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Madkats Mech Art And Animations

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#41 Koniving

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 01:42 PM

I would love to try my own hand at animating...
But any time I try to split the parts of a mech in order to map it to my own skeletons all three of my programs crash.

If anyone's willing to share them pre-rigged to a skeleton that I could use in max, cinema 4D, or Blender or just split into separate objects rather than as one single object (which is what's causing my programs to crash), I'd love to try my hand at it since I haven't done it 'seriously' since like 2009.

Personal favorites: Highlander jump (especially the landing animation) and the Panther.... seeing the Lord's Light as it is charging up is a beautiful sight that I hope to recreate with my MW5 mods..
(So disappointing to hear that MW5 isn't gonna feature brand name variants, just "upgrades"... Yay...another medium laser ++++...)

#42 Koniving

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 01:45 PM

Actually, for the hell of it... Mad Kat, if I manage to get some of it in before Monday.. Would you be willing to make / be able to produce a render of some weapon effect concepts so I can have a visual of something? For example a PPC powering up to fire?

#43 mad kat

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 02:57 PM

View PostKoniving, on 08 September 2019 - 01:45 PM, said:

Actually, for the hell of it... Mad Kat, if I manage to get some of it in before Monday.. Would you be willing to make / be able to produce a render of some weapon effect concepts so I can have a visual of something? For example a PPC powering up to fire?


Hi Koniving. I've used heffays 'how to create your own art from PGI's assets' thread. He's done a very handy converter to get the mechs with their armatures or rather control cubes for the limbs. But then you may already know that. :-p

The converter needs updating though so you can only use blender 2.79 to import the mechs, save as a blend file then open it in 2.8 (the new eevee render is awesome). It also means all the parenting fiddly stuff is already done.

I'd be glad to have a crack at doing some weapon effects a PPC would be cool. But i am only at amateur stage with blender with much to learn still. There is a lightning trick i want to try so that could be a help. If they're a still image some trickery with Gimp animations can often be easy. (The panthers glowing parts were all done in Gimp not rendered).

Either way let me know your ideas and I'll see what i can come up with. ������

Edited by mad kat, 08 September 2019 - 02:57 PM.


#44 Koniving

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 12:31 AM

View Postmad kat, on 08 September 2019 - 02:57 PM, said:


Hi Koniving. I've used heffays 'how to create your own art from PGI's assets' thread. He's done a very handy converter to get the mechs with their armatures or rather control cubes for the limbs. But then you may already know that. :-p

The converter needs updating though so you can only use blender 2.79 to import the mechs, save as a blend file then open it in 2.8 (the new eevee render is awesome). It also means all the parenting fiddly stuff is already done.

I'd be glad to have a crack at doing some weapon effects a PPC would be cool. But i am only at amateur stage with blender with much to learn still. There is a lightning trick i want to try so that could be a help. If they're a still image some trickery with Gimp animations can often be easy. (The panthers glowing parts were all done in Gimp not rendered).

Either way let me know your ideas and I'll see what i can come up with. ������


It's because of that converter that I can't separate the parts for my own skeletons and why my preferred programs crash. When converting it to straight 3ds or lwo I get a single solid object and when I tell it to split into the subobjects, programs that I really like such as wings3d crash. His converter can work with straight blender but....I really don't want to learn it, I already have other animation programs I am very familiar with and can do key-frame based animation in very quickly where a new system would need lots of experimenting and learning. :(. Will have to see if mmd will accept control cubes... Prefer wings 3d for modeling as I had used it since the "nendo" 3d modeller and had made hundreds of fan mech/tank/starship renders back when dial up was the norm. Very comfy with it. Sounds like if I just suck it up and accept learning another program all the parts are already slapped onto skeletons/manipulatable. But then I will be without my intended pilots or will need to do some visual trickery to use two different renderers.

