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Needed for Standalone: Animated Skeleton


Springheel
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If you are interested in helping with some or all of these tasks, please contact me. If you know of someone who might be willing to help out, feel free to repost this.

 

We need to replace the skeleton model that currently comes from D3. We have animated skeleton monsters in some maps, but the most common use of the model is the ragdoll version, used for skeletons lying around. There are currently two skins...a dry, mostly white skeleton, and a dark, bloody skeleton.

 

Mesh: The visible skeleton mesh should be between 3000 and 6000 polys, with a simplified shadowmesh that makes up approximately 25% of the overall number of polys. For example, a 4500 poly mesh with a 1200 poly shadowmesh would be ideal. Making a shadowmesh for a skeleton is probably going to be tricky...another option is to separate the model into two submeshes, one of which casts shadows (the main bones) and a second that does not.

 

 

The skeleton's head should be separate from the rest of the body; it will be rigged separately and the engine attaches them at run time. Since this is a skeleton, there shouldn't be any seam issues.

 

Adding scraps of old clothing or tufts of hair as a separate submesh (which can be set invisible for variety) would be nice but not necessary.

 

The skeleton skin will be weighted to the same animation rig we use for our other humanoid characters. The joint names must remain the same. Contact Springheel about the skeleton for the body and head.

 

The final mesh needs to be in md5mesh format.

 

Textures: The skeleton needs to have a diffuse, normalmap and (possibly) specular. Size should be 1024x1024 max and format should be .tga.

 

Our existing skeleton had two different textures—.a dry, mostly white skeleton, and a dark, bloody skeleton (see image below). Only one is technically needed, although variety is desirable.

 

Animations: The D3 skeleton we have been using shared the same animations as the zombie. We'll do the same, so no special animations are needed.

post-9-0-72444000-1346881679_thumb.jpg

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  • 3 months later...

Without a decent amount of cloth/ hair there is less potential for an interesting silhouette. This is going to be especially important for intrinsic gameplay if the player is usually meant to be able to understand what they are looking at from a distance, hence the obvious cyan and gold colours of a mechanist or red of a hammer. If you look at concepts of skeletons in popular games, you can see that the strongest silhouettes utilise an array of different accessories to create strong and interesting proportions. So for me that's actually a priority. I'm also going to need to think of how this thing does damage. It might need some sharp claws that you can really see if it's going to hit with it's hand. Perhaps it's just slightly twisted by black magic and that could explain some strange features? well considering that they are walkign skeletons there has to be some kind of magic involved ammi right XD

Edited by Mr Lemony Fresh
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I'd say just a straight up skeleton. TDM is pretty realistic as far as that stuff goes. Giant claws would be fine for a variation, but not everyday variety.

 

Remember these are also pretty common ragdoll props of dead people. Why would they have huge claw fingers? it's really not about an 'interesting silhouette', it's about realism.

 

Of course there could be variations with clothing, helmets, whatever but they still need to resemble the people in the game. I thought the doom ones looked a bit cartoony, weird proprtions and whatnot. I'd really like to see an acurate skeleton myself.

 

I can even take photos of some nice large drawings at my chiropractor's office if you need them.

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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Badcog, Realism and good design can go hand in hand. First of all, 100% realism just isn't possible with a small project and without triple A team of artists. Besides, what is realism anyhow? is it what you experience in your backyard, or the catalyst of an evil wizard's black magic. The skeleton of your docter's skeleton is not a fiend of black magic now is it..

 

Now I know that's the goal here and that's what I'm trying to do, but the point is in place of what can't be achieved realistically I need to supplement things with some fundamentally based procedures of designs (which I will explain) in order to deliver something that is as appealing and effecting as possible. Another thing to take into account is that stylisations and exaggerations are a conscious decision of most game designers in order for the player to understand and digest a lot of information at once so that gameplay is smooth and un-intrusive.

 

Let me explain silhouette to you. when someone examines a character, their mind subconsciously breaks the process down in order from things that read the most to more subtle details. The mind first finds the outline that forms the general shape of something, then other details such as colour and density follow. This means that the stronger and more unique a silhouette is the easier it is to identify and understand. So yes, it is about 'interesting silhouette' to some degree no matter how realistic a game is

 

Let's this example.

 

doom3bfg-1.jpeg

 

Obviously I've chosen doom 3 as a reference because of how the dark mod is on the same engine so the lighting and shading is identical and the art seems to be derived from the game. Now a goal in design is to take away unnecessary details. What are they? they are things which confuse or do not seem to have a place. Why do i mention that? because notice how this creature does not immediatly create questions? Look at the contour of it's body as it leads in such clean and understandable swoops, so as if to only just give an impression of the underlying muscles and bones.

