BlenderPeople Development

Tracking the development of the BlenderPeople script suite.

Monday, December 27, 2004

With pathfinding done, I've moved on to adding more features. I'm trying to pace myself until I see what direction the Blender developers are going to take the character animation code.

New stuff done over the last couple of days:

1. Select Commanders and Subs buttons now work. So, you can select an Actor, hit the Get Stats button to load their info, then hit the Select Cmndr button to have Blender select it's commander in the 3D window. This makes it a piece of cake to move up the command heirarchy. Also, Select Subs works now, too, which makes it easy to identify all the troops under a given commander. I'm including a shortcut button that sets an Actor to be it's own commander, giving it autonomy from orders from up the chain of command. Previously, you had to look up with Actors database ID, then set its CommandID to equal this and hit Set Stats. Now, you just hit the CommandSelf button.

2. Effectors. Objects (best used the empties) can be set up as Effectors, which effect (duh) any Actors that come within their radius of influence, as defined by the object's uniform scale. Effectors can be set on all Actors, on a specified team, or on a specified Actor Type. They can be set to change any Actor attribute (health, speed, etc.) by either setting them to a specified value or by performing arithmetic on them (eg. health*.1). Effectors can also make an entry in the Action log for later character animation.

What good are these? Keyframe (or use a script) a boulder flying from a catapult and landing in the middle of an army. Attach an appropriately-sized empty to the boulder and register it as an Effector that reduces any Actor's health to 0 and logs a "Flying Death" action. Wherever the boulder (and empty) hits, it will "kill" the Actors within the empty's radius, and set them up to flail through the air when the "Flying Death" actions you create later are applied.

Or, create an Effector for a "muddy" portion of the battlefield. Set it up to reduce speed to 25% of normal, and log actions for a different bogged down type of walk cycle.

You could even put an Order-changing Effector on an object so Actors retreat when they get near it.

Effectors let the environment have an affect on Actors. Simple, but powerful.

posted by Roland  # 9:56 AM
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