This is one of several small posts that aim to give an overview of animation technology in current games, as part of an ongoing scripting tutorial series.
Animation state machines are a core concept used in modern computer games, and are a necessary component for us to understand and work with characters and scripted moments.
There are three main components that compose animation state machines
These contain an animation. When a state is active, the character is playing this animation. You may be able to alter the way the animation plays, but nothing more.
The only caveat is that states can also contain blend-spaces, which we will cover in an upcoming blog post.
These are the links between states. They define which animations are allowed to blend between each other. For example, you may add transitions to allow a character to blend from Idle to Walking, but not straight from Idle to Running.
These are the set of conditions that you write, that when met allow one state to travel through a transition to another state. They are heavily parameter driven - as an example, speed increasing may transition from the idle to a walking state.
There are some more advanced elements to animations state machines, such as the way they handle additive animations, encapsulate other state machines and send messages based on their state. These will all be covered in the next blog posts.