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  1. #1
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    a few questions

    okey, dokey, finally got the SDK, and now i've got a few questions that i hope someone out there can answer.

    first off, i've never used the half-life mod tools or anything. i've done some work in unreal, including a 'character' (but i don't talk about that one...), but half-life is significantly different. from what i understand, the camera always points the the center of the world space, correct? what if i want to look at the face, or the hands for that matter? also, does anyone have a link to a site that has the controls and everything? i've looked around, and found a couple bits and pieces here and there, but so far not all of it, and there seems to be a lot of sites.

    animation blending. i know, this isn't the first time i've brought this up. anyways, does anyone know how the engine handles the blending? i know you can set it so that it will blend between facial expressions as you want while the character is talking, but what about the rest of the body? can i get a real-time blend between, say, a sideways step and a jump? or, in my case, a straight sword attack and a parry to the side? does the engine allow for blending that automatically, or do you have to create a new animation cycle in the model viewer/animation package and save that blended animation as a separate cycle? i'm a modeler, not so much an animator, so small words please.

    eyes: how do ya rig them? right now, i've got my character set up so that the eyes, as well as the inside of her mouth, are separate objects, not attatched to the body (so you can hide the eyes and see through her head when the eyelids are open). do the eyes have to be a separate piece for the engine to be able to move them, or do they have to be attatched and then rigged on the same skeleton?

    how is animation exported? the descriptions of the Max and Maya exporters says that it exports the models, but doesn't say anything about the animation. does that mean all the animation has to be exported from XSI? also, is there an exporter for the commercial/educational versions of maya available? the one that comes with the SDK is for the PLE, and the PLE isn't compatible with the other versions.

    has anyone checked out the "mod makers guide" that prima games has published yet? good, bad, basic, crap; any opinions?

    i'm pretty new to the mod scene, but i've been modling for a bit, and i'm fairly good at most of it. the technical stuff with integrating the game engine is what i'm hazy on, so if anyone can answer my questions, and/or steer me toward someone who can answer my questions, i'd greatly appreciate it.
    Last edited by munky402; 12-06-2004 at 08:52 PM.

  2. #2
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    Originally posted by munky402
    do the eyes have to be a separate piece for the engine to be able to move them, or do they have to be attatched and then rigged on the same skeleton?
    I think the eyes are all done with shaders. The models have solid white zombie eyes and the coloured parts are painted on in the game. I've spent the past 20mins trying to find you a link, but can't remember where it is... (Maybe someone else can post it..?) Anyways, there is a four-part VTM out there (66mins), made by Softimage and Valve that shows what I am talking about. I haven't had time to watch it all just yet, but in the first video they load up Alyx in XSI for an example and they comment on her ghoulish zombie eyes. (7:25 into the first video)

    From the video: "The eyes are all done procedurally with a shader in the engine." "We'll get to that in a bit."


    Sorry I can't be more helpful. If I find the link to those VTMs, I'll post it.
    A Lot is two words.

  3. #3
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    The XSI tut link is in my sticky thread on tutorials (in the level design section). It's the first link in the first post.

    Good luck modeling!

  4. #4
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    ok, i've checked out the softimage vids, and yeah, it answers the eye questions. looks like i'll have to change them again, but at least i've got the hard part done already. woo!

    for anyone else looking for them, they're on fileplanet, download.com, and "soon" on Steam, or you can head to softimage at:
    http://www.softimage.com/products/ex..._tutorials.htm
    bunches more stuff there too, which i'm leafing through slowly.

    question still stands though: will we be able to animate in max or maya, or is softimage the only program we can do that in?

    another thing: i found the animation mixer system pretty interesting, but i'm still hazy on whether i'll be able to do that so that it's player-driven. like they can take Dr. Kleiner and blend a pose with his arms apart and a pose with his arms up, and they get pose with his arms up and out, and that's all animatible as well. but, that's all driven by ai scripts in the level, so that it has to be triggered, like their example, where they are triggered by player actions (ex: when the player walks into the room, Kleiner looks at the player). but what i want to be able to do is to be able to make a pose for a parry, and then another pose for an attack, and then have the engine call the blend when the player hits the "block" key and then blends to an attack when he or she hits the "attack" key. it sounds possible, but i'm not really an animator, and less of a programmer (as i try to boast: "i'm an artist!"). so does anyone know if this is possible?

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys, that was REALLY starting to bug me! (that I couldn't find that link anymore)
    A Lot is two words.

  6. #6
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    ok, thanks for the help so far.

    anyone know anything about my other questions? i.e. animation export from other programs?

  7. #7
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    <loud scream> the model viewer is driving me nuts. how can i pan in the stupid thing? please don't tell me that it really is stuck pointing at the center of the world at all times. cuz that would suck. what if i want to look at the face really closely?

    also, where are the other tools? i've found the model viewer and hammer in steam, but where is the animation sequencer i've been seeing in the valve/xsi videos (see above link)? i've tried booting some of the programs found in the steam folder, but the run and shut down again.

    help please?

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by munky402
    <loud scream> the model viewer is driving me nuts. how can i pan in the stupid thing? please don't tell me that it really is stuck pointing at the center of the world at all times. cuz that would suck. what if i want to look at the face really closely?

    Shift + Left mouse button will pan in the model viewer.

  9. #9
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    Look in the help, i think it's the about section in the model viewer. It tells you how to pan rotate and zoom.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by munky402
    question still stands though: will we be able to animate in max or maya, or is softimage the only program we can do that in?
    Can't speak for max, but the maya exporter supports animation. I've been looking over the script and it looks like you can pretty much build your skeleton and rig it however you want and your anims should register. The smdExport script is actually written scarily well for a company that doesnt use maya. . .once again, go valve. Releasing a kickass game is one thing, releasing kickass tools for software you dont really use in-house is even cooler. . .
    Technical Artist - 106th ODST Division, Fireteam Tango Alpha Echo

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