View Full Version : modular characters
11-10-2007, 05:33 PM
im trying to do something i see a lot in games...but not sure how it is done. setting up a modular character. so i figure doing a multi sub in max so each part has its own map would be the best way of going about this... but baking out normal maps with a multi sub or taking it into zbrush both seem to not work. so breaking up the mesh then baking or taking it to zb, but lining up the seems where there is nothing covering the area seems to be too tedious. any clues out there. a bare chested dude with a different material on the head, chest and hands.
hope this made sense, think of a oblivion character bare chested. think they just unwrapped it all on one sheet, seems like that would be a huge waste of space when armor is covering it most of the game.
Been working on this very problem for about 2 months so I feel your pain /images/graemlins/smile.gif I have a system down, but unfortunately I can't post anything.
I'm not sure where it's not working out for you, but it's not as complicated as you'd first think. In the example of a naked model, I export the high poly from Z as a complete model into Maya where I have the in game model in its separate component parts of torso, head, etc. (which each have their own maps and uv layouts) I just go ahead and generate normal maps from the high to each target piece one after the other, and everything matches up perfectly, with no visible normal seams in game.
11-10-2007, 07:55 PM
Also possible to solve seams too if you want to hard-swap body parts, using a cut-up game model. Just have to get the Max exporter to read edited normals. Works great. Line up all the body parts, as they should be, select all, add an Edit Normals modifier, select the normals and... can't recall the buttonology here but there's a way to auto-average all normals along the seams. We do it with landscape tiles, works flawlessly.
Never collapse to Editable Mesh though... kills edited normals. Also have to Reset Xforms if you rotate a mesh, otherwise edited normals go freaky.
For a character I imagine it's a bit more complicated. Bone/skin the meshes with the same weights along their open-edges, etc.
11-11-2007, 03:05 AM
richkid, I've worked with a good few systems like this. When possible, you don't want to use submaterials, it slows things down. The standard solution is to dedicate seperate uv sections to each body part and have the engine swap textures. This means when the arms are covered with armor, the naked arm texture is covered by the armor texture.
You'll need a good system for where seams go and design armor and clothes accordingly.
11-12-2007, 10:38 AM
thank ya boys, once i have tried it i will post up a pic.
per, yeah, ive seen the uv space method before. wouldnt that lead to way oversized textures with not much of the space actually in use. like once the body is covered you would just have a corner for the head texture, and the rest would be unused. that was my only concern with that method
11-12-2007, 05:02 PM
richkid: I think maybe my explanation wasn't clear - the texture is never unused. If the character is naked, it's all used for the naked limbs, if he's dressed, the same sections are used for the clothes/armor. It's exactly like an inventory system in an rpg.
Componented character hell. Welcome to the ever growing expectation of gamers that everything on their character needs to be able to swap out with a completely new asset everytime they equip something new in the inventory. /images/graemlins/smile.gif
yup, spent 8 months helping to develop such a system. enough to give you nightmares:)
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