Creating a new game character can take up to one month of artist and animator time. The aim of procedural generation is to Ďautomaticallyí and instantly generate a new character using a code driven combination of pre-prepared base assets, meshes, animation rigs, textures and skin shaders.
Instead of a standard linear blend between morphs, which usually results in flat averaging of the two (or more) base meshes, the work in SALERO has led to techniques to additively blend morph offsets on top of existing meshes. This means that we have the ability to blend from ONE base mesh to up to three ethnic variations of this mesh while retaining features from all of the morphs.
The Character Creator
The same principles have been applied to full body meshes, enabling a realistic representation of the full range of human shapes and sizes.
The system was designed after extensive research into the current state of the art and is the first to be platform and game title agnostic as well as incorporating a full range of ages, weights and ethnicities.
Visual Animation Editor
Blitz Games Studios has developed a suite of tools to improve the production pipeline and empower artists, animators and designers to realise their creative vision. The game creation tools are visually based to ensure ease of use and give instant feedback.
The animation visual editor allows game teams to blend many animations seamlessly per character, giving a smooth transition and allowing for subtleties not previously achievable without substantial hand keyed animation effort. The editor replaces manual set ups by programmers and also provides debugging feedback in real-time.
The visual shader editor gives artists the opportunity to create their own visual effects, whether thatís improved skin tones, light and shade or post production effects. Previously programmers were needed to implement these in game and the artistís vision was often unrealised.
The visual editor for game scripting replaces the need for programme code in level production and enables animation sequencing, scripted sequences, character behaviours and AI to be placed in a scene, previewed in real time and then iterated to improve the design if needed. This approach supports designers to iterate game play mechanics and level design many more times than was previously possible.
The Visual Animation Editor
Distributed Asset Processing
The Distributed Asset Processing system also supports designers to iterate their work by reducing the time taken to process assets from 90 minutes to under 10 minutes. It employs cluster processing over a LAN and is optimised for game assets. The system is invisible to users and is fully integrated into the BlitzTech SDK.
SALERO is co-funded by the European Union through the IST programme under FP6.