Particle cars and pedestrians, with complex behaviors and animations

I want to do something quite tricky in one of my Cycles scenes. So tricky that I doubt it will be possible, but I thought to ask anyway. In essence, I’m creating a city… and I want to use a particle system to simulate cars and pedestrians with detailed realistic behaviors.

  • Problems with pedestrians - First of all: If I’m using a particle system that duplicates a group of objects… can those objects be rigged models that loop an animation, in order to have characters properly seem like they’re walking? Further more: What if I want those characters to play special animations when near certain objects on top of that… like say look toward a landmark while passing it, or get their phones out near a WIFI zone?
  • Problems with cars - The main issue with particle vehicles is making the wheels turn toward the direction of movement… though as described above, I’d also like to have drivers do certain actions when the particle is near a given object. I also wonder if I can have brake lights activate when the car is decelerating, or signal lights when turning, and reverse lights if the car ever walks backwards… can I bound materials to velocities or proximities?
  • Problems with both pedestrians and cars - In either case, I’ll be wanting the particles to navigate across an area, while manifesting some intelligent behavior. First problem is, this area is composed of multiple objects, so I can’t have a particle system on top of one object alone. Second, I’ll want stuff like cars and pedestrians respecting stop signs… I was even hoping to have people going in and out of houses and cars, but realize that’s probably way too much. Third on the list would be sounds, like footsteps or engine noises… but this too probably goes way beyond what Blender can do out of the box.

Obviously the only solution is boids particles with complex relations. Still… can I make the armature of each particle play different animations based on proximity to given objects? How do I allow particles to walk across the surfaces of multiple objects? And how do I create complex movement behavior, like cars driving on the correct lanes and waiting at stop signs or people stopping for a few seconds to admire something? It would be really neat if this was doable to some extent, and I’m curious how far I can get with the current features in Blender.

cant be done
if you want something so complex you need to use python and game engine i think.

I know that boids particles can do this to some extent. If I could use drivers to control boid targets for example, might I be able to achieve at least a fraction of those ideas?

Can particles be animated objects in any case, where armatures loop a given animation forever? I can at least create simple pedestrians and cars this way, which walk or drive around indefinitely at a fixed speed.

Can particles be animated objects


Hope helps.

Very helpful… thanks!

There’s another tool? approach? which i thought might be of interest to you.