When you open Character Creator 3 Pipeline there is a large button on the right-side Attribute menu that says, “Convert to Game Base.”
This simple button is a bit misleading though. While it does convert the character to Reallusion’s idea of a game base, it also opens a world of creative options for game developers who aren’t character modelers or animators.
In fact, it opens your game development up to the entire iClone-Character Creator universe complete with drag and drop animation, a huge user-driven marketplace along with professionally created assets by some of the best 3D modelers in the game today. And a lot of drag and drop animations from motion captured to keyframe.
CC3 Game Character with InstaLOD Poly Reduction and Levels of Detail Generation
Earlier you might have noticed I said “Reallusion’s idea” of a game base character and I did so for a reason and that is to temper one’s expectations with reality. We all have different ideas of what a game character should be and a lot of us have unrealistic expectations in that area.
To help alleviate some of this Reallusion listened to its user community as it so often does and brought together the attributes that seemed most important to game dev users (from Reallusion website):
- Optimized Game Base Character for Game/AR/VR/Mobile
- Game Base Characters can be derived from any Standard CC Character.
- Retain visual quality after mesh simplification.
- Compatible with CC Morphs, Skin Presets, and Outfit System.
- Simplified Bone Structure for Facial and Body Animation
- CC bones optimized identically for game engine compatibility.
- Fully-rigged 10K polygon characters with detailed facial and body performance.
- Compatible with iClone character animation tools and mocap system.
- Access to full set of Facial Morphs for lip sync and emotional expression.
- Merged Materials for Game Performance
- Bake all character materials into one texture for minimal draw call.
- Keep materials in separate UV maps for game avatar component exchangeability.
- Merged texture resolution ranging from 512 to 4K.
- Double the Normal map resolution during texture bake to keep fine mesh details.
- InstaLOD – Polygon reduction and LOD generation
- Make high polygon content ready for real-time engines.
- Choose from target polygon count or expected percentage.
- Flexible reduction design suitable for all use cases
- All Wearables - Reduce polycount for Cloth, Hair, Shoes, Accessories all at once
- By Object - A selected wearable item
- By Element - Refined Optimization to Selected and Unselected Sub-items
- Bake Mesh Details to Texture Maps
- Transfer details from a high-polygon mesh to a lower polygon one.
- Bake normal maps for surface detail.
- Bake diffuse maps for color detail.
- Baked Texture Size from 512 to 4K.
- Combine separate character meshes into one.
- Generate character models in multiple LOD.
- Custom define output criteria for each mesh level.
- LOD distance with progressive visual quality while switching character models in different viewing distance.
- Merge Materials
- Significantly reduce draw calls for optimal game performance.
- Options to group selected materials to target UV maps
- Merge All Materials into One Map
- Merge by Type – Outfit, Accessory, Body
- Merge by Item – Individual Wearables, Body
- Bake up to 4K merged texture size.
CC3 Game Base Character Merge Maps and Skinning
CC3 is not a magic pill or an easy button but it’s close.
By just pressing some buttons and making some choices you can generate game-ready characters in different LODs from existing, modified or stock meshes.
If you are a code-hound and not a 3D modeler, particularly if a tight budget stalls your project and prevents you from hiring one, Character Creator 3 gives you the opportunity to move forward.
At the very least, CC3 provides game-ready characters for placeholders to continue development or by using all of its features to create your own custom characters and save dev dollars. I’ve never known a game dev that didn’t want to save dollars.
Game Character Base is just one of the many new features in the standalone Character Creator 3 Pipeline application. Just this feature makes CC3 a powerful tool for both veteran, intermediate and novice users wanting to be more creative and less technical while wanting to include NPCs in singles, groups, and crowds along with the storyline characters.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.