Ventures of an indie game developer

How I model stuff

When I model my vehicle there's three things I have to do:
  1. Make sure that the pivots are in the places where the joint anchors lye.
  2. Keep all shape data (can't kill history).
  3. Hang physical shapes onto mesh shapes (swapped by my importer).
Every time before I save, I run a minimal exporter. It's a mel/Python script. When I need to I'll make it so it embeds in the file and is run automatically on saving, but 'til then I'll just manually click a toolbar button before every save. The importer (converts native .ma into my own format) also refuses to import the .ma model if I've forgotten the export click.

In the same way, I also keep a mel/Python script for aligning the rotation and scale world pivots. The physical shapes can (currently) only be one of:
  • box
  • sphere
  • capsule
I try to keep my mesh poly count very low; then I'll easily be able to ramp up if my target platforms supports it. I haven't even prioritized texturing yet, and I expect to procrastinate on that for some time still. I'm also going to have a crack at splitting up meshes and combining sub-meshes with sub-materials as well as curing other Maya illnesses.

The pink, transparent stuff you see in the models are the physical shapes. They're of course not rendered during normal execution, just used for collision detection and to some degree for moment of inertia.

Here is a typical scene graph when modelling. All nodes named i_xxx are ignored. My importer flips the physical and mesh nodes, yielding a pure hell of linear algebra. Also, I have made some simplifications for the modeller [] that in no way eliviated the importer burden. (Since the linear algebra involved is far from "placed here, rotated so", I had a hard time getting this far, and I still have a few boogs.)

One of the flip sides of modelling a monster truck like this is that it easily fals on its roof. Good luck flipping it back! I'll probably modify all vehicles a bit so that steering isn't rendered totally insane.

About the author

Mitt foto
Gothenburg, Sweden