Sorry for the late update on July. I’ve been working on two related items. The first is getting some kind of player model into the game so that it can be tested. The Xbox Avatars are gone, so they need to be replaced. I’ll discuss that process a little bit, and where I’m at currently. The second part is working on a spec for the next big art item, which is animations.
The work to replace the avatars is probably the largest part of the PC port, at least in terms of getting to a testable version. The avatars offered a ton of customization, and while we won’t be able to match that with the Deadburg models, the aim is to enable as much of that as I can. Right now I’ve got an early version of the characters animating using some stock animations. This took a lot longer than I would have liked, but it should allow me to move forward with a test version a lot faster than if I had to wait for custom animations to be done. I’ve also got the mesh recoloring working so we aren’t all running around with the same character for the test builds. Here’s a shot of the test app I’ve been using to get the animations working.
The current character has 8 parts that can be swapped in/out and colored; head, hair, facial hair, chest, arms, hands, legs and feet. This should allow us to have clothing that you can either customize pre-game or find in game (Depending on how much there is, and if clothing affects game play). Note the current art is not final.
The models are animating/coloring in my test application. Right now I’m working on getting these into the game, which is one of the last big things I need to finish before I can open up the testing.
First Person Animations
One of the more lackluster parts of the original Xbox release was the lack of first person animations. Mostly this was an issue of the avatar models being difficult to animate, you needed specific versions of software that weren’t in use anymore. In the PC version we’re going to have real animations in first person view. A good chunk of this month was figuring out the spec for those animations. This is always time consuming as I usually have to figure out how to use new pieces of software. The goal is at the end I can go out to artists and give very specific details on the art I need and how it needs to be produced. If I do this right then the art can be dropped into the game fairly easily. If I do it wrong then the art might not work right, and in some cases must be discarded.
Here’s some programmer art showing the key features. Basically we’ve brought back the separate parts from the full character model. They’re just put onto a different animation rig for first person animations. So the animations will be done for each weapon/item, and then the character arms/hands will fit into those animations. It means I’ll be able to support all of the clothing options of the full character without filling memory up with separate models/textures for the first person assets. In this case we’re swapping between different arm geometry/textures and different hand geometry/textures.
The spec work is basically complete and I should be able to begin the work of finding an animator to work with soon.
We’re getting closer to having a test version ready. I’ve still got to get the character models into the game using the stock animations. The first person animations will not be ready for the test version, but the old Xbox versions will be in. Once the characters are in there’s probably a few weeks of fixing bugs/issues before we can do a test version. Right now I’m targeting mid/late September for testing.
I’ll be looking to contract out some work on the 3rd and 1st person animations. If you’re someone who would be interested in the work send me a link to your portfolio. You’ll need to have experience using Blender for rigging and animation. You can reach me at email@example.com.