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Journal of Aardvajk

Various updates

Posted by , 30 January 2014 - - - - - - · 766 views

Various updates Working on a new character in the editor at the moment but still developing the editor as I go.

Most recent features include a Groups system that allows you to store and name groups of any selection (vertices, faces, joints) and reselect easily. I took the approach of using an autogenerated ID number and added a Group field to each item so I didn't have to modify existing group data when things were deleted. It also doesn't try to remove empty groups either, just renders the text grey italic when a group has nothing in it. A minor feature but quite useful.

I've also added a feature to Select all Unclosed Edges which is a bit badly named, but basically I was trying to import a model made in Charm into a game project I'm also working on that uses shadow volumes and the previous model was failing in the generateShadowVolume call because it had some edges that weren't shared by exactly two faces. This new feature in Charm selects the vertices that define any such edges, making it quite easy to check you have built a closed mesh.

Another minor addition is a Select Degenerate Faces option. I decided to not autoremove faces when they are made degenerate (most commonly by vertex snapping and welding) but leave them in place, but they of course you have no way to get hold of them. So now you can snap and weld away and when you're done you can just Select Degenerates and delete. I prefer leaving this stuff in the hands of the user really even though it creates extra steps. Eventually I'll have some kind of scripting and/or macro system so you can combine these operations into one if you wish.

The other thing I've done since last time is set up a system so that each joint can be optionally paired to another joint (this is autogenerated when you mirror a skeleton) then there is an option in Animation mode to Swap Joint Transforms. This is very handy for, for example, walk animations where you basically want to reverse the pose. You can now make a good walk animation by just setting up the first and middle frames, then duplicating the first into the correct places and swapping the transforms. Means you get an exact mirror when the legs are at opposite extremes of the animation as well, if you see what I mean.

It's lovely to have got to the point where this is now very usable, because whenever I find something tricky or repetitive I can just write a new feature to take care of it which is a big boost to my workflow. I'm learning a lot about how to make good low-poly models as I go as well. And having a basic game environment already set up to import the models into is good.

So now I need to get this or another basic model finished and rigged so I can start integrating animation into the game project I've started. Its just a room with some objects and basic GJK-based physics working for now along with stencil shadows. At the moment the player is a capsule but once I have a model to work with, I can start moving that forward as well.

Thanks for reading. If anyone wants to give this modeller a try, just let me know. Its not even in a beta state in terms of functionality yet but as long as you can live without texture support and import/export support (the two biggest missing features) its okay.

3D Modeller - vertex weighting

Posted by , 14 January 2014 - - - - - - · 810 views

3D Modeller - vertex weighting This is a work-in-progress of the latest character being created with Charm just to test out the interface.

To ease weighting vertices, I've come up with the panel visible in the screenshot that you can use directly from the interface to edit the weights of selected vertices. I've also enabled vertex selection in Animation mode (required checking the transformed positions of the vertices against the selection rect, nothing to horrendous) so that you can now edit vertex weights live while the joints are transformed so you can see the effects immediately.

I've also added in the option to draw the weights, hence the strange coloured legs. Whatever joints you have selected, it renders vertices assigned to those joints from red to blue based on how strong the weighting is.

I quite like this character body. Going for a slightly more stylised look than normal seems to look better with low polygon models.

There is also something really satisfying about making a model from scratch using software you have written yourself, I'm finding. I've done a bit of modelling with Milkshape before but seeing the results not just of the effort modelling, but of making the software easy to use as well is very rewarding.

3D Modeller Redux

Posted by , 11 January 2014 - - - - - - · 648 views

3D Modeller Redux Progress with the 3D platformer physics has led to the need for animated models so have dusted off the half-finished 3D modeller I was working on and pushed forward a bit.

Its kind of like a nicer looking Milkshape by design. I'm using Qt for the GUI and Direct3D for the rendering and it currently has quite a nice feature set for low poly modelling. The legs in the posted image were entirely modelled, rigged and animated from scratch in this software.

It supports all the usual operations, unlimited undo/redo and have recently added a method to do a naive import of a mesh from an X file (no rigging or animations loaded).

The main areas it completely lacks are texture mapping, grouping and subdivision so plenty left to do. The current system for setting vertex weights is also a bit ungainley so have been researching how other modelling software approaches this with a view to improving.

Hope you likey.

January 2014 »


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