Making miniature mammoths move marvelously

Tomorrow morning SIGGRAPH begins. Today has been our last chance to put everything together and fix things up before the crowd arrives, and the floodgates open.

For my part, it’s been a day of working on making our miniature tabletop mammoth world better. I’ve been teaching procedural mammoths to pick up and eat apples, to walk around obstacles rather than through them, to drink water from a lake with style and grace. Basically, all of the behaviors you’d expect from mammoths in a miniature tabletop world.

Fortunately, there are no actual miniature tabletop mammoths, so I have a lot of leeway. As long as the little mammoths don’t do obviously non-mammoth-like things, it’s all good.

In a way the situation is similar to the animation challenges faced by the creators of Jurassic Park, since nobody knows exactly how those big dinosaurs moved. And that very lack of knowledge created an interesting opportunity.

The filmmakers didn’t need the dinosaurs to move correctly. They just needed them to move in a way that wouldn’t feel wrong to an audience.

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