The Animations 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, in scenes, what can move an object is what we see in blender as an 'empty pivot'. Like the doors on a set, they are parented to them. An animation file rotates that pivot and in turn 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. Using the imported pivots to represent the bones was a different method to what I was used to.
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.
All TheMovies Animation Files
Extracted from a fresh install of the game using MED (TheMovies Editor). Why? For those people who unfortunately have download version of S&E. The programs that edit TheMovies can't gain access to S&E content because, according to Rileyman, download version has an encryption. MikeDeBoing, StvnDysn and Rysto graciously exported the files and uploaded them for the community. However, this was long ago and those sites that hosted these files have since closed. In recent years I was able to obtain S&E with no encryption. So once more, here are the S&E files.
Animation files move 3D objects in Scenes, on the studio lot, and many if the props.
Included are the game's Auto-Animated Prop Animations, these are found in the data/animations/high/autoanimated folder.
They end with a version number.
For example: aa_p_aa_dog_v00.anm or... aa_p_aa_horse_v03.anm
The format is aa_p_(name of prop)_v(#).anm the ..._v#.anm can be v00 or v01 or v02. But always starts with v00. If they are alone then all you will see is ..._v00.anm, which means if you make your own auto-animated prop, that has only one animation, be sure to make the number _v00.anm.
Note: The game's autoanimated props begin with a p_aa_(name of prop)... and therefore the animation has two aa in the name.
If you made a new prop that is called: p_aa_cowwalking.msh Then you animation would be called: aa_p_aa_cowwalking_v00.anm
However, the actual prop name does not have to have the extra AA in it. Optionally, if your new prop was instead:
p_personstanding.mshThen the new animation could be:
aa_p_personstanfing_v00.anm...and no extra AA in the name. Make since. If it doesn't then keep tacking on all the AAs you want, it doesn't really matter.
Great News! Lefty2000 has released an Import/Export Script for TheMovies
Update: As of now the scripts are at version 5.1.4. Get them at his website linked belowe. Not only can we import animations with multiple Armatures, we can now import animations with props. For each of his scripts, you must first have imported into Blender all of the items an Animation file needs. You must have as many armatures the animation needs. And if there are props used, then these props need be imported also into Blender. So you must prepare your scene first before importing an animation.
You will need Blender 2.49b. Download the scripts from Lefty2000's Webpage. Use MED (TheMovies Game Editor) to extract animation files. Also to Extract a costume to load into Blender and then Load the animation to View/Edit. Probably will need FLM Reader Zero to make the new animation available in a new or existing scene.
The python scripts goes into .blender/scripts folder. The location of the folder is important and is decided when you first install Blender. If you followed my tutorial then it is located in Blender's installation path. However by default Blender will sneak this folder into your hidden AppData folder. In which case you have to turn on visibility of hidden folders for you to see this. Fun right?
First, using MED (TheMovies Editor) extract a costume and then an animation. I extracted the woodenman.msh because it has an armature (which is a collection of bones). But also you can extract cos_m_fut_alien_tz1_2.msh because it has a head too. Once you extract a costume, use the file extractor to extract an animation file which has the tag (.ANM) that you may want to view or edit in Blender. Animation files are located in the data/animations/high folder. Extract these to a workspace folder. Close MED.
Open Blender. First import the costume. Once that is loaded into Blender, import an animation file.
The costume will 'pop' into the position of the first frame. Each animation has several frames. And each frame has the data positions for each bone during that frame. Notice that in the F10 buttons menu that start and end position has been updated to how many frames the animation file contained. To view the animation loop hover in the 3D window and use ALT + A key. The end the cycle hit ESC key.
There is a window to view all of the bones set in each frame in the Action Editor window. You may need to temporarily turn the buttons window into the Action Editor Window. There you will see a bunch of yellow dots. The bottom line of numbers is what frame number each of these yellow dots are found in. Hitting ALT+A in this window will show a green bar sliding along each frame. As it does the costume more slowly moves in the 3D window. Hit ESC to stop. That green bar can be moved by right clicking a anywhere.
Now you have to consider that each frame has the costume in a different position then the last frame. Even if the change is imperceptible, it is different. Chances are the costume is even more different the further down the line you go. When you make changes to an animation, you are replacing one frame at a time. Normally you would make an animation from scratch and there wouldn't be any yellow dots to see yet. These only show up after someone has set the bones positions.
I assume you already know what an armature is (collection of bones that moves the costume) and what a bone is (A poseable stick-like item that portions of a costume is weighted to). To view these in better detail, click on the armature. In the Outliner window it is called:507812352. Next go down in the buttons windows and turn on it's visibility inside the costume object. Afterward go into pose mode.
