Rigging a Roller Coaster in MODO 401
A little fun with animation...
A fellow MODO user on the Luxology forum, Karlsson, contributed a great script , that creates an IK rig that's perfect for this kind of thing, so I've decided to make a little project/tutorial out of it. I'll include some insane features that you won't find on an actual coaster, to keep it fun.
Here's an animation of the first sample rig I created to test out the script. Works great!
(A little fast, of course, just to keep the demo short)
Knowing that the kinematics work, I can now start to build realistic-looking parts, and place them where the proxies are now. I'll re-design the "route" as the project goes on. After doing a little research on roller coasters, I understand the basic parts well enough to get started, and here they are. Each 4-person car occupies 3 track segments. That means that these short track segments can be slightly twisted, to conform to the curves I'll create. Each wheel set has both an upper and lower wheel, to grip the track firmly at any angle.
One of the 3-segment track sections with a 4-person passenger car
Here are six of the sections above, stuck together.
Handling all the geometry...
The very handy script I'm using to constrain the track segments to the curve creates duplicates, not "clones", "instances", or "replicators". So, with something like 1500 track segments, the file size (below) is already over 60 MB. I'm trying some different approaches to reduce this.
First, I removed the squarish=track supports, and substituted MODO's new "renderable curves". That helped a little. Another approach I'll try is simply reducing the length of the ride by about 1/3rd or so. Regardless, this is interesting, and here are the results so far.
Previous squarish track supports replaced with renderable curves
The model in MODO
Here are two OpenGL renders of the setup... One from the external view, and one from the front camera.
On my system, this rig is a little tedious to work with, because of the huge number of parts. (over 1500 track sections, for example) So, I'm moving on, and have contributed this file to the MODO community. Perhaps another user will make something nice out of it. It was fun!