Character Creator Tools

Lark

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Not sure if I should post this here or in the User Content subform, but I ran across some Unreal threads on easy, convenient tools for creating characters. They can be used for non-humanoids, but the video focuses on simple human templates.

I wanted to get some thoughts from anyone knowledgeable. Obviously you could just use Blender, 3ds Max, or any other 3D Modeling tool, but Character Creator 3 looks like it's really quick to rig AND animate a good-looking humanoid from a template, or grab some marketplace content, rather than doing it from scratch. The downside is the tools are expensive ($200 for the Rigger, $200 for the Animator), so I might just work with what's available in the free trial for now (if it allows exports). MakeHuman and Daz Studio are also good FREE tools, but Reallusion's Character Creator 3 looks really easy and detailed.

[NSFW - Nudity] iClone Character Creator 3 video

The question is how detailed we want the game to be... We could make some Characters look GREAT, while others might look like ports of MS:C Orcs (which to me would be fine... but might be off-putting to many others). Thoughts?

For comparison of details, here's a few free Creature assets I've grabbed from the UE4 Marketplace:

Dragon.jpgGriffon.jpgWolf.jpg
Centaur.jpg
 
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Lucifer Majiskus

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I think it'd be best to keep everything in one style/quality level. MS:C already has enough hodge-podge shit and it's far from charming
 

jon50559

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I would say use existing software to get placeholders and templates into your game. Don't shell out too much money because I feel like players can spot stock/asset flips from a mile away.

Essentially I'm saying use the asset flips to get to your proof of concept, and from there you might attract some artists.

Not only from a monetary perspective, you need pretty cohesive design elements through your entire game to convey a style to players, and it's just not worth the timesink to try and plan all of that this early.

My 2 cents!
 

Thothie

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I think it'd be best to keep everything in one style/quality level. MS:C already has enough hodge-podge shit and it's far from charming
Unless you can find an extremely prolific and extremely dedicated modeler, you are unlikely to achieve this, long term, realistically speaking. Your "placeholders" will become permanent. So, if you want to avoid that, and don't have such a gifted and generous modeler, you gotta spend a boatload of money on models from someone who already has a massive library with specific style and level of quality (such as 3drt), and make that your game's official style (and probably sole model source). If all the models in game are of a specific quality and style from the get-go, however, it probably will encourage any future content donors to try to stay in that realm, though there'll be a lot less of them as a result.

Alternatively, barring access to money or angels with OCD, if you can do *some* texturing and modeling... You can come up with a specific and distinct "motif" for the game, that you can tweak near any existing models with. Maybe start with a global color scheme with a core palette warmth or coldness. Maybe all wild mobs have some specific tattoos and marking patterns, specifically shaped armor plates you can stick on, etc, everything is either overly slender or overly bulky, ultra gritty or ultra cartoony, stretched/stunted/bowed limbs/heads/faces. Maybe items are more sinuy or bulkier, rounded or acute, studded with crystals or thorns or a rune set. Whatever style you choose, make a lengthy checklist of maybe 10-20 aesthetic features that define the motif of the game for items and mobs, and then make an asset library folder, with snippets of meshes to merge, symbols, and stencils to burn onto existing models and textures, and texture substitutions for common materials (fur, wood, etc).

Then, basically, you'll be able to tweak any model to look like it belongs in the world, giving you some consistency, regardless of the actual artist involved - and any future donors will probably pick up on that aesthetic style, without necessarily being intimidated by quality level (probably help include your style materials in a "dev folder" with the game).

That's all assuming you're thinking long term, community built game, rather than taking this all on yourself, or one and done.
 

Lark

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That's all assuming you're thinking long term, community built game, rather than taking this all on yourself, or one and done.
It'll definitely be tailored toward a community-built game. The fun part will be finding a style that works and sticking with it.

And yes, I too fear the "sample assets become permanent" effect, but it's effective for getting a concept off the ground.
 

Thothie

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And yes, I too fear the "sample assets become permanent" effect, but it's effective for getting a concept off the ground.
Well, you can tweak up the sample assets, if you design a specific motif, so if they do become permanent, they'll at least still set a tone - though I dunno what sorta modeling/photoshop experience ya got to work with.
 
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