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Pre-made Characters vs Custom Characters

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kenaochreous, May 27, 2013.

  1. kenaochreous

    kenaochreous

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    Hi everyone, I have been thinking about characters. It seems like pre-made characters have a lot more potential for narrative and depth. Because when that character is in the hands of the developer the character's story can be seamlessly integrated into the world of the game. Whereas with the custom character the narrative is severely limited to where the game can't really say much about the character. The player can make up their own story about their character but honestly how far does that go? What's your view on this topic?
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  2. Nanity

    Nanity

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    I'd say that depends on the game. I could neither imagine Zelda with custom chars nor Sims with pre-made ones. Furthermore a good story goes along great personalities and customization is a possible income.
     
  3. The Ghost

    The Ghost

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    It all depends on the game, if you really want immersion go for custom. If you want to focus heavy on story go with premade. A nice compromise is a premade character with lots of customization.

    You can have custom characters with an interesting story(ex. Skyrim)but the story still probably wont be as good as something with premade character(ex. Bioshock Infinite)
     
  4. kenaochreous

    kenaochreous

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    Really? I was thinking premade characters would be better for immersion.
     
  5. Ippokratis

    Ippokratis

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    It depends on the budget, among other factors.
     
  6. goat

    goat

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    That makes no sense at all because you whether a character is custom or pre-made the story can be written before you have either using pronouns.
     
  7. kenaochreous

    kenaochreous

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    I'm sorry I don't quite understand.What doesn't make sense? You're not being very specific.
     
  8. PrimeDerektive

    PrimeDerektive

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    I don't think character customization has any impact whatsoever on the potential of narrative depth unless you make it so. 95% of games with character customization have stories that are absolutely unaffected by the customization anyway, its just an aesthetic thing. What exactly is it about custom characters that you think limits the narrative?
     
  9. JohnnyA

    JohnnyA

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    One would expect that a burly warrior would get quite different reactions to an ancient whip thin sorcerer. If the games character is predefined as a burly warrior then it you can add depth to the story by making the bravado full thug cower when he is confronted by the burly warrior. If it was the wizard the thug might be confrontational (maybe trying to rob the wizard) until the wizard demonstrates his power.

    By knowing what the character is, how they look, etc, you can craft a much deeper and believable story.

    (I think that's what the OP is getting at anyways).

    - John A
     
  10. kenaochreous

    kenaochreous

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    Exactly, with a premade character you can make a certain character have a certain event or encounter and actually give them an interactive back story. Instead of a simple written background which is pretty much as far as you can go with a custom character.
     
  11. keithsoulasa

    keithsoulasa

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    +1
     
  12. kenaochreous

    kenaochreous

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    You can't make the character's background part of the game. The custom character's background will just be a piece of text sitting somewhere and while you can roleplay with a certain background that's as far as that will go. Think of Skyrim for moment. Did that game actually acknowledge a certain trait of your character? At best you'll here a comment about doing x quest or being good in y skill.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  13. SteveJ

    SteveJ

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    This is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately for a new game I'm just starting. It's definitely true that a pre-defined protagonist allows you to tell a deeper story, or at least one that is much more closely tied to the character's personal journey. Even a simple thing like allowing the player to choose if the character is male or female has a huge impact on your ability to tell a specific story about that character.

    I've opted to define the primary character that the player starts out with, but allow them to take control of the "random" characters that join their group throughout the game, essentially making all characters in the game "equal" but diverse, but still introducing the world through the eyes of one specific man.
     
  14. PrimeDerektive

    PrimeDerektive

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    You're (incorrectly) making the assumption that allowing character customization precludes the developer from writing a backstory for the playable character. Did you ever play Mass Effect? You can customize literally everything about your character, yet the narrative is incredibly deep (because the narrative is unaffected by your character customization). They even get around the voice acting problem because you can only change your character's first name, his/her last name is always Shepard, and everyone addresses you as such in the VO.

    Bioshock, Zelda, etc. would not suddenly have to be rewritten or redesigned if it allowed the player to pick booker or link's beard and hair color. Booker would still be a pinkerton who was at wounded knee, and link would still be a backgroundless silent protagonist.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  15. goat

    goat

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    Oh, take Cinderella for example. The entire story can be rewritten using pronouns and without illustrations. So the worry about custom vs pre-fab characters isn't important, the story is important.
     
