PPJ #8 – Josh Martin

3 Things that went right:

  1. I have a lot of fun animating Rick the Archaeologist. I’ve always wanted to animate human characters and to have this responsibility was a pleasure. I used some references for each of his animations to make it more accurate, but also have the cartoonish feel.
  2. The feeling of seeing your own creations in the game is also something I really like. It makes you feel proud for all the hard work you did. I was happy to see all the animations I did for Rick in the game.
  3. The Trello Board helped a lot throughout this quarter. It gave each of us a more in-depth task list on what to do for each week. Everyone follows it and checks off tasks when complete. This makes us feel that we are making huge progress. I’m not sure if we would make it this far without the Trello board.

3 Things That Went Wrong:

  1. Communication was definitely a big factor into this. We used Slack a lot as our main source of contact. However, after week 3, we have only had one face-to-face meeting per week, that one meeting being at the end of class. Earlier we had team meetings and even smaller group meetings so we can plan what to do. Now it seems that our communication during the week is very weak. It’s at its strongest during Sundays, when our assignments are due the next day. I wish we could meet in smaller groups again, because without major contact between the sub-group leaders, we can’t get a more in-depth task list on what to do for each role.
  2. The Snake Rig was something else. We initially planned to use a sine deformer for its slithering animation. However, I couldn’t find a way to bake the deformer onto the mesh and export it to Unity. I have been trying to look for an answer for hours, but couldn’t get it. I even asked Christian and he himself couldn’t figure it out. We had no choice but to manually rig each joint one-by-one to get a slither animation working.
  3. Another problem was doing things last second. Everyone tries to put in everything that they can to the build. When that happens, we wouldn’t have the time to test the build for any potential bugs. And when we come to class, we found out last second that something wasn’t done. It’s also complicated when trying to give the build to playtesters. We add in all of this stuff that should’ve been added during the week, making the playtesters not only wait until the day playtest data is due, but to run into new bugs that we haven’t seen before and survey questions that don’t match up.

2 Lessons I Have Learned

  1. Devote a huge amount of time to playtesting the game yourself and see how your playthrough relate to the playtesters’ playthrough. I’ve run into many bugs when playing this game. I report them to the team on slack and on Trello.
  2. Don’t use deformers when exporting animations to Unity. Unity doesn’t import Maya files with deformers. I know you could bake animations to the models, but I have tried for a long while, but it was no use. So if you’re going to make some slithering animations, just animate using joints instead. It’s tedious, but it works.
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