Apr 252017
 

Well we’re trying a gif this time since the over all theme of the post is motion, let’s hope it doesn’t free… eeze. Annoying, some kind of stuttering going on I can’t seem t… o be able to keep moving my face.

 


J Here we’ve got the first iteration of a Humanoid root-motion rig driving the movement of Lech, with an overriding generic rig for the facial bones to keep that beautiful face smiling!

Continuing on I’ve created a system for combining meshes in real-time, I say I but google and Simple LOD was of more than a little help!

The characters and animation systems of Eco has as you see been my main focus this week, and after looking through my import settings I found why my feet were slipping around all over the ground.

As you can see, the sliding feet is no longer an issue on the Lech below, additionally you can see one of his feet are planted firmly on a high ledge, the back of his hand is planted on a pole and his face is angled towards the camera.

Other than the sliding feet issue, this is all due to Final IK a powerful and easy to use IK-system which we’ll use to get our little Ecozens to feel more firmly planted in the world, literally, it will also be used to make the characters look at things of interest as well as, pick up and hold items, without having to create tens of new animations and animation overlays.

Looks a bit washed out though doesn’t he? Here’s a preview of the current lighting!


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Nov 162016
 

sneezing_villain01Hold o-o-oatchoonnn…

 

 

 


J Lech didn’t get a chance to say anything this week, and I don’t have that many words for you either, but let’s take a quick look-see at what I’ve been up to.

First up is a new rig for Ambrosia, or rather, the continuation of her rig, I’ve added some fleshy squash and stretch to her legs and I’ve also started to add some more definition to her face, as she’s a hero character that can only ever exist once in a scene, she deserves some more geometry, especially since the humans have already been refined.

nov8th_ambrosiaendoftheworldspecial

Doesn’t look like much, but here’s a quick gif of what we can do now, not that we’d want to.

nov17th_ambrosiarig

More importantly I’ve been working on the facial animations, specifically, I’ve been working on getting them into Unity, if you went to GameOn you’d’ve seen a rather sad preview of Lech talking to this female customer, her mouth open wide, jaw bouncing up and down and Lech’s disturbingly puckered lips.

After a few hours of trying to get the facial animations to work with the humanoid rig setting inside of Unity I switched over to generic, this is going to cause some other issues but after just a few minutes I had my first working animation.

Huzza! Sure, almost, you see, getting the animations to work consistently still wasn’t possible, despite my new exporter script helpers (I love Python!). Enter Maya Game Exporter, I might cover it in a short video in the future, for now, just try it out, it’s amazing. Using the Game Exporter in combination with some basic Python, everything works like a charm, every, single, time!

Here’s a short video on what it could look like (this is not what it’ll sound like though!)

I’ve also updated my post on Shader Forge vs Amplify Shader after the recent 1.29 SF and Beta 2 ASE update.


K So many things I ignored during the pre-GameOn event. But now I’ve had the time for some R&R and to handle most of those things and starting working on smaller fixes to get som functionality into a more stable state. So basically I’ve been all over the code base for some quality assurance.

Next step is either take what we have further to the next step or maybe starting on some dialog, but that sounds a bit early to me, maybe some basic customer behaviors, well it seems the next step is a meeting with Jona.


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Jan 072016
 

Weekly Recap #1

J This week I’m focusing on animation and design, I’ve started creating an item list for the game which will eventually be turned into a real artifact list.

Gifs really screw with timing, but it doesn’t matter too much as this idle wasn’t close to finished anyway.

First test idle

Out of Combat Idle V 0.6

I had some issues with the rig and have been looking deeper into Python, I’ve created some very simpel scripts which will allow me to fix errors and select things based upon names and type much easier.

Parts of my characters will be using overlapping UVs, which has lead to some issues with saving skin weight maps in Maya. I tried to solve this by using scripts found online, however, nothing really worked out the way I wanted and needed.

In the end I created an extra UV channel and used auto UVs to create a weight mappable channel, this isn’t something I’ll do very often, however when I do need to, it takes a bit too long.

