Questions About 3D Characters

  • #1, by Kevin ArnoldSaturday, 01. April 2017, 22:05 3 years ago
    I'm a 3D animator by trade and would like to use VS to create point-and-click games using 3D players on a 2D background. I know the documentation is lacking, which makes me wary since this engine costs a decent amount for any kind of professional use. 

    I looked through the wiki and only saw a snippet about someone's workflow importing 3D models. There's not much information regarding VS's 3D features, how well it supports it or any documentation on how to implement it. That is unless I totally missed it, which is always possible since I look through things too fast sometimes.

    Is this something I have to figure out on my own? Does VS support 3D well enough to try, or should I just render my 3D animations to 2D sprites and go the old-school route?

    If it supports it, I'd use Blender for the animations and export using Collada (.dae) or .3DS, whichever is best. Anyone here know anything about 3D in this engine and how it works? I tried to import a model but I guess I'm still noobish that I couldn't really find it or figure out how to work it.

    Thanks!

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  • #2, by afrlmeSaturday, 01. April 2017, 22:30 3 years ago
    To my knowledge on .x format works correctly, though I believe 3D characters are somewhat broken in Visionaire Studio 4.2.5. I don't know if the feature has been fixed for the upcoming Visonaire Studio 5.0 public release. I've not asked Simon about it as it's not a feature I use or probably ever will use.

    The best person to talk to about 3D characters & how to import them would be the member who's guide we posted on the wiki as he's the only one that has been using 3D character models as far as I'm aware.

    3D character support was only added a few versions or so back, so it's a bit raw. Maybe it will get expanded on in the future. If it's absolutely vital you use 3D character models, then I'm sure you'll figure out what works best for you in regards to creating them, exporting them & importing them into Visionaire Studio. If not, then exporting them as still frames is perfectly valid. The only real benefit from my perspective to using 3D characters is being able to adjust the camera angle / perspective view in which we see the characters which is great if you plan on using scenes drawn from different angles.

    Personally I recommend exporting your models as 2D sprites - will probably save you a headache in the long run. wink

    Quick note: I believe most of Daedalic recent games over past few years were 3D characters that were exported, painted over with zBrush thing then imported into VS as still frame animations or imported into Spine for sprite part animation, which is something VS supports - at least in VS 5.x.

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  • #3, by Kevin ArnoldSaturday, 01. April 2017, 22:37 3 years ago
    Hmm, okay thanks. I'm using the 5.0 beta, so I don't know then. If it's not very good in 4.2.5 then it's probably not great in the beta either. I've tinkered with Unity and Adventure Creator, which supports 3D models very well on 2D backgrounds, but it seems VS's ease of use is far better. 

    In Unity, you just import your 3D model with the animation actions and there ya go. Just basically plug in the correct animation with the movement and you're done. I guess this is what trials are for, figuring out if a new software is worth it or not.

    I guess in the end it's between using AC for Unity or saying screw it and exporting the animations as sprites into VS for simplicity's sake. /shrug

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  • #4, by afrlmeSunday, 02. April 2017, 00:48 3 years ago
    3D character support was something quite a few people kept asking for, then after it was eventually implemented I think hardly anyone has bothered using it. For me VS should have just stayed 100% 2D, but that's just my personal opinion. wink

    I've imported a .x file that one of devs game to me as a test & it seemed to import ok when I tried it, though it seemed to have a few issues animating correctly. It's possible that 3D models will work ok in the official release of 5.0 - I can't confirm that though.

    Like most things, it's about choice & sacrifice, what you can live with & what you can live without. If Unity has more features that you need, then use that. If ease of use is more important & you don't mind finding workarounds for limitations then feel free to use VS instead or Game Maker Studio or Construct 2 or whatever makes most sense. There's also quite a few other dedicated point & click adventure game engines out there too like adventure game studio & wintermute & adventure game engine (looks quite interesting), but I can't say what any of them are like as I've only ever used VS & dabbled with Game Maker Studio & RPG Maker a little bit - & visual basic / .net once a blue moon ago (about 10+ years ago).

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  • #5, by Kevin ArnoldSunday, 02. April 2017, 01:01 3 years ago
    3D character support was something quite a few people kept asking for, then after it was eventually implemented I think hardly anyone has bothered using it. For me VS should have just stayed 100% 2D, but that's just my personal opinion. wink

    I've imported a .x file that one of devs game to me as a test & it seemed to import ok when I tried it, though it seemed to have a few issues animating correctly. It's possible that 3D models will work ok in the official release of 5.0 - I can't confirm that though.

    Like most things, it's about choice & sacrifice, what you can live with & what you can live without. If Unity has more features that you need, then use that. If ease of use is more important & you don't mind finding workarounds for limitations then feel free to use VS instead or Game Maker Studio or Construct 2 or whatever makes most sense. There's also quite a few other dedicated point & click adventure game engines out there too like adventure game studio & wintermute & adventure game engine (looks quite interesting), but I can't say what any of them are like as I've only ever used VS & dabbled with Game Maker Studio & RPG Maker a little bit - & visual basic / .net once a blue moon ago (about 10+ years ago).
    Thanks for doing the test. I'm going to create a really small 3D file tomorrow and see what I can figure out on my own in VS. As for Construct 2, I've used that for the past two years. smile It's okay, but I'm not happy with the direction it's heading now with version 3. Besides that, it's great for prototyping, but many developers are having to port their games to other engines because it lacks sufficient console support due to its HTML5 foundation.

    I've used Gamemaker in the past. It's fine, but I'm a 3D guy, and I'd like to start going that route if I can. I've rendered 3D to sprites before, so I'm used to that. But I was hoping VS might be able to do what I wanted and keep me from having to rely on bloated Unity, even though it's great.

