Neural Networks Walk Better Than Humans for Game Animation

Modern day video games have come a long way from Mario the plumber hopping across the screen. Incredibly intricate environments of games today are part of the lure for new gamers and this experience is brought to life by the characters interacting with the scene. However the illusion of the virtual world is disrupted by unnatural movements of the figures in performing actions such as turning around suddenly or climbing a hill.

To remedy the abrupt movements, [Daniel Holden et. al] recently published a paper (PDF) and a video showing a method to greatly improve the real-time character control mechanism. The proposed system uses a neural network that has been trained using a large data set of walking, jumping and other sequences on various terrains. The key is breaking down the process of bipedal movement and its cyclic behaviour into a series of sub-steps or phases. Each phase translates to a natural posture for the character while moving. The system precomputes the next-phases offline to conserve computational resources at runtime. Then considering user control, previous pose of the character(including joint positions) and terrain geometry, the consequent frame of the animation is computed. The computation is done by a regression network that calculates future position of the joints and a blending function is used for Motion Matching as described in a presentation (PDF) and video by [Simon Clavet]. Continue reading “Neural Networks Walk Better Than Humans for Game Animation”

A console for retro games

Like many nerds, we have our share of retro video games and nonworking consoles lying around. Every so often we feel like dragging one out and hoping it works.. Luckily for us, the Super Genintari is available to fulfill our fantasies of beating Ghosts ‘N Goblins. The Super Genintari is an Atari 2600, NES, SNES and Sega Genesis all rolled into one; you can even put in four cartridges at once and hook it up to your television with a simple AV cable.

[via DVICE]

Xbox 360 and LCD HDTV rolled into one


What happens when you take a little [Ben Heck] ingenuity, a little Lian Li utility, an Xbox 360 and an LCD HDTV and mix it all together? You get the Microvision 360, a combination LCD HDTV and Xbox 360.

The mod is not particularly complex. The Microvision 360’s creator [PvP_LostKnight] only removed the working parts from the Xbox 360’s case and mounted them to the back of the TV. A few of the inputs of the TV had to be moved and rewired, and a repurposed and painted tupperware container was added to cover the Xbox 360 parts. Unfortunately, [PvP_LostKnight] did not post a writeup, and even added “The wiring for this is horrible, I would not recommend anyone trying this.”

Setting aside his recommendation for a moment, a few of the advantages to his design are improved airflow to the Xbox 360 and better space usage. What we’d like to see added more than anything is power integration, with a single button to turn on both and a single power source powering the TV and the Xbox. See the proof of concept video after the break, or more photos and comments at the read link.

Continue reading “Xbox 360 and LCD HDTV rolled into one”