An Automated Pipeline for Generating Run-Time Rigs

On account of getting the flu at GDC, and then having to catch up on all of my work that wasn’t getting done, I’ve been a little behind, but I wanted to make sure I got up a write-up for my main conference presentation from GDC this year.
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AM Tools 1.05 and Unity Maya Extensions!

Although I still need to do a formal write-up for my GDC presentation, I do finally have all of the source code ready to go (or at least I think it’s ready enough), so I wanted to make it available for download now. Here’s a brief summary of changes:

  • All of my Python stuff is officially copyrighted under the MIT License now.
  • Since I know a fair number of people out there rely on decent API examples for learning, I refactored all of my plug-ins to conform to better practice.
  • As part of the plug-in refactoring process, the AM_HipConstraintCmd and AM_ShoulderConstraintCmd plug-ins are now deprecated, and the commands are contained in the same plug-in files as the nodes.
  • Math has been dramatically simplified in both the amHipConstraint node and amShoulderConstraint node. In the case of the latter, the results you get should be identical to before, while the former will yield some minor different results when out of the lateral plane of rotation.
  • All of my comments have been reformatted so that Doxygen can generate more useful information for the online documentation.
  • All tool help menus now link to the online documentation to bypass text formatting issues with maya.cmds GUI in Qt.
  • Added files module with utilities for batch conversion of files to FBX, or for downgrading Maya ASCII files. (Note it is pretty hacky and not tested especially thoroughly, but I included it in case anyone might find it helpful.)
  • Added unity sub-package with utilities for modifying files to work in conjunction with my Unity Maya Extensions.

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Using Multiple AssetPostprocessors

In working on my asset pipeline for my current Unity project, I stumbled across something handy today I hadn’t needed to use before. As such, I figured a short post might help me remember and spread a useful tip. Specifically, the AssetPostprocessor class contains a function GetPostprocessOrder(). I didn’t find the documentation to be immediately obvious, so here’s a quick example.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted up an example video for an automated Blend Shape extraction tool I made for Unity and Maya. Moving this tool back into Touch KO 2.0, I needed it to work in conjunction with another big AssetPostprocessor script that sets up my boxer prefabs. Basically, I needed to make sure that my blend shapes were all set up on the character before I start building the prefab, so that I can link them up as needed.

My first thought was to make my prefab setup script inherit from the blend shape importer, call the base method, and then call all of my setup stuff. This approach would work, provided that my base method appropriately contained controls to avoid reduplication of information. Then I stumbled across this function. All I had to do was add it to my AssetPostprocessor class that sets up my boxer prefab.

/*
 * Ensure this script executes after blend shapes have been set up
 * */
public override int GetPostprocessOrder ()
{
	return 100;
}

Using SVN and UAS to Synchronize Library Code in Unity

So, you’ve bought Unity Pro and the Unity Asset server. If you’re like me, in spite of its disadvantages, you really like the UAS. It’s integrated into the editor and does a much cleaner job of versioning on serialized assets than does external version control, because it operates on the project’s Library folder rather than requiring you to generate and synchronize all of the sidecar data. However, there are some key things it cannot do.

I don’t have very complicated needs like branching and so on, but I do have a library of common code that I share across projects. This library contains a bunch of useful stuff that doesn’t rely on any game systems: things like helper classes, math classes, serialization for built-in types, and so on. The trouble is, I’m often working simultaneously on a bunch of projects that share my library (or worse still parts of my library), and so it can be a pain in the neck to push the changes out across all my projects. As such, I took the time to set up a system using Subversion working on top of my UAS projects in order to synchronize my library code.


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Unity Asset Store Updates

Some recent Unity Asset Store updates of mine have gone live tonight! There’s a new version of the Biped Editor (1.03) with some new library code and minor bug fixes, as well as a package of Custom Handles that I showed at Unite. Custom Handles includes handles for shapes, configurable joints, discs, arcs, helices, and more, along with some examples like a helical particle emitter and a helical mesh ribbon. Have fun!