It has been a while since my last post, owing largely to the fact that I have a job now! I’m an “Application Developer” at an outfit called Unlimited Realities, who are doing great work in the touch-computing space. It’s still early days yet but I’m pretty thrilled to get in on the ground floor of what I suspect will become a significant feature of Human-Computer Interaction in the coming years.
On a slightly sillier note, since beginning to dabble in Unity about 6 months ago I have been trying to devise small interactive sketches – tests of functionality that represent blocks that could be integrated into a larger project or be expanded upon in order to create a more comprehensive system. One of those sketches began as the question “How would it look to have an animal that looked at the cursor but in 3D?” (It turns out that when the Japanese do it, the answer is “very creepy“.)
Initially my animal was going to be a cat but after fighting with the Unity3d engine for a while trying to import the skeleton, I gave up on the relatively high-poly model I had and decided to go with something slightly simpler, so I built a dog. It turns out, though, that the issue was related to Unity (both Indie v2.6 and v3) had problems importing more than one Maya-generated .DAE file per open session. As far as I can gather the issue happens every time, but if anyone knows why it’s happening, or if there is a workaround I would be very interested in hearing about it!
One of the things that computing can enable that has always fascinated me, as I have mentioned in the past, is working on pieces of technology that remove the need to work on other things. For example, animating character by making simple rules for their behaviour rather than doing keyframe-based animation. So this is what I came up with as a first step! Move the cursor over the ground to direct the mouse, and the dog, to that location. The faster the cursor goes, the wider the dog’s eyes get. check it out!
Well, not the first first step.. the very first step was a tortured-looking stickman spasming as all of his joint rotations rotated against one another randomly but I don’t think anyone needs to see that.
I’d like to thank ‘Mats & Muffi‘ on Flickr for his wonderful photostream of fighting cats… he manages to capture them in a moment when all their grace and self-consciousness is given up for the sake of pouncing, and it makes for excellent texture references!