Monday, January 5, 2015

Selection Twist

If you played SOE's Landmark during alpha you will remember the first iteration of the Line tool. It had some serious issues as soon as you started shifting the start and end position. We realized then that we needed a more organic approach to the line volumes. We were using flat planes to define the line volume and they were not able to transition smoothly enough from one end to the next.

In order to fix that, we chose to tackle on a bigger feature that had the line tool as a special case. This is usually a bad engineering practice, you just don't make a problem bigger to take care of a smaller one, but it turned out right. The line tool with disjoint ends was a special case of a mesh under a free-form deformation volume (FFD), so we did just that.

As you can see in the previous image, the sides of the line volume gradually curve from the start position to the end.

This has been in use for a while now in the line tool, but we just got time to add control points for the new selection tool. This allows many new cool shapes that were not possible before, like a simple bar that has been twisted:

In general the free-form deformation can produce pretty much anything you want. You can see other applications in this video:

The same operations can be performed over copy/pasted content and even the output of procedural grammars. This is already my favorite tool, if you are into twisting and bending I'm sure you will love it too.