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Khopesh

Animator application - Marc Hodgson (Khopesh)

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Position:

Aminator

Do you understand that Wildfire Games is a non-commercial project, work for 0 A.D. is volunteer, and work is done for free?

Yes

Do you agree to distribute all your work for Wildfire Games under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license?

Yes

Name:

Marc Hodgson (Khopesh)

Email:

hodgson.marcw (at) gmail (dot) com

MSN Messenger:

scorpion1813 (at) msn (dot) com

Location:

Ballarat, Australia (current) GMT: +10

York, England (commencing early next year) GMT: 0

Availability:

Currently: 0-10 hours per week (casually on weekends)

From 6th December: Full-time

Age:

25

Occupation:

Student (looking to get into the games industry in the future)

Skills and Experience:

Advanced Diploma of Screen & Media

- 3D modelling, character rigging, and animation using Autodesk Maya.

- Animation principles; body language; composition; cinematography.

- Character animations to be used in a game engine (Unity). Introduction to MotionBuilder.

- Working as part of a team; problem solving; meeting deadlines.

Applied Computing (Computer Games)

- Introduction to animation and 3D modelling using 3DS Max and Adobe Flash.

- Games design and development with the Unreal Engine.

- Basic programming using Python.

National Diploma Graphic Design

- Visual communication and narrative image making.

- Drawing development and typographic design.

GNVQ (Intermediate) Art and Design

- 2D and 3D visual language.

- Art and Graphic design techniques.

Motivation:

Always dreamt of working in the video games industry.

Personality:

A friendly, creative, perfectionist who'll settle for nothing but the best, or your money back (wait, this is unpaid work isn't it!?).

Short Essay:

I found out about WFG a few days ago when looking for a modern "replacement" for the original AoE, of which I have recently been in the mood for playing again.

This is a very ambitious project, which suits me perfectly. I think most games these days are lacking in everything but pretty graphics and the game itself is seemingly forgotten about.

I would love to be a part of making a difference in the industry and at the very least, have something for my resume to help me get paid work (but who's to say I couldn't continue to help with such projects as this in my free time).

Interests and Hobbies:

Comics (reading / creating)

Video games (playing / designing)

Reading books (novels and skill development)

Watching films / documentaries

Community:

deviantART; Smackjeeves; Gamespot;

Favorite Games:

The Age of Empires series

The Metal Gear Solid series

The original Assassin's Creed

Total War: Shogun 2

Anno 1404 (AKA: Dawn of Discovery)

.... So basically: strategy and stealth games (although, I'm more a fan of historical / mythological / fantasy stuff than modern / Sci-fi).

Work Examples:

http://marchodgson.w....com/index.html

A lot more work will be added soon (in the next month or two), including character animation for a student game project.

Also, some illustration work: http://occasionalheroics.smackjeeves.com/comics/

Edited by Khopesh

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Welcome to the 0ad community.

The game is in need of animators so I guess it will not take long until a team member will get to you.

Enjoy your stay.

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Welcome Marc!

Amazing Portifolio! :)

Hopefully you'll be able to help us with animation and even give me few tips in animation :P

Right now our main priority is to get a new biped rig that works ingame. We are trying to get one that works with Blender since this is the tool that we mostly use in the Art Department. (As it's free, open-source and amazing :P ) Anyways, if you would like to help us, it would be awesome, so read up here: http://www.wildfireg...ic=15552&st=240 (I believe I already pointed you to this thread :P But anyways... Just doing my job :) )

You could also speed up the production of some of our animals animations. Zaggy_1024 is mostly doing this, so he would be the one to give you direction. (He's more easily found online on our Developer's IRC channel [QuakeNet #0ad-dev (webchat)]

So, welcome again, and I look forward to work with you! :)

Best regards,

- Daniel

Edited by leper
Our IRC channel is on quakenet not freenode.

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Daniel: I edited your post as our IRC channels are on QuakeNet.

Marc: Welcome, animators are what we need most so I'm looking forward to see your contributions.

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Thanks for the warm welcoming. :D

As I mentioned, I will not be able to do much until December - but in the mean time I guess I can figure out what needs doing and help with things around the forums.