 

Perhaps in real life such an abomination would not have such clean and smooth skin, but we an artist knows that really, really subtle details are lost on the audience that does not comprehend anatomy the same way. The art is in deciding which of those features matter the most and how to make them stand-out. This way the audience will over-look those details in light of the more obvious ones, and at the same time they comprehend as well as they should. These features have been pushed to a point where we accept them because they read well and we are thinking "of yeah there's his collar bone, and there's his tendents, etc etc". But something we don't consider well enough is that a lot of design work has been put into making SURE that within the constraints of the engine, we can digest this information without strain or confusion. These details were pushed so that in a low-light setting you could still understand the form.

 

It's ALL about how they look through the camera in EVERY SINGLE form of medium, in Avatar, in 2001 a space odyssey in every game imaginable, what matters is how you see it through the camera.

 

The other thing is that most attempts at creating appeal through realistic 3D have resulted in something being forgotten as time went on because they have dated horribly. WOW was made in 2004 and millions of people still play it all the time. Amnesia had that creepy ass monster that haunts our memories as we remember it, because it 's outlandish proportions.

 

So For the example i proposed, i would probably have a normal skeleton, with some sharp claws or at least something sharp on him to suggest melee danger. I would have then given him some accessories that can be swapped around or removed for those who REALLY like have skeletons who died naked and dishonoured without any memorabilia to help them into the afterlife. (jokes aside, this does happen in video games from time to time, so fair enough)

 

Please read this article for more information: http://www.gamasutra...coming_the_.php

Edited by Mr Lemony Fresh
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Skeletons have been used frequently in missions already, so the replacement skeleton needs to perform the same job the existing one did. That means a regular, human, bone-dry skeleton without claws.

 

Adding scraps of clothing, hair, etc, would be great, but that has to be something that can be turned off with skins (or be a different mesh entirely).

 

Any claws or other magical enhancements would make an interesting variant, but wouldn't be appropriate for replacing skeletons that have already been used.

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skeleton.jpgskel_01.jpg

 

Badcog: So here's an example i found of a skeleton wearing nothing. Now by this time you may start understanding me a bit better.. on the right is a realistic skeleton and on the left, and exaggerated one. Look at his rib cage! awesome isn't it? noticed those knuckle like formations? well that is a result of working out a cool and slightly exaggerated proportioned chracter. They look like death's fingers.

 

Springheel, I can certainly do that, words of reason. I can make a variation that has harsher features and one that is more like the right picture for being just an ordinary dead guy

Edited by Mr Lemony Fresh
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Feedback time.

 

post-3592-0-57540300-1356238174_thumb.jpg

 

Pay not much attention to the scenery, was just a little context suggestion.

 

I broke it up a tad because if a skeleton has no flesh it has usually degraded a bit and it gives context to quite a few different death scenarios. Skeletons are sometimes found with small traces of hair and dried skin. Of course I can alter this but my reason is that this is the average state you'd fine a skeleton in real life providing it's not ancient, in which case it would probably be in the earth or broken up anyway.

 

Personally the only thing I'd considering is getting rid of is the hair.

 

So yeah this is my idea of vanilla, I would make the haunted skeleton have a slightly more twisted and bigger build so as communicate a threat.

 

This guy just has a little loin cloth like underwear.

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Yes that skeleton is awesome. But this is TDM not World of Warcraft.

 

And yes I DO understand silhouette. But game designers exaggerate them in games like Wow. not in games like Call of Duty (realistic humans). The skeletons in Castlevania are the work of evil vampires right? The ones in TDM are just undead brought back from some ritual/evil whatever the author determines.

 

However look closely at all of TDM's ai. OK, maybe the people aren't 100% perfect anitomically, but they are pretty darn close. But the attempt was made to make them as realistic as possible. Do they have huge thick 'interesting' metal pauldrons and helmets with 4 foot tall spikes? No, thats Wow. They have very realistic armor.

 

Also, TDM isn't a 'high paced' game, or a massive multi-player. It's not TF2 where you have 32 people battling in quick action and you need to spot a tall skinny sniper, a short lighting quick scout or a giant heavy weapons guy from a distance. A skeleton is easy to spot and distinguish from a guard or a maiden.

 

there are PLENTY of games i have played through the years that have normal skeletons. The evil is in reanimating the dead that is scary/threatening. it's the fact that even if a skeleton big and bulky it is still hard to kill because it is magic that is making it live. because you need special tools (holy water_ to kill it). Skyrim is a great example, I never recall the skeletons in the Elder scrolls series to be exaggerated, they are just skeletons with armor fitting to the race they were. They die easier by fire, are found in crypts, are thought of as evil, etc.. The 'bosses' might be taller or have bigger swords or better magic, but they are realistic.

