Quick question about game characters - help needed

Hi all, I have chosen this part of the forum to not spam the more target related parts, I hope the Admins wont mind.
I am new to 3d modelling and anything related to game making, I started using Blender about 3 weeks ago ( using youtube tutorials ) and I have a question that I can’t find an answer to. ( trust me I have searched )

What is a fully working game character made of??

What I know:
The mesh body that I made to look like I want it to look.
Skeleton to make my puppet move around
Textures to give colour and material to its grey flesh
Animations to give it motion and possibility.
And I am able to make those (thanks to the tutorials and that I can do it at work )
but what else is there ? what else do I need to be able to export to Unity, code and make it alive ?

The chars in what I am making are meant to be low poly, cartoonish even with lively colors like we see in most anime series. Definitely not aming for realistic HD.

Do I need any other programs to make a complete game ready character ??

Please help me out.

I’m not going to give a definite answer because a character’s requirements depend on the game, but in general your list should suffice for the character’s visuals. Also keep in mind audio. I use Audacity for sound mixing, it’s a great piece of free software.

Since you mention cartoonish, you may want to write your own shaders to get stylize it, though that’s within Unity so it’s not extra software.

Once you get the assets into Unity (or other engine) there is the stage of assembling it all together. For the FPS I’m working on now, my characters each have three sets of colliders, a half dozen scripts (plus a library of AI classes), and animation trees so there’s that, but that’s all within Unity after importing.

Probably the best thing to do now, in the way of learning that particular engine, is to [attempt to …] push what you’ve got right now into the environment and “make it alive.” :yes:

Don’t spend a lot more time on the model, at this point. You need to jump into the pool.

Keep a notebook and a sharp number-two pencil (!!) by your side. When you stumble into something you don’t understand, write it down, then force your mind to let-go of the issue (now that you’ve written it down). Explore something else, and watch lots more videos. You’ll learn from your mistakes, and you’ve made those mistakes as “inexpensive” as you could. Then, save that project, and go try it again.

Keep a version of everything that you tried, no matter how many times you change it. Don’t discard anything or change anything such that you could not get it back. Also, keep a little journal of what you tried, so you can read through it later.

Every engine’s different. As you self-educate yourself on this, try more than one.

In addition to Blender, a 2d paint program often comes in very handy for texturing. I suggest you look into GIMP, Krita or MyPaint, since all three are very capable.

Thanks a lot to all of you :slight_smile:
Is there a way to re-use the animations that I made for one character to animate another one ? Say I have the run animation, walk, jump, punch and I would like all other chars to use the same animations, can I somehow use it and “copy-paste” to another character or do I need to animate every one individually ( 42 chars :frowning: ) ??

Do you mean inside a Unity game?

If so, yes, you can re-use animations. Make sure your characters all use the exact same skeleton or you’ll have problems. Only build animations on ONE of your characters–in fact, I usually have a separate, blank character for my animations, called Animations.blend or something like that. Then when you import your other 42 characters, set them to use the Avatar from your character with animations, rather than generate a new one. (If this makes no sense I can explain in greater depth)

If you mean re-using within Blender, then I don’t remember how to do it but I vaguely remember doing it once or twice.

KnightsFan please explain in greater depth :slight_smile: I am completely new to blender, most of it is still black magic to me.

So actor - > make a generic actor with the same number of bones, name the bones.

duplicate the armature and use it on another actor, and paint weights or assign vertex groups.

animating the original rig, and saving the animation - (make fake users)

means you can play it on any other actor with the same armature.

There are a lot of ways to use assets in a more economical manor.

It’s good to have a base male and female model with a variety of skins, heads and sounds. Making three variations of each will show that you have the ability to do so in case you want to join a mod team or indie developer.

There wasn’t a lot of bump mapping and LOD going on when I started modeling but now it’s commonplace. Three levels of detail and geometry that is permissive of LOD is indicative of a well made modern game model. I’m not sure what that equates to in Unity specifically but meshes are moving to quadrangulated as a basis and triangulated for calculation in the game engine. You’ll see this in Source Engine and Unreal Engine. Now that there is support for tessellation in modern cards these types of models look great maxed out.

I’m not even sure what constitutes low, medium and high poly counts these days. Anybody know what the range is in the newer games?

Depends on the engine,

ue4 and frostbite have some astronomical polycounts,

Blender game, about 6,000 is high for my gpu.

Well this is a Unity thing and not a Blender technique, but maybe we should start with something less complicated than mixing avatars. I’d be glad to help walk you through the process, maybe you could start with simply making an animated mesh and importing it to Unity? Whenever you hit a roadblock, we’ll work through it, and if it is too easy we can look more in depth at this stuff.

(I am still assuming this is all for Unity since you mentioned that in your initial post)

I started learning GIMP as Orinoco suggested for texturing, as my project is anime based the textures do not need a high level of detail as in here ( http://mangabeatingheart.altervista.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/BLEACH.full_.638859.jpg ), hair models are also preety easy to do + using armature in the hair mesh will help a lot. Clothing texture won’t be a problem also ( so I think ), making models is time consuming but I think I can handle it :slight_smile:

BluePrintRandom and KnightsFan do you think using MakeHuman models ( all would have exactly the same rig ) and then editing only the faces of characters would work for re-using Blender animations ?
I will have to re do all 42 chars but now I will use MakeHuman for this, saves a lot of time.
Blonder as I read on various sites poly count around 10K-15K is about medium, my chars mostly have around 13K.
KnightsFan I will focus for now on finishing all the animations I have planned :slight_smile: but I will happily ask your help with unity when I am done with the animations :slight_smile: and the plan is to use only the Unity engine.
My country’s kickstarter page won’t allow me to start a campaign unless I have something to show :frowning: just the idea for a game is not enough sadly :frowning:
Once again thank you all for such fast and helpful answers :slight_smile:


Last I checked, MakeHuman models are about 20k quads which would be roughly 40k triangulated. I tend to use them for screenies for background images for modeling. Importing into Blender and then taking a screenshot of them in ortho makes modeling quick and easy. I use 4 3D viewports: front, back, side and top. I think I posted the setup here a few years back.

they have low bone count rig


I am not sure if they have a lower geometry verision

It probably isn’t useful if you already made your 42 characters. Even if you used MakeHuman models, you’d still need to model custom clothes, so it would almost be starting from scratch. I’d recommend simply keeping your existing characters, but switching over to the MakeHuman (or similar) rig for standardization.

Blonder as I read on various sites poly count around 10K-15K is about medium, my chars mostly have around 13K.

Keep in mind that polycount depends on how many are there. A single 3rd person shooter character should be relatively high poly, while for a crowd of thirty people on screen only seen from 50 meters away, 15k per model might not go smoothly or be useful.

Ok I’ll just switch rigs to the 32 bones rig from MakeHuman in all models. 42 chars are the only story related so 13-20k I think would be ok, as they wont appear on screen all at once, maybe 3-4 at some points, not story related NPCs would be maybe 4-6k polys. Thanks again for the answers and help :slight_smile: