New procedural animations

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These are general changes and improvements so rather than singling out a creation that has become "broken" we thought it best to describe what we have changed and how that should allow for better procedural walk and run cycles.

A new stride time slider has been added. You can change the "minimum stride time" and "maximum stride time". Setting "minimum stride time" to at least 0.25, or perhaps 0.3 for heavy characters, really improves the sense of weight and fluidity, and prevents them doing too many small steps when turning. Most old characters will need this Stride time value to be adjusted.

Bounciness slider change

Bounciness slider change

The Bounciness slider has changed. It is no longer a split direction/value -1/1. It is now just a positive value 0-1. We felt the two different bounciness types were too subtly different and problems would often occur if users used the positive value for walk and a negative value for run as it would need to blend across 0 (no bounce) creating some odd results.

Sassiness now has more effect on runs causing more rotation in the torso which can make the motion feel more dramatic.

The "stompyness" slider now also works when in bicycle feet. If set to 0, then the feet will tend to drag. If set to 1, the knees will bend a lot, causing the feet to drag less. The strength of this knee bend is the same regardless of how much the leg animation has been scaled down (because the run speed is slow enough that the puppet can't use the full extents of the run animation).

The "bicycle feet" now causes a leg motion that is primarily driven by FK (Forward Kinematics), but uses some simple IK to prevent the feet intersecting the ground. It creates a more natural run, and is generally not appropriate for walking as it permits a small amount of foot sliding.

We now automatically move the balls of the puppet's feet (i.e. where the toe connects to the heel section) forwards/backwards as needed so that they're directly above the white line that passes sideways through the puppet's "pedestal". In a physical sense, this means that the puppets are putting their weight on the balls of their feet while moving, rather than their heels (which is what they would do as the base pose typically has straight vertical legs and so puts the weight of the puppet onto the heels). When setting your puppet poses try to centre the hips over the centre of the pedestal to make use of this.

Procedural Jump. Just to save time there is a basic procedural jump which can be activated in the puppet settings.

In addition to procedural animation changes the puppet interface has some new outputs.

"walk strength" is renamed to "movement strength" as it was always a general movement strength output (outputs 0 to 1 when walking and stays at 1 throughout run). There is a new output which takes the name "walk strength", outputting a strength signal (0-1) while walking only. Run strength keeps its name but now outputs strength (0-1) when running only. As run strength increases walk strength decreases.

There's now an "idle output" on the puppet interface. It basically outputs 1 when the run/walk/jump outputs are all outputting 0. This blends out over the first step when starting to move and blends back in over the last step when coming to a stop.

Anticipate turn has been added. This will make the puppet look in the direction it is turning. This is off by default.

To accommodate the new settings the puppet preview settings have been updated as well.

Puppet preview and edit quick menu updated.

Puppet preview and edit quick menu updated.

OooDorienooo title screen: One of the puppets on the left walks like John Cleese in the Ministry of Funny Walks. This is due to the change to keep the balls of the feet over the centre of the pedestal. Here is a video showing the problem and a quick fix.

As a rule its best to avoid ever animating the puppet away from the base if you want to use procedural animation. If you do, be sure to bring the puppet rig back over the base again when you need it to start procedurally walking.

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