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Algorithmic permutation of creature models and textures

 
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Cooker



Joined: 20 Mar 2000
Posts: 1710

 PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 6:38 pm    Post subject: Algorithmic permutation of creature models and textures Reply with quote Back to top

Currently, all creatures of the same class look identical. I think it would spice the game up a little to make each slightly different, and that is how I would normally go about doing this:

For permutation of models, each part of the creature is stored in a separate .x file and is scaled interpedently before rendering. Their relative positions are maintained. So animation will not go out of wrack. For example, arms may be elongated slightly but itís still joined to the chest model at precisely the same coordinate.

As for textures, I would have 2 wildly different textures for each model and they are randomly Alpha blended onto the model so no 2 creature would look completely identical.


Last edited by Cooker on Thu May 26, 2005 1:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
 
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Alberinian Wildmaster



Joined: 26 Mar 2005
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Location: Travelling to Distant Lands

 PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Do you think you would notice from your point of view in the air? Hmmmmm?????
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Cooker



Joined: 20 Mar 2000
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 PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Yes
 
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Apple



Joined: 20 Jan 2000
Posts: 2656

 PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 2:03 am    Post subject: Re: Algorithmic permutation of creature models and textures Reply with quote Back to top

Interesting idea but for some difficulties.

Firstly:

Cooker wrote:
For permutation of models, each part of the creature is stored in a separate .x file and is scared interpedently before rendering.


I don't see how you can scare a non-sentient object unaware of the concept of fear and that is not even tangible.

Secondly, do bear in mind of the drain it puts on the PC running it. Unless the Marketing Document for Maj2 states that Maj2 is for hardcore gamers, we'd want the game to run on a low spec to appeal to more casual gamers.

Usually, what we do is to grab a programmer and an artist and get that thing implemented. That'll give us a good idea of how much resources it needs or even if it is even possible. It'll also give us an idea if it looks good...

:mrgreen:

Texture 1: Warrior in blood red breastplate and steel chainmail with blood red skirting.
Texture 2: Warrior in silver chainmail with white surcoat.

Blended textures 1 and 2: Warrior in a pink dress with white sleeves...
 
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Alfryd



Joined: 03 Dec 2002
Posts: 914

 PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
Secondly, do bear in mind of the drain it puts on the PC running it...

There would be some initial processor overhead in warping the model via a few random numbers, when the character is spawned. There could be extra memory demands, if you assume that on-screen polies aren't stored individually for seperate characters, but by common models, but to me that seems like a case of premature optimisation. If you brute-force the poly storage, the processor demands would be identical for such customised models. Since this would be a PC, you can probably splash out on memory.
I think. Confused

Quote:
Do you think you would notice from your point of view in the air? Hmmmmm?????

You'd probably notice in the portraits, but not on the bodies. Unfortunately, making *random* changes to facial metrics and still having it look natural is surprisingly tricky. At least from an artist's perspective.

Quote:
Blended textures 1 and 2: Warrior in a pink dress with white sleeves...

I see your point, sirrah. Another technique would be to create 2 skins, then apply them at random to different portions of the model. Red surcoat, silver chainmail, etc. Better yet, have these correspond to the quality of armour/equipment/guild status. You'd need to break up the models for this, though. Still, the effect would be more noticeable than tweaking body parts. On the minus side, for good variety you'd want 3-4 skins, and that could be significant extra work. Then again, get yourselves a decent 3d engine and it'll simulate a lot of the textural bells and whistles for you.
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Apple



Joined: 20 Jan 2000
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 PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I've yet to see anyone pull off some model morphing algorithm in the middle of a running game. So until someone gets a programmer to proof it reasonably possible, I'll stick to my opinion that it's yet to be reasonable.

One should note that many 3D RPGs nowadays customise character appearance according to their equipment. One should also note that in such games there are only a few characters, while in Maj2, there'll be a lot more, potentially 30+ to match MajX specs, and 100+ to meet rabid fan demand.

:mrgreen:
 
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Cooker



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 PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

scaled not scared

I hate typos Sad
 
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Cooker



Joined: 20 Mar 2000
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 PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 1:45 pm    Post subject: mophing Reply with quote Back to top

Model scaling is a inherent capablilty of DX9. You always HAVE TO scale a model before rendering it. now if you store a creature as a file, you can only scale the entire creature. If you store parts of creature in different files, you can easily scale each part.
 
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Apple



Joined: 20 Jan 2000
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 PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Scaling won't be very noticeable from a distance - I've tried it before.
That is unless extreme amounts of scaling is used, which may throw the animation out.

Modifying textures is a much better and possibly less processing power consuming method.

I think Alfryd's idea of skins for different parts is the best.
But I still want a programmer to show me it's reasonably possible first.
 
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Alfryd



Joined: 03 Dec 2002
Posts: 914

 PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
I've yet to see anyone pull off some model morphing algorithm in the middle of a running game. So until someone gets a programmer to proof it reasonably possible, I'll stick to my opinion that it's yet to be reasonable.

Well, in theory, any game with a physics engine has to be able to pull off continuous real-time model morphing according to a far more complex algorithm than what Cooker is proposing. You'd only need to morph the model once and randomly, rather than at 24 fps in accordance with newton's laws of motion. Then again, maybe even that would be too resource-intensive for low-end machines.
The creature in Black and White had to morph over time as it grew, both animations and model, and in response to injuries and combat interaction. Then again, there was only one creature per-player.
There's the Spore demo, but I imagine that would be fairly high-end.
I seem to recall a 'Creatures' game that allowed you evolve your own species by hybridising body parts and plans, which must have involved morphing models somehow and using the result in-game. Then again, maybe the models were not specific to individuals. Interestingly, the game also used neural nets to train the creatures autonomous behaviour to suit your needs. (**nudge-nudge-wink-wink-say-no-more...**)
Quote:
One should note that many 3D RPGs nowadays customise character appearance according to their equipment. One should also note that in such games there are only a few characters, while in Maj2, there'll be a lot more, potentially 30+ to match MajX specs, and 100+ to meet rabid fan demand.

Nowadays? I saw that in Quest for Glory 5, and that was pre-D2.
Majesty characters would presumably also be much lower-poly, which should help. The main problem, I'm fairly convinced, is providing content.
(Do you mean 30+ character *types* or total characters on-screen at once? I would vastly prefer a few well-done classes to a masses of characters following a more tired formula.)
Quote:
Scaling won't be very noticeable from a distance - I've tried it before.
That is unless extreme amounts of scaling is used, which may throw the animation out.

And look wierd. A valid criticism. Yeah, I think on balance I'd have to weigh in against the idea. Though it would be nice to get it to work for character portraits... and since you'll only have one portrait on-screen atm, the processor demands would be slight.
Quote:
Modifying textures is a much better and possibly less processing power consuming method.

Strcitly speaking, you don't modify the texture, you modify the *mapping* of the model parts to different texture files, which is what a lot of model formats support automagically these days. The performance hit should be negligible to nil.
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Apple



Joined: 20 Jan 2000
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 PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I meant 100+ character in the current game at once.

Modifying the mapping to different texture files means fixed, discrete changes, rather than the gradual change that the original idea proposed to produce more variations.

That is unless random mapping is done, which will produce...
**-SHUDDER-**.

On the other hand, why are we spending so much time thinking about this when it is better spent getting the money to buy Maj2?

:mrgreen:
 
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