Maya ----> UT2003 Character Model Tutorial
By Sundeep Dass
Written March 2, 2003
Alright. We're beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Next step, applying Notifys.
In UT2003, you'll notice when characters move that there's footstep sounds playing in sync with their run cycle, walk cycle, jump land, etc. How'd they do that? With notifys, or course! Basically, a notify is a small script that says "when the character's left foot land at this frame during the run animation, play this footstep sound"
So does this mean you have to learn how to write scripts? Not really. We'll just use the copy/paste method we used for sockets to copy notifys from another character. Here's how:
1.Select the Jugg package from the Animations browser.
2. Go to Animation --> Copy all notifications
3. Select your character's package, then go to Animation --> Paste all notifications.
4. You should get a message that 24 notifies were assigned to 12 animations. Those 12 animations with be your run cycles, walk cycles, crouch cycles, and jump lands.
5. Select on of your run cycles, and click on the notify tab to the right in the Animations browser.
6. Open up all the menus in the Notify tree and you'll see something like PlayFootStepLeft, then below it, a frame number. You should see something like this:
7. OK, you're basically going to want to scrub through the current animation in the 3D view, see where your character's Left foot "looks" like it hits the ground (it's pretty hard to see in the distorted 3D view), and take note of that frame.
8. Edit the NotifyFrame by typing in the number where your character's left foot hits.
9. Do the same thing for the right foot.
10. Repeat steps 5 through 9 for all 12 animation sequences that contain notifys.
11. Save your package.
Well, you really didn't have to include notifys, the game will run your character fine without them. But hey, people want "quality" custom models and models without notify's are merely "satisfactory"...
Ok, you may have noticed, when switching back between the Jugg package and your package that your model is either bigger or smaller than the Jugg model. You'll need to change that, so that your model appears scaled correctly in-game. Here's how:
1. In the Animations browser, click on the Mesh tab to the right of the 3D view. open up the mesh tree, then open up the scale tree. You'll see some XYZ values.
2. Edit these values (all three, using the same value) until your character appears roughly the same size as the Jugg. Actually, you should probably make your character a bit taller than the Jugg since they're pretty squat in-game. Unless you character's a dwarf or something...not that I got anything against dwarves...but if your character is humanoid, you may want to open up the HumanMale or HumanFemale UKX packages as a reference.
3. You may also notice that your character is either higher or lower in postion compared to your reference model. Open up the tranlsation tree and adjust the Z orientaion of your model, until it appears somewhat level with your reference.
You may also notice, when navigating the 3D view, that your character's mesh seems to break up/ drop pieces/look nasty, etc. This is due to the mesh LOD being a bit high. To fix this:
1. Open up the LOD tree under the mesh tab.
2. Lower the value contained in the LOD_Strength box (it should be at 1) to decrease the LOD strength.
3. Input a number, then zoom in and out on your model, holding down the left mouse button and moving the mouse up and down. Watch the quality loss and compare it to the LOD settings for the in game models. (by zooming in and out on those)
4. Once you find a nice balance of LOD degradation, save your package. Don't just type in zero for the LOD strength because you don't want any quality loss on your "precious model". Be practical about it, and remember that UT2003 moves super fast, so people won't have time look at your character's intricately modeled fingers anyways. More info on LODs here, if you want it.
Ouch, this one sucks. But luckily, someone else already wrote up a great tutorial on weapon positioning! So I'll just direct you there! Because I don't want to take credit for some else's work! Anyways, this genious by the name of SkullBox wrote up a snazzy weapon positioning tutorial over at polycount. Here's the link to the thread.
My only tidbit to add for weapon positioning
Make sure you test out all of your animations in the Animations browser to see how the weapon lines up. If it starts pointing in different directions in certain sequences, that means you rotated your weapon bone (or a bone higher up the hierarchy). You should probably go back and tweak that animation in Maya, then re-export that sequence. You can load up your PSA file through the ActorX animation manager, delete the faulty sequences, move over the corrected sequences, then resave the file. Then re-import the UKX back into UED, and re-link your mesh and animations. Yes it's tedious, and yes it's worth the effort.
Tweaking this Stuff:
I hate to break to ya, but you're probably not going to get the scale, height, and weapon position of your model all right in one try. You're gonna have to test it in game then come back to UED and tweak your UKX file. We're almost ready to test it out in UT2003, but first we need a ragdoll for your custom skeleton.
Ok, so there used to be a great tutorial written by the mathengine guys on how to set up a ragdoll, but apparently it's been taken down. Hopefully someone archived it, because it was a great tutorial. If I can find a decent replacement, or an archived version, I'll link it here, but for now, we'll have to deal with the info at the UDN ragdolls documentation page:
My two cents about ragdolls:
In the KAT application, make sure you do a perform action --> scale asset and scale your character so it's about 2 units tall, like the default UT2003 ragdoll examples.
Take your time with the ragdoll tutorial, one false move and Murphy's Law kicks in to give you a really bad time....
Next Page: the UPL file, and some extra polish....