Star Trek Online Perpetual Entertainment

 

Star Trek Online was the project that I grew the most on.  We started from the ground up, and built our own engine, and thus our own tools and art pipeline.  We were a small team for the 3 years the project was going on as Gods and Heroes delayed, and became the studio’s focus.  We’d even stop work on STO to pitch a hand now and again to the GnH team.

I worked remotely as a rigger, modeler, aniamtor for the GnH team prior to starting at Perpetual while at New Pencil. This made me familiar with GnH’s art process and their rigger John Stewart.  He and I collaborated on the character rigging art pipeline for STO and created a joint library of support scripts, tools, processes, and morgue body parts that both sets of animators could work on.

This was the first time I got to do a bone driven facial system for in game.  Some of the earlier tests with the Bimphalian race are shown.  The final system was influenced via Jason Osipia’s Stop Staring for its UI and visems. However, the similarities stopped there. Instead of a single set of blendshapes based on the character mesh, I had multiple small simple geo blendshapes, that were outputting to bone translation and rotations.  The components for the face this way could be rearranged, re-proportioned and scaled for the different aliens quickly without having to re-wire things from scratch.  Yet I could keep the complex motions of the facial motion system simplified under the visem sliders for fast animation.  Also by keeping the visem sliders all 0-1, and the same visem channels, facial animation which was so costly do to, was sharable between all facial rigs.

I also wrote a quick auto rigger and skinner for the star ships for warp deformation.

On this video collage, I’ve only done the rigging content.  The process for me started from commenting on the concept art for modelers, pre-planning motion with the animators, rigging, animation processing tools for exporting, and game side hookup.

 

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