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Thread: How about a thread on how to make LW better for game development?

  1. #1

    How about a thread on how to make LW better for game development?

    Post your ideas here.

    A lot of mine are based around LW's core tools for modeling, texturing, rigging and animating, as these are the things I use every day for games... particles, dynamics and rendering are all of minor importance for most game dev needs.

    A couple that spring to mind immediately are: weight mapping tools for layout... or better bone tools for modeler (I think I'd prefer the latter, as it opens up more possibilities for things like easier joint morphs etc.). Better UV tools - Blender has LSCM in it's latest (free) version - and find a fix for the UV vertex welding/unwelding issue.

    Real edges and the tools to properly work with them.

    An option to toggle on/off the creation of 1 and 2 point polygons (I've never once needed them for games).

    More focus on workflow in modeler, especially cleaning up the redundant tools and integrating them into fewer, more versatile tools. Focusing more on the available mouse and modifier key bindings could easily provide a very small yet powerful core toolset for selection, transforms (P,R,S), drag/tweak, bevel, cut, extrude, etc. Integrate the Numeric panel more fully and provide more options within it on a per-tool basis, to help eliminate all the needless button pressing and menu/tab cycling. Focus on keeping modelers working in the viewports rather than looking for tools or playing with settings for tools.

    More custom Null and Bone display options. I'd like to see integrated support for lwo replacement of nulls and bones, but also more custom display types and options in their properties panels. Bitmaps would be a great null replacement type, especially if you could also toggle options for 'always oriented towards screen', 'floating' (like sliders) etc. Riggers could then have an unlimited supply of custom nodes for whatever they need just from this one type. Armatures work in a similar way in messiah (only with way more options).

    Proxy picking for selection sets, as well as the ability to link commands to a null or object to act as a sort of command proxy. Great when combined with the above custom null type, and already very common in several of the free and commercial character picker plugins.

    More constraint types as well as transform matching/snapping would be nice. Using parent in place is a poor substitute for precision transform snapping.

    It would be REALLY cool to be able to create 'associations' between control rig components, nulls, etc, and the skeletons that they influence, for when you need to edit proportions or joint positions. Fixing up your control rig after changing a skeleton around isn't fun. It would be great to be able to edit the position of an ankle joint using the new bone tools for instance, and have it's goal and any other 'driver' controls follow along or possibly snap to their new positions while in setup mode.

    I'd also like to be able to use screenspace as a coordinate system in the perspective view for when I'm moving things like foot nulls around or hands. It's much more intuitive than using LMB for ZX and RMB for Y.

    Merge the Timeline and dopetrack into one editable timeline, with nice chunky keys for editing. =]

    Animation Layers would make my year.

    Ghosting of animated objects.

    Support for realtime shader effects in a viewport. Other custom viewport uses come to mind as well for things like character/command pickers, scene explorers etc. I'll also throw in graph editor integration as it has already been mentioned in another thread (great idea too).

    Better deformation performance during animation.

    I've got lots more, but I just mentioned way more than "a couple" ;]
    Hopefully this gets the ball rolling.
    Last edited by [email protected]; 10-18-2004 at 02:30 PM.

  2. #2
    how about a gerneral exporter class for modeler and layout
    basiccly a generic class sturc that would gather all the most common info exporters would need so that developers would have a fast track to getting data out of LW.

    this would included a importer class as well.
    add to that a way for developers to add there own data needs and i think that would just about solve all needs for exporting and importing data.

    i have this idea written in more detial but i thought i would just add to the post

    ohh and fix the match goal problem with exporting data as well
    right now if you gather your animation data from a motion plugin no matter if you tell lw to do the plug after ik or not match goal info does not get exported correctlly.

    this is one of the big show stopper bugs in bristols unreal exporter
    Last edited by fortress; 10-18-2004 at 02:34 PM.

  3. #3
    For me information is everything when doing game development.

    Say if I am working on a PC/PS2/GameCube/X-Box environment, I would like to set up my HUD to reflect the current texture/geometry usage in camera view, not total used for the file (Although that information is useful too). Also, I would like to play with different texture settings in the viewport: compression (DDS), Mip-maps and size. And I would like a meter that I could set my own limit of usage for either one.

    I would like to have ways to set up animation guides for in-place animations.::LINK to ZIP file::
    Just a HUD in Modeler to display whatever info I want. A lot like Maya's.

