Crab Cowboy, July Competition

Hey everyone, here is the first drop test for my competition entry! There is still much to do. I’m not sure if I need to create multiple collision meshes for the saddle or if there is a way to get the current collider to handle the concave shapes. Any ideas?

Excellent! Welcome to the forums @Cody :partying_face:

For concave shapes, you’ve got 2 options.

  • Slice your mesh a few times
  • Let Ragdoll slice it for you

Generally, slicing is the most performant and gives you the most control, have a look at this.

The slice settings are in there as well. Let me know if that works for you!

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Hey Marcus, thank you for the quick and helpful suggestion!

I actually wasn’t able to get mesh cut to update the collision mesh, I’m sure I’m just missing some simple setting somewhere, but automatic seems to work great for my current situation.

I’ve made a little bit of progress and now I find myself wrestling with some new issues.

Some of the BellyArmor-to-ChainEndJnts weld constraints make it so the entire simulation starts rotating crazy, while one of the other BellyArmor-to-ChainEndJnts weld constraints work exactly as desired (See image for which ones). I have tried playing around with the shape settings but still no luck resolving this. This might be because the chain end jnts are basically inside the belly armor collision mesh? I’m thinking this might best be solved with Overlap groups, so that the chain and belly armor do not collide, yet they both somehow collide with the crab? Although that seems more like I need a physics matrix, not overlap groups. Maybe I just dont understand how overlap groups work? I would love any suggestions on this!

I also have some general questions:

  1. This may be very simple and obvious, but how would you advise file management for an animation that has uses constraints across multiple ragdoll characters? Create the ragdoll setups in the separate rig files, then reference the rigs into an animation scene and create the constraints there? While this seems like the intuitive setup for an animator, after doing this I am left with the issue of “&s and $s not part of the same solver” error when trying to constrain. I then try to “merge solvers” but Maya freezes, maybe due to trying to make this type of edit to a referenced asset?

In the case of this Saddle, which is more like a crab prop, I am thinking now that I should have imported it into the crab rig file instead of having them as separate files and then done all of the constraint setup in there, all part of the same solver. Sorry if this was explained somewhere, I just want to make sure I don’t dig myself into a hole.

  1. Is the latest live stream from this past week posted somewhere? I was at work and only able to see part of it.

  2. Are the crab textures posted anywhere?

Thank you and all the best!

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I love the chains!

Overlap groups could work nicely for this but you might be chasing the collisions along the chain length. What could work best is have the chains outside of the collision mesh at the start and translate them back to where they are here, Making the ends have Translate Motion = soft
Would factor in that translation.

Both are good workflows, either importing Ragdoll onto referenced scenes or having the rigs already containing a Ragdoll setup.
Having multiple rigs with different solvers you’d need to use link solver by selecting one solver and then select the solver you’d like to use as the master solver.

here you go :slight_smile:

I’ll have a look, the texture was just a ramp texture, not an image file.

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Just a little update. I spent some time this weekend doing a first pass at the layout for my crab competition submission. I’m still working on getting the saddle/chain rigs and the big monster rig ironed out, but I hope to get them in there this coming weekend.

In case anyone is curious, this is just using a good ol body pin down a motion path, and the crab gallop cycle was created using the locomotion system. I’m still ideating on how to include more Ragdoll features like fields. Feedback is always welcomed :smiley:


Hahahah this is great! And there’s going to be a monster after them ! Neat idea to put a cycle on a path , at the points it makes the big impacts with the walls you could try animate the pin stiffness to almost Zero for more of an effect on the body . - might need to pause the path travel to let the crab recover a bit, but I think that could look cool…

Keep it up! Looking forward to seeing more :slight_smile:

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Progress update! This is just the source animation. I’m just about ready for the ragdoll pass :smiley:

I might have bit off a little too much for the allotted time (but blame Ragdoll for being too much fun). All the characters are ragdoll rigged and looking pretty good in isolation so fingers crossed this next step goes well :smiley: I’m planning on adding a bunch of barrels, wood planks, rocks, etc for the character to smash into, and to copy the body animation to a body pin, then animate the stiffness down when smashing into walls as well as making the character do flips over obstacles. I’d also like to have the character riding on the back of the crab to shoot the monster at the end so I can show off the fields with the monster hit reaction (not animated yet).

Source animation with the epic soundtrack:

Just the characters and the colliders (I’m using an game asset that already had a bunch of collider objects, woohoo). Is this going to work?!?! Fingers crossed

Any feedback is welcome! Is this too long, should I cut it down to just the end part?

