Sunday, April 4, 2010

My Milkshape

Happy Eastern! And thanks for the excuses Pope! Not. To the point, this week I spend some time to "full body awareness". In case you don't know what that is, did you never wonder why your FPS characters never have legs? Gordon Freeman for example can climb a ladder with his beard while throwing down hand grenades between his non existing legs. Also the Doom space marine is just a set of hands with a 6 ton plasma cannon that floats through space.

Is it so difficult to add a pair of legs? Don't know, but in 1997 I already played a game with Inca's(?!) or something. I don't remember much of it, so probably it sucked, but at least that inca guy had legs. So don't ask me why still 90% of the FPS game characters are missing limbs. Anyway, "Fully body awareness" adds a 3D model to your character, also visible from first-person perspective. The body gently steps over dead foes, casts shadows like any other normal object, and may even get reflected in the water or glass.

DumpBot on solicitation in his typical "Badger Badger Badger, Mushroom Mushroom" bindpose

I figured I needed that too, so I hired "DumpBot 0.5" that applied for a role in the game. Temporarily that is. The game has nothing to do with robots. To release some slight details, your character will be an average Joe, or should I say average Eastern Europe Dimitri? As for the stinky robot, the only reason for his existance is that making cubes and hoses is a lot more easier than an organic model. Maybe that's one reason why characters misses a full body... Making hands alone is already difficult enough. Even in commercial A+ games some of the characters are still holding their guns as if they had lepra or a worse case of RSI.

Although his foot is penetrating the bathtube, at least he has one! And a chest pocket to keep your pencils & tobacco

Well I needed a player model anyway. Doing stuff such as picking things up, firing guns, hitting switches, getting hurt, crouching, jumping, making collisions or holding a flashlight feels more natural with an actual (animated) 3D model. The engine can attach a lot info to the animations and its frames. Each frame can trigger sound effects or make script callbacks for more complicated events. Check out the shot above to get an idea. Ow... and if you wonder which programs I use, I captured the Windows taskbar as well. I'm doing EVERYTHING in Notepad, inluding drawing bitmaps and plotting 3D coordinates.

The hose between the gastank and DumpBot's bottom creates an infinite loop of energy. Yes the design was thoughfull.

As a last note, I can finally zoom out for a third-person view as well. Not that this robot is a pleasant view compared to Jill Valentine's high-polygon 3D ass, but it's usefull for testing. And who knows, maybe I'll switch to another camera point as well. Most horror-survival games do for some reason...

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