Production Document ( 2nd year )

Production Document ( 2nd year )

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Date: January 30th 2010 (Debuging problem)

I will fill in some details later, but at the moment I need some help with UT.

Following on from the above comment:
Over the past few days I have been trying to work out what has gone wrong with my character mesh, why does my character mesh work perfectly in Unreal Editor, but in the Unreal game parts of the mesh is out of place.

Another problem is the character is facing the wrong direction ingame even when I change the settings within Unreal Edit (coordinates Z -50,000) the results are still the same.

So at the moment I have been gathering all the information I can find for Unreal Editor and I have been doing some reseach into how this problem can be fixed.

Before I explain what as has gone wrong, here is a breakdown of my workflow up to the point where I was having trouble with the in-game character mesh.

1. I created the character in Maya 2008 and separated the mesh into 5 parts (head, torso, arms , legs and boots).
2. Each part has its own name e.g. L_arm, R_arm and so on.
3. Make sure that Maya’s world coordinates are set to Z.
4. Make sure that the centre point of each mesh is in the centre of the grid.
5. Create a rig for my character and move bones to fit inside of the mesh.
6. Freeze transformation to all mesh parts and delete history before Smooth bind all parts to rig.
7. Use the smooth tool to add weights to the correct areas of the mesh and test the mesh by moving the bones of the rig.
8. Save file before deleting each part of the mesh, leaving only the part that will be transferred.
9. Open actor X version 2.47, set output file and name character parts e.g 1Teresa_head.

Unreal Editor:
1. When all of the parts have been imported into a new package with normal and diffuse maps assigned to a material instance constant in Unreal Ed.
2. Set all of the sockets to the correct places.
3. I quickly tested the animation in Unreal ED with default animations “work’s flawlessly”.
4. Open UTCustonChar.ini file and input your character script details.
5. Run Unreal Editor and find character in customize settings.

Okay from reading lots of useful information provided by my tutor/mentor, the internet and not forgetting the Epic community.

One of the main warnings in all of the information was “DO NOT MOVE OR SCALE RIG” in big bold letters.

Yep, I totally messed about with the rig then tried to import it into Unreal and I did this because it was much easier to move the parts of the model then use the smooth weights tool to assign the mesh to the correct places.

This is something I learnt to do in Maya when rigging a character so that when the character bends her leg she will have a nice fold behind her knees.
Also before adding the weights I moved the position of the rig and scaled some parts of the rig into position, unaware that it will cause major problems further down in my production stage.

So why did my mesh work in Unreal editor?

Well I conducted some simple experiments in Unreal Editor to find this out and what I did was import a model with Y coordinates as world up then used a default animation in Unreal ED and
everything worked fine.

Some the information provided did mention that Unreal Editor can show different result in comparison to the Unreal game.

However if this model was imported into Unreal game the character mesh will be under the ground and not visible to the third person camera.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Date: January 25th 2010 (Testing one two three)

Before getting to the progress of my present stage, I looked back at my characters UV’s and made sure that I reduce any stretching on each of the UV’s on the entire model.
From early lectures provided by Nick and also Alan Wales they both mentioned that saving UV space is very important and parts of the model could lose some detail because of careless spacing. I am very convinced that this is a very important factor to laying out the UV’s, however in the early stages of writing out my assignment (last year pre-production) I did promise to set out my UV’s in the Unreal way and this is why I will criticise the Unreal mapping layout.

So much space could have been saved in unused areas.

Recently I have some time away from work to try and get familiar with Unreal Editor over this weekend, which is what I promised myself I would do.

So at this point I have my low polygon mesh ready to put into the engine and I tried to import my mesh into Unreal using the Actor X –plugin for Maya 2008.
The reason for using Maya 2008 was because of finding out of all the errors other users have come across with Maya 64-bit and untested versions of ActorX, Maya 8.5 and 2008 seems stable.
So the mesh is ready and the first thing I try is importing the mesh into Actor X, “BIG ERROR” which even crashed out Maya.
The problem was that I have no bones registered to my character, so I’ve got to go back to Maya and rig my character.
So after another sleepless night and a few pops of pro-plus I rigged the character and successfully imported it into Unreal “JOY”.

Still needs more work, but its good to see some thing after staying up untill morning.

Date: January 13th 2010 (Minor setback)

At this point in the development of my character I feel that I should be very close to finishing the modelling and sculpturing stage. After I sort out the UV’s to my low polygon mesh, I can import the low polygon version and normal map into Unreal ED for a quick test.

Once everything is done, if I give the character a quick test in the engine I can quickly resolve any errors that may occur in the transfer process.

I need to start getting very familiar with the Unreal Editor because I have not used it before and I only know the theory of how to import characters from what I have read on the Epic forums.

However before the I start the transfer process, I want to check with an expert if the model is fit enough to be imported into Unreal and at the moment I can see that my character is over the triangle budget which was 8000 – 12000 triangles.

At the moment my character is over 18000 triangles, which will mean that I need to cut back 6000 triangles before my character is ready for testing.

I asked Nick Sadler if he could take me through what areas I need to cut back on (see pictures).

First of all Nick gave me an excellent lecture on why it is important to save as many polygons as possible and he explained how much information is held on a single polygon. Nick also to explained that it is very important to keep in mind what is viewable to gamers when they see your character from a 3rd person perspective.

Nick took a closer look at parts of the model and made me realise how much polygons/ triangles I can save and what detail will never be seen.

From the lecture that Nick gave me I realised what areas of the model needs less detail and I stayed up all night correcting my mistakes.

Now the character is down to 12300 triangles and the hard work is paying off check it out.