Welcome back Commanders.
We're gathered here again at the bottom of June to go over progress made on Phase 2 as well as to discuss what still remains to be done.
As you may have gathered, or read on various posts of mine, the US portion has taken slightly longer than I'd originally expected. Those of you who follow the mod thread on Steam will know that this is my first project of this scale and my first real foray into interactive modeling. Configuring the ship models for movement had been fairly straight forward, while tedious, since it was simply a matter of separating polys into the appropriate groups and adjusting their respective pivots.
The problems started when I went to rig and weight paint the blast bags so they would deform correctly when the turret's barrel(s) elevated. This was not only more time consuming but also harder, as I regularly ran into various issues with bone scaling, export/import breaks, general fit & finish of the final object group, as well as one particular bag which I had to model from scratch - that last part I don't especially recommend - all required learning as I went; often experimenting to see which solution actually worked for any given problem.
On the texture side of things I wanted to re-texture the models so that they better fit the period and are generally uniform within their respective factions. By now you'll have noticed two of these already, those being for the decking. While these two examples required custom materials be made, the general materials required for the rest of the ship models is readily available and won't require any special work.
All this is to say that US ships are now ready to have their static turrets replaced with the functional ones and then painted with their new textures. Once this has been done they will be imported into Unity and final conversion will begin.
What's left to be done? Japanese ships are the next big hurdle as well as all of the battleship type vessels. Submarines remain as well, though now I think those will come last since they're not readily seen on the surface anyway. Now that I know what I'm doing (relatively speaking) I expect them to go faster. I am concerned, however, about running into issues moving the functional models to Unity. I understand their is a Mesh Renderer component that Unity uses instead of the IK based system that Max uses, which I employed to produce these turret's functionality. Due to this I would not rule out the chance for a delay should I encounter issues here as well.
I'm not particularly fond of Unity as a work environment, truth be told. I don't find it as intuitive as the AutoDesk products when it comes to UI nor as functional when it comes to how tasks are executed. This, combined with the various incongruities between how these programs function in relation to each other, leaves me with a rather disjointed view of their co-workings. This is almost certainly an issue of time spent in each respective environment but while programs like Max and Substance may seem overly complex their UI seems to also invite you in, a feeling Unity doesn't impart on me.
I'm also constrained from the game side as I am unable to add any new code, scripting, or animation. This may be a good thing given the current workload, but constraining nonetheless; especially in implementation.
As far as a release date for US ships, I can't really say. I'd like to tell you that I'll have them out by mid-July but I can't promise that I can meet that deadline. All I can say with any kind of certainty is that I'll release them as soon as they're ready. I know that's not the answer some of you may be hoping for, but it's the best I can commit to.
Hopefully this finds you all well. There's a lot of craziness happening in the world at the moment and I hope, as I'm sure all of you do, that sanity soon prevails and the rabblerousers retreat back into their dark corners of malcontent sooner rather than later.
More pictures to follow soon. Good hunting Commanders. Dismissed. o7