Updated: Jan 13, 2019
For our first developer spotlight we decided to highlight Cory McKnight, our Lead Animator and our project savior. Cory is first up because he single-handedly brought our beautiful characters to life.
When crystal and I first began the project, we designed everything so that if necessary, we could make the entire game ourselves. It was just the two of us and neither of us had animating or rigging experience.
Below are some of our solutions to big development resource issues:
- We proposed bringing in fog and interesting lighting so that we didn’t have to have our characters look realistic
- We proposed abstracting their movements so that we could get away with not animating them-
- We proposed a disembodied experience so that we didn’t have to model the player characters body and so that we wouldn’t have to animate any hands to match the player’s hands
- We planned to have most of our exposition delivered in voice over (even though I know voice over is a pain in VR) because we couldn’t have any 3D visualizations of exposition in the form of holograms or animations, etc.
Almost 75% of our pre-production was spent planning around doing this by ourselves (we had no idea anyone else would be interested in the project at the beginning but that’s a story for another blog) and we cut alot out of our game for this reason.
And then along came Cory.
Within the first few weeks, Cory did the following:
- Animated the characters
- Added a realistic lip syncing function to them
- Animated and coded them to make eye contact with the viewer
- Rigged and animated faraday’s body AND coded her body to match with the player’s movements
- Began prototyping and designing visual exposition delivery methods.
Cory came in to our team and did months work of work in about two weeks or less.
Because of him, we are able to make a bigger, better game.
Cory is invaluable as an animator but he is also a gifted game designer and problem-solver. I’ve grown used to explaining a challenge I’ve come across and then seeing Cory raise his hands and saying, in the most polite voice, “Um, yeah, so I can totally do that if you wanted” and as always, he puts my worries to rest and finds a solution. He is dedicated. He comes to every meeting, replies promptly, and meets every deadline. I consider him one of the core members of our team and I personally can’t wait to see all of the great things he will do in his career. I feel lucky to have him on the team and I know for a fact that the project wouldn’t be playable if it wasn’t for him.
To learn more about Cory and to see his other work, go to his website at https://corymcknight.com/
Cory is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California’s Interactive Media and Games program. He has many skills including programming, game design, animating, rigging, and art. While he loves all things game design, his specialty is animation for games. He’s not only an excellent team member and skilled professional but also a great friend.