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    Legal question: Animation and bones

    I’ve read the EULA, and the legal questions thread and haven’t found a specific answer to this. Wonder if someone can help?

    It’s quite clear that all graphical assets (meshes, materials, particals, etc.) cannot be used in a commercial project. It’s also clear that the code can be (ini files and scripts).

    What about animation?

    Generally everything I’ve read regarding getting characters into UDK go something like this:
    • Get the examples for custom UT3 characters supplied on the Epic site (not with UDK)
    • Reduced to just the bones,
    • Create a new mesh, conforming the bone proportions
    • Rig the Character with the bones
    • Export using ActorX
    • Import into UDK
    • Do a bunch of stuff putting it all together (loads of details here on the UVs, materials etc)
    • Hook it into the UTGame animations (that’s why you need to conform to the existing bones)


    But my guess is, those animations aren’t for use in a commercial game either (they aren’t code, unless you’re being very literal, and then everything is) so you need to start from scratch; may as well use a custom rig, as you need to create all the animation anyway.

    So the question is: Can we use the animations? or am I right and they are not for commercial projects either?

    Truly awesome if we can, as the thought of manually creating enough skeletal animations for even basic walking, running and jumping is a mammoth task without motion capture gear.

    I’m finding mapping unwrapping and rigging hard enough right now, without thinking about the animation too

    #2
    Sorry, I can't answer your legal questions, but regarding animations, have you looked into any mocap libraries? there are quite a few commercially available libraries. Truebones, for example, has a pack specifically for use in video games.
    Carnegie Mellon University's CMU Graphics Lab has a massive library of free mocap files online. takes some digging, but I'm sure that you can find what you're looking for.

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      #3
      Thanks Thurman, that’s the route I was planning on if I need to do custom work; getting some readymade mocap data and breaking it up ready for blending. It will be a while before I need to get into it, but hopefully if I get a definitive answer from Epic, and it’s a no, I can look at some mocap options in advance, as they could inform my rigging setup.

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        #4
        The answer is no, you can't use the existing skeletons and animations.

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          #5
          The answer is no, you can't use the existing skeletons and animations.

          wait... what?

          Even the skeletons are off limits? Are you sure?

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            #6
            Correct they are assets content, not code. If it's a model, texture, skeleton, animation, sound, anything except code then you can't use it in a commercial product.

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              #7
              Thanks for the responses guys.

              That’s what I was expecting the answer to be, can’t say I’m not really disappointed though. And I expect a lot of the people eagerly setting about their creations will feel the same.

              I have some experience in a few of the indie game engines out there, as well as raw coding; 2D back in the day, moving to the Allegro library for that, after I got fed up optimising sprite algorithms and the such of my own. Then Open GL and Direct X, then TGE, more recently XNA and Unity.

              And in my experience, no matter how good your models and materials, no matter how good your game code is, two things always scream Indie game in the 3D area; Camera and animation.

              The vast majority of the games people are planning on this forum will need humanoid characters, that at a minimum walk around the level, and it takes so much experience and skill to produce an animated mesh that doesn’t look like it’s moonwalking with a stick up its back , while simultaneously hovering down gradients and jerking up steps (getting feet to match the terrain is a whole headache on its own).

              To any of you generous pros out there who are giving up there time doing tutorials for us; if you can find it in you to take us nubs from step zero in an 3D editor to a rigged character imported to UDK and walking around, without using any assets not allowed in release, there will be many appreciative and happy people.

              Now that’s a tutorial I’d pay for

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                #8
                Wow,
                I guess I shouldn't be, but I'm a little shocked about the skeletons. Looks like I have a lot of re-skinning to... my favorite part.

                How far does that restriction go? If a stock skeleton was stripped of the shoulder pads, leg and arm roll bones, and gun attachment bones, would that still be considered an unreal stock asset?

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                  #9
                  You shouldn't be deriving your work from the Unreal skeletons at all - that's a derived work and still covered by their copyright.

                  There are however plenty of other humanoid rigs out there you can try.

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                    #10
                    I don't want to be rude, but there's a reason why the industry has technical artists. You're supposed to create your own skeleton and animations, it's just as integral and fundamental to a development cycle as creating a texture or model. The example skeletons are used as examples, nothing else.

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