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Modeling with Customization in Mind

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    Modeling with Customization in Mind

    So. I'm working on a game where the models will have different sets of armor and clothing to wear. The question is how to approach this? Assuming clothing are all plugs, does that mean I model torsos and feet and so on separate from the character, particularly if the garments have animations? Does that mean I basically load up a character with separate appendages?

    How does one go about the modeling for a game where your character is customizable?

    #2
    You would model each character at the base level. So basically naked. Clothes are added as components of a pawn in uscript.

    UDN: ActorComponents

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      #3
      I thought I might, but I also thought that one might model parts separately as well. I wasn't too sure. Thanks.

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        #4
        The correct solution for you will depend heavily upon how skillful the coders are on your team are.

        But since it sounds like you're back at the step of planning a strategy for modelling, know that it's always a good idea to make use of reusable components (meshes) for making character variations no matter if you later decide to import a bunch of unique characters or piece them together later via code.

        I can't speak for Maya, but in Max you can select multiple meshes which are all rigged to a common skeleton and export a psk file using ActorX that will import into UDK as a single mesh. The reason this is awesome is because you will save a ton of effort UV Unwrapping / Skinning the same basic stuff over and over again. Let's say you have 10 characters ... by the time you've weighted that 100th finger you're going to want to jab a pencil thru your eyeball. And if later you need to go tweak some weights on the thumbs, it's better to open one common hand mesh and tweak it once instead of having to go back and try to match it up on all the characters. [BTW - using Named Selection Sets is a great way to organize things so that from a drop down you can quickly snag this head, those boots, that belt, these hands, etc for a given character].

        One thing to watch out for though -> Unlike making a full single mesh for every character - be sure that the verts at the boundaries which line up to other mesh pieces have the exact same skin weights to the bones underneath. Otherwise, you may see gaps show up with the guy is animated.

        So for example, let's say all characters have the same basic arms but half the guys are barehanded and the other half are wearing gloves - other variations are coming from using different textures maybe. Make 1 set of arms, 1 set of hands and 1 set of gloves. Then make sure that if the mesh loop at the wrist on the arms where things line up are weighted, say, 90% to the forearm and 10% to the wrist - you'd better have the mesh loop at the back of the hands and gloves weighted to those bones with those same values or a gap will appear.

        Anyways ... yes, go with your first instinct.

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          #5
          That's what I was thinking I should do in the first place, because I was thinking precisely the same thing in regards to the multi-model modeling. In particular, I was speculating that it might be easier on the system AND me to just model parts and scale them appropriately when the character was created and customized.

          I figured this way, I could more rapidly create new characters, as well.

          The thing is, though, I'm pretty new to this whole thing. In particular, I'm new to UDK. So I have no idea what processes are easily handled and which are not handled at all. I simply know that garb should look alive, not static. So if I have to model animation into the garments, it would probably be a good idea to do that via separate components.

          If UDK handles rag doll physics, and does it well, maybe I don't have to. But I certainly don't want my character's chain to not swing.

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