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Mass battle software

Posted: Wed, 7th Jan 2004, 11:21pm

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webhog421

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I was wondering if there is some kind of software sor making huge battle scenes? I think they used something like it for LOTR.
Posted: Wed, 7th Jan 2004, 11:28pm

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elementcinema

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well i dont really know for sure, but im almost positive it was all CG . unless they paid ALOT of ppl to be in the movie, but its most likely CG because make up and shit for all thoses ppl would cost ALOT of money.
thats just my guess
also a cloning method could have been used too but i doubt it. it wouldnt look as good. too many of the same ppl and shit, i duno. im guessing CG.
Posted: Wed, 7th Jan 2004, 11:36pm

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Marek

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He wasnt asking if it was CG or not.

There probably isnt a program that does that. My guess is they used a 3d program like maya or 3ds max to do the job. Just did a few moves and copied 'em over and over again. I also heard that they programed hundreds of moves and gave each person an 'artificial intelligence' and just let em go at it. So you could be right about the software, i just dont know of any that do it.
Posted: Wed, 7th Jan 2004, 11:43pm

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anonymous

Rating: +1

People people, watch your Extended Edition DVDs and do your research.
The software they used in LOTR for the mass armies was called "Massive". Originally designed as propriety software, it's now available for consumer / industry purchase starting at $18,000.
It's not really a 3D program but a hierarchical, behavioral assignment application that maps abilities, responses etc to certain objects. I believe you import your own 3D models or there is a built in animator as well.

Even if you can dish out $18,000; you'll have to get an sgi workstation.
Posted: Wed, 7th Jan 2004, 11:45pm

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kungfukid

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go to www.lordoftherings.net they have some vids on how they did it
Posted: Thu, 8th Jan 2004, 12:56am

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averagejoe

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Its called MASSIVE is around $20K plus hardware.

Massive's official site

oh wait someone already answered that ,my bad redface

Last edited Thu, 8th Jan 2004, 2:14am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 8th Jan 2004, 12:57am

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Simon K Jones

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What someone needs to do is take the Rome:Total War engine and work out a way to apply the data to a proper photoreal renderer.

That would be fun. wink
Posted: Thu, 8th Jan 2004, 4:01am

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FiveIronFrenzy

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WAY TO MUCH MONEY! I wanted it too! frown
Posted: Thu, 8th Jan 2004, 6:05am

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Marek

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*hint*hint*
psst CSB, new project eh? wink
hehe
Posted: Thu, 8th Jan 2004, 6:17am

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anonymous

CSB's stuff has been mostly centered around visual based apps.
The bulk of Massive is centered on superclass, class, and subclass behavioral assignments and interactions. Different idea there...
Posted: Thu, 8th Jan 2004, 12:47pm

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Marek

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Notice the winky face.
Posted: Thu, 8th Jan 2004, 8:58pm

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ceogar

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maby i we all got together smile
Posted: Thu, 8th Jan 2004, 11:33pm

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webhog421

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bump
Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2004, 9:19am

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Coldfuse

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I find this post quite funny, i have been researching on this program, because i want to see if i was able to do a test of some sort, with a huge battle. i wonder if there are other systems out there with the same type of capablitiy just alot cheapier. Well lets see what happens, see if people get to do some stuff, because i know im gonna try!
Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2004, 10:01am

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otteypm

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I seem to remember Character Studio in 3d Max had some sort of crowd simulation, doubt if it could huck up 200,000 individuals though.

I think the main problem with this wouldn't be the software to run it, but the other resources, for a start your desktop aint gonna run it with huge crowd, 2nd rendering will take weeks. Then don't forget each type of soldier has to be modelled, textured and rigged for animation, then you are going to need thousands of pieces of motion capture data to drive the movement of the characters.

But there are cheaper ways of doing it, using particle systems to drive flat planes with prerendered walk cycles on, crowd duplication if repeated patterns aren't a problem. The problem is massive is cutting edge stuff, and it won't filter through for a few years, the trick is to be creative with wha you have got.
Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2004, 11:26am

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Coldfuse

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Yes how ever, i think with the massive system, you don't rig you're character, unlike you would to animate a object you have created. In turn you set in a set of movements to which the system will then create its own interpritation of the scene. Well thats what i got from videos i have seen of this software. I guess you would place youre own characters but a model of such would already be made within the software. However i might be wrong. But if theres a will theres a way. Im trying to get my media project on line, having some probems at first with compression Vs Quality but i just purchased a dvd-rw with nero and, (which i didnt think before) but i can recapure my footage i put on my camera. But no thinking about it why didnt i do that with Prem confused mannn im loosing it! ok might be sooner then i thought! off i go to get sectioned i say!
Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2004, 11:56am

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otteypm

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I'll lend you my spare straight jacket I need an extra sturdy one these days...

From watching Two Towers DVD the way I understand it, massive is the decision making element, do I run? do I attack? do I fall over and die?