 

Another example, the zombies (not special infected) in Left 4 Dead are very realistically proportioned. there are mobs of them. TONS of people play the game. it is very high paced.

 

I have done low poly modelling for years and that is ALL about proportions and exaggeration when needed. I have also worked on TDM for years and have tried to make everything very real world proportion. From trees to pot to rats.

 

I understand you want to make something extra special, but sorry the skeleton might not be that. It's might be a 'boring' job. But it is one that needs done and people will appreciate it TONS. you could always make a modified extra skeleton once the realistic base is done and make it extra wicked and demony, I'm sure it would also get used. But for the most part we need just a nice regular human skeleton.

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Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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Obviously I've chosen doom 3 as a reference because of how the dark mod is on the same engine so the lighting and shading is identical and the art seems to be derived from the game.

 

that quote actually makes me feel like YOU do not understand the goal.

 

yes same engine. But nothing in the dark mod was EVER meant to represent or 'pull' from Doom. Lighting and shading is NOTidentical. Lot's of work has been done in those areas to improve it for TDM. Doom3 just use light sources. We have created a ton of specific light models and heavily tweaked the light attachments for each to be very specific to the TDM atmoshphere and gameplay.

 

Doom 3 had pitch black shadows so monster could jump out and scare you.

 

TDM has a highly evolved ambient light set-up and properly done shadows should never be pitch black so players can see.

 

The point of replacing the, pretty aweful truthfully, skeleton from Doom3 is not to make a more exaggerated awesome wicked skeleton. but to replace ALL DOOM 3 assests. Doom 3 assets were only ever used in the first place because of lack of time/artists. The art is derived more from our personal take on T2, not Doom3.

See Springheels thread on replacing the Doom3 heads. They were handy to have for awhile, but once gone the mod will only look that much better.

 

Doom3 over used specular textures, it was pretty bad and that's why we've always gotten comments about the 'plasticy look'. We have also spent a lot of time finely tweaking our specular textures so they have just enough to be realistic and look good.

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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You made some fair points, and I need to be out at the beach instead of debating design lol. I only have a small amount of time to work on this which is taken from my spare time so for the sake of moving onto other projects and keeping my promise I'm going to make a ordinary run of the mill skeleton and you guys can do what you want with it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Looking good! 5500 tris is fine, although it will need a simplified shadowmesh that is closer to 1500.

 

Mesh: The visible skeleton mesh should be between 3000 and 6000 polys, with a simplified shadowmesh that makes up approximately 25% of the overall number of polys. For example, a 4500 poly mesh with a 1200 poly shadowmesh would be ideal. Making a shadowmesh for a skeleton is probably going to be tricky...another option is to separate the model into two submeshes, one of which casts shadows (the main bones) and a second that does not.
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That is fantastic! Good work. HUGE improvement over the D3 one.

 

The shadow mesh can be pretty simple, the ribcage can be just a large sphere (not beautiful but efficient), each main bone (arms legs) can just be a cube.

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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I wouldn't want to see the ribcage as a sphere, but a few one-sided strips would do the trick, I think.

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I wouldn't want to see the ribcage as a sphere, but a few one-sided strips would do the trick, I think.

 

well, one sided strips might work but i can see them casting some strange shadows. With all those ribs there won't be many traces straight through anyway.

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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I'd rather have a working shadow CM instead of just a sphere. Imagigine someone puts a light inside the rib cage for special effects - it would cast cool shadows. Just to save a few tris you'd destroy that effect.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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I'm just glad you're all happy ;) Yeah a shadow mesh shouldn't be too much trouble, I'll get on it.

 

I'll try and make the ribs show in shadows as much as possible. Where there are concave shapes I could just fill them in so it should be ok.

 

And I'll try to reduce the base mesh to 5500 instead of 5568.

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STiFU, Unfortunately that might be a bit out of my scope because I had a meeting with my friends and we're planning to resume work on our game really soon so i need to follow through with this for you folks but then go back to working on the other stuff.

 

Basically this means between work and the indie project ALL of my time will be used up.

 

However i plan on Putting careful work into this skeleton. Shouldn't be too hard to add clothes and accessories.

Edited by Mr Lemony Fresh
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And I'll try to reduce the base mesh to 5500 instead of 5568.

 

That's not necessary...I was just using a round number, not giving you a hard limit. :P

 

Anything under 6000 is fine.

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