The first of what will likely be many developer blogs is up on the official Krater website, in which one of Fatshark's animators gives us a better understanding of the animation process "from concept to models". There is some concept art, renders, and wireframes embedded in the post, and then we have a brand new screenshot showing off one of the game's new buildings. The lot can be found in our image gallery, while a snip from the blog is below:
As Fatshark Lead animator Mikael Hansson described in an earlier post in the forums, we use Maya for the rig, setting up bones and skinning, then we use Motionbuilder and the Motionbuilder control rig for animation. Yes, we actually animate hand-key in MoBu. Mikael, being from a long MoBu background, has both the skill, experience and the patience required to make the most out of the control rig. I, on the other hand, have none of that and find myself often kicking walls and screaming abuse in the office kitchen after hours of fighting gimble locks.
As you can see the rig is fairly simple, and the models looks so similar we figured using the same animation set would be be easy. Though, we did want some of the Hounds to have broader shoulders, longer legs, or perhaps be more muscular, so a few rig tweaks each would help. And, still being a simple rig, surely that wouldn’t completely screw up the animations when importing them, right!? Oh how wrong we were. After rigging and skinning them all, turned out the animations went all over the place. Legs hovering in the air or buried a meter under ground, necks twisted in painful poses and body parts turned inside out. It was either doing individual animations for each and every Hound, or adjusting the meshes to fit the one -first- rig, without moving it an inch. Since we want to be able to add animations and new Hounds as we go along, without it costing too much time, we went for changing the meshes.