This page demonstrates some previous designs for character networks, for video games.

The following link lays out the character network design for a game called Skunkwerks for Prophecy Games. The general guide for the player character network was Ratchet & Clank. This platformer is a bit of a benchmark for a well designed, mature character network. Here’s my design document for Skunkwerks.

Character Animation Design Document

As me, the technical animator, created each sub-network, I ran off a video showing the character in action. Here’s videos showing the first two (and most important) components, multidirectional locomotion and multidirectional shooting. Some preliminary jumping and melee are thrown in here as well. Importantly, the systems (sub-networks) work together. This is a good feature of morpheme node and state based architecture. Also important is I script in the gamepad inputs for controlling the character while the networks are built. Also scripted (in lua) is a routine for pretty much every sub-network. Of which there turned out to be around 20. These routines vary from incredibly simple – like switching a blend node, to reasonably complex things like the implementation of a third person camera or the controlling and blending properties of an IK target for directional shooting.

This one shows a bunch of subnetworks as I got through them, including various types of damage, more melee type things, turning. There were a lot of requirements and they all had to work seamlessly. These demos are all realtime, and the character is being driven by the gamepad.

The network data got branched off into individual characters. Each characters abilities was a subset of the primary ‘generic’ character. This meant creating the ‘mechanical behaviour’ of the entire gameset is simply creating one large network, and then spawning off character data for each individual. This actually became a process of duplicating xml data and running search and replace on certain strings, to output final individual character data for use in the engine. A very quick way to make game characters. There were 8 total for this project.