    I'll check out those other engines you mentioned too. Might as well wink It's always fun to test things out.

    Edit: Seems Wintermute hasn't been updated since 2010. I have my doubts about its longevity. The Adventure Game Engine seems 2D only too, and Adventure Game Studio is 2D for small games? Yeah, VS already does that stuff so no point in looking elsewhere. I'm just concerned now about the 3D aspects. Will check more about it as I go grin

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  • #6, by afrlmeSunday, 02. April 2017, 01:15 3 years ago
    heh, no problem.

    Another member on here shared an article with me the other day about Construct 3. They are or were planning on making it browser based. Chrome to be more specific. It's a clever solution to solving cross-platform development, but it's not as nice as a proper IDE or for people that don't use or care for Chrome. I had a look at Construct 2 a while back. Seemed like a nice engine, but the lack of export options put me off. Seems to be focused more on mobile platforms & html5 than anything else - though it mentioned something about using wrappers for desktop.

    P.S: I didn't mean I'd tested the 3D model file now. Was quite a while back. I've not touched the 3D character system since not long after it was released in whichever update it was - my memory isn't all that great.

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  • #7, by Kevin ArnoldSunday, 02. April 2017, 01:28 3 years ago
    No worries. I'll be doing tests here soon enough and seeing if it's worth pursuing or just rendering to sprites. I hope that doing turn animations will make the character look like it's doing everything seamlessly as if it really were 3D if I have to go the sprite route. 

    C3, yeah, it's losing a lot of members. So much venom on the forums lately, so I just had to go ahead and leave. Construct doesn't even let you make mobile games very easily. They're buggy, crash after so many megs, and rely on wrappers that are terrible. Even desktop exports are made with nw.js and cause so many problems for people. 

    It's really just an engine for making browser games for places like Newgrounds. I just hope I can wrap my head around this VS thing. Not a lot to go on, but I found a few people on YouTube with some decent tutorials, but they're a few years old. I'm sure they still apply.

    Newbie

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  • #8, by afrlmeSunday, 02. April 2017, 02:33 3 years ago
    I thought I linked the tutorials page on the wiki? I listed all Visionaire Studio related tutorials on there. Yes, they are a couple years old as it's been quite from 4.2.5 to 5.0 beta. Year & odd now.

    https://wiki.visionaire-tracker.net/wiki/Tutorials

    The turn animation is something new for 5.x. I believe animating turns rather than simply rotating idle character around is the best method for animating rotation of a character because you can make it more realist by also animating the characters body twisting with the momentum of the turn & make it look much more natural - the only thing it doesn't cover is rotating clockwise or anti-clockwise, but you can use animation index for that by creating 2 animations per direction & changing the animation index value as needed - should do the trick.

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  • #9, by Kevin ArnoldSunday, 02. April 2017, 02:50 3 years ago
    I thought I linked the tutorials page on the wiki? I listed all Visionaire Studio related tutorials on there. Yes, they are a couple years old as it's been quite from 4.2.5 to 5.0 beta. Year & odd now.

    https://wiki.visionaire-tracker.net/wiki/Tutorials

    The turn animation is something new for 5.x. I believe animating turns rather than simply rotating idle character around is the best method for animating rotation of a character because you can make it more realist by also animating the characters body twisting with the momentum of the turn & make it look much more natural - the only thing it doesn't cover is rotating clockwise or anti-clockwise, but you can use animation index for that by creating 2 animations per direction & changing the animation index value as needed - should do the trick.
    Yeah I got that link. Thats where I found those YouTube tutorials wink I don't understand what you're talking about with the animation index stuff, but I'm sure I'll get there soon enough.

    Newbie

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  • #10, by afrlmeSunday, 02. April 2017, 04:46 3 years ago
    It's a feature for all of the character animations (except the ones under the strangely titled "character animations" which should probably be renamed to interaction animations or custom animtions or something more appropriate) which allows you to create multiple animations in say talk animation category for the same compass direction. There's an action part under "character" action parts called "change character animation index". Adjusting the value of that to say 1 or 2 (not sure if default value is 0 or 1) means that it would play the second lot of animations you created instead. I'm not really sure how to explain it properly.

    Maybe this will make more sense... https://wiki.visionaire-tracker.net/wiki/Actionparts#Change_...

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  • #11, by bonesSunday, 02. April 2017, 07:22 3 years ago
    @Kevin

    Aside from 3d and 2d characters, one additional option that is supported in Visionaire are Spine characters and objects. I've tested these, and it works quite well, with some caveats (character parts cannot be controlled with Lua scripting, and no animation blending). I am not 100% sure whether mesh deformation is also supported - the one character I tried that had mesh deformed animated parts did not load those parts correctly.

    Since Spine is quite expensive ($300), a good alternative is DragonBones, which is free, and exports to Spine format (but the app needs to be online to do so). Also an option: CoaTools for Blender-->export to Dragonbones-->export Spine-->Visionaire. Blender (as you are probably aware) offers excellent animation tools.

    Build a character in Gimp or Photoshop, import directly into CoaTools, and start animating. Or animate directly in DragonBones.
    http://dragonbones.com/en
    https://github.com/ndee85/coa_tools

    Here my post (top and middle of the page) explaining how it works, and a small demo file with the fire demon. It's fun to work with.
    http://www.visionaire-studio.net/forum/thread/animating/9/

    I wrote a post a while ago that I decided to use Unity for a game idea, but to be honest I am not so sure anymore. I tested Adventure Creator for Unity, and Unity feels a bit awkward for 2d adventure games. So now I am testing Visionaire once more to see if it can do what I need. Version 5 looks quite promising as well.

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