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  1. #1
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    Default Multi-part Character Model

    I've been digging through the assets of various Unreal Engine based games, and I've noticed quite a few of them have separate heads from the main character model, and I was wondering... How do you go about combining the body + head in UDK so you could use them as a single coherent character? I know it's got something to do with socket use, but I can't figure out how it's done.

    Any thoughts on the subject?

  2. #2
    Iron Guard
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    Use the Unreal 3 Editor. You have to export and import characters as body part meshes. Other than that you could try making custom character editor in UDK similar to an inventory system in which you see the characters body/ armour change.

  3. #3
    Iron Guard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snufkin View Post
    Use the Unreal 3 Editor.
    What is that supposed to mean? :/

  4. #4
    Iron Guard
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    Quote Originally Posted by mktwo View Post
    What is that supposed to mean? :/
    Last time i checked you could mismatched character body parts in UE3 without doing too much.

  5. #5
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    Ok, you clearly missed the point of my question. I want to know how I make a character show up in my level with their head attached to the body.

  6. #6
    Iron Guard
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesdk View Post
    Ok, you clearly missed the point of my question. I want to know how I make a character show up in my level with their head attached to the body.
    Oh now i get it lol! Just export and import the character mesh as a whole.

  7. #7
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    Nope, you're still not getting it...

    Mass Effect characters consist of separate meshes for head and body, UT3 characters consist of head, shoulders, arms, body, legs and boots. I just want to know how you would go about combining those ingame to form a complete character.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesdk View Post
    Nope, you're still not getting it...

    Mass Effect characters consist of separate meshes for head and body, UT3 characters consist of head, shoulders, arms, body, legs and boots. I just want to know how you would go about combining those ingame to form a complete character.
    You want to be able to customise your character ingame like in RPG's akin to Mass Effect?

    If so you will need an inventory to show the body parts when picked and selected and some code or kismet that replaces the original mesh with the parts you want.

    I hope i got it right this time.

  9. #9
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    No I just want to know how you go about combining the pieces, be it in the editor or through UScript.

    Right now, if I set up a custom character mesh that is supposed to consist of a body and a head and spawn ingame it will have no head.. How do I tell the game that it should attach the head and spawn that as a part of the body?

  10. #10
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    Nobody knows?

  11. #11

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    Importt your separate pieces. So you have, eg a head skelMesh and another for the rest of the body.
    Open the larger skelMesh in the animSet viewer, then open the socket manager (near top left, looks like a red half sphere).
    Create a new socket, you'll need to choose the jointer socket is parented to. You'll prob want to use top spine joint or maybe neck depending on your joint layout. You'll be prompted to give the socket a name.
    In the socket properties there is a slot for previewSkelMesh, select your head in the asset browser and add it to this path. Your head should now appear as well in the animSet viewer (note this is a preview only). You will need to adjust your socket position and orientation to line the head up properly.

    Now to attach in a level;
    Bring in your body and head as skelMesh actors. In Kismet, create an attachToActor node and a character variable for each skelMesh actor. Connect each one to attach node. In node properties type the socket name in the bone name text field. Connect a levelLoadedAndVisible node to the attach node.

    Matt.

  12. #12
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Ahhh, the clouds part and the sun shines through.

    Thanks man, that was exactly the answer I was looking for. I thought I could join them in an editor setting somewhere and it never occurred to me that Kismet might be the answer.

    I guess this means I'll have to create a dummy character to spawn, then take possession of the "headless" pawn as soon as everything is loaded?

  13. #13
    Iron Guard
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    Why not import the whole mesh instead of body parts?

  14. #14
    Redeemer
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    Via kismet? What ever was just said.
    Via uscript? Components.
    This is handled natively by UT3, but I'm not sure about Mass Effect, AA3, Vegas2 etc.
    The idea is to have a head component, torso component etc, then just set their mesh during spawn.

    Its easy enough to attach different meshes together, but getting them to share the same skeleton and animation tree may be trickier then I first thought. I've never actually tried it... probably should considered I need to support this soon :P
    Kris Redbeard
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  15. #15
    Iron Guard
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    What are the benefits of importing characters this way as opposed to importing them as a whole mesh?

    Is it the deformation?

