09/10/2017

MekaMotion: Behind The Scenes

MekaMotion is now available on the MekaMon App, so get a head start and learn more about how this brand new tool came to be with Game Developer Jacob!

 

We’re excited to announce a brand new feature available on MekaMon. The MekaMotion tool will allow players to create their own animations by physically manipulating their robot. Catch up with Jacob, one of our game developers, to learn more about how this feature came to be and where we see it going in the future.

Where Did It Come From?

MekaMotion was born from previous ideas and experiments that either proved too dangerous for the robot build or required too much development time to execute perfectly. Nevertheless, developers were keen to create a feature that afforded players more creativity in their interactions with MekaMon. We wanted to encourage a more personal relationship between MekaMon and users, while promoting the fantastic creativity and customisation many users have already pursued with their robots. On top of this, we also wanted to give our pilots more of an idea of the movement mechanisms of their MekaMon. In doing so, we hoped to inspire curiosity in the potential this movement holds. We looked at how much fun we had creating the original animations for Free Drive, and knew what we had to do.

Technical Challenges

“So on the technical side we had the issue of how do you actually make an animation? How do you pose the robot? We came up with a solution of actually working with the hardware team. We managed to make a solution where you could physically pose the robot legs how you want them. If you want to do a push up you could just, kind of, push the body of the robot down a bit”

We had to take animation creation back to the drawing board to build a user-friendly process. That meant re-evaluating the way we make animations and the way we interact with different parts of our robots. Gravity played an important role early on. We needed to keep the legs locked so that animations could be made without the body sitting on the ground. They needed to be flexible enough to be easily manipulated, however. Thanks to the hardware team, we were quick to iron out these initial puzzles and jump straight into the next challenge!

The Interface

MekaMotion is packed with features that can help you create complex, lifelike animations, full of personality. Keeping all those features pilot-friendly, however, presented an early UI challenge. Once lead artist Maff worked with Jacob to streamline the interface, it was a matter of implementing more user-friendly features.

“We came up with a style that’s quite simplified. But it also has this range of features you can use to create complex animations.”

The MekaMotion interface centres around keyframes. This allows users to move their robot and record its position over a timeline to create fluid animations.

What Will You Get From MekaMotion?

We created MekaMotion to give you more freedom with your robot as so many of our users were looking for creative applications of their MekaMon. Share your animation with other users with the MekaMotion social feed located in the app itself. Similarly, if a particularly interesting animation catches your eye, simply download it to use in Free Drive or edit further. You can also like and comment on it in the public feed from the app itself.

MekaMotion is available in the MekaMon App Now!

 

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