Senior Production Week #4

I worked on a pretty random assortment of animations this week ranging from jumps, to glides, to ledge hanging. Another big part of this week was actually implementing animations in engine, which was super exciting. I went through and exported out the joint motion of all the individual animations, as well as exporting Christie’s new Sprout model with the rig. After getting those exported, I tossed them right into unity.

Actually getting them working was a whole other thing, but we’re getting close. Laura and Jake did some great work setting up the animations in a pretty sprawling state machine, and from there it was just tweaking the animation timing and transitions. This is something we still need to spend a lot of time tweaking, but I’m really glad we’re at this stage.

In terms of animations, most of these are holdover from last week’s jump and glide focus. So we’ve got our first pass at the double jump (spin?), the gliding updraft (when Sprout catches a gust of wind), and the in-air gliding end. I’m looking forward to giving these a second pass, but for now they should work pretty well.

sprout_jump_double

sprout_glidingUpdraft

sprout_glidingEnd

I also got to the ledge related animations, including the ledge hang, and the “pull up”. We wanted the pull up to be real snappy as opposed to a more tedious climb. Getting these working in engine is going to be an interesting process, but I’m psyched to get more animations in-game!

sprout_ledge_pullUp

sprout_ledge_hang

Senior Production Week #3

After getting some great feedback from the team last week, I went back and tweaked and polished up the idle, walk, and jog animations.  And I’m pretty happy with how they turned out:

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I changed up the idle quite a bit. My first version of the animation had Sprout kinda hunched over, breathing heavily. This definitely didn’t fit right with the walk and run, but more importantly, it didn’t fit Sprout as a character.  Maggie and Steven have been doing some great work on the narrative side of things with the narrative bible.  It’s super helpful to me as an animator, because I can base each character’s motion on an established personality.

In addition to revisiting the idle, walk, and jog, I was able to get working on the jump and gliding animations. In games, a jump is typically broken up into separate segments, and in-engine these are strung together with code. This way, jump height and fall height, on the Y-axis, can be be affected by player input.

Here are the jump animations, from jump start, to in-air loop up, to in air loop down, and then jump land.

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And here are the gliding animations, from gliding start, to gliding in-air loop, and gliding land.

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I still need to create a gliding end, which is the transition from gliding loop to jumping in-air loop. This occurs when the player stops gliding, but is still in-air. I’m looking forward to implementing this stuff into engine, which we’re planing to start doing soon!

 

Senior Production Week #2

After rigging Sprout over the weekend, this week I actually got around to animating the character. On the docket this week was basic locomotion; idle, walk, run, and jump. I only got to the first three, so I plan on pushing the jump to next week.

This was a first pass at the motion. There’s still a good amount of clean-up and smoothing left to do, but for this week, here’s the result:

sprout_idle
Idle
sprout_walk
Walk
sprout_jog
Run

Overall, not too bad! I’m planning on overhauling the idle animation to make the stance a bit more relaxed;  because right now Sprout looks like she’s about to teach someone the business.  I also plan on toning down the leaf’s movement for the walk cycle. Plus, like I mentioned, smoothing out some of the motion.

The biggest challenge with animating Sprout is definitely that leaf. It’s been real tricky to nail down that reactionary motion. For a good part of this I felt like I was fighting against the rig to get the movements that I wanted.  It’s going to take some practice and iteration for sure.

Senior Production Week #1

Time to get started!

This was the first week of classes here at Champlain. And for our team, work began on Monday. We had our first meeting of the semester, and it was nice to reconvene and review the things that we’d discussed in December. Before winter break, we created a spreadsheet of everything that we wanted to see in the game. It was a huge product backlog, with items and desirables across all three of the disciplines. Plus it was color coded, so that’s pretty cool.

When we met on Monday, we started narrowing down that list to fit the scope of the project. We have 15 weeks (though it may be closer to 12) to create a product. Game development-wise, that’s not a ton of time. But I think during that meeting, our team did a pretty good job at scoping the project accordingly.

Project planning aside, that first meeting, and our work-session on Friday, were both great ways of getting a read on our team’s interpersonal dynamic. In short, it’s really great, and I’m looking forward to working with these guys for the semester. What’s nice about the micropup team is that the original members already formed a really solid foundation. And those five original members have been nothing but welcoming and helpful to me, Steven, and Jake, the new additions to the team.

I’m really thrilled to take on the role of animator this semester. It’s definitely nice to be able to focus in on one specific aspect of the project. Plus, creating animation is a big passion of mine, so to be able to focus on that is pretty exciting. While I still have more work to do this week, so far I’ve been able to rig Sprout, our game’s main protagonist.

Sprout was concepted and created by our team’s lead character artist, Christie. And she’s got a whole roster of characters in the pipeline, which should be a lot of fun to animate and bring to life!

I also made a quick animation to test out the rig and the general mesh deformation.

sprout_animTestII

The rest of the week I’ll be working on basic locomotion for Sprout. This includes; idle, walk, jog, and jump animations.

BLOG

Hey there! Here in the blog section of the site, I’ll be posting updates and longer form written content.

Most of these posts are from my final year at Champlain College. During that time, I posted weekly about my work in the Senior Production capstone class.