Maya Custom Collision

To create a custom collision for Unreal in any version of Maya, first of all you will need the actorX version of that Maya, be it 2010, or 2011, or even 2009. You must have the ActorX plugin so that the software will know how to create what you want. You can get the actorX plugin by going to: http://udn.epicgames.com/Two/ActorX.html  And then you browse to your 3D application and download, and place it within your corresponding plugin folder.

Now, of course, for UDK, there is already an actorX plugin given to you. It can be found within your UDK folder, the version of UDK you are using, Binaries, and then ActorX.  For example, mine is: C:\UDK\UDK-2011-08\Binaries\ActorX

Now, after you have installed it, and “turned it on” within Maya, which I have explained in an earlier tutorial detailing how to bring assets from Maya into Unreal, you must create geometric shapes around your object, preferably about the same size as your object. “Hint”  here is where you create those annoying openings.
Example: You have a doorway. Create a box for each side of the wall, and then a box above the door opening.

Try not to get too insane with the geometry you are creating. Remember, simpler is easier to understand for computers. 😉

After you have created your bounding boxes, name them appropriately by having it: UCX_NameOfAsset  UCX MUST BE CAPITALIZED!! I cannot stress how many times I have shown someone how to do this, and it doesn’t work because they name it incorrectly. Save yourselves the hassle, and preview before hitting “send”.  Once everything is all clean and clear, and placed correctly, select your object, and then its bounding box. I prefer making the bounding box one solid piece, because ActorX tends to complain if it’s not single solid sets.

Go through the same procedures of exporting the mesh, just like the earlier tutorial states. When you bring it into Unreal, and check the staticmesh, if you turn on “view collision” you should see your bounding box around your object.

Bug 1: If you don’t see your collision, did you import the right object? Have you saved your package? Did you make sure to have the collision selected when exporting? Is it all named correctly?
Bug 2: If you have a huge wall of collision, the seems to stretch on to infinity, that is because you have a non-ending face. Collisions have to be created as a whole piece, which is different than normal assets. You cannot have any holes, anywhere. Or else it will be registered as a never-ending wall.
Bug3: If your collision looks crazy and insane, was the model importing for the collision too complex? Could your asset be, instead, more of a modular piece rather than a whole piece; which will of course make it much easier for Unreal.
Bug 4: If your collision isn’t around your object, did you have it all placed correctly? Were the pivots of both the Mesh and the Collision set appropriately?


Aurion Images

Here are the images as promised. The lightning may need to be redone as does the hair, and also keep in mind that this was a first try for human characters, as well as the textures.

So now that the fall semester of 2010 is over (since like… december 22nd) I’ve had time to somewhat relax. I’m not exactly thrilled that school is starting up once again. I haven’t had much opportunity to work on my own things, but it’s not a huge deal I suppose, since this semester I set up things so that I could focus on my own work. 😀

Last semester, I was working on a character, Aurion Simmon, and the level “Escape the Ruins”. Well, they’re done, I just don’t have any images to setup just yet for the ruins; mostly for the fact that it’s not textured. 😦 I did my best to get as much done as possible, but I just got overwhelmed with assisting too many people again. I have to learn not to do that, I keep screwing myself over with it.

Regardless, I did get Aurion textured and I don’t think it’s that bad for a first try and for the fact that I did the textures in 2 days. 😛 I also redid Aurion’s model design 3 times during the semester, and finished him mostly in December. I would really like to learn how to texture correctly though, and figure out how to plan ahead for where I want things to be. Texturing in Mudbox is awesome, but I feel that if I had known more about texturing, more could’ve been set up in preparations to get me through it faster and easier.

This spring semester also starts up with me now being part of my roommates’ capstone project; mine as well now. I’m positioned as the lead 3D asset and character modeler, and assistant lead level designer. (which means I’m just right below the guy in charge of level design.)

Well, that’s it for now. The pictures for my final projects from fall 2010 will be uploaded at some time, I just have to get them back onto my laptop. haha

Two New Awesomes!

Hey guys.

So while doing some research for doing game design and character creations, I came across these lovely little trinkets.



Make Human is a free, open source, small sized program that enables the user to create humanoid characters that are fully animatable, and allow you to mess with the humans’ anatomy to get it close to however you want it to look. Then, you can export your creation into an obj file, and import it into Maya, or Mudbox, or Zbrush, or Max, or any other 3D software engine you want to use to fine tune your creation. I’ve done it once, and it’s marvelous. They even take the trouble of unwrapping it PERFECTLY for you. ❤

Now, the other link is to a personal website by Mr. Denny Lindberg. He has phenomenal 3D artwork, as well as a fully downloadable UT3 character rig. Just be sure to give credit where it is due. (He also has much more on his website if you are wondering.)

