Overgrowth takes place in the savage world of Lugaru where rabbits, wolves and other animals are forced to use paws, claws and medieval weaponry to engage each other in battle. Combining 3rd person adventure platforming with intricate melee combat, Overgrowth achieves a unique feel. Overgrowth also benefits from Wolfire's brand new Phoenix Engine which has been built from the ground up to allow the use of cutting edge graphics, animation, and physics. Add to these exciting features Overgrowth’s realistic artificial intelligence and streamlined control system and the result is an astoundingly immersive experience.

Report article RSS Feed Why we are not using Euphoria

Whenever we post about physics or animation technology, people always ask why we don't use Euphoria. Instead of replying to all of these comments individually, I decided to just write this post where everyone can see it, and link to it in the future whenever it comes up again.

Posted by jeffr on Nov 12th, 2009

Whenever we post about physics or animation technology, people always ask why we don't use Euphoria. Instead of replying to all of these comments individually, I decided to just write this post where everyone can see it, and link to it in the future whenever it comes up again.

So what is Euphoria?


In 2006 a company called NaturalMotion released this video, claiming that they created the first animation system "based on a full simulation of a 3D character, including body, muscles and motor nervous system. This creates fully interactive animations that act and react differently every time."


Their claims were quite impressive, and the brand-name "Euphoria" was swept into the public eye by the media blitz for Grand Theft Auto 4 and The Force Unleashed.

That sounds great! So how do you license it?


You can't. When we asked them for further information, they responded with, "Euphoria is currently not available to the public, we only have deals with a very limited amount of publishers and quite frankly I assume it would be much too expensive for what you are doing, sorry."

Their website now states that Euphoria is not a software package, but more of an animation consulting service. They write, "Euphoria is not middleware. Instead, NaturalMotion has close co-development relationships with publishers and development teams to integrate Euphoria into their next-generation titles."

Euphoria, as the cohesive product that has been presented to the public, does not exist. However, if you have millions of dollars, you can hire NaturalMotion to integrate some physically-active animations into your game.

Would we even want Euphoria?


The animation in games that use Euphoria bears little resemblance to the slick, organic movement in their tech demo video. For example, here is a video of how fighting looks in an Indiana Jones game using Euphoria. Similarly, in The Force Unleashed game, the only physically-based behavior I could see is magnetic hands -- the stormtroopers' hands stick to anything they encounter. Penny Arcade even made a comic parodying their indiscriminate grasping. Here is the official Lucasarts video showing off this dubious 'feature':


On the other hand, Grand Theft Auto 4 does have some fun stumbling effects. Whenever you shoot someone with a gun, bump somebody with a car, or even walk into anyone, you seem to enable 'stumble' mode. In stumble mode, movement is applied via pushes off-balance, and the character stumbles around trying to regain balance. Once balance is regained, the character switches back to motion capture animation. If you go to a bar and drink too much, all of your movement is in stumble mode. Here is a video of the GTA4 'drunk' effects... don't watch too long if you get motion sick!


While the technology shown in games that use Euphoria is definitely a step up from limp ragdolls, it's certainly not the revolutionary sea-change that the press heralded it to be.

Can we make our own cool animation technology?


Yes! To me, animation technology is the most interesting part of game programming -- in fact, my old game Black Shades consisted almost entirely of animation tech (click here for a video)! For Overgrowth, at first I tried making all of the animation procedural, as you can see in this old video, but eventually I realized that it doesn't give us enough control. The precise movements and gestures we need can only be created using a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. The final animation system will be a combination of keyframe, procedural, and physical animation. I've spent the last four years since Lugaru doing graphics and animation research, so I'm pretty confident it will work out!

To summarize, we're not using Euphoria because it's not publicly available, it's too expensive, it doesn't really exist as advertised, and we have the experience to create our own animation system that is better suited to our needs. (permalink)


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Post comment Comments
Barnz
Barnz Nov 12 2009, 9:22pm says:

Black Shades was yours? Anyway, I know how you feel. I seen many get refused when they ask big companies for something. Good luck.

+1 vote     reply to comment
jeffr
jeffr Nov 13 2009, 1:25am replied:

Yeah, David made Black Shades in early high school :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
Torabi
Torabi Nov 13 2009, 8:19am replied:

So you guys are the geniuses behind Black Shades?! I like you guys even more now.

+4 votes     reply to comment
wazanator
wazanator Nov 12 2009, 9:35pm says:

Wait so Euphoria was fake in order to get companies to hire them so that they would help with there animations?

Seems kind of sleezy of them to pull something like that :/

+4 votes     reply to comment
SneakySoft
SneakySoft Nov 12 2009, 9:40pm replied:

Euphoria is not fake, it's just not a product as you would expect it to be...

+6 votes     reply to comment
sbnewsom
sbnewsom Nov 13 2009, 3:46am replied:

What was failed to mentioned was that Euphoria gives you physical artificial intelligence. It can make a character run, or walk using physics instead of animations. It allows characters to balance themselves physical on any surface. It is really powerful!

+3 votes     reply to comment
M@ty
M@ty Nov 13 2009, 5:15am replied:

@Bradnewson

Yes, but that comes at some serious processing power needed over conventional keyframed techniques :).

+4 votes     reply to comment
salem5
salem5 Nov 14 2009, 8:21am replied:

Reminds me how crysis is artificially limited in physiks to spare some cpu power.

