One of the big things that I've been unable to really do in XNA is animation. That is because the modeling programs that support animation are all expensive. The Evolution project was started as a way to deal with animation in a way that is usable in XNA. I call it "smalltime" because I'm not planning on this ever becoming a huge project - just simple enough that I can make animations for models and import them into XNA for use. An example of what I would like to accomplish in this project can be found on this page, which contains an animation of a frog named Froggy.
In the section below, I've listed the basic requirements, which are probably going to be good enough for my purposes. I'll probably release the project as version 1.0-Alpha then, knowing that it is not quite the same standard that you would expect/hope for in a finished product. But I don't know if I will continue working on it or not. It really depends on how popular it is, how useful additions/modifications seem to be, and how much time I have. Another possibility is that I might release the project as open source on SourceForge, if I think that there are others who might want to work on it.
Version 0.60 is now available! Go to the downloads page to get it!
Load model files into the program
Select components of the model
Move the camera around
Move the components around
Set up key frames
Create tweens from keyframes
Create animations from tweens
Output the animation/tween/keyframe information to a file
Allow users to load projects they had previously saved
A content pipeline extension that builds the information in the file into an asset for an XNA game
An API for XNA that allows you to run various animations in a simple and powerful way
Reworking the GUI
- Be able to add any number of transformations in whatever order you want - but in order to make a tween with two keyframes, they must be compatable with each other (same number and type of transformations).
- More user friendly - version 1 is mostly just designed to be functional, so it probably won't be overly user friendly.
- Reworking the GUI so that they aren't in separate windows - it's kind of uncontrollable with the way it is now.
- Some visual cues to indicate where the rotation point and axis are and so on.
I've been actively working on this project and progress is being made. If there are any features that you would like to see in this project, or any other comments, please leave them in the comments section below.
I'm not planning on uploading another video just yet. What I've done recently is saving and loading project files. Since saving and loading files is not really something interesting visually, I think I'll wait until I can get it into an XNA game and upload another video.
I should be able to upload a version for you guys to play around with on May 18th. It will be an early alpha, but it should be fully functional and also hopefully relatively bug free. I will have completed all of the requirements in the list of basic requirements. How much more time I spend on the project really depends on you. If I see that a lot of people are downloading it and using it (and hopefully making suggestions), then I will spend more time on it. Also, if you are also interested in working on it more, let me know.
A third video demonstrating Evolution. This one once again covers the newest features of Evolution: Tweening and Animations.
Another update since yesterday, showing keyframes and movement of the meshes. Created on 14 May 2008.
A video demo of the progress so far. Created on 13 May 2008.