Help for converting Bone-Animation .x files to Limb animation .x (TS7.6)

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Help for converting Bone-Animation .x files to Limb animation .x (TS7.6) // Game Development

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Post by hangar18 // Feb 19, 2009, 12:48am

Total Posts: 5
Hi All, I recently purchased Male Trooper 02 from (which is an soldier with keyframe bone-animations) but because I am using dark basic as the platform bone animations will not work (needs to be limb animation). I believe its possible to cut the limbs from the main object in TS7.6 and then reassign the bone keyframes as limb keyframes because TS is capable of remembering the limb heirarchy.

However, having played around with TS I have no idea where to begin. I cant even load the animated .x file into TS (it loads without any error message but nothing appears in the "scene"). Any help would be gratefully appreciated.


Post by TomG // Feb 19, 2009, 5:19am

Total Posts: 3397
There are two kinds of animation, one is hierarchical (objects and groups of objects are moved, rotated, etc in space and recorded at keyframes), the other is skeletal, where a skeleton is moved and it controls the movements of the objects.

It is not possible to convert one to the other. tS should load hierarchical animation just fine. Skeletal animation is a different thing as each program has its own way of handling skeletons and getting that animation from one program to another is, as a result, very hard. Even if you get skeletal animation to load, I know of no way to remove the skeleton and turn it into hierarchical.

And if you load hierarchical animation, you can't turn that into skeletal animation.

The only conversion method is to strip off the old animation, and build the new manually. tS will let you construct either type manually, and will export both to X format (though skeletal animation may be very hard to get working in your end application, as mentioned that is a hard thing to move between programs).

Not sure why the object wouldn't show up - it could be there but very small, or very large; if it does have skeletal animation, this could be causing a problem. I would check the LE after load, see if there is an object there at all (ie is very small, or is offset to an odd location, or there is something strange at keyframe zero and moving through the animation timeline will fix it), or if nothing came in.

One thing to note, X export works from the workspace and so can use the new (better) bones system. X import can only be done on the Model side though, which means at best you will get the old bones system.

Do you have the object in another format, such as OBJ? That format would not have the skeletal animation (or any animation in fact), and so might allow you to load the geometry and begin rebuilding the animation in tS.

Let me know anything I have misunderstood in terms of what you are trying to do!



Post by mrbones // Feb 19, 2009, 10:00am

Total Posts: 1280
Does your animation need to be vertex animation before it works?

It is possible to import the x file into FragMotion, which will export the mesh and bones seperatly,

Once seperated you can bring the bones and mesh back into trueSpace, to be rigged to the bone animations.

Post by hangar18 // Feb 19, 2009, 1:14pm

Total Posts: 5
@TomG: Thank you for taking the time to give such a detailed reply. Yes it is skeletal animation and I guess I was hoping to avoid rebuilding from scratch. I was hoping it was just a case of reassigning bone keyframes to cut limbs (as I had heard that the heirarchy was preseved in TS). A constraint I have is that I probably dont have the time to invest in building from scratch (due to my wife's patience running out), as my animation knowledge/skill is rather limited. Plus the game (a space sim) is very near completion - just need to get the animation working and it will be basically done.

@Mrbones: Thank you also, I dont really know what vertex animation is but will be sure to check out Fragmotion as this might just work. Will post here if successful for the benefit of anyone else who is in the same position as me.


Post by TomG // Feb 20, 2009, 4:56am

Total Posts: 3397
If you want it rebuilt as hierarchy animation, you could "rotoscope" against the skeletal animation - get the skeletal animation imported, copy the model, remove the skeleton, and then you can move through the keyframes and pose your non-skeleton model into roughly the same position as the skeleton model.

Of course you might need to divide the model up into separate parts, as skeletal animation relies on the whole object being one thing, while hierarchical relies on it being separate parts glued together.

Or you could try vertex animation, point editing the object into its new pose (again rotoscoping, using the skeletal animation as the example), that might require being on the Model side.

Anyway, if the animation you purchase is skeletal, and the target system you have in mind doesn't support skeletal animation, then the animations are of no use and would need to be rebuilt. I am unaware of any automatic system of converting bone / skeletal animations into non-bone animations though.

DarkBASIC doesn't support skeletal animations at all?



Post by trueBlue // Feb 20, 2009, 5:02am

Total Posts: 1761
tS7.6 has a BonesToVertex.tsx included, would that help in this case?

Post by TomG // Feb 20, 2009, 8:15am

Total Posts: 3397
I don't know, it might. Someone with DarkBASIC would need to report back on what animation it can handle, and how it goes with exporting from tS.

You'd also have to get the bones animation in the old, Model side system, not in the new workspace side, for that plugin. So it would depend on whether the purchased model can be loaded up with animation intact on the Model side.

But definitely worth investigating those routes! Sounds like the best bet so far in perhaps bridging between the purchased model and DarkBASIC.


Post by hangar18 // Feb 22, 2009, 9:33pm

Total Posts: 5
Thanks guys, you've given me a few ideas to explore. I'll report back here if I have any success.

And no, sadly DarkBasic Classic doesnt support bone-animation at all. Dark Basic Pro does however, but that would require a rather unpalatable conversion of over 25,000 lines of code from classic to pro. And at the moment this is very much a last resort. is a privately held community resource website dedicated to Active Worlds.
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