Game Rigging Guidelines

For complete procedures on how to rig a character, see About Character Rigging.

The following is a list of general guidelines to keep in mind when rigging your character. As you're planning the character rig for your game, keep in mind the style of the character, and create your custom colour palette. However, there are some limitations to consider if you plan to extract the game data:

  • Set your Harmony scene to be a square resolution (e.g. 1024 x 1024). You can do this in the Scene Setting dialog box—see Scene Settings Dialog Box.
  • Nudge layers in Z space if you need to reorder layers. However, significant Z offsets are not supported within a character rig.
  • Make every layer in your game engine a separate scene in Harmony. If you have two characters at different depths, put them in separate scene files.
  • Character rigs in groups at the root level of your Harmony scene will render to a single plane in Unity, but use separate sprite sheet and animation data sets. Keep this in mind for scenes in which you may have more than one character interacting with each other.
  • Don’t use any effects. Effects are not interpreted by game engines. Use only direct hierarchy, drawing swaps, and keyframe animation.
  • Set your pivot points on Peg layers using the Rotate tool to set the pivot on the entire layer. Peg pivots are recommended over drawing pivots. You should also set the pivot points on your drawing layers, even if you don’t animate on them, as this will allow you to retrieve the information later on in the game engine if you need to put a locator on a drawing layer.
  • Deformations can be used and then baked out to individual drawings. These drawings will then show up as new drawings in your sprite sheet. Be wary of doing this too often as it will increase your texture space!
  • For your pegs, when you animate, use Bezier curves and set them to Separate. If you use 3D Path, it’s heavier than Separate.
  • Be mindful of where you put your character before exporting. The master pivot of your exported game object will be the center of your Harmony scene (0,0).
  • Be sure to have a Display at the end of your hierarchy.

Keeping these tips in mind will allow you to create a tight, efficient 2D game character in Harmony while taking advantage of all the great tools.

Here are some things you should do:

  • Create a simple parent-child relationship hierarchy in the Timeline view.
  • Use peg layers to contain keyframe animation data, set to Separate Position.
  • Use drawing layers to draw on, creating new drawings when needed.
  • Use the Rotate tool to set the pivot points on the peg layers.
  • Name your layers properly so if you need to fetch a specific layer’s pivot point later on in the game engine, you can easily recognize the layer you need. If you have a top-level Group A, which has a child group inside it (Group B), and the drawing layer is a child of Group B, then the drawing layer is exported as A_B_DrawingLayer.
  • Set your anchors and props, see—Setting Anchors and Props

You can use any of the drawing tools you want: Pencil and Brush tools, textured lines, solid areas, and gradients. Each individual drawing will be rendered out and assembled into a sprite sheet later.

NOTE Because the Unity game engine does not support Unicode characters, it is recommended to avoid using it in scenes intended for games.