STEP by STEP Key CONSIDERATIONS FOR BUILDING GAME RIGS
01 know your limits
Limitations are part and parcel of game development but aren’t just restricted to polygon counts and texture pages. The number of joints you use in your skeleton can also have an impact on performance. For example, a joint-based facial rig may give you more flexibility, but it comes at a greater cost. So, in this case blendshapes could be used to help ease the pressure on the processor.
02 know your Engine
You would think that all game engines handle game data the same, and for the most part they do. However, some have huge limitations which can drastically alter the way you build your rig. Unity for example doesn’t (currently) handle Joint Scale Compensation, which offsets child joints when they scale, so rigs intended for this engine will need to be approached differently to Unreal for example.
03 talk to the Animators
In your mind you may have the greatest approach to rigging, with clever controls and systems helping to drive the character models – but once it’s been passed to an animator, is it still as good? Remember that these are the people who will be using the tools you create, so be sure to communicate with them and find out what they require from the rig.
04 Allow for rig revisions
No rig is ever final. Model revisions and changes are a constant, so ensure that your rigs can handle the ability to be changed or at the very least the geometry they drive updated. Ideally, a good technical artist will have a series of tools at their disposal that can remove and apply a rig, ultimately saving the day when that last-minute change comes rolling in.