This is why I, over the coming weeks, will be looking deeper into Python to automate this process completely, wish me luck, this tool could be useful for a lot of people!

A simple Tire 2 Sword

A simple Tire 2 Sword

I’m experimenting with a hand painted style with semi-realistic material definitions, PBR is cool but I really feel that this style would be great for this game.

Battle Stance Idle V 0.8

Battle Stance Idle V 0.8

Finishing up the week, I’ve blocked out and had time to do some polish on an, in-battle idle, it’s still stiff but it’s getting there, gotta work in some more arcs!

 


 

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Dec 232015
 

Already on week 4!? Time flies by, but that’s probably what I’ve written every week now, so, here’s something new.

I’ve been using Maya Lt now, almost exclusively since the idea of paying for a 3ds Max is a bit too heavy right now, luckily I’m allowed to use it at work so when I need something done quick, well that’s what lunch hours are for!

December 21st

J Today I managed to retopologize all of the base clothing for the fat man, also fixed a lot of issues with skinning on the main body and improved further upon the rig, starting to come to the point where I’m going to have to create morphtargets if I want to take it further.

We’ll see about that though, I still feel like I could take this rig a bit further, I’d like to create a real face GUI for it, but I’ve got to rad a bit more on that subject first.

I have still to try and create O, CDENSZ, AKI, L, MPB, FV, Ooo, Ahh and Th, but I will get to that after I create a tongue for him.

Gear retopo and skinning

Gear retopo and skinning


K

December 22nd

JFirst real animation test with the new rig, I found that my foot roll is far from perfect, so I’ll look into fixing that. Way more annoying however was having the head parented to the neck, this made the character look in whichever way the chest turned.

The fix was simple in a way but still took me about 2 hours, now instead of being parented, the head is driven by a constant point constraint and a keyable rotation constraint, why not a parent constraint you ask? Well, I simply can’t think of a single time when I’d want to move the head like that.

Should I want to in the future, I just need to create a custom attribute and bind it to the keyed transformation channels on the point constraint, in any case, it will always be preferable to be able to use rotation and transformation separately for the head.

Walk cycle V 0.1

Walk cycle V 0.1


K

 

December 23rd

J Been reading up on animation fundamentals and realized I’m going to have to create an FK/IK switch for my arms, it’ll be too clumsy trying to create a nice swing without the ability to use FK, I love rigging!

December 24th

J I spent about an hour on watching animation principle videos this evening after everyone had gone to sleep, can’t wait to be back to my computer to put everything I’ve learned into practice.

Dec 152015
 

Wow! The weeks sure pass by in a jiffy when you’re having fun, and by fun I mean devving!

So far at least one hour per day with some days being closer to eight and most at around five to six hours.

December 14th

J Despite my fever haze I managed to read up on advanced facial rigging and create/steal some nice scripts. These will increase the speed of future rigs, super exciting!

I know that I, in the end, will be creating a lot of morph targets to bring the characters to life in game. To avoid a lot of work, I’m going to expand my facial rig to the level of a last gen AAA character. Create all animations for one character then using a hopefully, relatively simple retargeting system, to fit the same animations to all other characters.

Wish me luck… This is unexplored territory for me.

PyMel Python MEL scripts for rigging

PyMel, Python and MEL scripts for rigging


K During the days I work as a teacher, I teach game developemt at LBS Stockholm in Stockholm (surprise surprise) and this week is the last week before all the students leave for their holiday break, needless to say there is a lot on my schedule right now. Enough with the excuses, I managed to scramble together some time and researched some tools that might cmoe handy later in the development, biggest concern right now is how to handle the procedural dungeons, roll my own solution or buy one?

December 15th

J You know those pesky helmets and hairdos where your ears and/or nose clip through, but you know the design works better if you don’t have to make it thinker and longer? After all, wouldn’t the helmet just push the ears in?

Well, considering that I may at one point want a character to scratch its nose or flip an ear, I decided to add three more bones to my rig. This brings the added benefit of allowing us a simple animation state where we can fold ears and nose into for example a helmet or bandana!

