Archive for year 2011

SR3 Screenshots…

It is becoming increasing difficult to “capture” the essence of a game that is in motion in a single screenshot. We did make use of various techniques to compose screenshots that were representative of the player’s experience. Everything was captured from the game, but frequently composited or at a minimum balanced in Photoshop. Here is a collection of screens that I contributed using such techniques for SRTT (think of them as video game photography):

SR3 Jobsheet – Cutscene Lighting Pass

Here is an example jobsheet that I made for the Lighting Pass on a SR3 Cutscene:

High level documentation and examples helped outline the style we were aiming for. This document provided specifics and immediate goals including which colorscript (separate reference) to refer to .

SR3 Cinematics Progressed per the following:

  1. script
  2. storyboard
  3. animatic
  4. animation pass
  5. facial pass
  6. lighting & fx pass

SR3 Jobsheet – Cutscene Prop

Here is an example jobsheet for one of the many cinematic props for SR3 that I directed the outsourcing on:

These props were significantly simpler to execute with outsourcing as they only appeared in cinematics.  Standard game constraints and specifications did not need to be adhered to (e.g. no need for collision models).

We did author these a little higher resolution than normal items in the game would normally be as they were intended to be viewed in the cinematics.

SR3 Jobsheet – Cutscene Animation Pass

Here is an example of a jobsheet for an Animation Pass on a SR3 Cutscene:

At this point in the process, the focus is on integrating final assets including:

  • Final set
  • Final characters
  • Final props
  • Final vehicles
  • Mocap & secondary animation
  • Any change requests that have developed

SR3 Cinematics Progressed per the following:

  1. script
  2. storyboard
  3. animatic
  4. animation pass
  5. facial pass
  6. lighting & fx pass

SR3 Vehicle Documentation

Here are some thumbnails from a document I assembled for the outsourcers working on vehicles for SR3.  The vehicles technical specifications were complex and this document attempted to breakdown what was expected of the vendor, in what order tasks should be performed, and provide reference to technical details they would need to adhere to.

MXS Transform Test

Objects in 3ds Max will typically need to have “clean” transforms.  It is quite easy to invalidate them via non-uniform scales or mirroring. I wrote a simple script to identify objects submitted to us by our vendor that are in need of correction.

The script checked for offset pivots, mirrored  objects, and non-uniformly scaled objects.

Here is an example of the feedback dialog that the user would be presented with.

SR3 Vehicle Jobsheets

Below are some SR3 Vehicle Jobsheet examples.

  • One key goal with these jobsheets was to place all key information onto a single page that can be viewed at once in a single window, second screen, or printout.
  • Furthermore, all text in the jobsheet is kept in an editable format that may be more easily translated by foreign vendors (in contrast to baking text into an image as one might with Photoshop).

SR3 Jobsheet – Cutscene Animatic

Here is a example jobsheet for a SR3 Cutscene Animatic.

In each of the jobsheets, we tried to provide:

  • Context
  • Camera Direction
  • Asset List & file locations (which included pre-approved 2D storyboards & rough audio)

One of the many challenges we encountered at this stage were the unfinished nature of assets, like the set.

SR3 Cinematics Progressed per the following:

  1. script
  2. storyboard
  3. animatic
  4. animation pass
  5. facial pass
  6. lighting & fx pass

SR3 MXS Convert Pattern Maps

We discovered, after the majority of assets were authored, that we needed to convert our PC pattern maps to the technique we were using with NPC’s.  Pattern maps were used to customize the characters by replacing the pure RED, GREEN, or BLUE with a new color via the shader at runtime.

Rather than stick someone with the tedious task of reworking all of these bitmaps by hand, I created a maxscript that handled the heavy lifting.  Details below:

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Here is an overview of how the script works.  It has  THREE main operations:

  1. Convert PC pattern maps to NPC pattern maps, as follows:
    1. Renders existing pattern maps (UV3) out to UV1…
    2. Converts the color setup from PC to NPC…
    3. Combines the Pattern & Diffuse…
  2. Renders out Decals on UV1.
  3. Ports shaders from PC to NPC materials.

Bake Multi Low Poly Meshes to Single Low Poly Mesh

We had the need on SR3 to bake game resolution mesh elements down into an even simpler version, specifically in the waist/hip area.  We were experiencing issues with the belts and accessories in this area having intersection issues with other assets and we did not want to outright hide them.  So, I threw the following tutorial together for the artists to make a pass on addressing the issue.  LINK

SR3 MXS Toggle Character Bitmap Size

This was a quick script that I threw together to help with outsourcing.  I needed to be able to quickly check for an evaluate the delivered high resolution and low resolution bitmaps authored for the character assets.

To toggle between the large and small maps, the script looks at the materials and finds the bitmaps in use. Then it looks on disk for it’s counterpart and swaps the entry in the material.  Simple stuff, but it makes the workflow of selecting a character and running the script much faster than doing it by hand.  The only requirements are that the filenames use the naming conventions already established, that is “_SM” for small and “_LG” need to appear somewhere in the filenames.

By default, the script runs on all selected objects toggling the maps highlighted in the scripts gui.  You can <CTRL> or <SHIFT> click to add or remove maps from the selection.  If a new map type needs to be added, it can easily be done in the script.