I completely agree with Hoaxx. Game developers (especially indie) are in need for easy-to-use character creation pipeline tools which would generate models ready for using in a game engine in multiple scenarios - single character, first person, third person, cinematic sequences, crowds.
I’m a programmer, not a designer and I’m still struggling to assemble a reliable pipeline of tools for my hobby project. I don’t need anything fancy, just humanoid characters. But I need LOD level support for crowds, good quality textures, high level of facial customization (textures, beards, hear styles is a must), facial animations (some kind of audio lip sync would be great), ability to import and export meshes and materials in/from 3D software (preferably Blender) and using animations (built- in or 3rd party BVHs). Ideally, such a tool that should be fully compatible with Unreal Engine 4 and updated often enough to support latest stable versions.
I have looked at Mixamo Fuse, MakeHuman, Daz3D and iClone. All of them are useful and help achieve great things but currently you have to spend lots of time reading tutorials (many of them are outdated because of Blender and UE4 fast progress), solving compatibility issues (root bone issues, scaling etc.). Currently, it just takes unreasonable amount of time to assemble reliable character creation pipeline, even if all you need is somewhat realistically looking normal human NPCs running around and interacting with each other and game environment using a bunch of freely available BVH animations. For example, just look at this tutorial: https://wiki.unrealengine.com/Daz_Studio_To_UE4_(Tutorial)_Part_1 - the tutorial is great, covers even LODs, but it’s insane amount of work, and now consider that you will have to repeat many parts of it when you adjust some body morphing slider in the character customization software. Or another tutorial here: https://wiki.unrealengine.com/Workflow:_MakeHuman_and_Blender - full of “maybe you don’t need this setting in newer Blender versions”. Maybe. That’s a nightmare.
I’m ready to pay a reasonable price for a good tool, but 699$ is too much. I know that iClone pipeline is really powerful, but it seems to have lots of things I don’t need at all and does not have some things I need. @Reallusion, you have the experience and resources to help us, please create a stripped down character creation iClone pipeline targeted at game developers (similarly to how Modo Indie and MayaLT are doing) but please do it right - do some investigation, polls, communication with game developers to find out which features will be required and which ones could be sacrificed to reduce the price. I’d say, 200$ would be acceptable price for such a tool.