Monday, October 18, 2010

UberGeekGames Avatar Wrapper

Having been playing with the Avatar stuff these last several days (i haven't had much time for my own work). I knew i needed to write a good surrounding class to put all the crap in, the stuf that needs to be done regardless, the messy stuff that should be easy and straight forward. But before i could get to that i would need something else.

The default animations for the Avatars are very nice. But apart from allowing a game to play Simon with them, i do not think there are many other uses. so i did a search to see if any kind soul had put out any other anims, namely i wanted a run animation. Well lo and behold Microsoft had an avatar animation pack. It took m a post in the forums to find it, but i did get it from the new app hub in the end. This pack supplies a bunch of stuff and a run anim is one of them, woohoo!

This however opened up a can of worms. Ya see, to get custom animations into the Xbox (yes, these new ones are counted as custom, cos they are not built in). ya have to go through some severe pain. Namely you have to have a content importer, and of course this means work, cos well. why would anyone wan tto put this into a real nice tidy simple to use wrapper? I mean, why bother. I know i should not complain, but it seems to be that they did the work to make this system, and then just stopped short on a few things that would make it so much tidier and nicer for new and old developers.

Anyway, this casued me some consternation and i figured i would not bother, until i also decided to search for an Avatar animation class, feeling like maybe someone had already done some of this work. And woah, there it was. Lying in wait for me at UberGeekGames was an avatar wrapper, and also some extra goodness.

The extra was in the form of they had made it so on the PC there were the bones of the Avatar displayed. This is big, as Avatars cannot actually be rendered on the PC, and as most Xblig devs do a high percentage of their work on the PC (like me), this should prove a real beneift. BONUS!!!

I have now integrated the wrapper class into my test application, with much trouble over the oddites of having to have two separate libs for the skinnedModel class. Once i was over these issues i can see the dudes rotating on my Xbox screen. funnily enough getting it working on the PC was real fast.

Thanks very much UGG, you folks rock, along with the other people that helped you give this to the community.

You can check out their Blog here.


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