Skinned mesh support and animations

In the past few weeks I’ve been working on improving Crimild’s scene importing mechanisms with two goals in mind: provide support for more file formats and implement skeletal animation (hopefully, in the right way this time). Since I dropped support for COLLADA some time ago (yes, I did that), the only official importer was the one for OBJ, a great model format for sharing assets, but with a lot of constraints and no animation support.
Enters Assimp, an open source model importer library with support for a wide number of standard file formats like 3DS, FBX, Blender, COLLADA, etc. Assimp turned out to be extremely simple to use and integrate into Crimild. The hardest part was to understand how its animation structures can be transformed into something that Crimild can process. Except for some noticeable artifacts, progress so far looks good:
In the center of the new additions there’s the new Import module, including the SceneImporter class implementing the conversion from Assimp internal format to Crimild’s one. I preferred to keep it as an independent module (much as scripting or physics) in order to maintain the core classes free of external dependencies. That has been one of the best decision I made early in the project and it has paid off really well. In addition, new components has been added to the core module in order to work with skeletal animation, updating bones and applying them to the rendered vertices.
At the moment, animation support is still in the experimental phase, but expect to hear more in the not-so-distant future.