3D World - - ARTIST Q & A -

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.

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