More info here
Added initial position option to the fbx exporter to fix the offset problem caused by the t3d file positioning of skeletal meshes.
Top animated frame from truespace. Bottom the result imported into the unreal engine.
Developed formal workflow techniques for export from truespace and import into udk. Added fixes to the T3D and FBX exporters. Exports consist of t3d files for the scene and 3 different flavors of fbx files for static meshes, skeletal meshes and the very non-standard fbx format for matinee. The skeletal mesh animations import with an offset position and have to be manually repositioned. Other than that everything is matching up nicely.
Basic Required Steps
Demonstration of the animation rig for the astronaut.
During testing I timed it to match a real walk on earth, myself in video form, and found that the ik system is more stable when the keys are spread out more. In a lot of my tests the keyframes were close together, increasing the instability of the ik motion. It was timed at 18 frames for a step at 30fps. The moon footage shows it to be closer to 30 frames in the low gravity, so that should be even better.
In the first version of the rig I had several ik handles connected to the same place defined with different behaviors. Truespace didn't like that so i had to add more joints and seperate the handles so they each had their own bone instead of sharing. The reason for having so many handles is because trtuespace handles can have only 2 actions defined by left or right mouse button. In other programs the handle is a null/empty and it's transformations define the behavior.
First test animation for the astronaut rig.
First skeleton rig with controls shown for wrist rotation and finger curl. The forearm has an extra joint for smooth rotation. Multiple handles at one location gave unstable results. The red spheres are rotation stops and the blue cones are position locks. The locks are assigned to the handles using the IK handle tool.
In the second rig extra joints were added to give some seperation to the IK handles and increase stability. This means it doesn't become a crumpled mess when animating. The previous rig worked well for posing, but fell apart during animation playback.
The basic skeleton for the astronaut. The finger bones are for future animation along with the head bone in case I decide to make the astronauts face visible through the visor. Next will be joint orientation, naming and controls for the skeleton then the animation can begin after skinning the mesh. The rough pass animation will take place inside trueSpace. The final animation will likely be in Lightwave, so for the final result the mesh will come from trueSpace and the animations from Lightwave.
Animatic of the first 20 minutes of the Apollo 11 EVA, edited down to about 11 minutes and time compressed to 7 minutes. Animated in trueSpace as a first step towards final animation and publishing a "living diorama" in the Unreal game engine. The final result will not be time compressed.
The LEC is not shown in the video and the camera and contingency sample collector are static objects in the lower left of the frame. The events were shortened by removing silent time spaces and portions of dialog. In real life it took much longer to exit through the door because of the limited space and just placing the soil sample in the pocket took much longer than shown here and required a bit of guidance from Buzz inside the ascent stage of the LEM. I tried to remove anything that didn't advance the "story" directly.
The next step will be to rig and animate the astronaut.
Status: Updated the page after a year of sporadically working on the project. FBX T3D pipeline 99% complete. All needed scripts and tools are complete. The LEM was remodeled after the discovery that my reference was inaccurate. LEM doors and hatch animation are complete. It's basically just open and close animations. Started the character animations by blocking in the time from the hatch opening to the collection of the contingency sample.
T3d/Fbx pipeline established. Improve color of LEM. Plan to use obj format to transfer models for uv mapping in Blender or Roadkill. Reanimated the landing sequence. Updated joint orientation helper script. LEM animations for the hatch, MESA and the scientific equipment bay. Rough animation up to the collection of the contingency sample. Modeled the hasselblad camera and the contigency sampler tool.
IK animation footprint scripts.