Yang Tai Chi Chuan

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Oliver Queck and his team have created an interesting and 100% original project, which also offers a 3D (stereoscopic) mode; read the interview below to find out more information about it.


Q: Please describe your Yang Tai Chi Chuan educational software for us.

A: We developed this Tai Chi learning software as part of a realtime-software competition at our university for a local tai chi association. Its meant to school the basics of some special tai chi movements. The duration at standard speed of the whole scene is about 15-20 minutes and its separated into 134 smaller parts. The interesting part for the tai chi association was that its able to orbit around the character every time and watch every motion from any perspective you like.


Q: What tools did you use to create those fantastic animations?

A: For the animation part we made great use of the visual motion capture system at our university. Then we used autodesk motionbuilder to clean the animations and attached them in maya to the character. The cloth animations also were made in maya. From maya we exported them to the 3dgs model editor.


Q: What was the most difficult part of the project?

A: I  guess the most difficult part was the size of the characters vertexanimation. It went above every limit. Just the mdl files are about 3 gigabyte in size. But there was no way we would change to bones animation because we wanted to keep the simulated cloth. The only solution was to separate the animation in smaller parts and load one after another. For that we had to clear the memory every time we wanted to load a new part, which screwed up lots of our materials. So they had to be reloaded also. In the end we had 62 separate mdl files for the character and 21 short breaks for recaching.


Q: What is the number of polygons for the main character? Why?

A: The number of polygons for the character is about 55 thousand.Our team member who modeled the character works in the film industry today, where low poly isn't that necessary. We also came to the conclusion that a single model with 55k polys should be no problem for today's computers and we would prefer a good looking application then a more compatible one. Especially the cloth animation would look much worse with less polygons.


Q: What shaders did you use for the project and where?

A: Its not only the character which needed a little more powerful pc, it was also the shaders. I did most of the shaders on my own. Thanks to Nils Daumann from slindev.com who made a lot of great shadertutorials. There is a bloomshader, a bumpmapshader, a stereoscopic shader, a shader for color correction, for lens flares and one for the vignette. I also added the godray-shader of Hummel from the 3D Gamestudio forum.


Q: Do you plan to improve the project even further?

A: The project is finished and there are no further plans. Maybe I'll be able to upload it in the future, even its a huge project (3.5 gigabyte in size).


Q: Any plans to release a commercial version of your project in the future?

A: The application is already in use at the local Tai Chi school we made it for. Since this was part of our studies, we can't release a commercial version. But it's great reference for further applications.


Q: Please give us a tip for the beginners out there.

A: It doesn't matter which software you use as long as it gets you there. Knowledge in how to use a program is often worth much more than some special features.