Massive (animation)

From Academic Kids

A battle simulated using Massive. The AI needed tweaking to achieve the intended effect: the soldiers in the top-left are fleeing because they don't see an enemy.
A battle simulated using Massive. The AI needed tweaking to achieve the intended effect: the soldiers in the top-left are fleeing because they don't see an enemy.

Massive is the computer animation and artificial intelligence software developed by Stephen Regelous for Weta Digital to create some of the award winning graphics, particularly the battle sequences, for the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films directed by New Zealand native Peter Jackson.

The program allowed every animated character in an animated army to respond individually to its surroundings. If such a character encountered an enemy character it was programmed to fight in a specific style until it either killed the enemy and went looking for another, or until it sustained a specific number of hits and fell down "dead".

Rumour has it that in the first execution of a battle between groups of characters, the wrong groups attacked each other. In another early demo, some of the warriors at the edge of the field could be seen running away. The reason was not that they were programmed for cowardice (or survival), but that they were initially moving in the wrong direction, and had been programmed to keep running until they encountered an enemy.

Although Massive was specifically written for the Lord of the Rings trilogy it can now be licensed by other film makers at a price of $18,000.- USD.

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