Thursday, 17 June 2010

The hip bone's connected to the what?

Following yesterday's blog post featuring log entries the changes to the main codebase, here's one that will intrigue a few of you:
  • Revision 24026 Committed by dave: - Fixed new symmetric female01 skeleton remapped female01 anims for symmetrized skeleton
As we mentioned in the forums this weekend, we've been going back and re-examining some of our design decisions from three or so years ago with respect to the way Moviestorm characters are constructed. We've found ourselves loading more and more onto the characters, and we now expect them to walk, use a prop, look at something, have a facial expression, speak, and gesture, all at the same time. And look good while doing it. And do it all in real time. And while retaining some measure of acceptable performance.

Now we're asking our characters to have morphing faces as well, so every facial animation and texture has to be adjusted to fit the final shape. We're looking at more extreme morphs than we've had before, so we have to be very conscious of the extent to which that distorts both the animations and the actual characters.

Our existing facial structure simply wasn't up to the job, for all sorts of reasons, so we decided to rebuild the heads. While we were looking at that, we spotted that the eyes were very slightly asymmetrical, and nobody had actually noticed that before. That's one of the reasons the facial expressions always looked a bit odd. So we've changed that, and the new faces should look much better. As Dave put it, "it's amazing how a small mistake early in the project comes back to haunt you years later."

Since we were messing with bones anyway, we figured out we might as well do the bodies. That way, when we get round to looking at body morphs*, we shouldn't have to go through all this again. So Chris has created a new skeleton, and the team are now figuring out a way to make all the existing animations and costumes compatible with it. We really, really don't want to have to rebuild every single animation and costume!

Hopefully you won't see any difference at all when the new skeletons eventually replace the current ones. Everything will just work exactly the same as it did before. However, this is important groundwork for several things we're planning later.

For those of you who've been impatient for us to release skeleton schematics, this is one of the reasons we've held off for the last couple of months. Once the new ones are in, working, and fully tested, then we'll see about letting you guys have a go.

I'm also intrigued by this one:
  • Revision 24021 Committed by julian_gold: - Tarted up textrenderer interface so i can do some cooler textbased stuff in crv. (Cutting Room View)
That could signify some neat new titling options, perhaps?

* Don't hold your breath. Even if we started looking at them right after MS 1.3.1, actually releasing body morphs will still be some way off. It's a big job.
** That's definitely not going to be this side of MS 1.3.1. I'd say after 1.3.2 at the earliest.


Unknown said...

Wow! That is a lot a exciting information!
Thank you Matt for sharing this. I'm pumped!

禎峰 said...
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kera said...

Fun! Well, take it nice and slow guys! You've given us a lot of kick-ass stuff to work with right now!