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Help with character customisation

Hi guys,

I don’t want to talk too much about my project yet as its in the very early stages. I am a total noob so feel free to abuse me but I am not thick though. Basically step one is characters for me as its going to be a massive thing in this game. I want a character customisation close to that of saints row but with a class based medieval fantasy theme. Basically I want to give the player loads of freedom, male and female models with body customisation and facial customisation and the ability to equip different items obtained in game (swords, bows, staffs, armour) and preform different complex animations based on the class. I’m not really decided on caricature or photo-realism but I think caricature would be easier.

Basically I have no idea where to start on this is there any videos or assets that would help me? I’ve looked at youtube and i’m not really finding any guide that meets my demanding needs. Can anyone help?

no one then

Hello [USER=“3101832”]ollie hillman[/USER],

I’m the developer of BAD MORFO: Multiuser 3D Hyperbasher. I concur with prioritizing the customization system as we’re also doing this for our SciFI FTPS ExORION. The truth is there many ways to approach ‘Customization’ so you will not find a Youtube that caters specifically to implementing one in UnrealEngine. However, you will plenty of videos like this one to get a high-level concept of how Customization Systems are implemented.

Before I starting to script/code anything, I conducted research into how customization is pulled of in variety of game types, not just those with humanoid characters. I created myself a design document to devise my approach as I reviewed many types of in-game construction and customization systems for characters, robots, creatures, weapons, vehicles. The goal of the research was to identify common features all of the systems used. I determined the common features were:

  • Modular Parts: Attach / Swap / Adjust Meshes, Materials, Bones, and MorphTargets.

I also discovered in this research that the primary Performance concern is Drawcalls for modular content. So I also was figuring out how to solve these issues. With some basic ideas in writing, I proceed to prototype in UE4, learning UE4 Blueprints in the process. Characters are complex entities and can make use of all the features, so I elected to start with a character to implement the most difficult features first.

So here are my recommendations for you If you’re going the Do-It-Yourself route:

  1. Learn some basics about UMG so you can create a GUI Widgets sliders and buttons to perform in-game attachment, mesh transformation adjustment, material parameter and morphtarget adjustment.
  2. Learn about the UE4 Mannequin Skeletal Mesh. Skeletal Mesh contain bones, animation, sockets and morphtargets. Bones/Sockets are used to attach other Actors/Components too.
  3. Once you have an understanding of the Bones/Sockets. You can start learning how to attach/swap other Actor and Components to its bones/sockets.
  4. Next Learn to import Skeletal Meshes witih MorphTargets. There are several video tutorials on importing a DAZ3D Character into UnrealEngine.
  5. Learn about Material Parameters. You can do a lot within just material customization alone.

After learning all of this, you will be able to create a Character Customization system anyway you see fit. This may take up to 1 year. If you want to save time, wait for BAD MORFO to be published (mid/late Feb 2019) :slight_smile: or pickup one of the other Character Customization systems readily available in the marketplace like this one.

If I want my main character to be able to change the equipment (in a single player TPS), do I need to split the body in to several pieces ? Or is it ok to put the “cloth” or equipment over the body mesh like in real life ? What about talk animations ? Do I need to separate the head from the body to do that ?

Hello @User345546056,

I’m using both methods. You may need to use both methods dependent on your games customization system. Traditional cloth systems, actually swapped skeletal meshes as realtime cloth form-fit has a expensive in performance. Another performance concern, is multiple draw calls with separate parts that have to be animated. To pull off a customization system you want, you can optimize in other areas to compensate.

You do not need to separate head from body to talk, you can include facial morphtargets and bones in the head of the body.

To reduce draw calls that are caused by the multiple parts you can merge skeletal meshes as stated here:
https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-us/…lar-Characters

Have you tried it out ? I haven’t since my meshes aren’t ready yet…

Btw: How do you rig hair ? Are hair treated like cloth pieces so that they have the same skeletal rig and added to the Master Pose Component ? Or can I just add one bone to the hair (inside Blender) and attach them to the head bone via Attach To Component ?

What is "BAD MORFO”?