Since I'm working on a 3D game I figure I'll need some animated models at some point so started dusting of my Milkshape skills again. Nothing visual to show for it.
But I did write a couple of plugins yesterday. It has always irritated me that I have to mirror skeletons and vertex-bone assignments in Milkshape, considering how frequently models are symmetrical. So I've written the Aardajk Mirror plugin to solve this.
If you create the right side of a skeleton, and tag any joints that aren't centralised with an '_r' at the end of their name, the plugin will duplicate the skeleton across the X axis, creating joints with the same name but with '_l' on the end of the name.
Once the vertices on the right side of the model are all assigned to joints and the bone weights all assigned, the plugin will also run through and find all the vertices on the left side that match the ones on the right and copy the assignments across. Any vertices assigned to bones with an '_r' on the end of the name are assigned to '_l' bones and vice versa.
So this means I can just create the right side of the skeleton and assign all the vertices to the joints, then a couple of clicks will create a fully symmetrically rigged model.
Next up, I'm going to extend the plugin to have a "Mirror keyframe" feature that will use the _r, _l system of bone pairing to mirror the rotations of a given keyframe in the animation system. Again, all walking, running animations etc basically need to toggle between mirrored keyframes so this will speed up the process of creating these animations.
If anyone would find this plugin useful, feel free to PM me with an email address and I'll send it over.