  16. #16
    Redeemer
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    You can more easily customise your character.
    I also need the ability to hide the head section from the owning player.
    Kris Redbeard
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowJusko View Post
    You can more easily customise your character.
    I also need the ability to hide the head section from the owning player.
    His character will be a turtle! rssss
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  18. #18
    Redeemer
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    Quote Originally Posted by xnasorcerer View Post
    His character will be a turtle! rssss
    True first person viewpoint.
    Camera located at eye position.
    If the head mesh stays on, you can see your teeth, inside your nose etc.
    If UT3 base, I would change the head material.
    With UDK I plan on just hiding it completely.
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  19. #19
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    I just tried importing a tank into udk- combined in maya- and when it imports the textures are not right and if I try to apply them the first texture I use covers the entire thing- not what its suppose to.

    So how would importing it all at once work??

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotorCity3D View Post
    I just tried importing a tank into udk- combined in maya- and when it imports the textures are not right and if I try to apply them the first texture I use covers the entire thing- not what its suppose to.

    So how would importing it all at once work??
    Did you notice the amount of slots when you apply a texture?

    Example a bridge i made has 4.

    Apply material - texture 1
    Apply material - texture 2
    Apply material - texture 3
    Apply material - texture 4

    Basically apply them in order you applied them in the 3d package.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snufkin View Post
    What are the benefits of importing characters this way as opposed to importing them as a whole mesh?

    Is it the deformation?
    If you create an RPG for example, you might want to have many different looking characters because it would seem pretty unrealistic with clone people.

    Now you could alter the whole body for every new character you are going to create, but it's much more efficient to just exchange some sockets to create different people. You can then have different clothes, heads, legs, etc. and can combine them to get much more variety.

    And since you are only importing the SkelMesh parts and not the whole body again and again, you might end up saving a lot of wasted space in your packages.



    But I wonderů how does this work with animations? Do you need to have one set of bones right from the torso and that set is also going to form the skeleton for all the body parts that are separated from that mesh, or do you just do the bones for one mesh part and then have the rest of the bones in the other mesh part where they belong to?

    Just think of creating a walking animation: The torso will move, but the legs and arms will also move and not just depending on the movement of the parent torso but also some own movements. Would you need to create a different set of animations for the arms, the torso and the legs as well?

  22. #22
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    No you use the same skeleton for everything, so the animations will work fine. That is to say, all animations will have the same root bone, so any forward movement of the body for instance, will also translate to the arms, legs, head, etc...

    The only difference from a single mesh character is that not all bones will have skins applied to them all the time.. as in, for instance a character that consists of a body, a set of arms, and a head wont have skin applied to the arm and head bones since they're skinned in different meshes.
    Last edited by mikesdk; 08-09-2010 at 01:33 PM.

  23. #23

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    So, if I was using 3ds max, how would i skin all the different body parts so they look right on the same skeleton?

    Do you export each body part as a separate mesh skinned to the same skeleton? Then import and open one of the meshes and attach pieces on via sockets?
    Last edited by taibo15; 08-23-2010 at 11:58 AM.

  24. #24
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    I have separate parts in my 3D app, when I exort using actor x- all I do is select the bone and it exports everything fine, If I export using fbx it doesnt work at all- the mesh is distorted and crazy.

    I had to change my texture also- instead of using 4 different textures at 2048x2048 I changed it to 4096x4096 and added the 4 textures to one texture file. Then just slid the uvs over to their spot on it.

  25. #25

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    I tried exporting just the arms of the UT3 male character. I selected the arms and "only selected" in actor X, but i got a "No valid skin triangles digested" error.

    Also, for making custom characters, how would you model and rig multiple skeletal meshes in 3ds max?

  26. #26
    Skaarj
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    Quote Originally Posted by peasjam View Post
    Importt your separate pieces. So you have, eg a head skelMesh and another for the rest of the body.
    Open the larger skelMesh in the animSet viewer, then open the socket manager (near top left, looks like a red half sphere).
    Create a new socket, you'll need to choose the jointer socket is parented to. You'll prob want to use top spine joint or maybe neck depending on your joint layout. You'll be prompted to give the socket a name.
    In the socket properties there is a slot for previewSkelMesh, select your head in the asset browser and add it to this path. Your head should now appear as well in the animSet viewer (note this is a preview only). You will need to adjust your socket position and orientation to line the head up properly.

    Now to attach in a level;
    Bring in your body and head as skelMesh actors. In Kismet, create an attachToActor node and a character variable for each skelMesh actor. Connect each one to attach node. In node properties type the socket name in the bone name text field. Connect a levelLoadedAndVisible node to the attach node.

    Matt.
    thank you,my problem solved.
    sorry for my bad english

  27. #27

    Default

    Do you have to skin every piece of equipment? ie if you have several boot meshes would you have to skin and weight every single one, or is there an easier way to make it so everything animates correctly?


 

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