The new software version is built to give crowd technical directors more under-the-hood access to the crowd simulation engine, and provides custom artificial intelligence, an emit/kill behavior, traffic simulation behavior and improvements to the acclaimed Golaem Layout Tool.
Golaem has announced the release of crowd simulation software Golaem 6, with a slew of features based on user feedback and requests. The software updates are built to give crowd technical directors more under-the-hood access to the simulation engine. Golaem 6 provides custom artificial intelligence to manipulate the way characters perceive and react to their environment. Other additions include an emit/kill behavior, a traffic simulation behavior as well as improvements to the acclaimed Golaem Layout Tool.
Golaem has been used by studios on more demanding projects, including Pirates of the Caribbean by Atomic Fiction, Halo Wars 2 by Blur, Hacksaw Ridge by Slate VFX, Captain Underpants by Mikros Image and Game of Thrones. Golaem 6 has been beta tested for several weeks, with some production shots already released.
Character perception is now totally customizable, enabling the choice of which other characters or obstacles are taken into account. For example, soldiers can now react to nearby soldiers walking in front of them and start to follow behind. Likewise, characters can be set to ignore other characters (e.g. cavalry the soldiers should not follow).
Character behaviors can be totally customized by using low level building blocks called channel operators. Around 100 channels (e.g. position, speed, target distance to) can be used to feed a graph of operators outputting a new character speed and orientation or controlling its animation.
It is now possible to create custom hide, seek, flank and other behaviors, letting characters find their own way into the scene. More realism can be added into scenes simply by enhancing the character’s logic, for example: getting characters to do a shoulder motion when crossing another one.
Transitions between motions can now be precisely controlled. Users can now customize the starting point and duration of a transition. The user-friendly Transition Editor displays the compatibility between each motion at a given time, making setup easier. These new transition makes it possible to build state machines with in-between motion transitions like walk to walk-to-run to run for better animation quality.
Characters (or arrows, cannonballs, etc.) can now be emitted from a Golaem Placement Tool or relatively to another character. This is very handy for shooting arrows, creating fragmenting munitions or emitting people from buildings exits. A new master/slave mode makes them sticky (e.g. arrows stuck in a shield). It is also possible to remove characters from simulation when they are out of view or not needed.
The new Traffic Behavior allows users to populate roads in minutes. The road network can be drawn from Maya curves and Golaem will automatically create lanes and traffic lights. The Traffic Behavior will automatically put cars on lanes and let them wander around or reach a given target.
The Golaem Layout Tool is praised by some studios as a way to efficiently retake scenes, create new ones from existing simulations or simply lay out scenes. It can save time in shots production and greatly simplifies the production workflow.
The Layout Tool now includes the ability to move characters, delete them, offset their animation, change the animation speed and edit props and shaders. A Trajectory Edition mode has also been added in order to tweak trajectories manually, or benefit from automatic avoidance when laying out several characters from scratch. It is also now possible to snap objects or characters to a Golaem Placement Tool, which makes scattering objects around a scene even easier.
Thanks to its deep integration in Maya and an extensive set of MEL/Python commands, Golaem can be integrated into feature film workflows with minimal amount of pipeline development. It provides advanced display capabilities in the viewport (supporting up to 16 shadowing lights, customizable via GLSL). A C/C++ (and soon Python) development kit is provided for building tools around its simulation cache format.
The complete release notes can be found here: http://releasenotes.golaem.com/.