Far as the ideas, perhaps this can roll as a starter:
One of the few lore friendly things pgi did with PPCs in the original concept animation for mw5's Warhammer/atlas battle is that the PPCs charged up before firing. Some might say it's a mistake because PPCs charge with capacitors and those aren't 3015...but..hear me out.
PPCs have energy collection chambers (except the parti-kill), which means even before "capacitor" add-ons they had to charge up before firing. This was necessary regardless but for most PPCs they add an additional field inhibitor to slow it down, or else the heat may destroy the weapon under stress. As such turning that off effectively cuts the charge-to-fire time to about half a second shorter but the additional heat and risk is a price to pay for that urgency. With it on, however, you get a minimum range accuracy penalty as any mwo player might know trying to hit something close and fast with a charge up weapon is hard!
(Parti-kill's lore makes it different I'm both how the shot looks and that it has a very short firing delay. This is due to having a direct feed to the reactor rather than a connection to a regulating power chamber. It still has a field inhibitor but unique to the parti-kill there is no accuracy penalty. Instead damage is cut in half and the firing body section in which the PPC is mounted also received 5 damage.)

The reason that is important to note is on the Panther, that Lord's Light PPC is effectively the opposite. It is one of the slowest PPCs to fire. As one of the most compact models of standard PPC and gets its name by the brilliant, "almost holy" glow the PPC emits, starting at first like the light at the end of a tunnel and gradually increasing until energy emissions begin sparking small bolts of energy around the mid-chamber's ports prior to firing a blinding (to the naked eye) discharge. Although I have only seen it mentioned once, that looks ng firing delay has two advantages. The heat hits more gradually (occasionally but rarely pointed out in early novels), and that the gathering particles and heat emissions will distort incoming lasers thereby reducing damage. (Similar to anti-laser aerosols this just never gets mentioned again, but it strikes me as a pretty good trade considering how slow and tall the panther is.
The weapon also has 3 dedicated heatsinks mounted on it in fluff (worth noting for heat emissions effects), though placement in the description and actual placement highly disagree there.

This charge time is implied to be one of the longest of any given PPC, so I would like to see the Lord's Light in it's full 2 second charge time just to finally see what made it stand apart as both a psychological weapon and a glaring issue with trying to force it onto a light mech.

(Jackal comes much later with the help of rediscovered tech. The only other light mech to canonically get a full size PPC during the Clan invasion is the Thorn, where comstar replaces the right arm with a (it was either a parti-kill or a Krupp kinslaughter and in either case it too was an ER PPC and even then the Thorn suffered "unbalanced" as a result.))

If doing so would just be a color swap in gimp or blender for the effect, then I would not mind seeing some alternate colors with a quicker 1 second charge time. Otherwise the same animation in both 1 second and 2 second charging times followed by firing would be more than sufficiently amazing.

(Final edits/additions I promise Been up all night researching weapons and been discovering trends, such as Krupp's affinity for highly efficient energy weapons, Bulldog's unremarkable large laser that's cheap but horribly heat inefficient [Krypton-ion lasers in real life are terribly inefficient and produce a lot of waste heat, but while Krypton gas is in low supply on Earth it was very abundant and cheap for Bulldog Enterprises to use], the typical medium laser in battletech is actually red, with only the diverse optics 2 being green. Will compile it by next week for my mod threads.)

Edited by Koniving, 09 September 2019 - 01:23 AM.


#45 mad kat

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 01:40 AM

View PostKoniving, on 09 September 2019 - 12:31 AM, said:

It's because of that converter that I can't separate the parts for my own skeletons and why my preferred programs crash. When converting it to straight 3ds or lwo I get a single solid object and when I tell it to split into the subobjects, programs that I really like such as wings3d crash. His converter can work with straight blender but....I really don't want to learn it, I already have other animation programs I am very familiar with and can do key-frame based animation in very quickly where a new system would need lots of experimenting and learning. Posted Image. Will have to see if mmd will accept control cubes... Prefer wings 3d for modeling as I had used it since the "nendo" 3d modeller and had made hundreds of fan mech/tank/starship renders back when dial up was the norm. Very comfy with it. Sounds like if I just suck it up and accept learning another program all the parts are already slapped onto skeletons/manipulatable. But then I will be without my intended pilots or will need to do some visual trickery to use two different renderers.