This could be a smart solution

This could be a smart solution


K More teacher stuff happening today besides my baby brothers birthday, well at least I had the time to record a instructional video for my students on how time works in Unity, so if you understand Swedish you can enjoy that and several other game development related videos from here.

December 16th

J You’re probably getting sick of this guy’s face, the fact is however that for new characters to be made, this rig needs to be finalized first.

I think that enough of the rig is done now for me to start creating some animations for out little friend.

Face bones, for happy and sassy expressions.

Face bones, for happy and sassy expressions.


K I have begun work on cleaning up and abstracting some systems to release on Asset Store for others to use or learn from.

December 17th

J Created most of the controllers I will use to create base animations and future blend shapes.

Controllers are done

Controllers are done


K Today I finished work on the settings system and prepared it for the asset store where it will be available for free for you to use or learn from.

It is a basic XML based system with a in Unity editor and easily extendable.

UNity3d Settings Editor Window

XML Settings

December 18th

J Made a few expression tests, neutral, happy, shocked and angry which are now driven by a single float value, it’s working quite well.

Expression tests

Expression tests


K This was the last day before the break for the holiday at work, and according to traditions we finish with a big LAN party, now I took the time to work on continuing the work from the day before but know my brains is mush from lack of sleep so I will return tomorrow hopefully with some more work.

December 19th

J Today I skinned some clothes onto the fat man, this is going to be incredibly annoying to fit into a game ready equipment system.

Skinning clothes

Skinning clothes


K Having visitors over for the weekend did not leave much time for work so I am squeezing in some thinking and reflection time thinking about how the different systems will work together.

December 20th

J We’ve just bought a domain and registered a Facebook page name, here’s an idea for the Facebook group profile picture, it’s way too grey though, that’s sure as sure.

Facebook profile pic

Facebook profile pic


K We have done a lot these past weeks and it is time to start thinking more about the story and aesthetics of the game  as its definition will affect a lot of the game itself so now with the holidays quickly arriving there is less time for coding work so I have begun looking into possible themes and settings of the game, looking into folklore.

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Dec 082015
 

Week 2 is up, what will we produce this week?

We’re still going at it, must be at 5 hours per day since the start of December, this was a great initiative by @nerdtimeblog.

December 7th

J I’m back to sculpting again, working on a pair of tier 1 boots for the adventurers and NPCs, just baked the textures before heading off to bed.

Boot workflow, may have gone a bit crazy here…

 


K The 7th of december me and my girlfriend celebrated three years together, a hell of a thing to do on a monday but still I managed to get in my one hour of gamedev, to Lindas great dismay, well I needed to get in some basic animations connected to the player movement, and I did.

 

December 8th

J After baking the shoes I painted them and added a nice matcap with some specular highlights, I do like this look, I took a few of my older assets, a pistol and a shield, edited them slightly and threw them into my scene. Makes me want to render the character and his clothing a bit more thoroughly but I’m afraid there’s no time for that.

Eco Dec 8th


K While we flesh out the game concept I am beginning to test some shop functionality, started out with creating a test scene working my amazing programmer art skills, Jona watch out, soon a will be able to make something more advanced than cubes… Cylinders coming up…

Unity3D Scene for testing.

 

December 9th

J This is going quite well, one hour per day has turned into multiple hours per day, today I clocked in at about 4 hours, in that time I managed to get this skeleton all jointed up and after a pass of geodesic skinning and about 25 minutes of manual tweaks, all that’s left is to make sure the fingers deform well as well as, of course, setting up the controllers for the rig!

Skeleton done, controllers to come!

Skeleton done, controllers to come!


K This day I turned to some of the shop functionality with the ability to place and pick up items for sale shown below with this poorly made animated gif that might or might not work in wordpress.

3D Test Shop

Test Shop with pick up functionality.

 

December 10th

J Today I started on the controllers for my rig, I’ve got the main functionality down, however I want to add a foot roll and a basic facial animation setup.