  16. PrimeDerektive

    PrimeDerektive

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    Exactly. Or you could make a game about Cinderella but allow the player to fully customize her appearance. the story is equally unaffected.
     
  17. kingcharizard

    kingcharizard

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    why not a little of both? You could buy pre made and make changes to them without the need to be an expert 3d artist. It would save alot of time and give your game the feeling of being unique.
     
  18. PrimeDerektive

    PrimeDerektive

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    Hes referring to allowing character customization in-game (Mass Effect, Skyrim) versus having a pre-designed, static protagonist (like Nathan Drake or Link), not custom vs. stock 3d art.
     
  19. goat

    goat

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    At any rate, if your story is so good or the game so fun then you make the decision to use your own unique pre-fab characters like Mario Bros so that' you'll have 'intellectual property' to support you into old age. Otherwise, customized characters are a selling point, particularly in multiplayer games.

    It'd be so frustrating to get lucky with a really fun game and make a lot of money only to wind up with no intellectual property for the game because all the characters were generic custom characters but again that depends only on the story and game play. Deciding with the character(s) will be custom or pre-fab can be the last decision.

    Personally I'd think I'd allow both, particularly since in a Multiplayer game there is, e.g. Mario, Lugio and then you need to add more prefab or allow customization or both.
     
  20. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    Well, if you have the time and the patience to make sure it ALL works seamlessly, by all means, go nuts! Just be sure that you are able to keep up the level of quality...
     
  21. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    Well, if you have the time and the patience to make sure it ALL works seamlessly, by all means, go nuts! Just be sure that you are able to keep up the level of quality... I have seen personally customized pieces in some games that stand out like sore thumbs because the level of quality wasn't matched...
     
  22. goat

    goat

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    Yes, and Yahoo Avatars are uninspiring even if artistically they are seamless.

    Also my xBox avatar looks Conan O'Brien except my avatar is much funnier.
     
  23. KRGraphics

    KRGraphics

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    I gotta see that... but yes, in all seriousness, if you want to customise a character, you also have to make sure the model also functions well with it... which is no easy feat.
     
  24. kenaochreous

    kenaochreous

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    Honestly, how many games out there allow you to make a custom character? There's only a couple I can name off the top of my head. Mass Effect, Skyrim, Dragon Age and Kingdoms of Amalur and I don't think there's anything coming out this year that is a customizable game like I mentioned in my list. Does a game with high level of customization just not appeal to a lot of people?
     
  25. goat

    goat

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    Intermittently, I've been working on Digitech Gamez 'Character Workshop' he wrote for Unity 3.5 in order to extend the design to easily customize his characters. His is based off DAZ's Genesis characters and the way DAZ / Poser models are created make their models a good choice for such a project even if after you have to replace their models with your own because they have to be licensed and have too many polygons.

    As he made his source open source I see no problem in sharing it after I'm finished making the changes as I left his credits in the source. I hesitate to do too much work on it though because it may be obsoleted by the Avatar Generator coming to Unity 4.2. I'm hoping that will be flexible enough to create a unique style or allow me to sub in my own models.

    I also will create using nGUI or Unity GUI (they have a few nice prefabs) a better GUI rather than continue using the one you see in the picture.

    If you are interested take a look at the png files: why do a get a null ref when I add a mesh to the base character?

    (the base character is a set of models I licensed but plan on creating my own as the number of polygons is a bit too high)

