Gavit Dev Diary #13

I’ve already written a post about our character shader but changes in our approach to characters rendered that article outdated.

As it turns out ultra minimalistic characters just won’t work for our demo machinima: clothing can’t be recreated well enough with textures only, we’ll need a series of new, properly modeled figures. The more elaborate characters require a more elaborate way to recolor them so I came up with this:

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Grayscale images and texture compression

In realtime graphics grayscale images are often used as masks in shader and particle effects. In many cases (lensflares or vector masks for example) compression artifacts can become a problem.

The following table is a comparison between a few of the compression schemes present in current UDK builds. (The images are closeups of a shader using the textures, click for a bigger view.)

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Gavit Dev Diary #12

Our new character rig is more polished and now all the weaponless animations are transferred onto it. As I was checking the results I realized that I need to address a few issues related to root motion.

The first problem is jumping. It is straightforward to create movement animations which move the root bone (and thus the pawn at the end) because the direction and distance a step takes the body is constant. However that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to jumping. We need a flexible implementation which can be used in all sorts of situations which means variable jump distance and height. Height difference between the starting and landing points should also be handled well.

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On the death of Osama bin Laden

I try to stay away from politics but recent events made me speak up on the topic.

So Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces. No surprise, the guy had that coming for a long time. I can understand why Americans wanted him, I can even understand why they chose to kill him instead of capturing him.

However what I find really disturbing is the joyful reaction to the news. Americans saw the image of a bloody corpse and started cheering and dancing.

That’s just not right.

I do feel relieved. I do understand that it’s a milestone in the “war on terror”. But partying over a dead body of someone, anyone, is just sick.

The death of a man who was responsible (among many other terrorists) for the demise of thousands does not change the past. It won’t revive anyone and it won’t lessen the pain of families left behind regardless how hard they try to party.

I really like and respect The Daily Show and John Stewart because they tend to treat sensitive topics properly. That’s why I was so disappointed when I saw them join the festivities. I expected them to realize that we should treat this death (any death) in a respectful, civilized fashion.
Not because Osama bin Laden was a good person but because we should be trying to be one.

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Gavit Dev Diary #11

After tweaking the character rig further I managed to transfer the better part of the existing animation set onto it. The results are generally good but I will need to manually adjust a few things so the cool features of the rig are actually used.

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