Note: Before I go into detail, just be aware these won’t be coming too soon! I’ve recently moved from Maya to Modo so I’m still getting used to the new interface and stuff.
I’ve noticed a lack of characters on the marketplace and a few people have asked for them, but what sort of characters would you be looking for? I’m willing to put in the time to create characters, animate them etc if there’s enough demand! (or even if there isn’t that much really, all for the community!).
What you will get:
80k to 100k poly character models (if you think this is too high, let me know. For reference, Ryse was around 80k - 100k polys from what I understand).
High quality 2k and 4k textures.
Many animations that can be modified.
The aim will be to rig the models so other animation packs can be used (such as the animset pro packs).
I could also make NPC’s with lower poly’s etc if required but the aim will be either individual characters or character packs for playable characters.
I have no idea what kind of characters would sell on the store. One thing that might increase sales is a certain amount of customization - blendshapes to change the build and some of the features. I would think that with the exception of entry-level hobbyist games, most developers won’t want to use hero characters that are also used in other games. If you could provide some customization options, I think that would increase the number of developers who interested in buying.
In our case, our hero assets will be done in-house, but we’re a small team, so I’d be happy to buy characters for second-tier and background/crowd characters if I could make them fit with the look of our game and not be obviously the same as characters in other games.
I was going to offer customization options but I don’t know ‘what’ yet. I was thinking of seeing if there’s a way to split the mesh into ‘parts’ that could then be modified such as larger muscles, more body fat etc. Not sure on that just yet though as I haven’t tried it. I’m more testing the waters to see what people would want.
The other option is for creatures or generic NPC’s as most games would need those. You’ve definitely got me thinking of how I can add customization to these characters though…
I’d want to see: Generic Male and Female “base” characters, both in zbrush/hipoly quad meshes and final UV unwrapped low poly versions. 100k is far too much for most uses. I’d stick closer to 30k as a useful ballpark, with extra for things like beltkit and the like.
I’d like to see a reasonable UV layout that allows you to switch clothes using layers. The rocketbox guys do a good job there (check out their characters and pay particular attention to how they do layered PSD’s so you can alter things like *****/pants/belts by simply switching layers on and off.
I’d like to see a body + head arrangement so that the head is separate (and can have its own facial bone right and morph shapes) in much the same way as Mass Effect does theirs.
The point is to allow people to take what you give them and modify it a bit to get what they need. So add a new texture to get a new bit of clothing, do a new morph target and change the texture for a new head etc.
Personally into sci fi themes right now. I’d prefer the characters without animations included. Just rigged to the standard Epic skeleton. I like your poly targets, I don’t feel like there’s any reason to be holding back on characters these days, GPUs can handle tens of millions of polys with ease. Multiple games are breaking 100K for main characters now.
The issue with heavily customizable characters is that you basically need an editor plugin that can modify a base mesh in numerous ways. People want this so that they don’t have a “generic UE4 marketplace character” but you can’t get that kind of uniqueness, it’s why stuff like Mixamu Fuse, Autodesk’s equivalent, and Makehuman are insufficient. Your primary characters need to be hand done. Even a really good manipulation tool in the editor is going to be somewhat obvious. It would take way too much work to get something that can produce endless unique meshes and textures. I’m personally fine without much customization.
Highly Customizable. The more granular the better. Some Devs desire customizable Characters in their games, ie RPGs.
I’ve been pondering over this for some time, drawing inspiration from DAZ3D Gensis, and other customization systems. I’m categorize Customizable Characters by Skeletal Rig and designing Basebody Compatible to the Skeletal Rig, followed by Accessories compatible to the Basebody, followed by Materials compatible to the Accessories and Basebody.
A Skeletal Rig is used to Animate the Character. I use the Master Skeleton concept in which extensions and modification are applied to the Master Skeleton to support altered shape, extra limbs, etc.
A Basebody is categorized by Head and Body. The Basebody Head is a skeletal that contains a set of Target Morphs to support Facial Animation and feature adjustment. Eyes, Tongue may be separated. The Basebody Body is skeletal mesh comprised of *morphing *modular pieces that act and animate as a singular mesh. Materials for realistic skin, hair, and tattoos would be applied visibly representing a naked character/creature.
Accessories would be categorized into Swappable, Overlay, and Attachment. Swappables are skeletal meshes that interchangeable with Basebody pieces. They usually contain a skeletal rig for perfect animation sync. Overlays are Skeletal Meshes or Physics based Meshes (ie APEX) that overlay the Basebody. Overlays typically have their own animation and materials. Garments are an example of of an overlay. Attachments are Skeletal or Static Meshes that attach to the Skeletal Rig, but offset by the Basebody/head. Armor Plates, Hats, Wings, are examples of Accessories.
Materials. You can achieve a great deal of customization with materials alone providing adjustable parameters.
Look at how unique you can get with APB Reloaded (plenty of images of their character creator on youtube), thats basically a basemesh + morphs + a decal system for unique texturing. Its not THAT hard to get a system like that, if you have high quality base meshes. Which is the big issue right now. We need some good high quality well proportioned male and female base meshes. Ideally those would then become the standard skeleton rather than the weirdo blue guy with his strange proportions.
When you say a ‘base mesh’ do you basically mean a naked, well-proportioned character that’s rigged etc? I understand what you mean with the UV’s etc so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue really. It looks like customization is the biggest factor people want to see. I’ll do some simple testing this week and see what I can come up with.
I concur. The opportunity here is, once a decent set of customizable characters basebodies are published, they can be supplemented with new asset packs for Skeletal Rig Animations < Basebody/head Pieces < Accessories < Materialss for additional sale$. I would also agree that an In-game Editor (Assembler/Customizer) should be provided with Custom Characters to support in-game customization and pre-fab entity generation. Myself and a few others are developing Character Editors in Blueprints. I’m going as far add multi-user support for collaboration in customizing characters. Its just a matter of teaming up with a coder…hint,hint