Awesome, good to hear from you on this! I've actually finally been able to carve out a little time on my own here recently to push my stuff forward (look for near future OpenSimEarth updates) but I've been very much wanting to set out the whole physics project up for an in depth critique by the steering committee. I'd like to set it up for a pull request, but I agree, an sqlite database is not a good general solution. I initially used datablocks for all the joints, and for most practical applications that would probably work, but for my own (Ecstasy Motion) use case I wanted to provide too many potential joints at the same time and the load of having them all be datablocks became excessive. For my current work I've gotten so used to having a db handy that anything else is just a PITA and I don't have time
but it would be great if an optimal solution could be agreed upon at least, and then potentially could be picked up by a volunteer if I don't ever get around to setting it up.
Definitely possible. depends on if the joints are simobjects or not. TAML is dependent on the stored objects being SimObject derivatives. If we're retaining our joints as distinct objects, instead of small classes inside a PhysicsObject, then yeah, TAML could work very well. At worst, we just write a specific XML parser, but I think the XML/TAML route is probably the best bet. Just a matter of deciding how we want to handle the data.
I always found the biggest pain was not having a visual editor to aid with the ragdoll creation. I personally went the datablock route and it can take awhile to get the sizes etc perfect, i still haven't lol. You can debug the ragdoll physics bodies via enabling physics debug in the world editor but a nice sexy gui tool would be great.
Full agreement there. I had an old system in place back in the TGE days where you could define bone chains, joints, etc. This was done via datablocks at the time, but for something like that, you could fairly straightforward-ly hijack the shape editor. Put it into a 'physics authoring' mode, and be able to select a series of bones to be grouped together into a chain, clicking on a bone with the 'joint mode' on could render a translucent cone to indicate joint range to give a better idea of what the settings mean, etc.
Even if it's rough, having ANY kind of editor for this sort of thing would drastically speed up work time.