One of the challenges we were facing during production of MMORTS (aka “End of Nations“, official press coverage & media released) was eliminating the amount of time and complexity it was taking just to get an art asset implemented and placeable in the game. It’s crucial for an artist to be able to see what their work looks like after its translated from their content creation package to the game engine. (Each calculate the appearance of assets differently, due to a number of variables; lighting, normals, shaders, etc.) The art team, in addition to the outsourced art coming in, were pumping out assets faster than the pipeline’s current state would allow us to get them into the game. We only had 2 technical artists at the time (still somewhat of new role to the company) and our responsibilities were heavy and time consuming in itself. Some of the typical tech art duties included;
- Mesh Segmenting (for shaders, colorization, bone count, etc)
- Lighting, Day/Night States and fx Setup
- Modeling Damaged States
- Modeling and Rigging Debris (gibs) pieces and setup
- and often animation
After these tasks were met and polished, we could final export and make the necessary code entries to have them function properly and playable in game. This included everything from props, structures, units, and special assets for Design that were mission-specific. Some of these assets needed little or no tech art passes on them, they simply needed the engine to recognize them for what they were. After some help from our friends in Design (especially Rich, in particular), I began automating the component entries and game properties of an asset for the various art types. This tool allowed the entire process to run parallel with an export from within the artists’ content creation package, and resulted in every artists’ ability to easily and quickly view/test their work in game.
Below I have included images docs and an explanation of the compiler / injector…