Since I'm new here and not sure how you guys do things, I did have a few questions:

1. Frame rate - I think I read somewhere this was to be 30 fps?

2. Axis orientation (some game engines have Z pointing up rather than Y). Maya is set to Y-up by default, but Blender seems to be Z-up. Am I correct to assume this game will also use Z-up.

3. Do the animations need to be done in one file, seperate files, or does it not matter? I have not used collada before and I'm unsure as to how you guy have gone about putting animations into your game.

(I have made animations for a game that was made in Unity - the animations were in a signle file and that was simply imported straight into Unity).

4. Asset lists, including: a list of unit types (bowmen, spearmen, types of ships, types of siege weapons, etc) and animations. I've made a couple of lists below - feel free to add anything.

--Biped--

Idle (I was thinking of making a "relaxed" and "ready" pose for out of / in combat)

Walk cycle – walking with resources?

Run cycle

Foraging – berry bushes; fruit trees;

Mining

Logging – Just simply cutting standing trees, or cutting fallen trees too? (horizontal and vertical swings)

Farming – Plowing with a hoe; Carving up animals;

Attack (with a few variations) – spear; sword; bow; crossbow?; sling; javelin; (how do the villegers hunt? do they have a unique attack?).

Death (with a few variations)

--Cavalry--

Same as above, minus villager tasks.

--Ships--

Idle – bobbing in water?

Sails up / down?

Oar movement

--Siege--

Idle – bipeds idling

Walking cycle – 2(?) bipeds pushing

Attack and reload

Death – siege machine breaks; bipeds use biped death animation

Sorry for so many questions. :S

Edited by Khopesh

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Hello Marc! welcome to the forums!

Nice animations you have there ;)

As you have read, animators are really welcome :P

I'm not the most experienced member on animation but I can point you to some documents which may be a little outdated, but you may found some useful information also.

Here is the art design document: http://trac.wildfire...tDesignDocument

Here's the animation/sound sync document: http://trac.wildfire...i/AnimationSync

As I said, there may have some parts outdated since they're really old, but you can get some info about how it was done.

Regarding the collada (.dae) format, you may try to import any of the currently used animations in-game to see if you can open them in Maya.

You can find the animations for the different unit types/rigs here: http://svn.wildfireg.../art/animation/

As for the animations needed, that depends if we are going to replace unit meshes/rigs for new ones. (which may be easier for you as you may do the rig customized for your animation needs)

We are currently discussing this on the animation pipeline thread that Gen.Kenobi linked you above.

We'll have all set up when December arrives :P;)

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1. Frame rate - I think I read somewhere this was to be 30 fps?

I don't usually worry about framerates when I'm animating, because the game interpolates using bones between frames. Sometimes animations don't get interpolated correctly in the engine, though, and when that happens I either bake the animation (which makes almost all the frames have keyframes), or make the animation longer.

2. Axis orientation (some game engines have Z pointing up rather than Y). Maya is set to Y-up by default, but Blender seems to be Z-up. Am I correct to assume this game will also use Z-up.

I'm not sure what the engine uses, but the Collada files store an up-axis value, so you shouldn't have to worry about that (I'm not sure if the engine uses that value, though, but if it doesn't, then I guess the engine does use Z-up).

3. Do the animations need to be done in one file, seperate files, or does it not matter? I have not used collada before and I'm unsure as to how you guy have gone about putting animations into your game.

(I have made animations for a game that was made in Unity - the animations were in a signle file and that was simply imported straight into Unity).

Each animation goes in a separate file.

Attack (with a few variations) – spear; sword; bow; crossbow?; sling; javelin; (how do the villegers hunt? do they have a unique attack?).

About the villagers (I assume you're talking about female citizens): They should have an animation for slaughtering domestic animals, but I don't think they'll have any other attacks.

--Cavalry--

Same as above, minus villager tasks.

Cavalry can gather and carry meat.

--Ships--

Idle – bobbing in water?

Sails up / down?

Oar movement

I don't think we have any plans to have humans on ships.

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Thanks for the info Enrique, I will look into those and check out the current rig.

I don't usually worry about framerates when I'm animating.....

