Static Characters for Maya
- This is an advanced level tutorial for artists, explaining how to create Static Characters in Maya. 3ds Max users can follow along on the Static Characters Tutorial page.
Static Character for Maya
- this tutorial is part 2 of a 2 page tutorial, part 1 is located here Static Characters Tutorial
Note: this is the manual way to setup a character. This is a good page to read for maintaining a character, however, there is a faster initial setup method by using the Hero Character Tools that will export, setup the sub-folders, and write out basic text files.
Build the geometry
- transforms and scale should be reset
- Polygons are single sided
- Pivot point should be placed where you want it relative to the object, for characters this means origin (0,0,0)
- Object should be 1 single mesh
Feel free to use the vertex paint to get additional detail on your character.
Use a HeroMaterialHeroMaterial to your Geometry. Materials are added within 3dsMax using a custom material, The HeroMaterial. If you need more than one HeroMaterial that is fine, you can assign a multi-sub object material with as many hero sub materials as you want or you can just assign individual HeroMaterials directly to the appropriate polygons. This is a common set up for a static creature. It uses a diffuse .dds texture as well as a normal map .dds with the specular derived from the alpha channel.
Build the skeleton
- Rig should be placed at origin to ensure ease of use as files pile up.
- Rig should face the positive Z axis in Maya
- Create any needed animation masks using the "Mask editor" on the export panel
- Any locators or extra rigging elements should be hidden before export
- Skeleton is a single root hierarchy. Joints must be parented to other Joints. No broken hierarchy(joint to locator to joint)
Add the SRB
You can add a new SRB or delete an existing one, by using the create and delete SRB button on the HeroTools shelf.
Add Animation Masks
Animation Masks are used if you want to play a second animation on part of the rig. A good example is if a character is running and needs to play an impact animation. Since you won't want to stop the character from running, you can play the impact on the upper torso of the character while the lower half continues to run by adding an impact animation mask. Additional information can be found here on the Animation Mask page.
- Select the Anim Channels button from the HeroTools Shelf
- Type a name into the input field - Impact in this example - and click add
- Select the channel from the now created list in the same window and click "Tag Selected".
- Close Mask Editor
- Select each bone and adjust to the desired weight. Values are between 0 and 1 with 1 being 100% of the channel on and 0 being completely off.
- Note Animation Masks only need to be created in the initial character export( skeleton file ), not the animation files them selves.
Skin the Geometry to the Skeleton
Make sure all joints have had their scales reset to be uniform 100%. Non uniform scaled joints can cause eventual animation problems in engine. You must have at least 2 joint influencing a vertex. HeroEngine supports up to 4 influences.
Export Your CharacterHero Export. Set the mode as Static Character and make sure that post processing is always on. Export visible is the most common way of exporting whats viewable in your view port. Remember to hide any unwanted locators or rigging objects. They will only add weight and confusion to your file.
- Export using the Static Character setting on the Hero Export.
- Hide any unwanted objects/locators in the background before export
Animate your Character
A guide for animating your Character resides on Animating Characters Tutorial
Set up a .DAT
A .DAT file tells the engine about your Character Specification. It has information such as where the Characters skeleton and animations are located. It's easiest to just copy one of the sample characters .dat files and edit it to suit your new character. The .dat file needs to have the same name as the character folder that it resides in. In this case, Bob.
More information on the .DAT can be found on the Character Spec page.
! ! Character Specification for Character\Bob\Bob.dat ! ! Version=2 [PARTS] Model=Bob_skeleton.(file extension) AnimationSetFolder=Character\Bob\animation\ Agent=Character\manowar\animation\Bob.aas Behavior=PlayerCharacter2 Gender=Male
Until you've gone through the Animating Characters Tutorial and done all the appropriate work you will not be able to move on. Once you have done all the appropriate animations and associated files, continue forward.
Now that your Character is exported and your animations are all done, it's time to upload your resulting character_skeleton file,.dds textures, .dat file, animation files, .aas file, animationset.dat file, and animation sequence .asq files using the Repository Browser and then add your asset into HeroEngine.
Register Character Specification
The remainder of the character pipeline takes place in Heroblade. After all the appropriate files have been uploaded, we now must register the characters specification with the engine to let it know that the Bob exists. After our Character Specification is created, you can make as many instances of that character as you like or use whatever systems your scripters come up with to move characters around.
Since we need to register the character first, we will add a specification to the engine.
Enter the following into the chat panel. spec is short for specification.
/henpc add spec Bob\character\Bob\
Create an Instance of your Character
Now that the character is registered with the engine, you can make an instance of it in the world.
Enter the following into the chat panel
/henpc create Bob