U.S. Patent No. 6,992,654: System and Method for Providing User Input to Character Animation

Issued on January 31, 2006, to Electronic Arts Inc.

Summary: This patent issued to EA, discloses a system and method for providing real-time control over character animation. Basically this patent allows the user to change a character’s animation by real-time input into a joystick. For example in a golf game, the user can control the back swing, forward swing, the power or speed of the swing, whether the ball is hooked, sliced or straight, or whether or not the character takes a practice swing. The input from the joystick is monitored real time by a processor which converts motions in the joystick, such as pulling the joystick handle backwards into a back swing. Since the input is detected real-time, the user is able to change the animation continuously, i.e. the user can change the golf swing in the middle of the back swing, which might not improve your score.

Exemplary Claim: A system for providing user input for animated character display on an animation display system comprising: an analog input module configured to receive user analog input related to animated character display and to normalize the user analog input, thereby creating normalized user analog input; a control state machine module configured to receive normalized user analog input from the analog input module and create a time-based state based on the received normalized analog input, the time-based state modeling an intent of the user with respect to the animated character, and an animation state machine module configured to receive the time-based state from the control state machine module and to create a list of animations and at least one blending percentage for combining the list of animations based on the time0based state, and providing the list of animations and at least one blending percentage to the animation display system.

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