I’ve made a lot of vehicle models for the source engine but it strikes me as odd that there still isn’t a proper, in-depth tutorial to teach newcomers how to do this as they can be very complex. I intend to make a video tutorial covering all aspects of rigging, animating and scripting a new vehicle from scratch. I use Autodesk Softimage but I will try to make sure to mention similar components and methods for 3DS Max where I can but for the most part the similarities should be fairly obvious.
Note I will not cover any modeling in this tutorial, only rigging and animation. The only mentions I will make to it are simple processes you must perform to prepare the model to be exported to the source engine.
Here is a brief rundown of the topics that I will cover:
Model, Rigging and Animation:
- Explain how to prepare the model for source (textures, clusters, UVs, merging meshes etc)
- Positioning bones (plan how complex you want the rig to be)
- Set envelope
- Envelope bones accurately to mesh
- Adding/removing bones from envelope
- Cover what attachments are necessary to make the vehicle work
- Simple animation: (suspension, steering and wheel rotation)
- Jigglebones (also mention speed bugs, use with caution)
- Collision mesh
- Exporting as .smd
- Preparing QC file
- Compiling and viewing
- Rigging vehicles with more than 4 wheels
- Advanced animation: (enter/exit, drive shaft, complex suspension, additional features)
**Handling and scripting: **
- Weight distribution and gravity settings
- Speed and power (lack of gears, explain briefly the power transmission process in the game engine)
- Torque split and multiplication (also deciding the main driven wheels eg FWD, RWD, AWD etc)
- Steering (different steering speed and angle based on state the vehicle is in, also cover how to best combat oversteer)
- Suspension and wheels (relation to ride height, weight support and grip)
- Sounds and synchronisation
- Getting the vehicle in-game (lua for Garrys Mod and hammer for others)
Troubleshooting and common issues:
- Missing bones when compiling ($staticprop command removes bones)
- Car drives backwards or sideways
- vehicle crashes game (check if it’s model or script related)
- Parts warped, stretched or moving strangely (weight map issues, freeze modeling/transforms in softimage)
Extras to cover (questions people have raised):
- How to set ride height effectively for vehicles with different suspension strengths (like luxury car vs sports car)
- How to add and use bodygroups and skin families.
I would like to know if anyone else has any suggestions for topics that I should include in this tutorial, possibly problems they have suffered in the past when trying to compile their model or ways they can improve it.
I’d also like to know if anyone has any suggestions for good teaching methods, do you know of anyone else who has made a particularly good video tutorial? I’ve watched several made by Ross Scott and he always makes sure to include entertainment and tidbits of trivia throughout to keep the viewer interested and engaged, many of his tutorials are several hours long but actually still fun to watch and I would like to try to match this level of quality.