Development Diary #4: Progress

The last couple of months have had a pretty steep learning curve but, at last, something vaguely game-like is beginning to take shape. This is what I’ve been working on:

  • Basic camera moves and cuts
  • Various types of animation control
  • Custom cursor with different animated rollover states
  • Real-time and baked shadows with toon-shading
  • Lightswitchs

You can see a video on YouTube here. Unsurprisingly, it’s still my lack of general scripting experience that’s slowing me up. All too often I find myself going online to “quickly” look up a reference, only to encounter basic terms I’ve never heard of and having to spend hours/days down tutorial filled rabbit-holes…

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Simple page-turn setup in Softimage…

I recently had to come up with a basic system for animating the pages of a book for a commercial, it didn’t need to do anything especially fancy, just something that wouldn’t explode if I needed to scale the whole model. In the end I went with a CrvDeform with some straightforward controls, pretty basic to be sure, but this method has since come in handy for a number of other things so I thought I’d share…

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Softimage ICE Basics: A simple emitter from scratch…

I’ve recently started using ICE pretty regularly at work, nothing too complicated so far, mostly for controlling groups of instanced geometry like soap bubbles floating through the air and lines of marching ants. With the ants especially It became apparent that the default emitters had a couple of interesting “features” that would cause problems, getting a predictable, steady, stream of particles to come out at say, 1 per second, for example, was much more difficult than anticipated. So with some digging around and a point in the right direction from one of the many nice folk at XSI Base, I set about making my own emitter from scratch. Since at the time I couldn’t find any tutorials that explained the process from start to finish (although this was very helpful) I thought I’d write up my own. The following tutorial assumes you know Softimage and that you’ve perhaps had a poke around in ICE without delving in too far, it sets out to take you from an empty pointcloud to a simple particle emitter compound you can export and use again.

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