The bones are actually pretty easy, and the developers at CryTek were outright helpful with this one. You see, in the instructions to set up a first person weapon, they linked this little gem:
It’s the complete bone structure for first-person hands. This helps to make sense of the intended hierarchy anyway. Now all we need are positional and rotational values. CryTek was nice enough to provide these too, in a manner of sorts. Some exporting and rotation was necessary to get the files into my own DCC. (I use Maya, have and always will.) But when I finally had them on the inside… I was able to reconstruct the skeleton. Although it’s not quite what they said it would be.
Basically, the difference is in the fingers. There are 3 joints, not 4. You can’t even name them with an underscore and skirt past, you need to delete them once you’re done modeling around them. (End joints don’t end up with much influence anyway. They’re usually just guides for the modeler.) Also, there are no _term joints. Not necessary.
I know, I know, we can’t see it all. Well, basically you see how the right side starts up exactly the same as the left? Well, it is. Except for the attachment joints, right side doesn’t have these.
Basically, I built the right side first, mirrored it, and added the attachment joints to the left side.
Here’s a brief description of what I did. I used the agent_fp_global.max file included in the Source Assets. I sent it to a buddy with Max, told him I needed it readable in Maya. I got it back as an FBX, and the rotations were borked. BUT I was able to reconstruct a fairly decent facsimile. I’d even wager it’s a perfect copy, since basically what ended up happening was everything was simply rotated 90 degrees and I’m pretty sure I rotated them back.
(To be honest, a Max user could simply build a new mesh over the old rig, but the chances are good you realized that already. Also, if you want my opinion, and I know you do – it’s too easy.)
Anyway, with this extra step another became necessary. I’d of loved to simply model for the old one, but… it was borked in the export, and I didn’t want to bug my guy again. With the rotations wrong, and several hundred keys per joint – it was simply easier to rebuild it. Honestly, took about ten minutes.
So I built the new skeleton – right over the top of the old one. I paid very close attention to the all-important hierarchy. Every name needs to be exactly the same; and every value should at least be as close as possible, if not an exact copy. Well, for the most part I left the joints at their default scale, but most animators know it’s bad practice to scale rigged joints… this shouldn’t be an issue. Remember, the goal is a seamless integration between the old animations, and a new skeletal mesh – this was probably the most important step.
Next Time: Building the Mesh