Development of Coneland has stalled because I have been spending time learning about animation mechanisms and trying out both Blender which is free, and 3DStudio Max from Autodesk which is available to me on my work laptop.
I’ve also been thinking about how to merge or overlay animations — for example how do I animate a fox’s head to turn and look at the player when the fox is currently in a walking animation. This has led me to explore Unity’s animation state engine which simplifies the switching (and blending) of animation states of the characters.
Animation origin point when using compound animations
Another thing I have been distracted with is the animation of a bird. Specifically the origin point of the model — should it be the birds feet, the birds pelvis, the birds shoulders or it’s head? The pelvis seems to suggest itself as the origin or base point when the bird is on the ground, such that it’s limb animations are relative to its pelvis. The shoulder similarly suggests itself as the best origin or base point when the bird is in flight since the bird hangs and pivots about this point.
I'm thinking about this because I believe that the animations stored in an fbx file created by 3DSMax are essentially a set of relative coordinates for each mesh point during each frame of the animation. So if for example i wish to record an animation of the wings only, then if my model origin is still set to the pelvis of the bird or between the feet of the bird won't these relative coordinates be incorrect when wanting to overlay or compound an occasional flapping of the wings during any other animation such as walk cycle (bird vertical) , flying cycle (bird horizontal) etc since the offset from the feet or pelvis is different for these states?
I don‘t currently know the answer to this and it also raises the question of whether I can or should change the origin point when the bird takes off and lands.
However, I am realising that animation is an entire field in itself and I am at risk of spending so long exploring creation and animation of characters at this stage that I‘m losing momentum with the bigger picture.
So I have decided that I need to simplify my game ambitions for now in order to just get a simple game released on iOS.
The simple game will be very simple. It serves one main purpose — for me to learn the entire inception to distribution process.
This means that I will have to swallow my pride and release a game that is very low in content and unsophisticated in terms of animation and models.
So next blog will be ideas for a Coneland game that is ultra simple and quick to make!