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From a game I developed years ago, I still have character models that my former 3D engine designer created and that I'd like to reuse in a Windows Phone project now.

However, the files are in DirectX format (.x) containing keyframe animation only. No bones. No skeleton.

There are a lot of animation keys defined on several frames to animate the characters.

I don't quite understand how that works, to be frankly. However, I did a lot of research regarding a possible way of getting the characters animated via XNA on Windows Phone and all I found are hints that it is generally possible but not supported. Possibly by implementing own Content Importers and Processors.

I didn't find anyone who successfully did something like that yet. How should I go about loading and displaying these models in XNA?

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This helped me alot: http://www.enchantedage.com/node/24

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As far as I know .x doesn't support vertex animation. What it does support, and what you're probably seeing, is an old style of 3D animation sometimes called "hierarchy animation". In this animation style, a model isn't a single mesh but rather a series of meshes all linked together in a hierarchy (eg. a human character isn't a single mesh but rather separate meshes for the head, torso, upper arm, lower arm, etc.) The individual meshes don't deform, but instead by applying rotations to the separate meshes the model is animated.

Think of it like a robot arm. The pieces of the robot arm don't bend, but the overall arm bends when the pieces rotate.

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