It's just to help with timing mostly. I figured the engine will rescale the timing for certain tasks depending on the units stats (attack speed etc), but there are other animations that wouldn't get scaled and would be best if working on the correct frame-rate. The Art Design Document that Erique linked me to says 30 fps. All good. :)

I'm not sure what the engine uses, but the Collada files store an up-axis value, so you shouldn't have to worry about that (I'm not sure if the engine uses that value, though, but if it doesn't, then I guess the engine does use Z-up).

If the current animations (that were made in Blender) work properly in the game then I guess Z-up is the way to go.

About the villagers (I assume you're talking about female citizens): They should have an animation for slaughtering domestic animals, but I don't think they'll have any other attacks.

I think I read somewhere that some female villagers were to have an attack (for the Greek civs?). Not sure if this is still the case.

Also, what kind of attack would they use when hunting/slaughtering animals? Would they use a bow for hunting and a knife for herdables (chicken, sheep, etc)?

I don't think we have any plans to have humans on ships.

But the ships themselves will need animating.

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But the ships themselves will need animating.

The ships are already animated. At least the oar movement, don't remember if they have idle/sails up/down animations though as the naval combat(/movement for that matter) really isn't working yet so it was a while since I looked at them in-game.

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Regarding the collada (.dae) format, you may try to import any of the currently used animations in-game to see if you can open them in Maya.

You can find the animations for the different unit types/rigs here: http://svn.wildfireg.../art/animation/

Am I actually allowed to use Maya? I was under the impression we were to use only free software that doesn't require a licence, lke Blender or GIMP.

I only have a student copy of Maya at the moment which will probably run out at the end of the year anyway.

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Am I actually allowed to use Maya? I was under the impression we were to use only free software that doesn't require a licence, lke Blender or GIMP.

I only have a student copy of Maya at the moment which will probably run out at the end of the year anyway.

You are allowed to use any program you want, however the files which go into the game need to be made available freely under the CC-BY-SA license.That's the only real restriction in that sense :) It's of course nice to use free/open source software as much as possible though, especially since that allows everyone else to be able to use the same software (since we're using formats that should be supported by multiple programs this shouldn't be an issue in theory, but in reality there are unfortunately issues sometimes when importing/exporting files from a lot of different software). It's your choice of course, but if you only have a time-limited copy of Maya it's probably a good idea to use Blender anyway :)

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Blender's UI is not very user-friendly, but I really should learn how to use it.

Thanks.

It's very user-friendly, but it's definitely not "new user friendly" =) Once you get to know it it's fairly useful, both in that you can customize GUI a lot and that you can use shortcut keys for a lot of things as well. But yeah, I can imagine it being a but troublesome for new users, especially if you already know some other program and how that works and need to "relearn" how to do things :)

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Yeah, Maya is so user-friendly and the UI is very clear and uncluttered. I started out using 3Ds Max but wasn't too keen on that one. Opening up Blender for the first time was mind-boggling.

I'm not a big tech-head, so the easier something is to use the better. I should be fine once I learn how to navigate Blender and set it up to my needs. :P

Edited by Khopesh

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Blender's UI is more work flow oriented than anything else but once you do grok it you find yourself wishing other apps followed its conventions ;)

Enjoy the Choice :)

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Am I actually allowed to use Maya? I was under the impression we were to use only free software that doesn't require a licence, lke Blender or GIMP.

I only have a student copy of Maya at the moment which will probably run out at the end of the year anyway.

The licensing could potentially be a problem, it is impossible to know without reading it though and they don't appear to have it publicly available. The thing to watch out for is non-commercial terms, this is incompatible with the license that we use. Some non-commercial terms refer to you receiving payment however, so it might still be ok since you wouldn't be doing it for payment.

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Sorry I haven't been around. I have been absent for a couple of months due to moving house and not having internet access.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances I won't be able to help in the way I had originally planned (doing the animation) in the forseeable future. I will however try to stop by now and then and give my support/advice/suggestions.

I was looking forward to working on this project and hope I can still contribute something.

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:( sad news. I hope everything is going nice in your new house :)

Please don't forget about us and reconsider about working in some animations if you have some free time for us :P

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