critical questions regarding the API's features:
- Does the API allow one to specify the position/orientation of a 3d object “frame by frame”, by providing pre-calculated values for translation/rotation, for each frame?
- Does the API allow one to translate a 3d object along a pre-calculated motion path?
- Does the API allow loading of animations together with the loading of a mesh? Which formats are compatible? the Collada format?
- Does the API allow one to activate multiple animations simultaneously, given that those animations are loaded together with the mesh (e.g. walking cycle and moving hand at the same time)?
- Does the API enable one to code in advance transformations (translation, roation), as well as activate/deactivate animations of a 3D object, for specific time intervals, in order to generate the desirable rendered clip through code?
For example, let's say I want to generate a rendered clip of 15 secs, in which a character model is sitting on a chair for the first 5 seconds, then stands up and translates in space for five seconds (which means that the walking cycle should also be activated for that five seconds) and then stops and turns his head to the left while waving for another 5 seconds). What I need to do is to be able to load the characters and any models needed (e.g. chair), and code these actions in advance, so as to generate the rendered video through code. Is that possible through the API?

Thanks and sorry for the question bombing!

 
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