BioGraphic Technologies has released version 1.0 of the Autonomous Character plug-in for Alias|Wavefront’s Maya, which the company claims is the first real-time 3D artificial intelligence animation solver for the 3D suite.
The plug-in allows users to create large groups of intelligent 3D characters and creatures that interact with each other to simulate naturalistic group motion. Examples cited by BioGraphic for the plug-in include sharks hunting schools for fish or disciplined Roman legions fighting chaotic barbarians.
Characters gain a set of behaviours under the system – and they move and act autonomously under these sets of rules. Any Maya object can be made subject to these behaviours – including lights and cameras. The plug-in uses a cycle control system to make sure motions happen at the correct time and speed – and includes collision detection and surface hugging systems to keep the models locked to a realistic 3D world.
A SDK that underlies the plug-in is also available, which is aimed at games development companies to sit between Maya for modelling and the games engine.