I would like to announce a new book called, "Programming Dynamic Character Animation" published by Charles River Media, which is available now. The book contains, and explains a new animation rendering engine that can effortlessly render skinned skeletal animation using Direct3D, or OpenGL. A wrapper is written for each API that you want to support, and the main animation engine loads the correct dll. Unreal Tournament has similar functionality in that they let you choose the "back end" renderer. This screen shot shows the benifit of this type of architecture. I wrote a new rendering dll that is abstract like "cartoon render", or in this case, ASCII render. The code for the main app remains the same. At runtime, the user selects the appropriate rendering dll.
Yes, this image is a cheat for the following 2 reasons :
1) the bright areas of the source image are actually visible ~20%. Source image can be 3d realtime rendered, or 2d image.
2) I have the saturation high so many of the characters are the @.
The 2d source for this particular ASCII image is from the cover to Stephen Kings Novel, "Desperation"
Text character selection is shape, and intensity based.
I havn't decided yet whether or not to release the ASCII dll. It was really to show how easy it is to modify the rendering. The book includes the Direct3D, and OpenGL dlls.
The book includes source code for a Modeler, and an Animator, and the dll based rendering engine. It is designed to be a closed system, in that all model creation, editing, and animating code uses the game engine for "what you see is what you get" creation. Of course it can load models from MilkShape, and 3D Studio MAX as well. But the goal is for you to add modeling features yourself that 3DSMAX may, or may not have, like, for example, 3D painting multitextures on objects.
I have been professionally employed as a software engineer in the entertainment industry for 10 years. I am currently employed as a software engineer at Atlantis Cyberspace. I am paid to "reverse engineer" games like Quake3, and UnrealTournament so they can be modified to run on custom stereovision hardware. Many of the things I learned during the reverse engineering process have ended up in this dll based Direct3D/OpenGL engine. I am going to provide updates of this engine to owners of the book for about a year. I plan on adding many features to the engine, including ANTI reverse engineering code, mainly to prevent cheating in any game that uses this engine.
Sorry this post is all about the engine, but thats all im in it for... animating is for artists.
Additional pictures can be found at the Tanzanite Software Homepage