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NaturalMotion Releases Morpheme 2.0, Adds PhysX Integration

NaturalMotion has released the latest version of its Morpheme animation middleware, integrating Nvidia's PhysX technology and apparently offfering "much more targeted... control over physics and animation" for in-game characters.
Animation software developer NaturalMotion has released the latest version of its Morpheme animation middleware, integrating Nvidia's PhysX technology with its tool for authoring and previewing blends, blend trees, and transition graphs in real time. NaturalMotion says that it believes it has solved "several fundamental problems holding back the combined application of physics and animation," and that Morpheme 2.0 should allow for "seamless mixing and matching of animation and physics methods within and across animation skeletons." The updated middleware's integration with PhysX, first announced by both companies in May 2008, allows for graphical authoring of physics skeletons, collision shape, and joint-limits. It also enables animation fixing, hard and soft-keyframing, and active animation in the same skeleton, and adds support for different physics modes on different body parts, and for transitions between animation and physics. Morpheme 2.0 also features an enhanced multithreading model for runtime performance; updated animation compression methods; a LiveLink library designed to simplify connecting application to remote runtime target; and pass-down pins that support animation network referencing. The Morpheme engine is currently licensed by a variety of developers, including BioWare, Eidos, Ninja Theory, 38 Studios, Futuremark, Total Immersion Software, CCP, and Gearbox Software. "In previous animation solutions, physics has often been an afterthought, often only allowing for the addition of ragdolls or other basic physics methods as an ‘all-or-nothing’ effect at the end,” says NaturalMotion CEO Torsten Reil. He continues, "With Morpheme 2.0, we have developed a method to give programmers and animators much more targeted and differentiated control over physics and animation. It is now possible to add arbitrary physics modes to different parts of the same body -- all graphically." "We’re also giving animators intuitive 3D tools to graphically author physics joints, joint limits and parameters. We believe this new method of treating animation and physics in tandem will become a fundamental requirement for more believable characters."

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