About Fox - Part 1

First of all, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Geril and I'm mainly working on the graphical design of the game. In this post I'm going to write about our protagonist, mostly from the technological side.

Fox was created out of boredom on a piece of paper, and at first he had a more cartoony look.

 After that, I made other drawings to help me create Fox in 3D, these usually focused on his face.

At first, he was supposed to be a background character, so I made him with the lowest possible polygon count and the smallest possible texture size. I only gave him sunglasses so that his eye movement could be kept to a minimum.

When he became the main character, I tried to give him a more distinctive look; I made a scar on his right eye and eyebrow. As we were putting the game's story together (I will talk about the story in a later post), his right eye got replaced by a mechanical eye, and his face got an older, more mature and tired look.

Fox's clothes were a Max Payne-like leather jacket and a pair of jeans, but later, to make him more fit for the game's world, his clothes became cowboy-ish, with a poncho. The poncho was later replaced by some shoulder-protecting equipment due to the technical problems with the poncho (too many bones and unnecessary cloth physics).

Some say that Blender and the UDK are incompatible, but personally I think it's just more difficult to export certain kinds of meshes from Blender. For example, most of the problems happen while exporting the animation. That is why Fox's armature contains the least unconnected bones as possible. His movements resemble a human's more than an animal's, but of course his posture is influenced by his animal-like skeleton and body.

Fox has two different models, the first one shows when the player is controlling him and the second one is for cinematics. The cinematic model uses morph targets (or shape keys, as Blender calls them) for facial animation, while the other one only uses bones. These morph targets make it possible for me to make believable facial expressions for lip-syncing.

Morph targets in Blender (upper) and the UDK (lower)

The model is far from complete, it still needs lots of adjustments in every area. The biggest issue right now is the hair, but I hope we can fix that soon. I also plan on making him look like he has more fur.

In later posts I'll make a few tutorials on importing a skeletal mesh from Blender to the UDK. If you have any questions, I'll be more than happy to help in the comment section.

Have a nice day!

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