UDK, setting up a level.

Well this week has not been so productive as I had hoped. That is due to the level building system in UDK. I have spent most of the week making sure the level runs with all the meshes and that each mesh is loaded independently from a new file-structure i created. Previously, the entire cathedral was exported as a solid combined mesh into UDK for testing purposes. I only used a primitive as a collision-box so that i could post-process and light the scene just to get the feel. But now each mesh is in a separate file followed with it’s texture maps in appropriate folders with corresponding collision-mesh. This allows UDK to instance models that are placed several times in the same scene. What that means is UDK will only load the mesh once instead of loading each and everyone of the clones. I’m still lacking in time to paint detailed textures. But The level is set up and i will update a video here once i get “Fraps” to work. Next week is lighting and post-processing. I firmly doubt that it will take me one week doing only that, so I’ll use the time left to polish my shaders until milestone 3. Like stated above, I had to research how to move and snap objects in UDK again since it was rather tedious work. I did not expect it to take so much time after watching the video tutorials given on the subject from UDKs support website. In any case, the modeling, the UV mapping and some normal maps and textures are done. The file-structure is clean and neat and the level has been set up. Some collision-boxes are still messy but I’ll fix that in the weekend.

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Good News!

Looks like there wasn’t anything wrong with my Rig after all! I simply missed one devious little checkbox in the Anim Set Edior that made UDK ignore any joint translations. Why this box is unchecked by default is beyond me but I guess a proper rig aren’t  supposed to need joint translation? oh well. Everything is back on track again finally.

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I did a quick modification on my rig; removing the spine IK and added a new one that when all the way down to the root. This fixed all problems! Although I still cant move any part of the upper body down, and the new Spline IK makes it a bit more difficult to move sertain parts without affecting the rest of the chain, but it will do for now!

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Rigging and animation

I have rigged skinned and animated the lich and managed to import it with the animations to UDK, as well as setting up a cinematic sequence were I use the animations along with movement on the lich. The Pipeline works like a charm, all the cloth simulates nicely.

I have noticed now though, that everything isn’t alright with my rig; parts of the animations aren’t working properly in UDK.

I haven’t managed to pinpoint the cause of all these problems yet but one problem that I found is connected to the spline IK i used on the spine of the lich. It seems like my rig setup causes these joints to translate rather than rotate when I try to make any vertical movement of the upper body and since UDK discard any kinds of translations made on the joints this makes all animations rather stiff, and in some cases causes some really bad errors.

There are also problems with the staff; it seem to not sync properly with the hand movement,  in some positions. At first i suspected this happened because I had moved some joints in the joint chain during the rigging process, messing up the rotation calculations when exporting them, but even when I remade the entire joint chain controlling the staff, the problem persisted(Although the problem got worse if I started moving the joints in the chain as well. ). The feet of the lich also wont stay in place in some cases; If all these problems have any connection to the spline IK problem I don’t know yet.

I have tried to eliminate all vertical translations in the animations but it wont help, For now I will solve the staff problem by binding it directly to the hand bone since I haven’t made any animations were he isn’t holding his staff anyway.

I also downloaded a free Rig from UDK that is made for Unreal Tournament 3  (DennysAnimationRigs_Ver2_5.1) and it looks fairly similar to my own rig. I’m going to experiment some more with it and see what I might have done wrong with mine.

Worst case scenario now would probably we that I need to remake the rig, skinning and animations; thats at least 3 days of work.

Short clip of my animations in Maya: Lich_Animations_2

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End of Sculpting

One week, I had put in the schedule for sculpting my character. But in the end it took me 3 weeks to finish it. Am I happy with the final result? For my first attempt at sculpting, I guess I am. Plenty of things I would have done different if I would start over though. Oh yes, I have learned allot from many mistakes.

First of; I know now that it was a really stupid idea to try avoiding retopologize. I thought it would save me some time but in the end it had caused more problems than it solved. The uneven edgeflow, triangles, and many others things made the sculpting rather unpleasant.

I should also should have separated more pieces of the mesh. Sculpting hard edge buttons, metallic pieces, etc, in mudbox took way to much time, the same result would have been achieved allot faster if the base of the pieces were their own separate meshes from maya.

I also went with the insane idea of manually sculpt all the texture details on the leather coat and boots. This alone probably took a week! Sure it looks good but was it really worth it? probably not!

Last but not least, I should have done alot more research from the start regarding the sculpting process. But the time we have is short, and I had allot of research on the Unreal Editor I had to do and once the research and planning phase were over I jumped right in to  modeling and scultping. I didnt use much reference material and thus the anatomy was neglected, and I got to carried away with the small details in the sculpting process to notice and correct this. Luckily, its quite easy to go back and fix such large things afterwards without losing any fine details, so I tweaked the head and body a bit.

There are parts I might touch up some more in the future, but for now I must start working on the game model. I have spent most the day finishing the skeletal rig, with controllers that I now need to skin weight the mesh to.

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Sculpting in Zbrush

Hi everyone!

Today I tried Z-brush for the first time. The environment needs some  sculpt statues and misc props. If my speed increases during this little time we have left I might just sculpt every object in my scene :D. Here is a picture of my first work in z-brush… be nice! ò_ó.

I have still not gotten used to the controls but judging from my work today sculpting will be the least of my problems. I used Z-spheres to create a base-mesh.

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More Sculpting.

The Sculpting process of my character have taken way more time that I first anticipated. I was supposed to be mostly done with it last week already, but I’m still not done (although the major parts are finished). Thats what you get when planning ahead on something you never tried before I guess. I’m even thinking of maybe scrapping the second character in order to make up for this.

However, this weekend I will start making the normal maps for the finished parts of my character.


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UV mapping, looking for textures.

Hi again.

The second milestone is next week and I’ve got lots to do. I have come a bit on the UV mapping now and realized that this stage was more time consuming than expected. But on the other hand the textures are going to be done alot faster now that I’ve been collecting those of need.  For starters I’ve found good cathedral textures i can use on floor tiles, walls and pillars even.  I’ve also done a little bit of modeling this week since the cathedral needed more detail.

I have managed to do some tests and UDK seems to be running ncloth simulations pretty well. I’m only going to have two ncloth simulation so i don’t think it will be to tough for UDK to handle. Pictures will be coming up soon.

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End of week 3, modeling and uvmapping

This week I’ve completed every tiny bit of modeling except for the  ncloth plains that will be added later using UDK. I’ve started UV mapping. Still going smoothly according to the timeplan. Next week is gonna be tough. Even though i manged to create good geometry that easily can be instanced and repeated, It’s still alot of objects. But if i work a little bit harder this will not be too much of a problem.

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Modelling UV mapping and Sculpting

This week I spent a bit to much time rigging and skinning. I guess I got a bit to carried away with my testings in UDK, resulting in me getting a little bit off schedule.

I have finished modeling and UV mapping my low poly mesh as well as started sculpting in mudbox; I’m pretty much done sculpting the head already, and I hope to finish sculpting most of the other parts of the lich character this weekend, then I will be back on track for next week. Also since I now have a finished skeleton, the rigging process should go pretty quick when its time to rig the final character.

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