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Introduction

MayaFPS is a plugin for Autodesk® Maya® which implements first person camera controls. It allows controlling the perspective camera in Maya using traditional first person shooter controls (WASD for movement, mouse to look around). This is very useful and saves a lot of time for a lot of scene types, like game levels and architectural walkthroughs.


Voice work by Matthew Quinlan

MayaFPS Requirements

In order to use MayaFPS, you will need the following:

Installing MayaFPS

After you've purchased MayaFPS, you should receive an email containing a download link as well as a license key. The download is a compressed archive (zip). Save the zip file to your computer, and extract it to a known location. Make backup copies of the downloaded zip file as well as the license key as you see fit, but please don't share them with anyone.

Before you can use the MayaFPS, you need a valid license. The following section describes how to generate a license.

Generating a License

While a license is only valid for one particular computer, you can generate more than one license per license key (see licensing considerations). MayaFPS doesn't have an installer application. Open the "License Manager" folder and use the License Manager application to generate a license using the license key you received by email. You need internet access to generate a license, but after that a license can be used indefinitely without requiring internet connection.


License Manager Screenshot

If you are going to use MayaFPS on the same computer on which the license manager is running, then click on the "Generate License For This Computer..." button. You will then be asked to enter the license key, as well as choose where you want the license to be saved. The license manager will then connect to an authentication server and, upon successful authentication, generate a license.

If you want to generate a license for a computer which doesn't have internet access, run the license manager on that computer, and retrieve the Machine ID string from the bottom area of the license manager (see screenshot). This string uniquely identifies the computer. Using a wrong Machine ID for licensing may result in an invalid license, so please copy the machine ID carefully.

Once you've retrieved the Machine ID for the target computer, run the license manager again on a computer which has internet access, and click on "Generate License For Another Computer...". The procedure then is identical to generating a license for the local computer, except that in addition to the license key, you will be required to provide the Machine ID identifying the target computer.

At this point the license manager should present you with a message informing you that it has successfully generated a license. You are encouraged to make backup copies of the generated license. If you have any problems generating a license, please refer to the troubleshooting section.

Loading MayaFPS

Once a valid license has been generated for the target computer, load MayaFPS in Maya as you would any other Maya plugin. Open the Plugin Manager: Go to Windows > Settings/Preferences > Plugin Manager. From there, click on the browse button and locate the MayaFPS plugin file corresponding to your version of Maya. The plugin files are all located in the mll folder in the extracted archive.

To make MayaFPS available for auto-loading when Maya starts, it needs to be in a Maya plug-in path. You can place the MayaFPS mll files in the default plug-ins folder (typically C:\Program Files\Autodesk\<MayaVersion>\bin\plug-ins). Alternatively, you can add any path on your system to Maya's plug-in paths and then place the MayaFPS mll files there. To add a path to Maya's plug-in paths, open the Maya environment file (typically "My Documents\Maya\2012\Maya.env") and add the following:

MAYA_PLUG_IN_PATH = C:\example plugins path\

Alternatively, set the environment variable in your PC: My Computer > Properties > Advanced > Environment Variables, and then add the folder to MAYA_PLUG_IN_PATH.

If you have not placed the license in the same folder where the MayaFPS mll files are, MayaFPS will ask you to locate the license. This only needs to be done once, unless the license is moved and MayaFPS can no longer find it.

Assuming no errors occur, MayaFPS will load and display the Welcome/start-up dialog (see screenshot). Consult the Maya documentation for information about how to set up a plugin to be loaded automatically when Maya starts.


Welcome Dialog Screenshot

Uninstalling MayaFPS

As mentioned earlier, MayaFPS doesn't have an installer. In order to remove MayaFPS from your system, make sure it is not leaded inside Maya and then simply delete MayaFPS's files. Make sure you make backup copies of the deleted MayaFPS files, as well as any licenses you had previously generated using the License Manager.

Updating MayaFPS

Demo Users

Simply download the latest version from the download page on the website and replace the old mll files.

Full-version Users

Please click here.

Using MayaFPS

Once MayaFPS is loaded, you can use first person camera controls in perspective views in Maya. The following describes how to use MayaFPS.

MayaFPS Settings

You can bring up the settings dialog by pressing and holding down RMB (+ any required modifiers) and pressing F2, or by executing the mel command mayafps -settings.


Settings Dialog Screenshot

NOTE: Always remember to click the 'Apply' button after making changes in the Settings window.

Settings File

MayaFPS stores its settings in a file stored in your application data folder. To access that folder on recent versions of Windows, type %appdata% in the Run bar in the Start Menu.

Following is a description of all the settings on the dialog.

Activation

These settings control which mouse button and which keyboard modifiers are used to engage first person controls.

Default: Activate On: Right-Mouse-Button. Keyboard modifiers: NONE

NOTE: If you use RMB as the activation button without any keyboard modifiers, then you can invoke Maya's Marking Menu by tapping LMB while RMB is pressed.

NOTE: Modifier keys need to be pressed only at the time the activation button is pressed. Once first person controls are engaged, you can release any modifier keys. This is important to keep in mind, since MayaFPS uses CTRL and SHIFT to adjust camera movement speed.

NOTE: It's not recommended to use the Windows Logo (WIN) key alone as a modifier, as MayaFPS will not try to suppress Windows' Start Menu.