+1 vote     reply to comment
wilsonC
wilsonC Nov 12 2009, 9:48pm says:

I always though euphoria was a joke. You have to pay them tons of money so they can get their experts to modify your engine so you can have "biomechanical AI" (yeah right). It's kind of funny in GTA 4 but it's nowhere close to being realistic, and it just never really worked in the force unleashed (except for "dead" guys grabbing each other). Anyways, I'm sure it would be possible to achieve those effects in source engine or unreal 3, there's already IK and ragdolls, and it wouldn't be that hard to make ragdolls have the magnetic hand effect that the lucasarts devs probably paid millions for.

+3 votes     reply to comment
formerlyknownasMrCP
formerlyknownasMrCP Nov 12 2009, 10:56pm replied:

I agree, Euphoria was not AI- it was a bunch of guys writing custom scripts which achieve the same effect as most other physics based middleware- the only difference is theirs was a bloated premium service on top of that.

Euphoria wasn't even that good in GTA4.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Nebcake
Nebcake Nov 12 2009, 10:32pm says:

A very interesting step you guys are going to take, but the way you guys do stuff it will look amazing either way.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dra6o0n
Dra6o0n Nov 12 2009, 11:03pm says:

biomechanical ai, they say? Basically its rag dolls with a ton of math in it's physics and calculation for the ai...

+1 vote     reply to comment
HellsHigh
HellsHigh Nov 13 2009, 12:00am replied:

Uh, yeah, thats the point. Biomechanical-AI is just the name they gave to their "smart" ragdolls.

+6 votes     reply to comment
HellsHigh
HellsHigh Nov 12 2009, 11:58pm says:

I'd rather play with the Force unleashed tech demos than the actual game...

Euphoria is a great leap forward, though it may not be the future today it certainly is paving the way.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Armageddon104
Armageddon104 Nov 13 2009, 12:36am says:

Yeah our storm troopers can some how grab on to the middle of huge boards! :D

+7 votes     reply to comment
Krussell
Krussell Nov 13 2009, 2:45am says:

I really like the Euphoria stuff in GTA IV. It makes a lot of crashes and spills look neat. On the other hand, I found myself wondering if The Force Unleashed had actually used any Euphoria technology at all. Most of the time I would throw a storm trooper and he would basically play what looked like a canned animation.

I used to play a lot of Black Shades back in the day and that had pretty neat ragdolls even before mainsteam games had ragdolls so I'm looking forward to what you guys come up with for Overgrowth.

+3 votes     reply to comment
AlekZanDer
AlekZanDer Nov 13 2009, 7:47am says:

Too bad...

-1 votes     reply to comment
Mik0112
Mik0112 Nov 13 2009, 9:21am says:

Gotta admit I've had some really fun and fascinating moments with Euphoria, but from what I've seen from you guys, I'm sure you're gonna amaze me.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Mastix
Mastix Nov 13 2009, 10:01am says:

I have only one tiny question: Why aren't you using Euphoria? =D

-4 votes     reply to comment
Dragonlord
Dragonlord Nov 13 2009, 11:24am says:

Right call in that one. The idea behind the product/service/put-your-name-here by itself is interesting but nothing new. It's in fact robotics stepped up. More or less connecting sensors and actuators through a neural network. The trick is the neural network and the training of this dude is what the company experts are actually doing. For games in general this is as you stated total overkill. It can have nice effects but to be honest some clever combination of keyframed and procedural animation using a bit of AI code is enough for an actual game without burning a hole into your CPU.

+2 votes     reply to comment
TheHappyFriar
TheHappyFriar Nov 13 2009, 1:04pm replied:

it's similar to what doom 3 does with it's foot IK system: the characters feet always stay on the floor, they don't "hover" above one step vs another because of a height difference, unless the system can't compensate. It's one of the first things disabled in Q4's MP & ETQW's characters. :) I think the Doom 3 alpha has even more of this where you would shoot a monster & it that area would "feel" the impact & get shoved back.

But the basic idea is the same: for stuff that "doesn't matter", use keyframes. For stuff you want interactive, do a logic system that interacts with the bones (any other reason to use bones vs vertex animation besides code interactivity? None that I can see.)

But as most things, if the player can't tell or it doesn't help with the game play, it's no different then a fancy new texture. :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
nopushbutton
nopushbutton Nov 30 2009, 8:54pm replied:

And aside from performance, it would actually be kind of annoying to realistically stumble and trip on random stuff while running around...

New technology in games is good, but it should have a solid gameplay mechanic which adds to the game to justify its use.

Also, I just cant help but think Euphoria's description of their services sounds really fishy in some way.

+1 vote     reply to comment
TheOneKnownAsMe
TheOneKnownAsMe Nov 13 2009, 11:27pm says:

Well said indeed.

Despite the fact that your procedural animation tech demo is 3 years old, it still looks awesome.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Myloman
Myloman Nov 14 2009, 1:21am says:

Definitely an interesting difference between what is promised, and what is delivered. I'm enjoying watching your animation system develop. :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
PedobearNED
PedobearNED Nov 22 2009, 7:21am says:

and what about the HAVOK engine :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
The_Silver
The_Silver Dec 30 2012, 10:52am says:

Euphoria is stunning in Max Payne 3, maybe a few years ago the technology was simply competitive and not revolutionary, but now it's the best you can have, everyone who played MP3 can confirm, so I understand that there are things that someone with less than one million dollars budget can't afford, but surely you can't refuse to use the Euphoria technology because of its qualities.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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