(Between Adobe media encoder and handbrake I can’t seem to compress these videos to be under 8mb, sorry for the google link, I’m trying)

This looks great! well done.
FYI, if you upload your videos to youtube, you can set them to private and there is a button on your own videos where you can download them again, it does great compression, so they will be easily small enough to post here.

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Haha, that’s great. I was going to suggest you use the Assign Terrain for the static environment, but you aim to have these dynamic then Assign is the way to go.

For compression, YouTube is a good option - however you’ll want to choose Unlisted rather than Private or else they will only be visible to you, even when previewing here on the forums I think.

Another thing you could try is Handbrake which does good compression to H.264 and H.265.

In my opinion, yes it’s too long. I’d try and make it 10 seconds or less.

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Welp Marcus you just beat me, I was just going to post my progress. I will consider your feedback tomorrow. Thanks

Scratch that, here is an edit with adjusted speed and length. Im thinking this is going to be the shot


Looking cool! It looks like the pin constraint that’s pulling the crab might be ramping up too fast in stiffness which pulls the crab to its position really quickly , try having a play with how many frames the value from zero upwards happens.

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Another update. Things are still pretty wip and chaotic, but I’m having a blast. The current animation to do:

-Crab using his arms/claws to flip/shove/throw barrels out of his way
-Correct the biped rider constraint setup (currently just has hips welded to the crab body)
-Full animation pass on the monster!!!
-Animate interaction of crab and monster tentacles. Have pins on monster tentacles constrained to crab rig? Wrap tentacles around crab legs, animate ripping off a couple crab legs.
-Have biped character shoot the monster, use newton field to show bullet reaction (might not get to this)

FYI I had intended to keep this under 10 seconds by speeding it up with a time warp on the source animation and then editing the time scale of the solver, but I am starting to second guess if that is a good use of my time, especially considering how many “ideas” I’m trying to put into the last couple seconds… Feedback is always appreciated!

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That tentacle monster is going to be a challenge. :sweat_smile:

There’s been an increasing amount of tentacles made with Ragdoll recently, I think we need another livestream about it. Tentacles are a challenge because of their deep hierarchy. With the tip having 50+ parents. Ragdoll is made for limbs with 1-5 parents, and as soon as you go beyond that the little motor sitting inbetween each Marker starts to struggle. You can try and compensate with pin and distance constraints, but ultimately the solver doesn’t like deep hierarchies.

So how do you simulate tentacles with Ragdoll? To some extent you can’t. Shallow hierarchies is simply a limitation of the underlying technology we use (called Rigid Body Dynamics). Best you can do is try and keep hierarchies as shallow as you can; for example, if you assign to every-other control on that tentacle chain, and leave the inbetween controls either alone or Orient Constrain them to both parent and child with a 50/50 split, then you’ll already see more strength in the Markers. For situations like yours where you don’t necessarily care about contacts or creasing happening at each individual control - but care more about the overall motion - that approach should work fine. You may even get away with assigning to ever 5th or even 10th control.

The rider is very thin, a stick figure! He’ll act like one, like he’s got very little muscle. If you thicken him up - even beyond the thickness of the character mesh - you’ll find he’ll be much easier to work with. I can’t tell from the video, but has he got fingers? Fingers have the same problem as tentacles, in that they are also in the 5+ level of the hierarchy and complicate the life of a solver. At this resolution, I also wouldn’t expect you need fingers; beyond maybe a palm and unified Marker for all fingers combined.

He’s also a good candidate to either Reparent to the crab, such that the crab becomes its parent, or to use the newer Attach Constraint. If he’s a child, you can use the Translate Motion = Soft attribute on the hip to control how glued he is to be to the crab. Similar to the Translate Stiffness on the Attach Constraint.

Thank you for the feedback Marcus! You have convinced me, I now have 5 markers per tentacle chain which for this rig is 1 marker per 5 joints. I will try doing to orient constraint where I play with the weights between each marker (20/80, 40/60, 60/40, 80/20).

I anticipate your comments about the rider character will be extremely valuable as I get to that. Thanks again!

That’s it, you should find that a lot more controllable. Final thing I’d suggest is making them thickest at the base, and thin them out from there. It will make the base stronger and children lighter, both of which are good for more control.

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Ta-da! Here is just the ragdoll, I am going to try and get this recorded onto the rig and bring in the environment for a final upload, but in case I don’t beat the buzzer, this is my submission. I plan to finish it out and do a breakdown within the next couple of days. This was super fun!

Here it is with the environment.

Edit, I removed the missing textures.


July 31st 23:57 PM, cutting it close! :sweat_smile: But you made it!

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