Saturday, October 15, 2005

Avatars

Avatars and Skins
With the short timespan left, it seems the easiest way to get avatars working in the map is to use existing UT2004 player models, or models others have created and packaged for UT2003/4. The problem however is that there is a severe lack of models that suit a Mayan environment. Most are of aliens, robots and Simpsons characters. However i was able to find 2 models (one male and female) that are at least somewhat suitable, once the skins have been altered. Both skins have had a skin darkened as well.

Female A
The original had a blue dress and blue hair and black boots. I changed her dress to a faded red, made her hair black and replaced the boots with sandles.


Male A
This is a model of the leader of a skinhead clan apparently. The original was covered in various tattoos and wore blue jeans and boots.


Problems:
- The models have different shaped feet because they are meant to bw wearing boots. Replacing them with a skin texture results in odd looking feet, however it can be masked if the avatar is walking around in the thick grass.
- The models' are made for UT2004, where players hold weapons. The characters come with idle animations (such as the female's standing pose) that may be suiitable, however walking around is in a gun holding position. Some avatar couldperhaps be carrying a bale of corn or a pile of sticks as they walk around.

AIScripts
I have been familiarising myself with the AIScript and ScriptedController systems even further (it's quite a complex system) and have been able to get these custom avatars controlled by them. This means that the characters can walk around the level in a set path, or they can play sounds as they go (talking?) and also talk (play a sound) or change their animation as a player approaches. It is possible to set conditions so the characters will do different actions based on something in the level, however I have not yet tried to get this working, and I'm not sure where and how it could be used in the final game.

Grass
I have the new grass in. It looks more realistic (in my opinion) than the other grass, and also sways around. I have also increased the density 5 fold which, due to it all using the same mesh, has little effect on performance.

The Environment
Looking at the research.famsi.org Erik linked to has been a fantastic resource in seeing how the environment looks. Contour maps etc shows the temple locations, however these ariel photos show forest growth, fields between the temples etc. They are of the modern day site, however are still good reference to go by.

Also, another fantastic find was a painting by Christopher Evens of a Mayan city. I'm not sure of the accuracy, however it clearly shows the Palace and Pyramid temples in their correct locations. The stone floor surrounding the area is something interesting, and will have to bring it up with the client on Monday. I think it would be a great resource to base the environment on.



The Staff:
I have created a working version of a staff that shoots lightning as per the client's request. The staff is a child class of the lightning gun, with a custom model. The client has stated that the model is not an accurate representation of a Mayan staff, however the model can easily be recreated and imported over the top of the existing model.

The client has also expressed interest in creating a blow-dart style weapon. Any such weapon should be easy to create, by extending the existing weapon classes. The flak cannon is the most suitable, as it can fire a projectile which is affected by gravity. I have asked the client for any information/pictures on what such a weapon may look like so it can be modelled and textured in 3DSM.

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