Heading out to a 10 day long "vacation". I say vacation because about 1/2 of the trip will be spent among family, which I think most people would agree is as much work as it is relaxation. That means no updates for a while. Which is fine since I still have some fermenting to do on the game design doc... See you all (yes, both of you) on the flip side.
Finished the THX trailer for my Father in Law. It's OK, I guess. I wish I had better sound skills. Or at least had any sound skills. For posterity, and future embarrassment, here's the end result:
So, here's the latest state of my THX trailer for my Father-In-Law. Looks pretty decent for less then a days work. God bless the internets and their bounty of free high quality source files. Now I just need to find a good 5.1 audio file fo the THX Sounder and I'll be almost done!
Did I forget to mention that I'm also working with the lads over at http://cadenzainteractive.com/ doing some character animation? I animated all the baddies in their latest release, Retrovirus, and am now working with them on some new game concepts. It's been really fun to shake out the cobwebs on that skill set and explore just how far the tech has come since I last tried to do anything like this.
For example, Maya's HIK system. HIK is short of Human Inverse Kinematics, and it's Maya's very slick system for automagically setting up all the needed rigging and tools to animated a humanoid character. I was able to go from nothing to having a rough walk and run cycle in less then 6 hours. That's crazy! And today I animated both a kneeling animation cycle and a standing interacting cycle. It was really easy to get something serviceable. Good enough for prototype at least. Obviously, the devil is in the details and I would have to spend vastly greater time refining and polishing but for this purpose it was great.
I'm heading off to my Father-In-Law's next week and he's finally gotten his home theater all tweaked out and ready to rock. So, I'm gonna try and make him a custom THX trailer to celebrate. I've already got a rough idea. Since he's a trekker, I dug up a model of the latest Enterprise (from the movie) and am going to do a quick anim of it flying by camera and have the engine noise slowly turn into the THX as it warps off. Should be easy enough but I thing he'll dig it.
Not bad for a freebie off the net. Get it here:
Of course, there's a bit of cleanup necessary, and I'll have to add all the glows, lights, etc. But still, that's usually the fun part anyways. :)
Haven't had much time to spend on dev in the last few days. My day job as CIO at South Park is usually not too demanding of my time unless we are in heavy production or doing heavy upgrades. And we're not in production. We are however finally transitioning the entire production over to our new Hitachi HNAS system. We've had it up and running for a couple months now and it seems solid but you never know for sure until you have everything banging on it at once.
We spent yesterday getting all our data synchronized from the old bluearc server to the new (technically still bluearc) server. Then we had to update all the systems in the building to point to the new server instead of the old. We also turned on the file deduplication feature for the new server as it should save us some serious space at minimal performance hit. And if the performance I'm seeing now is any indication, even with a full dedupe scan running, the farm rendering at full speed, and a couple workstations hammering away with abandon, we still haven't exceed 60% of the total capacity of the server. Which is great as we rarely hit the server that hard, even when in full production.
We are re-rendering episode 208 now both as a test and for the HD crew to start the process of updating the original episode to full 1080p. We rendered 60 shots in 10 minutes. That is nice. Very very nice. Our re-rendering script has a 10 minutes pause between submtting a group of about 20 shots, so the farm caught up to the submissions after 10 minutes and hasn't been fully loaded since. I kinda wish we'd taken the pause out before we did the render, just to see how long it would take. If the 60 shots/10 min rate holds up, thats 360 shots an hour, which is basically an entire episode. Granted, the earlier seasons were much simpler shots so it's not a perfect indicator of what we will see in season 17, but it's still a good indicator of the speed bump we are getting on the new server. For example, rendering episode 210 took around 3 hours total and that one had apprx. 400 shots. So, if my estimate was to hold up, we're looking at over a 100% speed up. Which I will take.
Of course, since all this work basically has to be done when no one is here, I have to work over the weekend. Which means no dev time for a while. And I have yet to even start playing The Last Of Us, which everyone is going apeshit over. Still, beats digging ditches.
So, this is where I will babble on endlessly about the game I am going to be developing. I've already got the name and a rough design doc. I'm calling it Interstellar Encounters. And no, it's nothing like Star Command. This will be more of a combination of that idea and a roguelike. So there's a lot more randomness, but it's also going to be turn based. And I'm planning doing the combat like a TCG. But without having to buy cards and such. Just the mechanics, not the microtransactions. We'll see if it works out.
Spent this evening after finishing work staying late working on getting a decent 3D galaxy going in Maya. It's actually starting to shape up nicely.
Still need to tweak the colors, and then I'm gonna add a fluid cloud sim to the center, cause you know, I can. Then I crank the particle counts up to insane amounts and watch my workstation scream in agony. Mwuhahahah!