But these motions need to come from somewhere, hence the motion capture, and motion capture needs to be applied to rigged characters, I don't expect the rig to be anywhere near as complicated as a manual animation rig, but it needs enough for the motion capture to be applied, the lower leg needs to know its a lower leg, the upper arm needs to know its an upper arm.
Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2004, 12:45pm

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webhog421

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it is probably possible with 3Ds Max but that too has tis drawbacks... I think there are other possibilites.
Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2004, 12:48pm

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Coldfuse

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hmm well from what i understood from the whole Massive, is they put in a set of points like who wins and so one, then the computer decides how the battle will pan out, meaning little fights go on, not that its been told to, but because the program decides. I guess kind of a lazy way of doing huh. Im not sure about the whole motion capture though, because the program is the one animating the rigs in a battle mode. You might need motion capture how ever the computer decides the elements (from what i got) Meaning it works out the fights not you.... However i may have this very wrong
Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2004, 1:03pm

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otteypm

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Yeah, thats what I said before.

Massive makes the decisions, like you say, it controls the fights based on certain user parameters, such as who wins.

The program doesn't run the animation though, it creates it from a series of building blocks that were created with motion capture.

An attack sequence might be run forward, stop, raise sword, slash, parry, slash, fall over dead, each of those elements might be made up of more that on motion capture element. Massive decides which ones to use based on the brain that was created for that character.

If you have the Two Towers four disc there is a section which shows one of the stunt women talking about creating the motion elements for massive.

I think the point I am trying to make is that Massive can't create models and animation from nowhere it only makes the decisions as to what that character will do.
Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2004, 8:12pm

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Crawford

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otteypm wrote:

The program doesn't run the animation though, it creates it from a series of building blocks that were created with motion capture.
Right; it probably generates a HUGE scene description with lots of conditions in it that describe what's happening at a given time. Years ago I played with a VERY simple version of this idea. For each item in the scene, you had chunks like this:

if time < 1 sec
...
else if time < 2 sec
...
else if time < 3 sec
...
else ...

Each block describes that item's state during that block of time: where it is, how it's rotated, what model or animation sequence to use, etc.

I gave up on the project before I had any useful code written, but the idea behind it was to feed it a script and let it build the scene from the script. For simplicity, it would have only been for spaceships and the like; I can't imagine how complicated it would be once you involve terrain.
Posted: Fri, 9th Jan 2004, 9:11pm

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otteypm

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It's worth reading the official site that someone posted earlier, got some good info on it.

It's only a matter of time before the computers take over...
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2004, 3:28am

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Lord_Xor

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On the lighter, non 20,000 dollar end, you could use Maya 5.0's wonderful procedural animation. It's really not that hard to have 10,000 different, independant characters in one scene. Your biggest limitation is going to be render times, and how much time your willing to invest in learning.
If you need any help with Maya/3D, lemme know.
AIM: altnwi

~Logan
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 7:05pm

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owen rixon

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http://www.ai-implant.com/index.html
Look at that. Also, alot of modern versions of up market 3D programs have thier own built in crowd simulators. Also, you could do what they did for the mummy with those millions of scarabs, and use a particle system. The creatures dont have decision making capabilities, they just go where you tell them, and dont walk through each other (collision detection). When its viewed from a distance, this technique can be just as good as any other crowd technique.
Just to add to the earlier discussion, Massive is a stand alone program aparently. The way it was done in LOTR for orcs, was that 4 or 5 very different moddels of orcs were created. Then massive morphed between these models so the features on every character were changed. Then a huge library of motion capture data was created with every possible action needed in it. The program was then used to create a brain for each species of agent (character). Each character has senses like sight touch and hearing which are taken by the brain and interpreted so that the characters respond to actions going on aroung them. For horse riders, the man (yes, there was only 1) who wrote the program wrote a routine which matched the movements of the riders to the movement of the horses, so they moved realistically and in sink.
If none of this helps, and your still struggling to find a cheap crowd sim, you could look for a 2D option. The things you could do with regards to camera movements would be limited in comparison to a 3D app, but it would be a lot cheaper.
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 7:18pm

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Rawree

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Even if you could get your hands on a copy of Massive it would be of virtually no use to you (Not only because of the price smile ) because it such a complex thing to use. Even the guys who did the LOTR stuff had to run some simulations several times (Think how long it would take to render 7 takes of each scene tard )
Posted: Fri, 23rd Jan 2004, 11:38pm

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drdespair

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Houdini has a few nice features that can be used to create crowds. I also wrote a some comments about how some production companies used particles with 2d sprite to create armies (aka TotalWar style, but with live action footage)
Posted: Thu, 5th Feb 2004, 2:26am

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jstow222

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Hey, this is kind of neat: http://www.atomicpower.com/ie/products_frame.htm
The outcome is verygood I think, but it dosnt seem like fast movement would be possible.
Posted: Thu, 5th Feb 2004, 3:25am

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KimPossible

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Simple Procedural Animation and Partical Swarms are pretty good until you need to have too many decisions being made. Then you've got to use an AI. Really not that tough, though - look at how good the UIs are in games.

I'd think that a MEL script implementing one of the opensource game UIs could be pretty cool...
Posted: Fri, 6th Feb 2004, 1:27pm

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webhog421

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Another thing you can do is just shoot a couple people on a greenscreen, then with Chromanator add them all together and duplicate them a couple times and you've got a small crowd.
Posted: Fri, 6th Feb 2004, 2:10pm

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Mellifluous

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A possible way is to use Poser for long shots. You can download models that have armour on & carrying swords, so if you did a short loopable animation of a couple of them & then inserted them tons of times into your footage, that would work.

But I agree, someone should write a nice program that utilises Total War, & you can specify how many A.I. & have a choice of activities. It's nice having pipe dreams...