    Code (csharp):
    1. /*
    2.  * ==================================================
    3.  * Company
    4.  *             Original: Digitech Gamez
    5.  *             Modified: Thunder Cell LLC
    6.  *
    7.  * Module
    8.  *             JointManager.cs
    9.  *
    10.  * Description
    11.  *             Attach this as a component to the root asset.
    12.  *
    13.  *             Reference the joints of a child mesh
    14.  *             to the joints of its parent mesh
    15.  *             It achieves this by assigning each bone
    16.  *             transform of the child mesh to the corresponding
    17.  *             transform of the parent mesh bone, such
    18.  *             that the bones moves together.
    19.  *
    20.  * Author
    21.  *             gxmark
    22.  * Modified
    23.  *             Andy Grogan
    24.  *
    25.  * Date
    26.  *             Apr 2012
    27.  *             Oct 2012 JAG
    28.  *
    29.  * Copyright
    30.  *             Royalty Free
    31.  * ==================================================
    32.  */
    33. using UnityEngine;
    34. using System.Collections;
    35. using System.Collections.Generic;
    36.  
    37.  
    38. public class JointManager : MonoBehaviour
    39.     {
    40.     // References to SkinnedMeshRenderer
    41.     private SkinnedMeshRenderer parent_smr;
    42.     private Dictionary<string, SkinnedMeshRenderer> child_smr_map = new Dictionary<string, SkinnedMeshRenderer>();
    43.  
    44.     void Start()
    45.         {
    46.  
    47.         return;
    48.         }// Start
    49.  
    50.     public void Initialize(GameObject rootObj)
    51.         {
    52.  
    53.         if (rootObj != null)
    54.             {
    55.             // Get the SkinnedMeshRenderer of the parent mesh
    56.             parent_smr = (SkinnedMeshRenderer)rootObj.GetComponentInChildren(typeof(SkinnedMeshRenderer));
    57.             }// if
    58.  
    59.         return;
    60.         }// Initialize
    61.  
    62.     // Attach the mesh joints to the parent joints
    63.     public void AttachToParent(GameObject meshObj)
    64.         {
    65.  
    66.         if (meshObj != null)
    67.             {
    68.             SkinnedMeshRenderer smr = (SkinnedMeshRenderer)meshObj.GetComponentInChildren(typeof(SkinnedMeshRenderer));
    69.  
    70.             child_smr_map.Add(meshObj.name, smr);
    71.  
    72.             // Get the meshes bones
    73.             Transform[] mesh_bones = smr.bones;
    74.  
    75.             // Get the parent mesh (character) bones
    76.             Transform[] parent_bones = parent_smr.bones;
    77.  
    78.             foreach (Transform parent_bone in parent_bones)
    79.                 {
    80.  
    81.                 foreach (Transform mesh_bone in mesh_bones)
    82.                     {
    83.  
    84.                     if (parent_bone.name.Contains(mesh_bone.name))
    85.                         {
    86.                         // Assign the mesh_bone to the parent bone transform
    87.                         mesh_bone.parent = parent_bone;
    88.                         print("mesh bone parent = " + mesh_bone.parent.name + " parent bone = " + parent_bone.name);
    89.  
    90.                         break;
    91.                         }// if
    92.                     }// foreach
    93.                 }// foreach
    94.             }// if
    95.  
    96.         return;
    97.         }// AttachToParent
    98.  
    99.     // Detach the mesh joints from the parent joints
    100.     public void DetachFromParent(GameObject meshObj)
    101.         {
    102.  
    103.         if (meshObj != null)
    104.             {
    105.             // Get the meshes bones
    106.             SkinnedMeshRenderer smr = child_smr_map[meshObj.name];
    107.  
    108.  
    109.             foreach (Transform mesh_bone in smr.bones)
    110.                 {
    111.  
    112.                 mesh_bone.parent = smr.transform;
    113.                 }// foreach
    114.  
    115.             // Remove the mesh from the child smr map
    116.             child_smr_map.Remove(meshObj.name);
    117.  
    118.             GameObject.Destroy(smr);
    119.             }// if
    120.  
    121.         return;
    122.         }// DetachFromParent
    123.     }// JointManager
    $CharCust.png

    $CharCustNullRef.png

    Seems the attachments don't work so....as embedded SkyDrive links maybe?



     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  26. kenaochreous

    kenaochreous

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    What does that have to do with anything that we are talking about here?
     
  27. goat

    goat

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    Let's see: to quote you

    You are talking about character customization and I mention code that does character customization, the mention of Unity Avatar Generator, and to make it even easier on you this thread: http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/183980-Daz3D-amp-Poser-Morphs-and-automatic-clothes-wrapping

    and you ask what it has to to with this thread.

    Others will see the same.
     
  28. kenaochreous

    kenaochreous

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    Yes but that doesn't answer my question.Does a game with high level of customization just not appeal to a lot of people?
     
  29. goat

    goat

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    I also mentioned the xBox Avator system, you mentioned several titles, the Wii Avatar system and that there are the character customization examples in development mentioned earlier in this thread, not to mention Unity's earlier Character Dressing Room, the Vostopia Animation System and so on...coupled with your reply in the other Kickstarter campaign thread tells me...

    yes...

    go have a word with Anne Robinson
     
  30. kenaochreous

    kenaochreous

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    What reply in the other Kickstarter campaign thread are you referring to? I really don't see where your going with this.
     
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