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I've set up the physics of a swinging wrecking ball and set the animation to run for 240 frames. This was not long enough for the entire "swing" of the ball-and-chain.

I'm unable to reset the timeline, but I can set the end frame to (say) 1000 frames, but when I try to play the animation, the animation progress halts at frame 240 and I cannot get it to go any further.

There are no markers or keyframes in the timeline.

What should I do to "force reset" the animation-timeline, to allow changes to the length?

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2 Answers 2

Once the Rigid Body World is created in the scene, by default, the Rigid Body Cache frame range uses the current frame range. You need to manually change it in the Scene -> Rigid Body Cache.

enter image description here

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The problem you are having is not with timeline, but with the length of the rigid body cache.

The physics systems have cache length settings independent of the scene frame range, so you must ensure that they are set accordingly as well as setting the frame range.

To do this for rigid bodies, set the End frame of the cache in Properties > Scene > Rigid Body Cache to the last frame you want the rigid bodies to be animated:

enter image description here

If you Baked the simulation (rather than just playing the scene animation to make a temporary cache of the simulation), press Free Bake in Properties > Scene > Rigid Body Cache to remove and "unlock" that cache:

enter image description here

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Just to highlight the second paragraph - This applies to all simulations, smoke, cloth, soft body and dynamic paint all have similar cache setups within their settings. Rigid body differs in that the cache is located within the scene settings not under physics properties, while fluid only allows you to set the folder for the cache. –  sambler Feb 5 '14 at 4:59
@sambler Particles also have this. –  gandalf3 Feb 5 '14 at 8:27

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