Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
5 Creating low polygon
This chapter is something of a departure from the rest in that it deals with
the subject of real-time character animation from the artist's perspective.
The reasoning behind this is entirely personal. I started life as a cartoon
animator and, as an artist that writes code, I think that sometimes it is
clear that code is written that pays scant regard to the user's needs. Most
readers of this topic will be interested in the code examples, but if you are
keen to excel at real-time character animation then you definitely need to
know the artist's problems and concerns. If you decide to skip this chapter
then, at least as a result of the examples on the CD, you have two low poly
models to play with.
Modelling software
At the time of writing, January 2001, the leading CGI packages are
Softimage, Maya, Rhino, 3DS Max and Lightwave 3D. I choose to
illustrate the modelling process using my preferred software, Lightwave
3D. Lightwave 3D is a polygon modeller, unlike Softimage, which in the
latest version has no polygon tools at all. In fact, it ships with the old
version in order to provide polygon modelling tools. The other reason for
choosing Lightwave 3D is the excellent developer support that is available
free via the mailing list. See the back of the topic for useful sources of
support. The final reason for choosing Lightwave 3D is the fact that the file
formats for models and animation are public domain and the available
documentation is both comprehensive and accurate. Some CGI software
developers have, in recent years, kept their file formats under wraps
unless you become part of a very expensive developer network.
Choosing a modelling package
Following the examples in this chapter we are going to create two
characters. One is the typically low polygon super woman, where an
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