Building an AR Game With Hololens, Part 2: Models and Assets
Enjoy this second installment on building a Hololens AR app!
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In this chapter, we will go through all the elements that you need to have in place to start building your game. I will use terminology that you should be familiar with, as well as software and tools that you will need to make the game. So we will be covering a lot of elements here. Once your environment is set up and you have a basic familiarity with Hololens/Unity development, we can really dig in.
You may also like: Building an AR Game With Hololens, Part 1: Introduction
Unlike many other series, I want to provide you with what you need so that you can jump into development. I will not be spending any amount of time on things like how to use the device or basic functionality. For that, I would encourage any reader to visit the Mixed Reality Acadamy on the Microsoft site. It is an excellent source of information that is designed to kick start your understanding and development.
Before we can dive into writing our game, you should be familiar with some gaming concepts and terms that are used throughout this series. I will try and give a basic introduction to the terms as well as how and why it may be used.
In order to construct a game and learn how to really make use of the Hololens device using 3D Models, there are a number of concepts that you should understand. Although, not a gaming primer, a number of elements and terms that are used in this primer are gaming-specific and thus should be explained. The initial set of terms I will focus on are presented below:
- Animation Controller
- Voice Control/Sound
Models and Assets
In most games, specifically a Hololens game, you will need models. A model is a 3D image of some game object. This could be anything from a person to a physical object. The idea is to put that representation in the 3D world that you as the Hololens user can move around and interact with.
Models can be complex to create as they generally involve creating a model, creating textures (skinning it), and then rigging it (getting it to move), as well as building the various animation and/or movements that it does. Making these models is well beyond the scope of this primer and requires individuals with a passion and love for this type of work. However, one must not lose hope at this point. There are plenty of resources out there for a person to use. Some of them are not what we would call "production-ready." A site that I would recommend is called Mixamo from Adobe.
Adobe’s Mixamo is currently free and will allow you to download models and animations. These can all be used free of license. Although, that is subject to change.
Step 1: https://mixamo.com
Step 2: Sign up and log in. The site does require registration.
Step 3: Select your character and animation
Step 4: Download your character and as many animations as you will need.
Step 5: Click Download. You can change these settings, but I usually stick with the default.
Step 6: Import or copy into assets folder into your Unity Project by clicking on Assets/Import New Asset
*Please note that in Unity, anything that you import or bring into the Unity world is considered an asset. You will read and see the term asset used frequently.
Before you extract textures or materials, it would make sense to set up some directories first.
Step 7: It is generally recommended to set-up directories for textures and materials so that you can keep them properly organized. Go to the left side of the screen under "Project" and create a materials directory and textures directory.
Step 8: Click on Extract Textures and then Extract Materials
*Makes sure that you extract into the correct folders
Step 9: Extract textures/materials/animations and apply them by dragging and dropping onto the model.
In order to do this, you need to find under Assets the downloaded file. Click on that and you should see the below (image). Click on the Materials tab. This is where the downloaded images.
Once that is done, your model is now an asset and is set-up and ready to use. It should look similar to what is shown below:
In our next installment, we will introduce a few commonplace Unity terms that you should be familiar with in order to get through this primer and build your own experience. Stay tuned!
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