Weekly non-update 12.20.2014

Hi all - I've decided to push this week's video update to this coming Wednesday (possibly a bit earlier due to the holidays), because I am trying to get in a feature for this next demo (which is why I had not posted yet). That said, I'll still go over some stuff right now that I have been working on.
You can see some of last week's progress in Tuesday's twitch stream though:

Watch live video from gavanw on www.twitch.tv

Basically, I've been working on character movement, collision, camera tracking, and as of right now some character animation, loading/saving character poses, and more. Camera rotates with the character, and you can also free-look, but the camera will snap back into place. The free camera is also there, and there will probably be a first-person character camera as well soon. As you can see, collision is enforced now, and the character will automatically climb stairs or small ledges, and just as well fall off of them.

My initial thoughts were to exclude animation entirely until further into development, but Pain brought up some good points about mainstream adoption. So, I'm going to see what I can get in by this week. I think that the sooner this is in, the more positive effect it has towards gaining mindshare in this game. I still don't want to lose much time on animation at this point, so I am limiting work to this week, with maybe a few minor tweaks in the coming weeks.

It is not too difficult to at least get some minimal animation in (at least switching between poses, if not tweening them), and if I can I am going to try to get in a few bonus features. One thing I might add in is proper foot placement, to ensure each foot is touching the ground, even if at different levels. At minimum, this just means creating nine character poses (right foot forward, left food forward, feet together, each with variations of right foot higher, left foot higher, and feet at same level). However, this would only be a temporary solution if I go this route, as it only works well for bipeds. I might implement inverse kinematics to place each foot (or hand, if climbing) on the nearest surface, which would be good for posing quadrapeds or characters with differently sized bodies.

I've just finished saving and loading of poses (which included cleaning up the class that represent organisms). This also includes limb proportions, so the default stickman character will be a thing of the past. :) I can also adjust the materials per limb, to at least make the vague appearance of clothing.

I found the talk by David Rosen on procedural animation to be very inspiring (I think someone also mentioned it here in the forums, forgive me for forgetting who!):

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/216973/Video_An_indie_approach_to_procedural_animation.php

Obviously, I'm not going into this level of detail, but it is a good high-level overview of challenges faced with procedural animation. Skip to about 5:00 in to get to the interesting stuff. :)

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