The Background Story

Over the holidays, I unearthed a book called Mastering Maya 7 in my attic. This book, while garnering a bad review from me on Amazon, rekindled a love for gaming and 3d modeling that has been lost for several years.

I started looking into the use of Maya Personal Learning Edition (PLE) with XNA, then remembered how brutally daunting the Maya UI always was for me. So I use the very thick book as bathroom reading and to get some ideas and use my new favorite tool to implement my models: SOFTIMAGE|XSI Mod Tool.

About ModTool

XSI Mod Tool is free and I have been using it to draw some concept models for a game I've been wanting to build and "tutorialize" for you guys, much like the Robotics screencast series on this blog. Mod Tool also has a direct export to XNA Game Studio. You can get Mod Tool, free of charge, here.

Now, in related blog posts I will be posting some renders. They will look like crap and this is because for ModTool to be free, they have to limit what you can do with it. That means no mental ray surfaces (in layman's terms, no reflections, shadows, or shader effects other than CGFX, DXFX and HLSL). This means you can only see very basic shaded and textured models with hardware rendering. This also explains why my chrome is rendered as white, and other little nuances.

Other limitations of the free ModTool include:

  • Mod Tool supports only DXFX and CGFX material types. Mental ray materials are not supported.

  • Mod Tool supports only polygonal mesh primitives.

  • Exported geometry is limited to 64000 triangles.

  • The mental ray renderer is used only for Rendermap and Ultimapper. All other mental ray rendering is disabled.

  • Maximum resolution for Ultimapper maps is 512x512.

  • Images output using the hardware renderer are limited to a maximum resolution of 512x512.

XNA Rockout

rockout-logo I will admit that I am a Guitar Hero 3 addict. I'm on the last battle in Expert mode. I've always wanted to be able to "improvise" using the GH3 controller, so that's what XNA Rockout is going to be! I'll leave you hanging there and give a more detailed introduction for this project in an upcoming blog post.

For now, here is a render of the current status of the guitar I'm working on for this game. It's not complete yet, but it has some basic textures and a little bit of detail. It's based on my Jackson RR3 Rhoads guitar.

More soon - Happy New Year!