Game Design Animation Objects

My team is planning to enter the game design animation online challenge, but when we look at the rules we can’t find what the challenge objects that we must use are. All we see is mention that we must use the challenge objects and that they will be coming soon.

When can we expect to know what the challenge objects are? My team is very excited about using 3d animation software and can’t wait to start.


They are posted now on the Challenge website.

It also mentions that the proportions of the game objects must remain unchanged. Are there any dimensions for the objects to give proportions, or will the CAD files be released?

The intent is that you can vary the size and color of the objects, and, following the rules, make certain portions solid or open, but that they should remain essentially as drawn. If your objects are cones, prisms, and/or tetrahedrons of the same proportions as those in the drawings, you are fine. If you have a prism that is 12 feet long and 1 inch high, it has different proportions. As in the VRC, we trust that contestants understand common-sense terms like “the proportions must remain unchanged.” If you believe that you may inadvertently produce objects that are of substantially different proportions than those in the drawings, please let us know on this forum.

Last year, we provided CAD models, but the feedback we had was that contestants re-drew them using their own tools. We did not want to try to force entrants to use a software item that was not of use to them.

For the tetra, can we bevel/have angled versus rounded edges?

Can you please make this a question in the official Q&A forum and include a drawing of what you are asking?

Someone appears to have beat me to it.

I would like to enter, but I don’t know what program to use. Help?

Jesse – I missed this question when you asked it in September. You can use any animation tool you wish. Other VEX forumites might have suggestions for you, although I am still looking for our first claymation entry.

Oh boy, here we go…

There are several packages you might consider. Debates over 3D applications can get as heated and petty as Mac vs. PC or Bing vs. Google arguments. I’ll try to be objective in the comments below and clearly state what is opinion and what is fact.

There are two heavyweights:

Maya (Autodesk) - This is my favorite 3D application, and the one I personally use. It has full support for modeling, texturing, rigging, animating, and rendering. It’s the most common application for 3D animation and has tutorials across the webernet for all of itsfunctions. You can download a free educational version from the Autodesk website.

3DS Max (Autodesk) - This program is very similar to Maya. many say that it is somewhat better for modeling but slightly less useful for any other function. I’ve used it quite a bit yet never found a way in which it’s better than Maya. But that’s just my opinion. Max seems to be the favorite program among the VEX community. You can download a free educational version from the Autodesk website.

Three other programs on the next tier:

Blender - A free, open-source 3D package. I’ve never used it, but from what I understand, it’s not as functional as Maya or Max but it has a shallower learning curve. Though it probably has less tutorials because it’s not as popular.

Cinema 4D (Maxon) - I haven’t used this program either. It has a smaller community than Maya or Max but I’ve seen people make amazing stuff with it. I don’t know that there’s a way to get it for free.

LightWave (NewTek) - I’d give this the same description as Cinema 4D. Oh, and it’s supposed to be really good for making spaceships. I don’t know why.

Those are the big 5. But there are a bunch of other programs as well: Softimage, Houdini, Rhino, Zbrush, Mudbox, Sketchup, and Modo to name a few (some of these are not standalone and/or are less practical for use in a robotics animation).

Then there’s compositing software for editing and postporduction. After Effects is what I use, and it seems to be the most popular for special effects, motion graphics, and 3D compositing. But a lot of people will use Nuke for 3D work because that’s what it’s specifically designed for.

Oh, and rendering applications! Mental Ray, V-Ray, RenderMan, FinalRender, Shaderlight, Maxwell Render, Brazil, Fry Render, Octane Render, Arion Render, POV-Ray, and the rest. Don’t worry about these too much.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. So yeah, good luck picking what you want to use. Skal!