1.1.2 The Next Big Update. It’s summer so it’s time to make models non-stop.
- Ardi the Ardipithecus ramidus makes her way down to the Human Evolution Hall! This important discovery gives a clear image of what hominin evolution was like pre-Lucy. I’ve never seen Ardi and Lucy lined up so making the model was illuminating for me. I didn’t know that Ardi was taller and that her arms were so long. The reduction in arm length in Lucy is very stark now, though her arms are still proportionately longer than our own.
- Proboscis monkeys nose-in to the Asia section of Modern Primates! I just couldn’t resist these special looking monkeys with the males and their bulbous flabby noses and females with sharp upturned ones. I modeled a male and female to show the sexual dimorphism in faces, limb proportions, and size. I had a hard time posing the male because they are typically seated upright while the monkey was modeled from the mandrill on four legs. Since the underlying rig is for a dog, sitting up caused a lot of visual problems that would take too long to fix. I avoided the issue by finding a vertical-yet-not-sitting pose for the male climbing up a tree that was based on a photograph online. The female is also posed from photograph relaxing on the same tree. Not to harp on the failures of this model, but I also tried leaf generation using the built-in Sapling Gen add-on, but I couldn’t get satisfactory results this time.
- The Senegal galago sneaks its way to the Africa section of Modern Primates! This model was also very challenging. I tried to adapt the slow loris model but only the head remained in the final product. I had to completely remake the body and took the arms and legs of the tarsier (but with the feet of the loris!). I Frankensteined it all together into the galago. I could not find any references for a neutral pose, which is what I first model before applying an animation rig. There just aren’t any good photos or illustrations of a galago that is not sitting or jumping, etc. Instead of that method of modeling, I went old-school and modeled the galago straight into its sitting pose with no rig. Due to the model’s small size, I also took some shortcuts. For example, the arms and legs are not actually attached to the body!
- The Panamanian white-faced capuchin monkey scampers to the very bare Americas section of Modern Primates! This primate shows up in a lot of media so it one of the more well known types. The pose shows off the interesting proportions with a big head and very slim abdomen. The prehensile tail is another notable trait. Like Proconsul, I added some foliage to spice up the display. I then added foliage to the proboscis monkeys too. I started with the riggable four-legged monkey template that I made all the way back with the mandrill. I loosened up the polygons around the arms for more flexibility. Otherwise model construction had no innovations.
- The aye-aye got a slight refresh. The original baked lighting mimicked a nighttime scene but in hindsight that made no sense so now it is lit as the other primates are. While I was rebaking I noticed some bad UV arrangement on the tree branch so I fixed that too. Lastly the model is raised slightly to get a better look at the face.
- It took me a year but I realized that the rhesus monkey is in the Africa section when it should be in Asia. Problem is that there are published assignments that depend on the rhesus monkey’s position. My Alexander the Great solution is to keep it there and add a sign implying every other model is grouped by region but the rhesus is not.
- Occlusion logic tweaked so rhesus monkey is visible from the Divider Hall.
- Human Evolution Hall got some flavor with images accompanying each model. The pictures are of the site or general region of each find.
- Divider Hall got a some flavor with a good Creative Commons image showing how experts view human evolution.
- Tweaks to asset loading.
- Loading from unpkg is getting real slow so I switched to jsDelivr.
- Behind the visitor at the start is a little text highlighting the newest additions.
- New version; new control scheme. jure’s blink-controls is now the sole movement method. Both thumbsticks share the same control scheme: left and right to turn and press up/forward to start teleporting with the option to turn. It’s the only movement scheme that has no issues across desktop, phone, and VR. Sorry smooth-movers, I just couldn’t make it work with what is out there to use.
- Shadow-producing lights now follow the principle of the maps in the previous update: there are two that will (hopefully) seamlessly light where the viewer is by moving around based on the occlusion planes being touched.
1.2.1 A few hotfixes and tweaks that made it to live AnVRopomotron ahead of the next big update.
- Human Evolution Hall is brighter. This was the original concept but the hominin models used sharp lighting that implied a darker room so I adjusted the room bake to match. It didn’t make sense for a dark room to have such vibrant colors so I aimed to fix the lighting across the board. I redid the lighting for each hominin model, using a 360 panorama hdri of the hall for matching lighting. The hominin and hall models were then rebaked with the new light.
- Rebaking also fixed the divider hallway bake that had lighting issues on the Human Evolution side.
- Human Evolution Hall has a new sign stating that the presentation of hominins is not complete.
- Occlusion tweaking so the divider hallway is visible while exiting stage 2 of the Modern Primate Hall.
- Tweaking of asset load priorities so the divider hallway loads in sooner since it is visible from the starting position.
- Teleportation movement disabled due to unpredictable interactions with Quest controllers.
Fall 2022 plans are to make a model or two but work is moving on to another VR project. Look forward to hints, news, and updates from that.