Movement

These settings allow you to control how MayaFPS moves the camera in response to keyboard movement shortcuts (WASD+QE).

Movement Speed

Default: 1

This controls the speed at which the camera moves in the scene when the user presses any of the movement keys while first person controls are engaged. Note that movement speed can also be adjusted while first person controls are engaged by using the mouse wheel.

Walk/Run Factor

Default: 2.5

This value controls how much the camera's movement speed is affected when the user presses CTRL or SHIFT while first person controls are engaged. CTRL and SHIFT are used to temporarily increase or decrease movement speed, similar to walking and running in most first person shooter games.

When SHIFT is pressed: final movement speed = movement speed * factor
When CTRL is pressed: final movement speed = movement speed / factor

Tweak Factor

Default: 1.25

This value controls how much effect using the mouse wheel has on the movement speed. Recall that you can adjust the movement speed with the mouse wheel while first person controls are engaged without having to use the settings dialog. A lower value results in finer but slower changes to movement speed. For each wheel scroll, movement speed is multiplied or divided by this value, depending on the scrolling direction. That is:

When scrolling away from you: new movement speed = movement speed * factor
When scrolling towards you: new movement speed = movement speed / factor

Horizontal/Vertical Speed Factor

Default: 1.0

These values affect the horizontal and vertical movement speeds of the camera, respectively.

When moving the camera horizontally: Final movement speed = movement speed * Horizontal Speed Factor
When moving the camera vertically: Final movement speed = movement speed * Vertical Speed Factor

CAPSLOCK Locks Movement Plane

Default: true

If this is set to 'true', MayaFPS will restrict the camera's movement to the horizontal plane when CAPSLOCK is toggled on. This simulates the movement of a character walking on the ground plane while looking up or down.

Looking

These settings allow you to fine-tune the way MayaFPS rotates the camera in response to mouse movement.

Sensitivity

Default: 1

This value controls how much the camera rotates in response to mouse movement. This value corresponds to the "mouse sensitivity" or "looking sensitivity" setting typically found in first person shooter games. Note that this value can be adjusted without using the Settings dialog by pressing '1' and '2' while first person controls are engaged.

Tweak Factor

Default: 1.025

This value controls how much effect using the '1' and '2' keys have on mouse sensitivity. A lower value results in finer but slower control over mouse sensitivity.

When pressing the '1' key: new sensitivity = sensitivity * factor
When pressing the '2' key: new sensitivity = sensitivity / factor

Smoothing

Default: 50, range is 0 to 100

MayaFPS smooths mouse input to avoid jerkiness while rotating the camera. This value controls the amount of smoothing to apply on mouse input. Higher values result in smoother but less responsive rotations, while lower values result in quicker but possibly jerky rotations. Setting this value to 0 effectively disables mouse smoothing.

moothing Interval

Default: 130ms

This value controls the time duration (in milliseconds) for mouse input samples used for smoothing rotations. When you move the mouse while first person controls are engaged, MayaFPS will average all mouse input samples that are not older than this value. A higher value will result in smoother but less responsive rotations, while lower values result in quicker but possibly jerky rotations. Setting this value to 0 effectively disables mouse smoothing.

Controls

You can customize the keys used by MayaFPS in this section.

NOTE: These keys are only used while first person controls are engaged.
NOTE: Please only use single-key shortcuts. MayaFPS does not support using multi-key shortcuts in this section.

Individual items in the Controls section will not be discussed as they are self-explanatory.

Camera's Tumble Pivot

Most users will use first person shooter controls in addition to Maya's own camera navigation tools. Maya's tumble tool uses either the camera's tumble pivot or the camera's center of interest point to tumble about.

MayaFPS can update either of those after the user has finished navigating the camera using first person shooter controls. MayaFPS calculates the new point based on the Tumble Pivot Distance setting described below.

Modify Tumble Pivot

Default: off

Specifies if MayaFPS should update the camera's tumble pivot after the user has finished navigating the camera using first person shooter controls. MayaFPS uses the Tumble Pivot Distance to update the camera's tumble pivot if this option is selected.

Modify Center of Interest

Default: off

Specifies if MayaFPS should update the camera's center of interest after the user has finished navigating the camera using first person shooter controls. MayaFPS uses the Tumble Pivot Distance to update the camera's center of interest if this option is selected.

Tumble Pivot Distance

Default: 15

Specifies the new tumble distance from the camera that should be used after the user has finished navigating the scene using first person shooter controls. This value is used only if either "Modify Tumble Pivot" or "Modify Center of Interest" is checked.

Usage considerations

Licensing Considerations

Contact & Support

If you have any problems using MayaFPS, or any questions not answered in this document, please visit us at code-section.com. You can find updated information there, as well as any updates or fixes that may have become available after you've purchased MayaFPS. You can also post your questions or thoughts and join discussions about MayaFPS. You can also find contact information so that you can contact the author of MayaFPS. If you do, please include the 'MayaFPS' in the subject line. I will try my very best to respond to all emails as soon as possible.


Appendix

Adding Shelf Buttons

MayaFPS adds a mel command that you can use to enable/disable MayaFPS or access the settings window. You can add a button to a shelf in Maya for easy access to these features. To add a button to enable/disable MayaFPS, do the following: