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Character footprints and other environment-based functionality

I’m pretty good at handling materials, but with blueprints and character animation in UE4, I’m at a complete loss. I was wondering if it’s possible to import a character with animations and a proper animtree, then use blueprints to make accurate footprint decals for when each foot hits the ground, and then possibly use blueprints to pick up the physical material of the ground to change the character: so, if a character walks over mud, their shoes get more dirty, over water they get wet, etc? This is something I wanted to do since UDK but never got the chance to.

I do know animation in Maya, and I have worked with the modeling/rigging aspect of it before, and I know enough about material parameters and decals to make them look decent, but making a custom anim-tree and blueprint to support environment effects on the character seems way out of scope for me. I was wondering if anyone has done this before, or if anyone can point me in the right direction for how to do this?

For the footsteps: https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?59284-Snow-Footprints-with-Blueprint + https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?68381-Footprints-Spawn-Location-and-Rotation-
For your 2nd question -> you could add physical materials to your landscape which you will have to detect with a blueprint + change a value of your material so that the dirt parts get displayed. I havent done it before, but it should nearly work the same as in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgMk2dYtGxA :slight_smile:

Wow, you know what, I never thought of spawning particles! I just wish it was possible to group the footprints together and eliminate the draw calls: if I want the footprint to last for like a minute or so, that would result in hundreds of draw calls just for a small effect. But if it was possible to harness the power of GPU simulations and group it all into one draw call, I could make literally hundreds of thousands of footprints. They could last as long as the game is open.

Thanks for the help! Now I just need to learn how to import a custom character using the third-person camera blueprint. What fun :\

OK, I am running into more than just a few issues. An easy fix with particles doesn’t work because local space does not behave appropriately with lock axis. I’ll see if I can get a proper rotation with lock axis.

I’m desperately trying to get blueprints to work, but they’re not. I need an event to fire between anim notifies and blueprint, and for some reason I can’t establish a handshake. I guess I’ll just copy the other guy’s blueprint.

Edit: Copied most of the important pieces of blueprint (minus the switching capabilities, I just had it play a standard particle system/decal), and it’s still not working at all. I’m not sure how to fix this.

Yeah… any help on this would be great. I can get particle effects and sound effects to work directly on the animation timeline, but NOT via Blueprints at all. I kept just the code necessary to see if it will even play a sound when the anim notify event fires off, and it’s just not working! Also, I can’t use particle footprints because they don’t rotate in the right direction, and I wouldn’t be able to swap them out! Help!

OK, so I realized I was putting anim notifies in the character blueprint when they need to be in the animation blueprint. :frowning: Oops. So far I successfully managed to get sound and particles to play through blueprints using the hit detection, and get them in the proper location, but that’s it. I can’t select different sounds or particles based on a physical material, and for some reason, decal actors just aren’t spawning at all.

This is a weird bug: I’ll make a new Select node in Blueprints and choose “EPhysicalSurface” for the index, and none of the physical surface types are available for me to select between. I can only pass through one default sound effect or emitter effect, and nothing else.

Also, I can’t get decal actors to work for the life of me. Is this a bug?