I have started to make a fantasy 3d fps swordplay game and I want to add animations. I don't want to animate everything by hand because it would take a lot of time, so I decided to use procedural animation.

  • I would certainly use IK (starting with simple reaching an object with hand ...).
  • I also assume procedural generation of animations will make less animations to do by hand (I can blend animations ...).
  • I want also to have a planner for animation which would simplify complex animations; those which can be split to a sequence - run and then jump, jump and then roll - or which are separable - legs running and torso swinging with sword -.

I want for example a character to chop a head of a big troll. If troll crouches character would just chop his head off, if it is standing he would climb on a troll. I know that I would have to describe the state ("troll is low", "troll is high", "chop troll head" ..) which would imply what regions animation will be in (if there is a gap between them character would jump), which would imply what places character can have some of legs and hands or would choose an predefined animation.

My main goal is simplicity of coding, but I want my game to be looking cool also. Is it worthy to use procedural animation or does it make more troubles that it solves? (there can be lot of twiddling ...)

I am using Blender Game Engine (therefore Python for scripting, and Bullet Physics).

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    \$\begingroup\$ A character that chops off a head of something does a lot more subtle moves and counter-moves than you might first think - at least if it should look somewhat realistic. Key-framing by hand is vital to strike good-looking poses, imo. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12_basic_principles_of_animation \$\endgroup\$ Jun 23, 2011 at 19:03

1 Answer 1


In my opinion, using completely procedural animation, besides the math and physical complexity, is not a good idea. The problem with procedural generation is that it lacks an artistic intent.

For texture or terrain generation, this is not so much a problem because you can use custom rendering to stylize your data. But animation is a much more complex thing to process.

Now to answer your question, some people are using semi-automatic animation, mostly for all physical-related constraints. In the animation engine "Euphoria" ( http://www.naturalmotion.com/euphoria ), they use a ragdoll character, wich tries to stand, and react to any physical impulse it's given.

Then to make your character hit another one, or swing a sword or an axe, you could use a predefined animation made by an artist, and blend / modify it programatically to aim at this or that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. :) I wonder, is there some free or open source alternative to Euphoria? \$\endgroup\$
    – user712092
    Jun 23, 2011 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I too think that You need to be in control of the animation. At least some animations matter and You have to controll them (game has to be somewhat deterministic, even programmer would benefit from knowing possible outcomes ...), other does not so they can be simulations (I would say ragdolls usually don't matter much). \$\endgroup\$
    – user712092
    Jun 23, 2011 at 13:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user712092 There aren't any free nor open source alternatives to Euphoria yet; Euphoria itself is fairly fresh out of R&D, so it'll probably be a while before such a project exists, if ever. \$\endgroup\$
    – Keeblebrox
    Jun 23, 2011 at 13:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I spoke too soon. There's DANCE arishapiro.com/dance, which seems similar. There's no mention of licensing, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Keeblebrox
    Jun 23, 2011 at 13:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @XGouchet: By "physic" (which has to do with medical treatment), I think you really meant to use the word "physical." \$\endgroup\$ Jun 23, 2011 at 17:04

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