Level One Magic
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

Club Penguin Avatar Tools

The development of Club Penguin for Mobile required that all currently existing 2D clothing items (over 3000) be available for mobile's 3D penguin avatar. This meant there would be new data that would need to be tracked as the 3D assets were being created and integrated into the game. We wanted game designers to be able to use this tool to add new clothing items and modify data of existing items, and 3D artists to use it in a similar way, for slightly different data.

The tool was built modularly using Python, with each section's functionality being built as a class sans UI first, then creating a secondary class specifically for the UI, written with Qt. This gave the power to quickly change the UI without re-writing base class code. Because the UI is written using Qt, the tool can be run either inside or outside Maya (minus the Maya-dependent pieces, of course).

The following video demonstrates the tools in use in Maya:

In order to accommodate large numbers of avatars on-screen with the vast customization options required for Club Penguin, I designed a system that would allow for layered textures and add-on meshes that could be compacted down into a single draw-call with under 1,500 polygons and a single 256x128 RGB texture.

The following videos represent the breadth of customization that is available in the game, though this is a fraction of the flexibility that the avatar design allows. Please note that inter-penetration of clothing items was deemed by creative leads as acceptable, as players would self-police item combinations that don't look good together. These videos show no such self-policing.

Back to Main

© 2003-2013 Andrew Kelts