The Animation In The Movies Game.
The Movies Game uses .ANM files for the animations. Each moving 3D object in the game uses an invisible armature to move it around. The arms and legs has its own "Bones" to move them around. And animation files move those bones. Also what can move an object is what we see in blender as an empty pivot. Like the doors on a set An animation file, rotates that pivot thus rotating the door. There are thousands of animation files in the game. Each scene is made up of a synchronized collection of animation files. DcModding was working on a script that would edit the animation files. It wasn't complete and many more things needed to be worked out. At least we could see them in Blender. I could never use them, unfortunately. As much as I wanted to. Blender has many different ways to animate an object. Endless. Uses the imported pivots to represent the bones was a different method to what I was used to.
Eventually, when all of the scripts of the movies game had been completed and perfected, there could have been an interface mod to Blender that would be another method of filming and animating The Movies Game. With Blender's expanded features.
I was hoping to release new animations when the animation script was complete but since DCModding has closed and people have moved on to other hobbies. That will likely never happen.
Animation files are assembled in the .FLM files. There were two programs released by DcModding that could open .FLM files. One is FLM Reader Zero and the other is Animation Changer.
Editing the animation files is the final frontier of modding The Movies Game. There has been steps taken. Some I can report and some I am not sure I can. For now all I will say (or may ever say) is what has been done already. Since DCModding released FML Read Zero, scenes have been changed and re-invented. With FLMReaderZero, there is enough to make any scene we want. We have to find what works and what doesn't and always take notes on what you can change in some scenes or what scene you would use to accomplish a given task. Does the scene use props. What effects happen. How many actors and extras, how long is a scene. In modding the Movies Game one could potentially collect reams of notes. And the best way to organize them is to make subfolders of a task in modding. One for textures. One for animations. One for scenes and so on. Then when you save a note, you can make the very first word of it the key search term. I used to do it that way. Now I make one long file for each area of work and just keep adding more to them. Then I use the search word in the file. Searching this way takes longer but it is shorter in folder navigation. It's the only way to keep track and return to something earlier, at least for me who uses notepad.
But scenes (.FLM scene files) need animations to work. The game comes with thousands. The search function is handy here too. Or in FLMZ you can click any animation and type in a name then expand the window to see the closely named animation. But searching a folder with all the animations works too, is better but longer. So really the scope is endless. Right? Up to a point. There is always the time when we wish to do more. I would love to see 5 robot lions come together and form a Voltron robot. Or more then one way to hammer. (instead of just on a wall). That is not to say we can't be inventive with what is already provided. We could, for instance, make an elevator go up and carry people. Just use the animations for the set lifts. But damn it! We are also mad scientist. Would love to make the same elevator come down on somebody and squash them... (change the z scale from full to zero in 3 for four frames). And there is a way to change the animations.
First I will go over some info about animations and animating. If you want to animate a new scene that can not be done in the movies, do this in Blender. Import a set and delete all the extra studio objects not needed in a scene. Also delete all the objects that will not make it in the camera shot. You can replace the appearance of the set with 2d sprites to minimize render time. Import and pose your costumes and enter the key frames x y and z locations for each frame. Now Blender's default render setting may be changed to match The Movies WMV Profile (768 x 432) High Quality. Add the lights. Then hit the animate button. Some tricks: lights can be added to bones and animated. So can the camera be added to a bone and animated. The camera can even be scaled during the animation. And the lights too. For instance, an approaching ufo at night on the desert set can have a bone under it with the light parented to it. Then scale the light bone as it comes closer to the ground. Neat trick.
Every bone has at any given time an X Y and Z location. X Y and Z are the definitions of 3D space. Forward to back, left to right and up to down. These locations must be assigned in each frame. There is a window timeline for their placement and movement. You can move these assignments further along the frames if you wanted to. You could also copy and paste repeat motions in this window. I will update this info with picks later. I will make tutorial for animating in Blender. Now is to familiarize you with the import X Y and Z locations which are the figures we need for animation files.
In .FLM scene files, the cameras too have an X Y Z and a direction to which they are pointed. In scene reblocker you can move these along Z height without moving the actor's Z height. Use the set all values box. For some reason actors (most of the time) won't move in zhieght when setting it in Reblocker, but the cameras will. Great when a set has a different floor height then the scene's original.
Rotation in Blender. Blender calculates rotation to the nearest in 180 degrees. So making a repeating rotation can be hard. There is a work around but forgot it right off hand. May have to do with nodes.
But what can we do with animation files? DcModding, who wrote the amazing FLM Reader Zero program, also wrote some Hex Editing Templates for the Movies Game's animation files. First download the 010 Hex editing program from there site. The scripts were written for 010Editor 3.1.3. and probably won't work with other versions, unfortunately. If you have this version load the template. (hoping you have them, they were dcmodding team member mandates). Run the template and in the bottom window you have the file dissected into workable segments. I have yet to use the animation script but have seen there great power. Following is some notes.
The costume animations are arranged in the hex editor:
0)I went to the last figure in the selection which revealed a sub-list
1)Each bone is on this sub-list. The bones are numbered, not named.
2)Within each bone selection is a sub-list of x y z and u v w (is the u v w the scale or rotation? Probably rotation.) coordinates .
3)Each 6 fields u v w x y z (though x y z are first) have another sub-list for all frames of the bone's locations.
Changing the animation would be very long. I would open Blender and pose the costume in the start position. Enter a keyframe of loc,rot,scale. Then Enter the number of the last frame in blender. Then Pose the costume in the final of the animation. Then return to the first frame. Pick one bone at a time. You have to know which bone is which. In the hex editor each bone is numbered. In the Blender each bone has a name. So this may be tricky. Pick the first bone, and copy it's x y and z locations. Go to the hex editor 010 and enter those x y and z locs there. Then go back to blender and hit the next frame button and repeat copying the x y z for the next frame in the Hex editor. Until you reach he last frame.
This is long work. 30 bones x 3 locations = 90 figures x 28 frames in an animation = 2520 times a number would be copied from one program to another. And then you would have to enter the rotation figures for each of those bones. Which may be another 2520 numbers. More then 5000 numbers to enter for 28 frames.
The static animations (use with mini helicopters and mini ufos and mini cars) have a list of frames. When selecting a frame it gives you the x y and z locations for the pivot in which the mini is parented to. So you would have to go over each frame and enter all x y and z locations for the mini on the set. You may or may not be able to compare these numbers to the x y and z on a set as a set's center and an animation's center may be at different locations. This may not be a problem as an entire scene (flm location) can be moved across the set so the animation lines up where you want it. Even if you knew exactly how much difference to change the animation, it would be that much more work to go over every single frame and make the additions. Better to just move the scene file's location.
I will post an image at the side showing bone names to number.
Here is a list of the animation files found in The Movies Game. Also some links to more tutorials and information.
Some of the auto-animations are for the facilities, such as a waving flag pole or rotating radars. These can be use for props as well so long as the props utilize that armature found in the facilities.