Far as the ideas, perhaps this can roll as a starter:
One of the few lore friendly things pgi did with PPCs in the original concept animation for mw5's Warhammer/atlas battle is that the PPCs charged up before firing. Some might say it's a mistake because PPCs charge with capacitors and those aren't 3015...but..hear me out.
PPCs have energy collection chambers (except the parti-kill), which means even before "capacitor" add-ons they had to charge up before firing. This was necessary regardless but for most PPCs they add an additional field inhibitor to slow it down, or else the heat may destroy the weapon under stress. As such turning that off effectively cuts the charge-to-fire time to about half a second shorter but the additional heat and risk is a price to pay for that urgency. With it on, however, you get a minimum range accuracy penalty as any mwo player might know trying to hit something close and fast with a charge up weapon is hard!
(Parti-kill's lore makes it different I'm both how the shot looks and that it has a very short firing delay. This is due to having a direct feed to the reactor rather than a connection to a regulating power chamber. It still has a field inhibitor but unique to the parti-kill there is no accuracy penalty. Instead damage is cut in half and the firing body section in which the PPC is mounted also received 5 damage.)

The reason that is important to note is on the Panther, that Lord's Light PPC is effectively the opposite. It is one of the slowest PPCs to fire. As one of the most compact models of standard PPC and gets its name by the brilliant, "almost holy" glow the PPC emits, starting at first like the light at the end of a tunnel and gradually increasing until energy emissions begin sparking small bolts of energy around the mid-chamber's ports prior to firing a blinding (to the naked eye) discharge. Although I have only seen it mentioned once, that looks ng firing delay has two advantages. The heat hits more gradually (occasionally but rarely pointed out in early novels), and that the gathering particles and heat emissions will distort incoming lasers thereby reducing damage. (Similar to anti-laser aerosols this just never gets mentioned again, but it strikes me as a pretty good trade considering how slow and tall the panther is.
The weapon also has 3 dedicated heatsinks mounted on it in fluff (worth noting for heat emissions effects), though placement in the description and actual placement highly disagree there.

This charge time is implied to be one of the longest of any given PPC, so I would like to see a 2 second charge time.

Also would not mind seeing some alternate colors with a quicker 1 second charge time.



Hmm interesting i really had no idea of the detail of the lore. Geuss i should really get round to finding some of the novels to read.

I've got Wings 3d on my machine here (but never used it) so going to have a play to see if there's an easy mode for translating the models into it.

Heffays former method of renaming all parts to .Obj then using a Blender script to convert the individual parts into their correct locations without a parented armature in blender is i presume what your after. Which i have an old version of the panther done this way so i'll have a play see if there's an easy way.

*Edit* Yes if you use the old blender script and save as .Obj (uncheck selection) it does import each part of the model as a separate entity into Wings 3D.. Where you go from there, you'll know more than me.Posted Image

Edited by mad kat, 09 September 2019 - 01:48 AM.


#46 Koniving

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 11:48 AM

Come to think of it, I was using a different program for exporting Crysis models. That loaded the entire body as a single piece, and the last time I tried exporting any models was the very last patch for open beta. Think from there I saw some pictures on Heffay's thing about it going into blender, appearing completely assembled and either got intimidated by the laundry list of thigns to do to get it done or just assumed it was going to be a dead in.

I still have that install for open beta as a full separate folder, with all sorts of glorious things like the commented out scripting for actuator damage (long gone from the actual game now), the original betty that was never released (samples here) the old heat system before the January 2013 rework, in which damage to equipment (including actuators, engine, gyro, everything except cockpit and life support) was taken at random once every second you were above 80% heat...and hitting 105% heat would instantly do 15 damage to the engine (killing you). (Most of which was commented out [disabled] in open beta but functional in closed beta).

So many sim-like ideas when PGI was passionate about it...and..
Shame the game couldn't be what it tried to be. Players kept complaining about control issues of veering off course (the 'penalty' of a damaged leg actuator) or arm weapons not aligning with others even when convergence was had (arm actuator damage)..The problem wasn't the systems, but the lack of information and documentation, people generally didn't know they existed and the monitors meant to tell us never got enabled. (There really was a reason for how there used to be half a dozen+, the original direction was much more of a sim...)