Also, I will probably save these links onto my blog, so that you will be able to find them with no problem.

Hey guys. I don’t know if I mentioned this earlier or not, but I had recently decided to remake my Aurion 3D model. Alongside with recreating the ruins as well, and preparing the work for the Homeland Project. >.<; OVERLOAD STRESS!

Anyway, I have just finished modeling the character and his accessories, and I am unwrapping him now. But for now, enjoy this teaser of my newly modeled Aurion Simmons.



Spore to Maya

Okay, so you want to put your Spore creatures into Maya so that you can create animations / replace them within other programs, such as Unreal Tournament.  Well, look no further than here.  I followed a few tutorials and found out the best method that works for me with Maya 2011, since for right now there are no collada plugins for Maya 2011.

To get started, we must have the 5th patch, or higher, for Spore.  This will enable you to use cheats within the editor of Spore.  Now, let’s open our Spore creature within the creature editor.  Once it is loaded, make sure it looks the way you want it to look, and you have named it.  Click onto the paint mode in the creature editor.  Now bring up the cheat window by pressing “control+shift+c”. Here, you can place in cheats to allow you to get more DNA to spend, or whatever else you want.  But we’re going to export our creature from spore.  So write “colladaexport”.

A window will pop up, if this is your first time, and you will need to agree to the EULA.  The exporter will then create a collada file (a .dae file), along with the specular, diffuse, and normal textures.  It will place them in your “My documents/My Spore Creations/Creatures/” directory.

Now you may think that we’re done with this.  Well, you’re partially right.  If you already have a collada exporter/importer with your respected version of Maya, then go right ahead and continue.  If not, then you will need to get it.  If you have Maya 2008, 2009, or 2010, then go to here: http://www.opencollada.org/download.html Download the OpenCOLLADA for Maya for your respective computer type, and go ahead and install.

If you have Maya 2011, like I do, then you must do a little coding for now until they create an OpenCOLLADA for 2011.  So for us, we must download the DAE to Maya ASCII File for our respective computers.  Mine was 32 bit.  After you download it, copy the DAE converter to where your creations are.  We must now open the command prompt window, and yes we must do this with each creature until the new plugin is made.

To open the command prompt window, type in either RUN or in the SEARCH bar, “cmd”. Now set up the path to where the DAE converter and your creations are.  Example: cd  C:\Users\Dustin\Documents\My Spore Creations\Creatures Now, we need to check the parameters for our converter, so type: dae2ma_1.2.2_x32 (for the 32 bit version) or dae2ma_1.2.2_x64 (for the 64 bit version).  To change the parameters, type:  dae2ma_1.2.2_x32 -i (CreatureFileName).dae (CreatureFileName).ma -v 2011 (for 32 bit version) or dae2ma_1.2.2_x64 -i (CreatureFileName).dae (CreatureFileName).ma -v 2011 (for 64 bit version).  Now, we can open the .ma files and play around with our creatures.


When you first bring in a creature, you may notice both the creature and a mess of wire-like things. These are actually the joints. Go to “display > animation > joint size.  Change the size of the joints to something smaller, until it looks good to you.

Since Maya ASCII is a coding language, at times the joints will be screwed up some. Take the time to move the joints and realign your creature. It is still riggable, or you can delete the rig and create your own. Just be forewarned that sometimes if you delete the rig, the mesh changes even more from what you had intended. You’ll see what I mean.

Gone For Too Long

Okay. So I have been dealing with a lot of annoying / major life choices back over here, and it’s been a very difficult time for me. I’ve started to finally get past it though, and am now ready to resume where I was. As you may notice, the “Escape the Ruins” is no longer my capstone. I came to the conclusion that in 6 months, I would not be able to create a game by myself. There is just too much to do with it. So instead, I am now teamed up with my roommates on their project, called “Homeland”. More details of this game will be posted at a later date, but for now just know that it is awesome.

I have also attempted to redo my Aurion character in the time that I have. I don’t like how he was turning out, so I scrapped it, and the new model is looking rather nicely. I am also applying for the Spore Grant Project at IUPUI. They’re wanting to create an educational game, with a team of 15 passionate students. You had to apply for it. And in that process, I came across some interesting little tidbits that I’ll post up after this.

Project deadlines are coming closer, and I feel like I’m not ready. I really hate creative slumps / blank moments. Oh well. Still has to be dealt with. I’ll try to get more information up here for my fellow students though.

Take care everyone.