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Chapter 16. Animating for Games > Animation Optimization

Animation Optimization

As you are now well aware, in every aspect of real-time artwork you have to keep within specified boundaries, and the same applies to animation. If your character can perform a hundred moves, all these will have to be stored in memory. Add to this the animations for all of the nonplayer characters, plus scenic animation, and your allotted chunk of the memory is soon gone.

Restricting the number of animations used isn’t the best approach for today’s games; in-game animation is a huge draw these days, and variety is the key to making your characters interesting and believable. Instead, you can explore the following options for saving processing power.

Mirroring Animations

Normally, if you wanted your character to be able to step left as well as right, you would have to create two separate animations, both of which would be stored in memory. Such doubling-up on so much of the animation data can soon reach the limits of your resources. One way to remove the need for mirrored versions is to see if the programmers on your team can do the mirroring in the game engine. (By this I mean mirroring only the joints’ rotation and translation values; mirroring the whole skeleton would also flip the character mesh.)


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