Modelling/Character Animation

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This tutorial only describes one possible way to animate already existing characters.

Please keep in mind that you not only have to animate the character mesh itself, but also the tags.


To animate your character in 3DSMax you have to create a biped system. After the system was created, open it's properties. There you can load our bip file that holds the animations for e.g. soldiers, civilians and so on.

Now select the bip object, go to the movement->biped tab and change to figure mode to bring the bip object into it's initial form (you can even load a fig file to do this from already existing shapes).

After you've done this, select the head mesh and apply the physique modifier, click attach and select the head bip object.


Character animations are read from anm files with the same basename as the md2. e.g.:


.anm file format

The format of these anm files is as following. For each animation sequence you have a line consisting of ...

  • animation name
  • start frame
  • end frame
  • fps

... that are separated by whitespaces.


death1				0		30		18
dead1				30		30		18
death2				31		61		18
dead2				61		61		18
death3				62		94		18
dead3				94		94		18

stand0				189		190		1
walk0				191		206		22
cstand0				209		210		1
cwalk0				212		227		15

List of needed animations for a character

Characters are soldiers and aliens (as opposed to civilians) that can perform actions like shooting with different weapons.

  • stand0, stand1, stand2, stand3
  • walk0, walk1, walk2, walk3
  • cstand0, cstand1, cstand2, cstand3
  • cwalk0, cwalk1, cwalk2, cwalk3
  • death1, death2, death3
  • dead1, dead2, dead3
  • run0
  • move_*, shoot_*, cmove_*, cshoot_* (replace * with the following list)
    Attention: "*move_*" is actually an "idle" animation and has nothing to do with moving around.
    • rifle
    • biggun - Fixme: What is the difference to "rifle"?
    • melee
    • pistol
    • pistol_d (akimbo)
    • grenade
    • item
    • rpg
  • stand_menu
  • stand_still
  • panic0

Meaning of "c"

Every action starting with a "c" is for the same action but in crouched state.

death and dead animations

  • death# - dying animation
  • dead# - The animation of the dead body (i.e. the body lying on the floor). In most cases the last frame of the matching "death" animation (effectively making it a non-animation ;))

You may have also noticed, that there are various animations for death. We use three different death animations for each model. So keep in mind, that all of your models will need this three death animations if you build animated models for UFO:AI. The same counts for all other listed animation names - they must be available in the Template:Path file.

Meaning of the numbers

The number in the animation names (except for the 'death' and 'dead' ones) is the one defined with animationindex <number> in the weapon_*.ufo files.

  • 0 - items (mostly the 'unusable' ones like ammo), grenades
  • 1 - rifles
  • 2 - pistols, and 'active' items (e.g. medikit, irgoggles)
  • 3 - rpg (shoulder mounted weapons)

You can also have a look at our Template:Path files for the characters.

  • body.anm. The head models don't need any Template:Path files. They inherit the rotation from the tag file (e.g. Template:Path) (the tag-files must have the same base name as the body).

Also see the list of animated models.


Bip files are for easy transforming animation and bones to your model.