    Make creating LOD's a lot easier. Like an LOD in each layer, and load it in Layout as an LOD enabled object. AND have the LOD update in-realtime in the LW viewport. Yes, some people still make LOD's

    Give programmers more control over the viewport. Engine rendering, adding shader support, custom data... ect.

    Compeltely over-haul surface baker. It's great, but slow, and needs a few features like a pixel bleed, not to treat it as a shader, just work on a per-object basis. Like 3DS Max.

    Like was mentioned, tighten up the toolset for modeling. Point-normal move really made me happy, and has come in handy.

    A snap weld!!!

    Instancing.
    Lamont G
    Artist Ubisoft Osaka/大阪

  4. #4
    I really like 3DS Max's way of setting up contraints. Just click, click and click. From there I can tweak the settings. It would be great if something like that was done for Lightwave.
    Lamont G
    Artist Ubisoft Osaka/大阪

  5. #5
    Yeah, XSI too. It's all done right in the viewport. Property pages are only used for changing default parameters or refining control. Most often it just comes down to: pick constrained object, apply constraint, then pick target to constrain it to.

    It would be really cool if you could represent constraints within a viewport as well (as a 3d widget, attached to the constrained object). That way you could toggle their display on or off, much like showing IK targets or motion paths. It would be very easy to tell which objects are constrained within the view this way. Plus if you could access their properties by say, right clicking on the widget (like IK booster), you'd be keeping the workflow all within the viewport.

  6. #6
    And while we are on the subject of animation tools. Maybe have a node-based Motion Mixer for mixing up animations, instead of a Timeline type?
    Lamont G
    Artist Ubisoft Osaka/大阪

  7. #7
    Adapting Artist jasonwestmas's Avatar
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    LW 8/ Game Dev

    So, would you guys consider LW 8 to be a significant upgrade to enhance animation workflow for game dev? I haven't gotten the upgrade yet and was wondering if I should put my $500 toward Motion Builder or some other animation package. This isn't a slam against Lightwave cause I'll always love the modeling, texturing and weight tools for games. I'm just talking about IK, constraints, goals, bones, linkage etc.

    Thanks
    Last edited by jasonwestmas; 10-23-2004 at 07:23 PM.

  8. #8
    Since I know it really well, it has never been a problem for animation. It could stand to be more streamlined though.

    Motion Mixer, Key Track/Dopesheet, Rig saving help me out a lot. There are tools in LW8 that help with rigging and take out the pain for people new, so it will get them up and running with the least amount of suffering
    Lamont G
    Artist Ubisoft Osaka/大阪

  9. #9
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    I just got a small idea, i need the statistics a lot (checking polygon count and selecting by materials), so if it would only contain, what is use and leave the rest behind it will fit in a smaler window/area so i can always have it displayed without being tooo much in my way in the modeller.

    Or some other solution like integrating it in the panels. Now i always open an close it on demand, but only because of its size.

  10. #10
    What I'd like:

    • Fix Motion Mixer so plugin developers can have easy access to actors and actor motions.
    • Allow me to define Motion Mixer motions that are shorter than 5 frames.
    • Allow me to define custom properties (name / value pairs) for objects in the scene. Give me access to those properties via the SDK.
    • A built-in normal map generator. There's a free plugin available, but it would add to Ligthwave's perceived value to include one with Lightwave.

  11. #11
    Wow, back in 2004 I said those things. Some of them came true

    The UV editor needs to be improved. Snap settings (pixel or grid), being able to change the aspect to match that of the image being used, Show user defined tiles. Maybe a whole tab JUST for UV tools?

    Surface Baker needs to be able to transfer surfaces from objects to another. I've been doing this a lot in my work, and it's a pain in the butt when you can't.

    Being able to batch bake multiple objects!!!

    Normal map generation. Or even provide a shader that will do it.

    Being able to sample/transfer surfaces in Modeler.

    AND WHAT IS GAME MODE!?!!?
    Lamont G
    Artist Ubisoft Osaka/大阪

  12. #12
    Guru Meditation Sande's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamont
    AND WHAT IS GAME MODE!?!!?
    Hmmh, I guess you mean the same thing that I stumbled upon today. I was adjusting my keyboard shortcuts when I noticed under Display there was mysterious Game Mode on/off-setting - and I have no idea what it does...

    So, Game Mode, anyone?

  13. #13
    It's a mode for texture shaded mode. That more closely represenst games modes when dealing with transparency and i think bump maps. I'm not posative though.

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