One of the cooler things is I've got the file for the original Catapult Torso, when it was done as originally proportioned by Alex to be under 10 meters tall. Although the physical size is not fitting of that, the scale of the cockpit and other proportions was, so that if the mech were shrunken to that size it'd be perfect. You can see the shadow of it here, the original windshield was much wider than what's depicted here.
Posted Image
Sadly, it doesn't contain the original legs, but you might notice they intended to put the Jenner at 11 meters tall...and someone decided to make the Catapult huge... the Catapult is actually an extremely short mech for its weight class which is why it has a lot of horizontal surface area, with two variations that aren't officially named but I call them the stilt-legged and the shunt-legged, basically its unclear if they're just different generations or art directions, but both are canonical as both are used in various stories. It was Metal Gear 5 that made me realize the real reason for the tall variation and when I went back to a novel where it was in use in 2015, I had my mind blown. (Long and short, unlike other Metal Gear walking tanks, the Sahelanthropus needed to walk upright because of the large amount of mountaineous terrain in Afghanistan, providing a necessary height vantage to be able to use its weaponry, where shorter designs are more ideal when it'd be in trouble of being exposed...one of the many reasons the Hunchback is always depicted as being much shorter than the Centurion is the Hunchback despite its superior armor isn't meant to be out in the open, where the Centurion is purpose built to escort Trebuchets.)

Continuing about Catapults...
Spoiler


Some weapon lore can be found in the novels, for example
(From here I apparently had a lore-gasm about other weapons so read on if you're curious, sources often included).
Spoiler

Battletech is chock full of really neat detail and weird things too. Like there are dinosaurs that chew apart battlemechs and winged dragons sporting SRM-6 racks. But there's such an incredible weapon variety that PGI could have been selling us weapon variants for 6 years and we'd still not even cover all the core weapon classes.

#47 mad kat

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 01:39 AM

View PostKoniving, on 09 September 2019 - 11:48 AM, said:

**snip**


I need a beer!

Just had the time to read through your very in depth summary of a lot of the weapon lore and i find it quite interesting!

I'll certainly add that in MWO the weapon calibres are a little excessive on many of the mechs the AC20 is a good 200mm. in fact many of the AC10's use the same barrel diameter but one thing you obviously wont get is shell length. It makes more sense from an armour piercing, range and accuracy perspective to have longer but lower calibre round but perhaps such small barrels on MWO's models would of looked odd.

What irks me most about the models is Ammo feeds though. I know it's a gameplay thing but storing ammo in legs is nothing short of ridiculous unless its anti personal weapons. Even then Ammo should be stored in the location in which the weapon sits. Some mech models could get away with this like the Dragon with the battleship hanging off the right shoulder, the Thanatos too also has sufficiently fat elbows to store an ammo bin. But by and large any ammo dependant mech should have only torso mounted weapons and 'adjacent' ammo bins. One of the reasons i like the roughneck is it actually has an ammo belt for the right shoulder AC. Noodly weedy elbow joints that are everywhere on the game models just don't look right in my eyes but obviously concessions have to be made for gameplay reasons. Another reasons i like mechs like the Rifleman, jaeger, blackjack etc that have no lower arm actuators.

Going back to the mech importer thing i did go back to Heffays thread and he has uploaded a new converter for blender 2.8. Although i had to dig for it by most recent date in his repository he links too.

Its then pretty simple to import the mech into blender with the armature,
>Select the armature on the scene collection (right click and select hierarchy)
>then open search (spacebar) and type in clear parent and select
>then clear and keep transformation and finally you can delete the armature then and everything stays in place.

You can also delete the other unneeded collections as you see fit. that i found was the most logical way to get the models into a state to export as individual components in the right location. You can always pose the models and un-pose them with clear transformation and clear rotation commands too.

I'm a Solidworks driver by day (and getting increasingly frustrated and annoyed by it) and i still think Blender is a great tool in comparison. Different kettle of fish of course but i will primarily use Blender (and occasionally Solidworks visualise if i need something fast) for our work needed renders and of course stompy things.

Edited by mad kat, 17 September 2019 - 01:53 AM.


#48 Koniving

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Posted Yesterday, 02:01 PM

Sorry for the upteenth edit. I remembered that I started on AC artillery pieces but didn't follow up with the second piece.

View Postmad kat, on 17 September 2019 - 01:39 AM, said:


I need a beer!

Just had the time to read through your very in depth summary of a lot of the weapon lore and i find it quite interesting!

Thank you and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Here's some more for the next time you find yourself with more time, as well as comments on some of the things you've noticed.

Spoiler

Edited by Koniving, Yesterday, 11:37 PM.






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