opinions on single 3d model for multiple genders

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by ikatsuke, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. ikatsuke

    ikatsuke New Member

    Aug 4, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Hi, I am currently deep in the weeds of making a game by myself. Time and effort are always my biggest enemies, so I am continuously looking for ways to simplify/reuse/speed things.

    My current question is around the idea of using one 3d model for all my characters vs multiple models per character type. I am a programmer, not a 3d artist, so my ability to generate 3d models is limited.

    Before diving too deep into questions here is an example of what I have working right now:


    It is pretty rough but it conveys the gender difference somewhat.

    The technique I am using here is simply driving the anatomical differences by tweaking the position of helper bones through out the model. Making arms/legs/thighs/belly/neck thinner or thicker, or making the chest be curved or flat.

    This has a few benefits:

    1. Single skeleton to worry about
    2. All animations can be used on all characters
    3. Clothing can be reused between characters (so only one rigging session is required)
    4. Allows for body transformations (slim/fat/tall/short)

    At the same time it does mean a few pains:

    1. Rigging clothing for the torso is complicated due to extra geometry to support the helper bones
    2. Textures must be used sparingly and carefully, extra geometry plays tricks when deformations occur
    3. It is hard to strike a balance between believable anatomical differences and good looking results on either end of the spectrum
    4. Animation must take into consideration the extra bones and be careful of not altering them unintendedly

    So my questions are:

    - What are your experiences on this multi-gender model approach?
    - Is it worth the extra effort?
    - Any tips for a non-artsy person to improve?
    - Am I saving time, or tying a knot around my neck? (lol)

    A bit more about my project that may or may not weigh in on your suggestions:
    - The game is mostly procedurally generated (all NPCs are also)
    - Allowing for a decent variety of character styles is a must
    - Lots of equipment will be made for the characters
    - There is nothing that only one gender can do, all actions can be done by any type of character
    - There is a thought of allowing for extreme transformations of the models (kids, dwarfs, giants, etc)
    - The feel and look of the game is mostly cell shaded low poly, so the use of textures will be subtle and limited

    If you think of something else I could provide to help with suggestions let me know. Thanks for taking a look.

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