Crowd Delegates

character studio's Crowd system uses Delegate helper objects as intermediaries between the crowd simulation and the influenced objects. A delegate is a non-rendering pyramid-shaped object whose apex points in the forward direction. A scene should contain as many delegates as objects to be animated by the crowd system. You can add them one by one, or use any of the standard 3DS MAX methods for cloning objects, including Shift-clone and the Array function. However, the Crowd object offers a convenient Scatter Objects function that lets you clone delegates and distribute the clones over a surface or within a volume, with options for orientation and scaling.

Once you've added enough clones for your crowd simulation, you can use additional Crowd facilities for grouping the delegates and applying behaviors. Because of its simple geometry and fast display, the delegate is ideal for producing an initial sketch of the crowd simulation. Once you're satisfied with the animation, you can use Crowd to link delegates to bipeds and other animated objects

Delegate parameters define the nature of their motion. You access these parameters are accessible in the delegate's Motion Parameters rollout. They include speed, turning, and banking parameters. The speed parameters let you describe a delegate's average speed and maximum acceleration. You can also define how much a delegate slows down as it turns or goes upward, and how much it speeds up when it goes down. Turning parameters let you indicate how quickly a delegate can turn, and how much it can turn upward and downward. Banking parameters describe how much and how quickly a delegate banks and its banking limit. All of these parameters work together to describe different types of creatures. A small fish, for instance, can turn more quickly than a large bird. A fish's speed would not be effected when the fish traveled up or down, but a bird's speed might be altered by its upward or downward direction.

One particularly useful feature of delegates is their ability to display, via colored vectors, the strength and direction of the various forces acting upon them during solution of the crowd simulation. Each force can have a unique, identifying color. For example, the Seek behavior uses green by default, while the Wander behavior uses aqua. You can change these to any you like. If a simulation isn't proceeding as expected, you can debug it by observing the vectors during the solution. And if the solution occurs too quickly, you can use the Step Solve feature to solve the simulation one frame at a time.