Monday, July 27, 2015

Starfighter: Now with Stormtroopers?

Most of the 3D models I tend to make are inorganic objects such as buildings and spaceships because my knowledge of character modeling comes from a few Google searches and Blender's Gingerbread Man tutorial, so the results have been decent at best.

Starfleet Officer: February 11, 2013
Sometime in 2014 I starting playing around with MakeHuman. Being a Sims player from The Sims 1 through 3, I got used to character creation sliders than seem to be in just about every RPG game these days (Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Fallout, etc.). Not to mention the models can be exported fully rigged - saving me the trouble of rigging it myself and getting more 'Woody from Toy Story' looking joints. Not to mention having a good base body model made it a lot easier to model custom clothing over it - such as a Wrath of Khan officer's uniform (I promise I'm almost done with the Star Trek content on this post)

Starfleet Officer based on MakeHuman (left) and my original model (right): April 27, 2014
Base model used for the Stormtrooper: May 1, 2014
Like most of my models, I started by a Google search for "Stormtrooper armor" looking for blueprints, reference photos, and any measurements or diagrams with dimensions I can find. Since my 3D modeling experience is based on a computer-aided drafting class I took in high school, I tend to work from isometric views and extrude the model into 3D.

Stromtrooper Helmet: May 1, 2014

Chest plate and shoulder pad: May 3, 2014

Biceps and Bracers: May 6-7, 2014

Leggings, Boots, and Belt: May 15, 2014

E-11 Blaster Rifle: May 15, 2014

So almost a year passes and after some teaser trailer in April, I decide that my summer project will be Star Wars in CAVE2(TM). As if I needed this project to get more complicated, I'm working on both the original Starfighter flight and a ground shooter components. The goal is to have a demo video ready by holiday 2015 for some reason.

My previous character model animations were manually keyframed in Blender. However by this point, Unity had upgraded it's animation system to Mecanim and has some nice examples for using it (such as the Mecanim Locomotion Starter Kit).

Stormtrooper in Unity: April 25, 2015
While I'm at it, I started playing around with inverse kinematics to have the Stormtrooper aim at a particular object.

Aiming far more accurately than a Stormtrooper should: April 25, 2015
Like most of what I do in Unity, eventually it finds it's way into EVL's CAVE2(TM). Also gave me an excuse to use multiple head trackers (one for the camera, one for my head for the Stormtrooper to aim at), and multiple tracked wands (the blaster in my hand and the other weapon on my belt). Also calibrated the tracking system to make sure the handle of the blaster lined up with the wand (legit research work right?).

I have a bad feeling about this: May 4, 2015
This of course leads to the first virtual reality First-Person Shooter example for a CAVE2(TM) System:

Stormtroopers in CAVE2: June 12, 2015

Building that example also taught me Unity NavMeshes and more in depth with the animation system. Shooting and death animations were still keyframed in Blender (Spent a whole 20 seconds on those).

Currently busy upgrading to Unity 5 and some cluster sync issues.

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