Archive of published articles on March, 2008

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A Third of an Update

30/03/2008

Alright, I uploaded the Shader-driven animation project. This is one of the three projects I am working on, and one of the two not-very-useful ones. But it is interesting and hopefully will spark your own cool ideas. The one very useful one (Skinning by Proxy) is also gargantuan, but it is done mostly, at this point there is still significant testing, fixing, and improving to do. So I can’t say for sure when the first version will be out, I hope to try it by fire at BioWare. My other project, Vector Displacement, is all done, but I need to finish documenting and cleaning before I release it.

It snowed Friday and Saturday. That’s right, snow. WTF? In my idleness this week, I replayed through Half-Life 2, and then Episodes 1 and 2 with commentary. Awesome. But now, no video games for a while again. Productivity is so much more rewarding.

I leave Tuesday for Austin, I can’t wait to get into my new apartment. Though the empty apartment will be strange until my stuff arrives. I’m bringing with me some clothes, a blanket, pillow, sautee pan, and chef’s knife. My apartment is pretty minimalist anyway so it should be fun being ultra-minimalist for a week or two. And there is a Whole Foods a block away so I’m very happy. Well, on to the next step of my journey!

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Update incoming

23/03/2008

So just some updates on what’s coming:

I will fix some broken links tonight that have been pointed out to me (thanks guys).

By next weekend I should have three new projects uploaded.

First is morph targets via vertex color or textures. I found out after I completed this technique that MS has a DX10 sample in the SDK that uses textures and is pretty awesome, but I’m going ahead with documenting and uploading mine anyway, if only for research/ideas.

Second is “Shader-driven animation.” It is really difficult to explain without a demo, but it is like getting rid of ‘bones’ and instead piping the info directly into the shader, with vertex colors as skinning.

Third and largest is even harder to explain. I call it ‘skinning by proxy.’ You use the vertex colors of a proxy mesh to assign skin weights. It is almost like using geometry as envelopes. It still has a bit of work and improvement to go before it is ready for alpha/beta, but the first two projects are finished and I’m just packaging and documenting them.

I’m pretty bored here with no contract work and waiting to move (start of April), I did visit home for a week though. But it has given me time to work on the scripts and also play Orange Box. Portal was awesome, as were Episodes 1 and 2. And Steam itself I was utterly impressed with, it has been about 2 years since I last really used it, and it has gotten so much better. Way to go Valve, you guys are awesome.

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Bioware!

3/03/2008

I just got back from Austin, meeting the uber-talented guys at Bioware for an interview as a Technical Animator. The trip was a lot of fun, the team was great, everything was just bliss. I am so excited to start working there, Bioware for me is a dream job, like some people dream of working at Blizzard, Valve, etc.

Even better than just working at Bioware, I also am working next to one of my video game idols, Ben Cloward, who told me about the job and put in a reference for me that was responsible as much as anything for getting to at least the interview stage. If game developers can have fanboys, I’m a Ben Cloward fanboy; he was great to meet in person, and the rest of the animation team are great as well. I interviewed Thursday, and then on Friday we all played Ultimate Frisbee at the gorgeous park and then went to lunch (they had the day off for Leap Year).

Austin is beautiful and I just cannot wait to get down there again. Perhaps it was from going through my first Seattle winter, but everything was just so nice and pleasant there. I like to say, I will have experienced Seattle winters and Texas summers.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on some really cool shader stuff that I hope to release before the move.

Upward and onward!

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