27th March 2023
R32 is our first General Access release!
As well as many bug fixes across all features, here are the main changes (NB - Please go to the FirstStage Help Centre for detailed information on all FirstStage functionality):
FirstStage now has comprehensive documentation! We have rewritten and re-organised the old docs which were written during development and were often out of date.
This is an ongoing effort of course, so please let us know where things are missing, out of date or just confusing!
- Cameras now support attach and follow behaviours with control over the damping to allow tighter or looser tracking.
- The look behaviour of cameras now has a similar control (Slack) over how quickly the camera tracks when the target moves.
- The Through The Lens control room has an improved control panel to manage follow and look behaviours.
- The TTL room also has a list of all cameras in the scene allowing you to switch between cameras without leaving the room.
- You can now independently select which sets of assets you see: public, project and/or local.
- With the Sketcher, you can no longer accidentally draw a path with crossing edges which would produce broken geometry.
- Cutting faces is much more robust with the Sketcher.
- The Lathe, Cylinder Section, and Sphere Section now have inspectable properties to control level of detail.
The Waldo has been greatly improved:
- You can now choose which set of axes the Waldo moves along: world, target or local.
- You can set the linear and angular snaps directly from the Waldo.
- You can move the Waldo to a more comfortable position.
- Undo/Redo now have more informative descriptions for edits.
- You can now use a voice command "screenshot" or "screengrab" to grab a screenshot while in VR. (Requires Windows Voice Recognition.)
Motion Capture Improvements
Motion Capture is a major part of FirstStage and is under continual development and as a result Release 30 brings many improvements and more will follow!
The panel for setting up the mocap session has been re-organised. The following options are available:
- Record Speech - Enable this to record whatever you say during the mocap session. Useful for reading through a script.
- Grip Motion - Enable this to allow you to move during mocap using the grip buttons as you would outside mocap. This is primarily useful if you want to climb ladders etc. Note that the legs will not automatically follow: you will need to fix this with poses afterwards or use feet trackers and mime climbing insync with grabbing.
- Allow Grab - Enable this to allow you to pick up props during mocap. Note that you will only be able to pick up props that have been flagged as Holdable via the Inspector. This stops you inadvertently picking stuff up or picking up the wrong thing.
- Walk to Mark - Enable this to allow you to point at a mark with your left hand and click the trigger to make your puppet walk to it and you will follow.
- Locomotion - Enable this and your puppet will follow you as you walk around your work area in reality.
- Keep Vertical - Disable this to allow your puppet to rotate away from the vertical. Useful for puppets attached to moving things - but beware the experience can be uncomfortable if you don’t have good VR legs.
- Drive Pivot - Disable this if you want your puppet to follow a previous animation layer.
Walking around the Work Area
When you move around your work area, your puppet will follow (if Locomotion has been enabled). Previously, this was a rather clumsy procedural effect that looked like a drunken stagger. This has been upgraded to blend from a set of library animations. This is a big improvement but there is still a tendency for the puppet to lag behind you and small moves can suffer.
Walk to Mark
When enabled, your left hand controller casts a beam (just like the Navigator) with a green target at the end. To walk to the target mark, press the Menu button (Vive) or B button (Index or Oculus). Note unlike the Navigator it is not bound to the trigger as that is needed for grabbing things.
Your puppet will then walk to the target and then stop. However you can change your destination at any time and the puppet will then move in that direction.
When you hold a prop, the prop will try to follow your controller (imagine a strong spring between it and you); the puppet’s hand will then match the prop. This can mean your real hand and your puppet’s hand don’t match, particularly if the prop collides with scenery.
For example, imagine placing a mug on a desk, you don’t want the mug to go through the desk yet you have no feedback in virtual reality where that is. So the mug gets stopped by the desk even if your real hand carries while your puppet’s hand is still correctly holding the mug.
You can now pick things up with two hands. This is another case where your puppet’s hands will track the held prop and your real hands may be separated from them.
Note that things must be flagged as Holdable in the Inspector to be picked up now.
You can now record voice via a mic connected to your PC at the same time as you record facial mocap on your iPhone.
A facial rig is now automatically provided for Reallusion’s CC3 characters.
Importing External Mocap
You can now import human animation clips (e.g. from the Unity asset store, or Rokoko Studio) via the Unity Editor and FirstStage Repository Manager.
Animation clips will appear in the Asset Browser as a manequin playing out the particular animation. Grab it and drop it on a character to use it at the current timeline position.
FirstStage now supports both the Oculus Rift and the Oculus Quest 2 (via Oculus Link or wifi Airlink).
Controller bindings are the same as for the Index controllers but without the touchpad as an alternative to the joystick.
Though FirstStage requires the PC connection to run in Authoring mode, watch out for future announcements of a Player mode that will run standalone on the Quest 2!
Other Fixes and Improvements
We had some issues with users not reliably connecting to the same session. To fix this, when several people are working together one of them is now designated the host. If that person disconnects, one of the others will chosen and automatically become the new host. This will not affect anything for any of the remaining users, but the process should now work much better than before.
The Waldo now has a slide switch allowing you to choose which space the axes are aligned with:
- Local was the previous behaviour and aligns the axes with your work area.
- World aligns the axes with the world grid - North/South, East/West, Up/Down
Target aligns the axes with the selected thing allowing you to move it along the thing’s natural axes.
Note that in the Target case, when you rotate the object, the axes will also follow and rotate.
The Asset Browser has been re-organised around a central desk to hold the tags and other controls.
The desk height can be changed by proximity grabbing it and lifting, or by adjusting your height and position in front of it.
New Parametric Shapes
To help with set building, there are several new shapes: Sphere Section and Cylinder Section. They can be found under the Shape tag in the Asset Browser.
- Sphere Section - Gives you control over the external and internal radii, the sweep angle around the vertical axis, and the top and bottom extents. The handles for these are enabled with Edit Shape on the Inspect menu and work similarly to Sketches.
- Cylinder Section - Gives you control over the external and internal radii, the sweep angle around the vertical axis, and the top and bottom extents. The handles for these are enabled with Edit Shape on the Inspect menu and work similarly to Sketches.