Ok, I did it again. Flew off the handle without first making sure I was
right. I guess that's what happens early in the morning when you're tired. If
you've read my last article, you should have noticed that I said that top frames
were important when exporting objects. I was wrong. What is important is that
your objects pivot points and coordinate system are aligned. Make sure they
don't have a wonky 90 rotation on them that you think is your fault. Ok.
Here's the updated instructions for getting an animated mesh out of max and
into our game.
MAX EXPORT CHECKLIST
- Make sure the object front is +Y axis.
This is due to some legacy constraints that went in when Cari initially
designed the 3d system. For future products, we should design things where the
front is -Y. That's how Max comes up by default and that's how I've seen other
people do it. It's more natural for the artist also.
- Center the object at 0,0,0.
This is to make sure that the object fits nicely in the square tile.
Actually, you can add an offset the the +Z axis if you want. That just puts
the object higher or lower on the plane. Adding an offset to the other axes
may cause things to look funny when the object is rotating or animating. It'll
- Adjust object size to fit into a 64x64 square.
Again another arbitrary number. The old GalCiv had 64x64 pixel tiles so it
was decided to keep the units to 64x64. There's nothing stopping us from
making the tile units 100x100 or any number for that matter. 64x64 is just the
number Cari decided on a long time ago.
- Adjust the object "altitude" (+Z) as needed.
Another convention. The ships lay on top of the plane. We are playing a
board game after all. Adjust the Z coordinate appropriately. Also see #2.
- Reset the Pivot to the center of the object
Having the pivot point off in space just makes things look funny. Have the
pivot at the center.
- Reset the pivot transform and scale
This is really important. Without doing it, it'll look like the model
isn't doing what you wanted it to do. The model actually has 2 coordinate
systems in Max. The local and the pivot. The pivot is the one that gets
exported. The local is the one you model in. Go figure.
Here are the updated panda screens.
That's it. Pretty simple. Just follow the checklist and these
screens and you'll get along with the engine famously.
So now that that's over with. I've got some other good news. I
managed to get the hardpoints working. Right now their not as seemless as I
wanted them to be, but I don't know our exact requirements until we start
beating on them. At least the technology is there.
That's enough animation for a while. I'm moving off onto
something new for the next couple of weeks. I'm supposed to make a map/scenario
editor for our game. I'd love to do it. I think that data driven design is the
way to go. The more content other people can generate, the less I have to. So,
with animations on the back burner I may not be getting some cool shots up for a
while. When I get back to the cool stuff though, I'll make sure to keep this