I don't usually do two posts in a day, but since I was updating I figured I'd update something else.
In a post from a little while ago, I mentioned I was going to look into mocap on the super cheap for indie devs. Sadly, there isn't exactly a comprehensive how-to guide on doing this, yet, so I had to do a bunch of research. I have my plan... sort of.
The issue is, I'm just making this up as I go. No matter how hard I looked, I couldn't find anyone willing to reveal how they made their DIY mocap suits. Bastards!
But after messing around with my pet-urine finder (it's literally just a flashlight made of blacklight LEDs) I think I have my mocap suit design.
The downside, though, is that I couldn't find any way to use the mocap suit and a typical camera together. There is a system that requires no mocap suit and two Kinects, but I don't have one Kinect, let alone two. And I don't care how much cheaper the Kinect is... I'm not buying one.
According to my research, you need to have motion tracking cameras. At least 4 of them, but 6-14 is the recommended amount. These things aren't cheap, though. They're also tough to find...
Google: "Here are the top results on motion ACTIVATED cameras :D"
No, Google! God damn it, I said motion TRACKING!
Google: "You want cameras activated by motion, right?"
All of my fury...
I found companies that specialize in selling mocap equipment, but there's some kind of retarded growing trend where the company refuses to give you the price of their fucking equipment unless you sign up for an account and/or ask them to quote you.
I'm going to be a little looser with my language than normal (on here, anyway), but if you're the kind of person who does this, you can eat a bag of dicks, asshole. I don't want to jump though your god damn hoops. You either show me your prices and quote me for shipping, or I'll go look for someone who does and you won't get my money. FYI, just because I'd have to go through an extra dozen steps and then wait for your ass to get back to me just to find out how much your shit costs absolutely doesn't guarantee I'm buying from you, just in case you thought that I'd be all like "Well, I guess went through all that trouble, no sense in turning back now." Protip: Go fuck yourself. You'd be more likely to guarantee my purchase if it didn't take me fricking 2-8 business days waiting for your dumbass to email me back to in order to find out how much you want for your fucking product!
If my rant was anything to go by, I found it extremely hard to find the cheapest cameras. Shopping around doesn't work when cunts hide their prices behind email price quotes. Hell, I found one that actually expected me to phone in and get a quote. Too much effort. And the one I actually did email hasn't responded back in well over 3 weeks. This is the problem with requiring someone to put in a company name in order to receive a fucking product cost. If your vetting process requires a big-ass, reputable, Google-able company name to go into the request form, you fuck indies all over the world.
I believe I have everything I need to know to design a suit. I'll be going down to Ross Dress For Less, because I'm a cheap piece of shit, and I'll be looking to find a base for the suit. Once I have that, I'll be researching where the best places to put the markers are, and how many markers are necessary.
When the suit is complete, I'll compile a list of supplies and costs that I used to construct it, and instructions on how to position the markers on the suit.
I've been unsuccessful in finding cameras that, when purchased in bulk, rang up to under $5000. This is because only one site was willing to straight up just tell me their price. Others hid their prices from me. Google also failed to find me suitable substitutes for industry standard cameras. I will continue searching and report what I decide.
From talks I've read on forums, there's no way to rent a studio for under 10 grand. If, like me, you're looking for mocap anytime on the dirt-cheap, this is not going to be an option. If you're a middle-class prick with a couple grand to just blow whenever you feel like, or are a larger indie dev team and not some hopeless, near-destitute solo indie dev like me, the best options seemed to be universities that specialize in 3D animation, as they're usually equipped with such studios, and there's a chance they'll rent them out. However, you're probably looking at spending 12-30+ thousand dollars per session.
I've seen a few fairly good rigs done by indie teams. I'm talking about the studio rig, not the 3D model. Both teams bought an office and converted them into a studio, but I can't just waltz on down to the plaza and buy/rent an empty storefront, so I'm working on ways to set up my mocap in the middle of my apartment. That way there are no fees or other restrictions to go through just to have a studio to use. As per with the suit, I'll be going into full detail when I construct my studio with materials list and instructions.
I've neglected looking into software, as I already have 3DStudio Max, which fully supports mocap data. When it comes closer to being go time, I'll put more research effort into finding software that doesn't have to be rented, and costs under $1000.
My stated goal is to get mocap technology into the hands of indie devs for as absolutely cheap as possible. I will not be hoarding my plans and methods like everyone else. My goal is to create a DIY mocap set up tutorial and give my plans away for free, because I'm too nice to sell the plans/design.
I will be constructing a step by-step tutorial as I go.
The suit. As mentioned, I want this to be doable to even solo indies like me, so I'm going to be looking for the cheapest route, so I'm going down to Ross Dress For Less, which is essentially a thrift shop, to pick up the cheapest base I can find for a mocap suit.
Budgeting Goal: Under $30 for the full suit.
Note: This will not be a quick project. Due to budgeting restrictions, and other things I'm working on, I'll have to spread it out, especially when it comes to the cameras. It may be that I'll need to buy only a single camera a month. I'll try to get away with 3, but we'll see. I may need 4 after all.