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Vehicle Suspension applied to Vehicles like Character Proxies

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WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT? The purpose of this, in theory, is to have more natural-looking suspension animations, using the weighting and IK that characters benefit from. This would allow larger vehicles with highly visible suspension parts to be represented in a more accurate manner, and it would give modders the chance to enhance their existing vehicles.

There's probably a bit more involved in the set up process than what I describe, but here's the basic rundown:

Step 1

Put all the moving suspension components of a vehicle into a separate p3d, and give it a custom bone hierarchy, similar to a character set up.


Step 2
p3d alignment. Place a proxy in the vehicle's main model, in all pertinent LODs, correlating to where the pin of the suspension model is.

Step 3
Create a script that tells the end moving parts of the suspension to follow certain vehicle memory points. This is the part that would stump me, because my specialty is in the artwork, and not the scripting. It would be like including a soldier already in the vehicle, even before a player or AI entered, and that soldier could never leave the vehicle (apart from being written into a destruction script). In the same way that his hands follow the steering wheel, pilot stick, or throttle stick, or how his feet can follow the pedals, so too would the suspension model parts follow the suspension memory points, retaining their IK linkage.

- The actual functional suspension (that is, the coded parts that really influence the vehicle behavior and performance) will still use the same basic translation animation.
- The IK suspension would only be for eye-candy, and should not stray too far from the path of the actual suspension.
- If the technique works well, without using too much processing power, then it could be used in ANY animated parts - not just the suspension.
    The TOW linkage on the M2A2 Bradley.
    Aircraft flaps, rudders, ailerons, etc.

    Hatch/canopy/door animations

    Folding/packing stationary weapons.

- For low-poly (distant) LODs, consider using the standard suspension animation method, or exclude it altogether.
- A reminder that this is all theoretical, currently.


If anyone has had success with this, or if you think you can give it a try, then please give your steps, ideas, or input freely!

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