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Breakdown: The Shopkeepers

Today's a fun techie thing about how Maya facial rigs can be used to create lots of characters. Ratracer town features tons of stores, each offering a variety of different items for sale, services, education, or even just a place to rest your head. And in each shop Ratracers are greeted by the different shopkeepers, who interact with the player and add some character to the stores. So you know, you can't afford that TV, it'll be the shopkeeper that tells you that you're too broke for such luxury. Or the lady at the employment office will go into great detail about why you didn't get that CEO job just yet...

I think at last count we had about 30 shopkeepers, and it's growing all the time. That's quite a few characters to create, so I put together a little tool in Maya that allowed me to quickly sculpt faces and give them personality. This was done using joints and blendshapes, where half the facial joints were mirrored but still had individual control for asymmetry. Check it out in the video below:

Pretty cool huh? Now if only I could come up with an auto dialogue tool...

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