I have been playing around with Maya a bit more and setup a skeletal system using forward and inverse kinematics for a robot that I used both soft and hard binding on. It was a fun crash-course learning process that I did as a final project for an intro to animation class I just took.
This past week is the more exciting stuff, however. I had started messing the Half-life 2 engine's, Source, capabilities. I've only just touched on them. I did the "your first mod" tutorial which walks you through going in and changing the speed of the rocket launcher and re-compiling it. The process went without a hitch. I got to touch the developer's console system, which is pretty cool as well.
I then proceeded to jump into Maya to learn about creating models and exporting for Source. I found some slick mel scripts that makes the whole process easier from the VERC forums user, Prall. If you're a Maya user and you're using Maya to develop models for Source, you NEED these scripts. Here is a rusty metal box made in Maya:
You have to texture things in a very specific way to get the scripts to work, which isn't the way I normally do things, but I guess I'm going to have to change that.
I also dove into Hammer and here is a screenshot of Hammer and the end result:
Pretty exciting stuff I do say. Next week I'll be diving into working with a 3rd person perspective camera, getting that rusty box I made into the map, and getting a custom character into the map. I'm looking forward to it.
I'll put a shout out right here. Any coders who like playing with Source let me know, 'cause I'm needin' one right now. I'd like to be able to focus more on the modeling and animation stuff.