Any bone can be selected one at or time. Or several at once. Or all of them at once.
You can make a change to only a leg's position during the whole animation. Or even turn the head sideways during the animation. And then only make that minor adjustment. But most will want to make brand new animations out of existing ones. It's all up to you.
All of the positions you set are set for whatever frame you happen to be in. In the Action Editor, you can grab the sliding green bar to change which frame you are in. Same with the NLA Editor. Also handy is in the buttons window.
Once you have the desired positions set, go ahead and 'Update' the animation. Run TheMovies(.ANM) export script. Select the same animation that you first imported. A new file will be created with the same name as the animation but with a (N_) in front of it. So look for the n. This file goes into your Movies data/animations/high folder. If you don't have these folders make them.
Now you have a new animation. If you want to see it work, open an extra scene file. You may need to extract it using MED (TheMovies Editor). Extras in scenes have their own scene file, and they begin with an _x_ in the name. So Extract a regular scene with extras in it. Then extract an extra scene. Open the extra scene and change it's animation with your new animation. Save it. Then open the regular scene and change one of the extras with your new extra. If all went well you should see your new animation being performed by one of the extras on the set.
Some tips: Learn how to restore a bone to rest position after moving it (pose/clear transform/location or rotation). Learn the difference between having the Auto IK button set or not. Learn how to copy a current pose and paste it in a new frame. Learn how to mirror a pose from one arm to another or leg to another. There is probably more information about the scripts in general you can learn from going to Lefty's webpage.
If you like these scripts as much as I do please go over to Lefty2016's DeviantArt page and let him know. This is the greatest development in modding TheMovies since MED (TheMovies Editor).
Version 3.3 of Lefty's Animation Scripts were released today!
Lefty's TheMovies Page: anmedit.zip
Go there and download the scripts, and also download the rescale resize armature/animations script: rescaling.zip
Download them from his site. They go into your .blender/scripts folder. This folder is made when you first install Blender2.49b. The installer will ask you where you want this folder to be. If you left it at default then it may be in your user's hidden AppData folder. Google "Hidden AppData Folder" if you need to know more. The preferable location is right where Blender is installing itself, in windows program files folder.
The Animation Import&Export scripts run along side your regular Movies scripts for importing costumes and such. With them we can watch any Movies animation INSIDE BLENDER. And we can continue to film IN BLENDER using TheMovies wonderfully large library of animations. But, AMAZINGLY!!, we can make changes to an animation and EXPORT back into TheMovies!!!
Yes. Thanks to Lefty's scripts we can make NEW animations for TheMovies. Now consider what we can do with new animations. I have yet to test it, but we can have Auto-Animated props doing anything we want now!!! Largely we can use FLM Reader Zero to change a scene's animations for our new animations. Watch the new tutorial I made that tells you how to switch animations for new ones in FLMRZ. (I'll probably display it below).
With version 3 out we can now import animations meant for several actors at once. Like a dance scene with two partners. You will need to either import 2 costumes into Blender, or do as MikeDeBoing suggest, select all by HotKey A and then use HotKeys CRTL + D to duplicate. If there are not enough armatures or costumes in Blender for the animation you may get an error message. Just keep making more duplicates until Blender lets you import the sucka.
New animations will have the same name as the old animations you imported but will have a n_ in front for regular new ones, and a r_ for rescaled new animations.
Making Dwarves & Giants Using Lefty's Scaling Scripts
We can now create different size costume and scenes for these costumes. These new costumes need new animations because smaller or larger bones have there poses in different locations. If a different sized costume were to use the wrong animation, it would either get squashed or stretched. So these new different seized costumes need their own scenes.
1.Extract a scene, a costume, the animations found in that scene using MED
2.Open FLM Reader Zero and Blender. In FLMRZ copy the name of each animation, one at a time, and paste it into Blender
3. Run Lefty's script called: anm_rescale.py, do this until all of the animations have been copied and pasted. In the same folder as these animation, a copy was made with the same name but with a r_ in front of it. So idle_male.anm becomes r_idle_male.anm. Replace the (.SEQ) file name with r_idle_male.anm
4.Copy all the new animations and put them into TheMovies game where they belong. They all begin with a r_. Paste them in TheMovies's data/animations/high folder
5.In FLMRZ double-click every animation file name and add a r_ in front of it. Then save it as a new (.FLM) file. Also make a sister (.(.INI)) version so the game knows this new scene exist.
6 .In Blender, import a costume. Use lefty's script to shrink the armature. Then scale the model to the same ratio as the armature did. RENAME THE ARMATURE TO A NEW NAME: 517812352. Export the costume into the game
7.Use MED or CosEd to make the new costume available.
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.