Frackin Skin Job

Here’s just a simple example of the skinning stuff I’ve been working on (click on the buttons at the top right to change the image).

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Originally I was redesigning the character animation models to allow me to replace the entire set of body parts with any different set of body parts so that … it would make my life easier. But then I started to see the potential for changing just certain parts of the character such as their helmet or weapon. I kind of got carried away a little and needed to take some steps back to determine all the impacts that my redesign had on other game systems such as collision detection and damage calculations. I kept running into chicken-egg conundrums regarding game unit initialization. Like… "do I skin the unit first, then reinitialize the bounding boxes? What if I want to add a weapon after the unit has already been initialized. But I already initialized all his weapon stats! Oh crap, now he’s not doing any damage for some reason. Why are my arrows passing right through him!?!?… ::quits and goes to play Mass Effect::" So as you can see, even if none of that makes any sense to you, I had to re-think some of my initial design. This is why the frackin skin job has been so hard to kill. Gladly I think the hard part is over. I’ve developed a flexible approach that allows me to skin, reskin, change weapons, remove weapons, change armor, remove armor for the Pikeman game unit. After a little more testing, I will adopt this same approach for the rest of the game’s less complex units.

In other news…

Snowboarding:

I stopped (for now) due to injured elbow (it was worse than I thought… physical therapy here I come!). I’m hoping to get back on the slopes soon enough. At least I didn’t break an arm like my friend did on the slopes. He just recently got his cast off right before his 30th birthday. I asked him, "how’s it feel to be 30?" he says, "It’s great… I just started physical therapy."

Gaming:

I’ve just beat Mass Effect 1 since I love living in the past. I missed out on that game… rather I tried it but didn’t really give it a fair chance and it just fell by the way side. After finishing a play through of Dragon Age I decided to give BioWare’s space epic another try. My original mistake the first time I tried Mass Effect 1 was to judge it on its underwhelming 3rd person shooting mechanic. I didn’t give it a chance to hook me in with the story and biotics (spells). So with all the news and podcast coverage on Mass Effect 2, I was dodging ME1 spoiler bullets all matrix style so figured it was time to give ME1 another shot considering how apparently awesome ME2 is. As soon as I beat ME1 I bought ME2 from Steam. I couldn’t wait. It’s cool how ME2 uses your personal character’s save file from ME1. I’m not very far into it but so far I’m really liking it. And they improved the shooting mechanic! Yay. And did away with all that pesky inventory management…yay?

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