24 September 2010

Advanced Game Characters [month 14]

This class is all about characters, so I spent most of my time working on projects for this class as I'm not really good at advanced game characters.

Project 1: pick a character from a game, model that character then texture it using a good ambient occlusion.
I chose Yoshi, mostly for the old school appeal I thought it might have on the teacher. ;) Rule 1 is to try to appeal to your target audience!

Step 1: block out using references

Step 2: test block out by mirroring over and checking proportions
Step 3: bake AO and use base textures
Step 4: present the model for critique. Notice I was able to stay below the 2k tri limit.
The texture we used this month was a 256x512, which was a little different from anything we've done before. So I was glad to learn this memory saving technique that might be used on lower end game systems.
Project 2: using a set theme, design a character concept and them create that character.
The theme for this month was the Island of Dr. Moreau, and I chose to do a human that had chosen to become an ant .. and was somewhere in the middle of that process.

So this part of the process was very different than anything we'd done before, we had to do everything in zbrush. So to start out, we used zspheres to build a type of skeleton frame for our character.

Once the frame was in place, we could begin using zsketch to sort of block out the character.
Once the block out was complete, we could turn it into an actual mesh.

Once you have a real mesh, you can sculpt on it with some of the major shapes.
Then you turn it into a ghost ... okay maybe not, but this is when we retopologize.
The ghost quickly turns into a jumbled and tangled mesh of poo.
... and a bigger mess ...
... finally turn all -that- into a mesh ...Once you have a proper mesh you can turn that mesh into a higher detailed sculpt.

Then you sculpt the fine details ...
... and export the low resolution of that retopology into maya.
Transfer maps to get your normal map and ambient occlusion, then paint up a texture.
I was able to stay below the 10k tri limit.
My diffuse:
the normal map
As ashamed as I am to say it, this is my specular map. I had to throw this together in the last several minutes of the last lab before turn in. :(

Game ANimation [Month 14]

The secondary class for this month was game animation, which was the first time we studied animation for games. All the other animation classes were set up for movies, and since games don't always display proper timing it was a lot of fun to see how to deal with those situations and keep the characters response times up with the player instead of the player having to wait for the character to perform a proper animation cycle. The other class this month ate up my time

Project 1: walk cycles showing personality
Walk cycles are important ... because to get around you either have to run or walk .. duh? Given a character personality, copy that walk cycle believably.

Project 2: redo the walk cycle with the character the instructor modeled and rigged, then make a run cycle with the same character. It became apparent rather quickly that while a good animator, he wasn't ready for modeling/rigging/weighting his own work.

Project 3: make an attack cycle for a creature that might live under ground and attack people or animals that might walk by.

Project 4: make an attack pose cycle for Frank, something like what you might see in a 3rd person shooter or action game.

Project 5: jump! When you tap the jump button, you want to see an instant result. So in game animation there's no anticipation for the jump.

Project 6: light attack before you make a heavy attack

Project 7: heavy attack that leads out of the light attack. This would happen in a game if I press the heavy attack button directly after the light attack ... stacking the commands one after the other.

Project 8: build a game rig on Frank, even though his geometry is messed up and when you try to animate him he becomes disfigured. :'(