MoonSpider’s Harold

  • Lead character modeler
  • Character skinning
  • MEL scripting & support
  • Animator

This was a rare project where I wanted to work on based on the pitch alone.  Loris Malek’s enthusiasm was infectious, to say the least.

While I was hired on primarily as an animator, I spent much of my time at the studio modeling and skinning the characters and animals, and writing mel scripts.

Probably the two most important scripts I wrote were our exporter, and an IK-FK matching tool.  Our characters were rigged for squash and stretch, which wasn’t supported by Unity.  I found a way to get it to work, but it meant that the characters needed to be exported a specific way, and that any unnecessary components got stripped out.

One of the game’s characters is named Mini-Drago, because he’s based on Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, but is a little-person.  One of my ideas for him was from misquoting the movie – I thought it’d be fun if all he could or would say was “I must crush you!”, but the other characters would understand him based on the context.

The girl was one of the last characters to be designed, and also one of the most fought-over designs.  The initial concepts weren’t bad, most of us just didn’t feel they fit with the style of the other characters.  At some point Craig Maras designed a woman based on some of the ladies of Key Biscayne.  This was just for fun and wasn’t intended for the game, but one image of the title character blindly running face-first into her cleavage sold it.

The girl became somewhat irritating to me, later on.  At one point, after seeing the animation Craig was going for Harold, and the animations others were doing for Drago and the Rival, I joked that there wouldn’t be animations left for me by the time I was done with the models.  “Don’t worry, we’ll save the girl for you”, Loris told me.  He wasn’t joking.  Because of my own pinup girls, he determined that I was perfect for the job, and that was that; no talking him out of it.  I felt typecast.  I had enough pinup girls in my portfolio already, I didn’t need another one.

Another reason I didn’t want to animate the girl – in Loris’s eyes, she needed to be perfect.  All of the other characters were allowed to be funny and ridiculous, but not the girl – it was decided she needed to be sexy and graceful at all times.  The only ridiculous thing about her is the way her butt moves – the Miami double-bounce, we called it.