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Creating 3D robots with interchangeable parts

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Hi. Sorry for the newbie question, but I was wondering how to make a 3D game with interchangeable parts (like the robots of Front Mission 3). I mean, is there some certain thing that the 3D modeller has to do to the models so that the programmer can make them interchangeable? Somekinda marker on the parts or something? Again, sorry if my question sounds so noobish, I just recently acquired a curiosity for the games I used to play :)

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You already had the right idea. Artists add marker points to the base model. Any exchangeable parts will be attached to these anchors.
Take a look at Quake's MD2/MD3 formats - they use such markers to attach the weapon to the models.

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I think this would be a feature that would need to be implemented in game code; however you should just be able to mark one vertex on the torso model and one vertex on the arm model differently from all others (I'm sure there's all kinds of ways to mark and label vertices in 3DSMax) and then just rely on the engine to do the math to slap the chunks together.

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Wouldn't it be wiser to use a skeleton and use the bone? That way things can rotate and translate with the movement of the skeleton, regardless of what piece is currently swapped in?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by GroZZleR
Wouldn't it be wiser to use a skeleton and use the bone? That way things can rotate and translate with the movement of the skeleton, regardless of what piece is currently swapped in?


Speaking of skeletons, in a game such as this (like Front Mission) what kind of 3D animation would be appropriate? Skeleton or vertex?

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A skeletal animation system would probably work better, yes. Then you could do the animations for the robot "as a whole" and link the bones together on the arm with the torso, instead of doing separate animations for the torso and other bits and hoping they look good together. :)

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