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Adding new character


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Hi,

I'm just wondering how difficult it is to add a new character to TDM currently? As far as I remember, this was one of the most problematic tasks in mod development. How does it look like with the current state of the mod? Have you established some proven workflow or is it still a painful experience?

I don't know how relevant information in the animation section on the Wiki is, but some of those articles look quite old, refering to old skeletons etc..

 

It would be great to have a one comprehensive article/tutorial elaborating on all stages of importing characters to engine, including:

- where to take the skeleton from,

- what software/tools are necessary

- what files to put where

- writing def files - making character working in game

also

- assigning new animations and voice scheme

- etc...

 

I know it sounds like an technically advanced question for the just released mod, but I'll better know beforehand what I could or could not achieve with my map.

Thanks in advance!

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It's a pretty involved task, alright. First you need to model the character with your modeling software of choice. The character needs to match the proportions and dimensions of our existing characters in order to use the current skeleton. It also needs to be broken into submeshes that refer to appropriate material files to match our collision detection system.

 

Then, you need to weight the verts of the model to the existing skeleton. How you do that depends on what software you're using. Once that is done you can use the existing animations.

 

You also would need to create a new entitydef for the character before it could be loaded into a map.

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Modeling, skinning and animating are the tasks I am familiar with. What's unknown for me is the process of getting characters into engine and replacing/customizing some animations.

Can I take skeleton from one of characters included in TDM v.1.0 or it should be a separate file, which you have in your work files?

I work with 3dsmax btw. I know that you've done yours in Maya or Lightwave but maybe some of other team members know of some converting tools that work with 3dsmax?

 

Are you planning on writing a Wiki tutorial on this topic at some stage, so people could make their own characters too?

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Writing def files is not that difficult...I can help you out when you get to that stage.

 

I don't know anything about 3dsmax so I can't tell you exactly how you would import our existing skeleton. Squill might be able to tell you more about that.

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So far, we're using Maya to animate our guards, Motion Builder has been phased out I think. We have a proguard maya binary file to animate, starting from the idle (or alert idle) stance.

 

Once animated, the file is saved as .ma or .mb file. Then you need to place it somewhere in the darkmod tree and adjust the "exportoptions" section in the corresponding def file.

 

Next step is to download the MayaImportx86.dll exporter plugin which can be used to convert that .ma/.mb file to .md5anim, the .md5anim can then be added to the "model" section of the corresponding character (i.e. the tdm_ai_proguard).

 

I really agree that an "How to create anims for TDM" tutorial would be awesome, but I hardly find time to even code for TDM.

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There are md5 importers for 3ds max. 3ds Max is how I started working with characters. The problems with the importers are that they tend to import only the rigged joints (the new proguard rig has 71+ joints, if the rigging only used 65 joints then the importers would only use those). Most exporters use the Skin modifier in 3ds max instead of Physique.

 

You will have problems with mismatching joints numbers and names if the animation joints do not match the mesh joints exactly. Doom 3 is really picky that way. What I like about D3's formats are that they can be edited in a standard text editor and you can check if the joints match between the md5anim and md5mesh.

 

Maya has a really steep learning curve so if you use that then you need a lot of patience & tutorials. Here's my rigging tutorial for Maya:

http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Advanced_character_rigging

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Thanks for all replies.

I understand that such a tutorial would take a lot of time to create and I don't expect it soon. Once I know, that I would be able to create and export characters from 3dsmax, I could sleep at night again... ;) I wouldn't have time to learn animating in Maya now... Unless I could export stuff from Max to Maya and then using your workflow.

 

The problems with the importers are that they tend to import only the rigged joints (the new proguard rig has 71+ joints, if the rigging only used 65 joints then the importers would only use those)

I'm not sure what you mean by 'rigged joint'? If joint is part of the skeleton it's rigged then, isn't it? Or do you mean skinned, like with some vertices assigned to it? In that case it wouldn't import any dummy joints for binding stuff to character, am I right?

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Thanks for all replies.

I understand that such a tutorial would take a lot of time to create and I don't expect it soon. Once I know, that I would be able to create and export characters from 3dsmax, I could sleep at night again... wink.gif I wouldn't have time to learn animating in Maya now... Unless I could export stuff from Max to Maya and then using your workflow.

 

 

I'm not sure what you mean by 'rigged joint'? If joint is part of the skeleton it's rigged then, isn't it? Or do you mean skinned, like with some vertices assigned to it? In that case it wouldn't import any dummy joints for binding stuff to character, am I right?

 

I did the rats and lanternbot (and gargoyle) in Max and they went in game just fine. So it's not off limits and there isn't anything special to it.

Of course I rigged them on a AI specific rig and they have their own anims.

 

If it's only joints for attaching weapons to that wouldn't be 'rigged' then the names are all that matters. We could make new bones, there might be a bit of tweaking to get them positioned properly, but it should be easier than trying to rerig the whole AI and getting all bones to match.

 

I think it would be great to also have a 3dsmax rig available for AI. I mentioned before and will again, I would love to do some anims. Especially the Mage, I want him in game NOW! :)

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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I'm not sure what you mean by 'rigged joint'? If joint is part of the skeleton it's rigged then, isn't it? Or do you mean skinned, like with some vertices assigned to it? In that case it wouldn't import any dummy joints for binding stuff to character, am I right?

I hate using the word "skin" when rigging meshes to joints. I associate skin with changing a mesh's texture/material.

 

Anyway if any joint is not weighted to any part of the mesh then the importers may ignore those. I think most joints are weighted so I think it'll be a non-issue. It's just something to keep in mind when working with these.

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I hate using the word "skin" when rigging meshes to joints. I associate skin with changing a mesh's texture/material.

I used to use term 'rigging' for assigning models to skeleton too, but everywhere I see people using word 'rigging' for a process of building a skeleton - 'rig', and 'skinning' for assigning vertices to that rig. It may be just diffrent terms in diffrent software...

 

@Baddcog - I forgot that you're a 3dsmax user too. Great to hear it is possible.

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I used to use term 'rigging' for assigning models to skeleton too, but everywhere I see people using word 'rigging' for a process of building a skeleton - 'rig', and 'skinning' for assigning vertices to that rig. It may be just diffrent terms in diffrent software...

 

@Baddcog - I forgot that you're a 3dsmax user too. Great to hear it is possible.

It does make sense to say "skin" because you're adding skin to a skeleton. But "rigging" for the entire process cuts down on the confusion a little.
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