Sentinel Swarm Rig
During the development of Halo Wars 2 we had the requirement of creating a series of animations for a swarm of units called 'sentinels'. These needed to carry out a series of behaviours such as spiral around a point, flex in and out as well as warp around terrain.
The utilisation of particles in engine was not an option for this specific task, and thus I created this rig. It utilises a closed surface ribbon which has its control points tied to various controls allowing the ribbon to be stretched, pulled and scaled. It then has a series of follicles attached to the surface that have their U and V parameters driven by various animatable sliders.
To ensure a good amount of variability the follicles were separated out into multiple groups, each of which can be offset in both U, V and W (off the surface) as well as in speed and time. This setup allowed us to create loop-able but visually interesting animationswith the modifying of only a few parameters.
To support the rig there was an accompanying script which could be run at any time which would ensure all the sentinels were always facing in the direction they would hit in 'n' frames time - where 'n' is variable and can be adjusted to give a stronger sense of foresight or lag.
The result was used to create the swarm effects throughout mission capture points of Mission 2 & Mission 3 as well as environmental affects (sentinels flying around under and above the level).