Animation, Levels, More
Next up on the panel was Fred Nilsson, id's animation specialist. In this portion of the presentation, Fred demonstrated how models are created in Doom 3. Of course they start with a sketch from the artist, John Scott, who then turns the sketch into a 3D looking picture, which is then painted. From this an extremely high polygon model (up to 800,000 polygons) is constructed. A low poly interpretation of this model is created and overlaid onto the high poly model. This is then passed through the Doom 3 engine, which renders the high poly stuff as bump maps across the model, giving it a lush, lifelike look. From there, another set of bumpmaps can be painted over top, finishing the lifelike look of Doom 3's characters, where human faces come complete with the imperfections of pores, 5 o'clock shadow, scars, and wrinkles. Or as John Carmack put it, it's so detailed, "you can now tell if the guy is having a bad hair day."
Once all that leg work is done on a model, Nilsson creates an underlying skeleton with which the important parts like jaws, spine, and limbs can be manipulated. From there, Nilsson uses key frame animations at 24 frames per second (a nod to his experience in the film industry as a veteran of Pacific Data Images, makers of Shrek) to put the model in motion. 24 frames per second may not seem like a lot, but the modelling engines are quite sophisticated enough to do the necessary interpolations to make the animation look as lifelike as possible
After Nilsson finished with the animation presentation, it was Robert Duffy's turn to talk about the level editor. Here, the crowd watched with bated breath as Duffy showed off an editor that could simultaneously display in real time, the changes made to the map, in a window off in the corner. Designers can drop and drag dynamic lights in the room they're working on and immediately see the effect the light has on the geometry, and the exact way shadows are cast. Add a texture overlay to the light. You can do just about anything you like with the real time view of the level in the window. No longer do designers have to stop, recompile and load a level to see the effects of the changes they make.
Afterward, id's Matt Hooper and Jim Dose came up to explain the scripting language and editing interface in Doom 3. The language is very similar to C, so those with programming experience in that language should have no problem picking it up. They've also made it very easy to attach lighting and particle effects to pieces of geometry, and set timing, movement, and other variables. While the discussion started to fly over the head of this editor, the gist of the matter was that careful attention is being paid to the ease with which scripts in the Doom 3 engine can be written and executed, and the flexibility with which they can be activated within the game. They can be set off by player actions, player or character position, and even with the "GUI interfaces" from within the game.
Rounding out the panel presentation was Christian Antkow, explaining the way in which sound editing is done in the game. Using a similar toolset as the level designers, Antkow showed how speakers can be dropped right into the map, and any .wav file or "sound shaders" can be assigned to that speaker. Again, the map is shown in a window, appearing as it would in the game. The speaker can be dragged about, and its properties (loudness in decibels, minimum and maximum range, etc.) all set from the sound editor. Doom 3 will natively support Dolby 5.1 surround systems