Thursday, March 11, 2010

It nearly killed me

You would not believe the amount of curse-words I have muttered over the past few days. If our friend Kaile is correct and there are indeed 3D Gods who 'give life and take it away' I'm almost certain that they spend the majority of their time pursuing the latter. That and I would bet that if we were to meet them in person, they would more closely resemble Satan than Jesus. They would have huge ugly grins, smurking purely as a way of mocking their victims (i.e. ME!) and would probably stroll about the place singing the 'cheeky girls' best-of collection, driving everyone who had the grave misfortune to encounter them deep into insanity.

After pretty much giving up on the cyclindrical mapping problem I was having with the bike, I figured I would instead try to rig up my soldier.

Boy was that the worst mistake I ever made.

Building the skeleton was simple, binding it to the skin just as easy, although it took AGES, I eventually mapped him out and textured him... and then we come to weighting the joints...

I probably started messing with Maya mid-afternoon yesterday and didn't go to sleep till 5am. Then I woke up at 12 today and it's taken me till round about 4pm to finally get it working. I would love to be the helpful colleague and explain exactly what I did, what went wrong and I how I resolved it so as to help out anyone else who may come up against a similar brick wall but the fact of the matter is I have absolutely no idea what happened, and why I ended up on suicide watch by this morning. I think I scrapped my efforts and started from scratch at least 3 or 4 times until Maya decided it wanted to play ball and actually do what I was telling it to. All's I can say is that my issue involved painting weights (*shudder*) and Maya's complete and utter lack of compliance...

After two whole days of tedious tweaking and relentless ball-ache I'm fairly sure I now know and could show someone exactly how you do it ...I think =S

But I'm not going to mope anymore. As I said, my issue WAS eventually resolved and thus I have fully rigged and 'animatable' soldier. Additionally through pure practice and experimentation, I've taught myself a lot about UV mapping, the shortcuts of placing pieces on top of each other and the effective method of attaching as many linked faces as possible in order to have nicely corresponding edges (if that makes sense?).

Obviously, this kind of map is pretty simple compared to anything with a significantly higher poly count so the detail is pretty minimal and I used a very basic 3 tone colour palette in order to convey highlights and shadows. I also changed the design slightly in order to make certain parts stand out more e.g the Red on the shoulder pads and back-pack. Hopefully this will make him look clearer and neater when he's displayed about 1cm in height on a PSP screen! =P

(Special thank you to Rhoda for showing me some awesome UV maps and low-poly models last Friday!)

So up to now, I've made the little guy move about and stuck him in a few different poses for the purposes of rendering. I've also stuck in a simple textured floor and added a couple of basic lights in order to get some neat shadows. Of the images shown, I'm definitely a fan of the slightly darker and more high contrast set-ups. I think they work well with the details on the armour and give a way more dramatic feel to the scene. Hopefully I can get my 'wheel' issue sorted tomorrow, texture the bike and then start putting together some proper scenarios for animation!

I shall finish off with another concept. A further attempt to convey the sheer size of the enemies in the game and give a feel of the ancient Japanese inspired landscape, open, misty and haunting.

In the shop, we've been previewing God of War III and having never played the first two (I know, I'm missing out!) I was completely unaware of the Titans. Apart from looking frikkin' awesome, they appear to be doing the same kind of thing I've been thinking about. As far as I can see, they as enemies (and allies?) provide both a landscape and target for the player. This mechanic is what I want this game to be all about so I intend to do further research into exactly how they make it work in GOW3.

...anyone got a PS3 I can borrow? =P

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