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modular character system

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I know how to create a character model with just 1 mesh but I could easily split the model up into several meshes like torso, legs, head etc.
I can texture each mesh with it's own UV texture map.. But I don't know how to use greyscaling.

I can rig and animate a character made from one mesh but I think it shouldn't be any harder if it's several meshes.. Haven't tried that just.. Not sure if you can make bones connected from torso mesh to arm mesh for example.

I do all this from blender3d btw.
No coding.

What kind of modular character system I want is where you can change what boots, helmet, gloves, etc you are wearing.
Not sure if the player should be able to choose color on these items yet, Because that seems very complicated.

How is this done?

I can say some theories I have..

each different type of boot, glove etc is it's own mesh and has it's own UV texture map.
If I want to have the same type of boot but just different color then I dublicate the mesh and just give it another texture map.
These two meshes (boots) have nothing in common.. they are different ingame items.

If this is how you do it..

How do you rig and animate something like this that has so many different meshes.
Many different torso, arm meshes etc.

Even if it was just 1 mesh of each body part..
Is it possible to connect them with the bone rig?
in blender3d that is.

Or do you do the rigging and animating with code from the game engine you are using?
Because I have read that at some places but anything on the subject of modular character systems is so rare..

I can't find anything at all.. no info no tutoruials or guides... absolutely nothing to help me understand how to make modular character systems.
It's so weird.

I think this belongs in this forum instead of art because it's about technicals about how to create this system and implement it into the game.
So it's probably going to be some coding involved?

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Have a look at the Dark Age of Camelot (DAOC) resources. They have two systems of modular characters, the early "classic" artwork simply included one skeleton with dozens of meshes all over it for different heads, legs, arms, bodies, etc and the game engine would only show one set at a time. The newer DAOC character system stores the skeleton in a separate file with no meshes. All the additional parts are stored in their own file. The extra parts are skin partitions and have a list of bones from the master skeleton file that influence them along with per-vertex blend weights and bone indices. The engine reads in the master skeleton and then reads in a new skin partition for each type of part and attaches it to the root of the master skeleton and the GPU skinning algorithm can assemble the correct skin matrix to render that part.

Anyway, I've never seen any tutorials, but the art resources for DAOC are simple enough to reverse engineer.

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I have found a lot of info about this on hero engine wiki which is the engine I will use.

But I still have a question which is not only hero engine specific..

Here is pic from their wiki:

How do you do for example if the player puts on pants and shoes.. because in this example pic legs are only to the knees so pants would look like shorts then. And what if they had legs all the way down to feet.. how do you put on boots then if he is wearing pants..

or on arms.. same thing there

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Usually the meshes overlap each other a bit. For instance boots (lower legs) come up over legs, which actually go a bit deeper. But you know it really depends on your art style. If you want to swap models for pants and boots, you might need some overlap here and there. If you just want to swap the texture, now you have to create a combinatorial amount of artwork (pants near crotch, pants with shoes for lower leg, etc). Edited by Steve_Segreto

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