Archive for the ‘Production Pipeline’ Category


The Level Production Pipeline

October 19, 2009

After one week of testing and writing scripts for the level production pipeline, we finally come to a first version that is working well. We use Maya 2008 as level editor and created some scripts to make editing easier and more efficient. The Editor is split in two parts:

The Block Editor

The block editor is use two create so call blocks for the track editor.

Shelf_BlockEditorThe picture shows the shelf for the block editor. The left two buttons will be explained in another post. The other buttons are to insert platforms in different sizes into the scene. The shelf is automatically filled with buttons by scanning a define folder for maya files with this different sized platforms in it.

global proc TheBallBlock() {
 global string $gBuffStr;
 global string $gBuffStr0;
 global string $gBuffStr1;

 string $tempDir = "D:/WS09_The_Ball/Production/Model/Element/Boxes//";
 string $blocks[] = `getFileList -folder $tempDir -filespec "*.mb"`;

 for ($i in $blocks)
  string $block = `substitute ".mb" $i ""`;
  string $short[];
  $numTokens = `tokenize $block "_" $short`;

  if($short[0] == "Box")
    -enableCommandRepeat 1
    -enable 1
    -width 34
    -height 34
    -manage 1
    -visible 1
    -preventOverride 0
    -align "center"
    -label $block
    -labelOffset 0
    -font "smallFixedWidthFont"
    -imageOverlayLabel $short[1]
    -image "commandButton.xpm"
    -image1 "commandButton.xpm"
    -style "iconOnly"
    -marginWidth 1
    -marginHeight 1
    -command [Here has to be the command to import maya files]
    -sourceType "mel"
    -actionIsSubstitute 0;

This is a part of the script to fill the shelfs with buttons. The next picture shows a “turn block”.


The Track Editor

The track editor uses the blocks out of the block editor to create a track.


The picture shows the shelf for the track editor. The three buttons on the right show block elements that can be inserted currently. This shelf is also automatically filled with buttons by scanning a folder for the blocks created before. It also loads a picture of the block into the button, but this pictures have to be made by hand. In difference to the block editor the elements of the track editor are imported by reference ad instance. This makes it possible to make slight changes in the blocks without having to build all the tracks new to update the block elements. The next pictures shows a simple track created with our current block elements.


An in-game movie coming soon, with a new texture design.


New Map Version 0.2

October 7, 2009

Today we made a little update to our map. We created walls at the side of the track to makeĀ  it easier to follow the track. The next version will bring major changes in the track design, to make it more race-able.


Another fly over movie rendered in maya.


A quick map flyover

October 5, 2009

Today we tried another look for the maps. We used different Platform heights to make the tracks a little bit more interesting.


The picture does not show this very well. That’s why we created a little movie with a flight around the map. Another point we tested was the exporting of this camera motion path to use it for map intros and overviews.


Model and Level Creation

October 4, 2009

One of the main points this week was to test how to set up the production pipeline, especially for the creation of levels. Because Panda3D has an exporter for Maya, it was the obvious choice. We had to test all aspects of this part of the production pipeline. After some work we got the exporter up and running. The next question was, how to set up the level editor. So we tested maya as a level editor, so far its working great. Referencing and instancing in Maya makes later changes possible. We will use a tile like system to ease up the creation of maps.


The picture shows a top view of the first production test. Also we wrote some MEL scripts to make the creation of maps faster.

TrackTest2Now all platforms are in one height. Next week we will run a test to build a track with different platform heights. This should make the tracks more interesting for players. Also missing is a performance test of the track but therefore we have to build some bigger tracks first. Also the models are not really high detailed right now.

TrackTest3Don’t mind the texture. They are only for testing and we have to set up our art & style, before creating textures. A big part of the production pipeline is now tested. Before setting up the production pipeline, we have to define the scope of our game. But right now, some more tests are to be completed.