Would have been further along, however I noticed that chaning colors and freezing transforms was taking too long so I decided to create some basic Python script as well as a MEL script, I’ll convert this to Python later, however I just couldn’t manage in the time I had allowed myself.

Eco Dec 10th

Base rig and controllers

 


K I managed to squeeze in my hour in an otherwise stressfull day by starting looking into Dialogue for Unity which seems to be a really competent dialog system, and even though I’ve made a ton of these myself this will save us a lot of time and have a workflow much nicer than what I have ever accomplished.

December 11th

J The controllers are connected to the rig, there’s a foot roll, and the fingers are animatable, this will be by far the most advanced and easily handled rig I’ve ever created. Currently I have things like the foot roll as well as finger middles and ends connected to custom attributes but I’m thinking I will want these as separate controllers later on.

Rig day 2

Rig day 2


K Today I dwelled deeper into Dialogoue for Unity fixing some left overs from yesterday and looking into its localization functionality from, well… Today.

Oh, and if you are in need of localization or can offer help to indie developers, swing by the Indie Game Localization group I manage on Facebook.

December 12th

J I’ve managed to get a decent if basic face rig going, there will probably be some morphtargets as well in the future but, I think most of the work will be made using the rig.

Oh and here’s a gif for your enjoyment!

Rig Day 3

Rig Day 3


K On the twelfth day of xmas I looked into A* Pathfinding Project Pro for all our path finding needs. I have worked with this tool before a few years back and remembered it as being well rounded solution and well it has only gotten better since then.

I quick test scene later it is up and running with an NPC walking around in the shop browsing warez.

December 13th

J The rig is almost done, going to make a final skinning pass and then I’ll be creating a lot of wonderful morph targets, for now, here’s an old fat man falling over.

Falling Over

Falling Over


K It has been a rough week, we have achieved a lot so today after getting some work done on the dialogue and path finding of the game I decided to clean up the office a bit, something I have failed to do since I moved in here some time ago, well deserved and such a morale boost, so keep it clean, now for some much needed rest.

Clean office

Clean office

Aug 132015
 

The thing we’ve all been waiting exactly one year for has arrived, that’s right, it’s time for #SIGGRAPH2015!

Last week we were (finally?) allowed a sneak peak into Autodesk Stingray, a new engine for the development of games made by Autodesk, with the promise of incredible workflow between 3Ds Max/Maya and Stingray, I must confess, I’m intrigued.

So, back to Siggraph and the unveiling of the new extensions for Maya and 3Ds Max 2016. Extension 1 which will be available on the 11th of August for 3Ds Max subscribers and on the 9th of September for Maya subscribers will include a few things which I personally am very excited about!

Autodesk 3Ds Max 2016 Extension 1

  • Geodesic Voxel and Heat Map solvers are finally coming to 3Ds Max, this means we’re finally getting some long awaited skinning improvements, test these when you can!
Heat Map

I’ll update the post with a video showing off this skinning method in Maya soon!

  • Max Creation Graph (youtube) will be receiving controllers especially made for procedural animation!
  • A new “Game Exporter” which will not only work with Stingray but also update (replace?) the old FBX Export tool to better accommodate for game assets made for engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine 4!
  • Stingray live link, which’ll allow for instant updates between Max and Stingray.
  • A new updated 3D Text tool, finally!

Autodesk Maya 2016 Extension 1

  • Stingray live link, Maya also gets the instant update feature, however in Maya you will allegedly be able to do quite a lot more as far as editing goes!
  • The already existing “Game Exporter” will be updated (watch out for a video on how the current one works for Unreal Engine and Unity.)
  • Hypershade gets procedural texture nodes.
  • The new updated 3D Text tool.
  • Scalable Vector Graphics will now be supported, making 2D vector based art from Adobe Illustrator and the like easy to handle in a 3D world.

Look forward to more coverage of the most interesting things for Unity and Unreal developers unveiled at Siggraph 2015!

All the best!
//Jona

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