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Uh... "Evolutionary Models?" (What do you call this?)

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I'm very timidly stepping into the third dimension, having been doing 2D games for the last several years (and liking it). So please forgive my current lack of knowledge. I want to create a dynamic/evolving 3D model. I don't mean totally wacky like SPORE. I want to basically create a model from some basic data instead of a saved model file. For instance: Let's say i want to create a Human. I want to dial in a Human that is 5'8", 145 lbs, male, brown skin, black hair and get a 3D model for that specification. If i change it to, say, 160 lbs. i want a slightly different model accordingly. Real humans have DNA, a short form of describing a human. I'm attempting to create something similar in mechanism. I want to save the attributes of the model i'm creating, not the model itself. The model itself needs to know what "features" the data represents and know how to change itself accordingly. Oh, and it has to be animated too ;-) Does this technique have a name? Where can i learn more about this? If you can point to a specific example, that would be appreciated too. Thanks a bunch!

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Quote:
I want to save the attributes of the model i'm creating, not the model itself. The model itself needs to know what "features" the data represents and know how to change itself accordingly.


It sounds like you want to play around with procedural generation at some level:

Wiki

Basically what you need to do is figure out a way to create (full information) from (limited set of information + set of rules).

I would advice you to use an existing human model as a reference point in this case. You can likely spend a lifetime trying to perfect some procedural algorithm to generate realistic bodies, so if you want to finish your game anytime soon I don't see that as an option.
One step easier would be to use an existing body model and to generate such things as hairstyles, eyes, facial expression, coloring (skin, hair, etc). I know there's a method to create custom hairstyles using (a recursive tree of) cylinders for example, but it might take some time to implement. In the game Morrowind they use a technique to modify the face texturing/layers of the model using only a few input parameters.
It all depends on how far you want to take it, how much time you'd like to spend on it.

Quote:
Oh, and it has to be animated too ;-)


For the sake of game development, use predefined animated models, please. ;-)

[Edited by - trasseltass on February 21, 2008 5:45:07 AM]

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