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Multi-part Character Model

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  • 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
    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.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Snufkin View Post
      Use the Unreal 3 Editor.
      What is that supposed to mean? :/

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      • #4
        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.

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        • #5
          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.

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          • #6
            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.

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            • #7
              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.

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              • #8
                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.

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                • #9
                  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?

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                  • #10
                    Nobody knows?

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                    • #11
                      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.

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                      • #12
                        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?

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                        • #13
                          Why not import the whole mesh instead of body parts?

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                          • #14
                            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

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                            • #15
                              What are the benefits of importing characters this way as opposed to importing them as a whole mesh?

                              Is it the deformation?

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