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P3D v4 Character animation in Prepar3Dv4

Christian Bahr

Resource contributor
Hello, i just wanted to take the opportunity and show you what is currently possible in the subject of character animation in the P3Dv4.

On the occasion of the upcoming Halloween, I have created a small dance choreography at the castle Frankenstein from FTX Germany South. In the video you can see some new LivingPeople, as well as a female skydiver who will soon be published in Payload Manager by Lorby-SI. The animated person (with sunglasses), who is otherwise on the terrace in the Bottenhorn project, was also allowed to join the dance troupe :)

Location: Castle Frankenstein in Heidelberg / FTX Germany South

The video is based on the dance from the horror video "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. The video has no serious background, but it has only one purpose as a fun video. But you can easily see what's possible. The people in the video have a keyframe animation (3355 frames). But at the same time they have been programmed as avatars and this combination - keyframe vs avatar - offers a wide range of uses.


: Youtube Videolink updated!
Last edited:

Christian Bahr

Resource contributor
Sorry for the German subtitles, but I would like to share the following video with you.

The video shows Avatars as well as Living People in combination. The video itself shows some technical finesse, so you can also carry the Lorby Avatar items that can be connected by gauge. The operation of the items can also be performed by another avatar. In the meantime, it is no longer a problem to turn the Bahrometrix Living People into avatars, thus turning them into sim objects, which can then be controlled and used in a previously unfounded form. Let's see what crazy ideas result from it :)


Resource contributor
Yes, this idea is really a bit weird!
It is actually pretty practical, from a development standpoint, imo. At a time when many human tasks are being replaced by automation, the requirement for simulating the human to operator interface has never been higher. We see this in the popularity of GSX and Follow Me, arguably peripheral addons for what is otherwise, a "flight" simulator.

I wonder if you could share the software you use, or your workflow. I have a Kinect 3d camera and am currently using iClone software. My goal is to reproduce the shooter sequence for a US Navy aircraft carrier. I have used your models, Christian, in the software and with a little adjustment, I can get some progress. Working with a developer skilled in 3ds Max - I am not - we created a model that worked better, but still was not adequate for compilation into .mdl format.

Here is a short segment of my results, as recorded from the mocap software work space, any ideas?


Christian Bahr

Resource contributor
This could be something for a motion capture studio, which can record special animations by an actor. Most 3D character animations are clip-based, these clips are then placed on his 3D person. Here in my area there are very good motion capture studios. You have to find out where there is a studio near you. My recommendation is, you create contributions to your questions. The topic is too complex, because it can very quickly become confusing.


Resource contributor
There are not enough people doing relevant work on motion capture for the flight sim to contribute to a discussion thread. I know this, I've worked with several prominent developers and the techniques are rudimentary, proprietary and unique for each developer. I do not need a studio, I already have one in my own living room.


(That's me)

The motions of the model in the recording above were recorded live from me, they were not transcribed from a clip. The software I use includes a vast library of motion clips, none of them remotely represent a carrier deck shooter and are consequently unusable. I really need corroboration, I need a selection of suitable models and a method to modify them on the fly. I'd prefer to not have to master 3ds Max in order to accomplish this and I will continue to approach developers, like yourself, who show an interest in it, I forsee great demand.
Dusting off an old(ish) thread because I just watched these videos and they are brilliant!

Christian, how do you embark your skydivers/pilots on their aircraft? Do the avatars have any awareness of its proximity such that they can board in a realistically animated manner (which seems like it would be really hard to achieve) or do you just load them in a single step? Also, I've yet to download the source examples on your website (too many other projects on the go! :) ) but this is perhaps better as a question anyway: Does P3D treat the movement of an avatar as though it is a vehicle or are you "just" manipulating a camera view?

Many thanks,

Christian Bahr

Resource contributor

With the avatars for the P3D, I only used the technology provided. The avatars are an integral part of the P3D, fortunately nothing has to be programmed "around the corner". The avatars I created were created and animated according to P3D SDK specifications. Unfortunately, the documentation of the SDK with regard to the avatars is very poor. Only with years of experience in character animation / character design was it possible for me to bring the people in P3D to life. This in combination with good idea generators then led to these results :)

Best Regards
Thanks Christian. It is obvious from those videos that you are very skilled at this; I've seen plenty of examples of "human" movement that looks anything but.
Your videos on YouTube (I followed links on your website) raise many really interesting possibilities; I've seen that there are aircraft providers that offer a means to give a version of an aircraft walk-around but they don't have anything like the level of realism that you demonstrate with your pilot. Did you ever try animating boarding? This looks like it would be very hard to do and very much type-specific. Also, could the avatar move a vehicle? I'm thinking of how in the real world a light aircraft is towed to and from the hangar with a towing handle - not something I've ever seen replicated in a sim.

I'm guessing that all this avatar stuff is LM-only functionality but am off to take a look through the FSX SDK to see if such things are also possible there...
Edit: Found the LM stuff: Avatar Mode (prepar3d.com)