A Look at the Beginnings of Zombie Playground’s Character Pipeline

Zombie Playground is an exciting project I’ve been working on in recent months. Even though this was the second project where we are using Unity3d (the first being Mothhead); this is a completely brand new IP for us, that isn’t tied down to maintaining legacy assets. As such, Zombie Playground offers us a lot of freedom in planning out an efficient pipeline so we can better concentrate on the vision of the game, and less on tedious tasks. I’m responsible for wrangling our said pipeline, documentation, character rigging, and developing tools to assist our small team. We’re still in the early stages of development, and there’s a lot of aspects of the project in WIP-phase, but I want to describe some tools I’ve developed for ZPG that have been coming along nicely.

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Postmortem: Rigging Chopsticks and Characters for a Short

This was an animated short I contributed to  as a freelancer in 2007; and after an almost 2-year hiatus, wrapped up in late-2009. The two characters were modeled by Shon Mitchell, and animations were done by our client, Jonali  Bhattacharyya. This was a fun project that involved rigging two bipeds with the added twist of making them capable of wielding chopsticks. Jonali was really great to work with, and communicated her needs well. I’ll go into some detail about the Maya rigs created and the accompanying MEL tools used by the animator.

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Tank Rig pt 2. (the scripted UI)

Suite Screenshot       List Screenshot      Creation Window       Animation Screenshot

Overview

The UI for the tank handles the process of creating, editing, and animating the treads across terrain. For creation, the user simply selects the geometry in the scene that acts as the terrain, and press the “constrain” button. Procedures are then executed that creates an array of geometry-constrained locators that the tread is later point constrained between. Also, a data-structure is inserted in the node of the tank’s controls to keep track of the geometry, the clusters driving the tread and the names of the locators.

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