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Thanamos

What do I tell my animator

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Im sitting here with a cold beer and fleshing out a spec for a game I have just started writing, and I have decided that I would like to try to make the game in 3D, I know next to nothing about 3D and thought this would make a great test project. The software is C#, XNA, Lightwave or 3DStudio MAX Anyways I got this friend who knows a little about animating, but I got no idea what do say to him, it's things like what dimensions, movable parts, attaching parts, format, textures and so forth. Dimension, I guess anything goes, but if I can find a size that I don't have to scale the whole model before I can use it, that would be nice, what size is 'common' to use? Moveable parts, say a model, like a treasure chest where I want to animate the lid opening, should I specify something there? Attaching parts, A staff should be able to connect to a hand, how can I recognize the vectors where the staff should fit? Format, is .X a common enough output format that I can ask for it? Or what is the best format to import into XNA? Textures, should textures be embedded into a model, making the size bigger, or should they come separate? Puh I sorry for pushing so many questions on you, it's just that this friend of mine is a family guy and so I want him to use his time right and not having to worry about details, if this takes too much time he's likely to drop out.

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I'm not extremely experienced in this, but I would think that you should have the basics of your game running before getting an animator. The reason being that the animator will most likely need to be familiar with how the workflow from the modeling/animation software to the game works.

For instance the you need to have the scale established, possibly keyframe ranges for specific animations (0-30 is run, 31-60 is jump... etc), the texturing/material methods used in the game.

Just my initial thought...


Although you could have the animator work on the models/animations, and you could adapt those to your game later, or vise versa.

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Quote:

Dimension, I guess anything goes, but if I can find a size that I don't have to scale the whole model before I can use it, that would be nice, what size is 'common' to use?

The scaling should be fix, take something everyone can easily apprehend like a humanoid is 2 units high, where each unit represents 1m. Make some reference objects(boxes) for humans, doors, cars, whatever.

Quote:

Moveable parts, say a model, like a treasure chest where I want to animate the lid opening, should I specify something there?

Most animations are done with a bone-system, so you have to specify a bone limit (like max 100 bones). Sometimes a naming convention of bones could help later, if you want to identify certain bones ingame for effects etc.

Quote:

Attaching parts, A staff should be able to connect to a hand, how can I recognize the vectors where the staff should fit?

Additional bones will do the job, add bones without connecting them to the mesh. I.e. a "item-handle" bone where you could attach a sword or axe ingame. As already said, a naming convention will help.

Quote:

Textures, should textures be embedded into a model, making the size bigger, or should they come separate?

Embedding textures in models is uncommon (imo), separate them. It is easier to modify textures and to add other skins to existing models.

Quote:

Puh I sorry for pushing so many questions on you, it's just that this friend of mine is a family guy and so I want him to use his time right and not having to worry about details, if this takes too much time he's likely to drop out.

Best to provide examples of what you want to have (take a look at turbosquid, they have great collection of partly free models).

As far as it seems you don't have a mature design document. From my experiences you will most likely have to modify specifications over time (like naming special bones etc.), in this case try to learn some basic handling of the according 3d modelling software to adjust models to fit your requirements.


Good luck.
--
Ashaman

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Thanks guys.

As I sais these were just thoughts that came to me yesterday, I am still working on a design document and I have just begun writing some of the basic classes but nothing graphic yet.

I will definitely use this feedback when Im going into graphical section, and I will try some models first to test things, good idea.

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