Character Type

This book describes how to develop a first-person game character in detail. Creating monsters and enemies is fun but not as detailed, because opposing characters either don't wield weapons

Figure 1.5 Another version of a third-person style game, although I refer to it as fourth person. The player still views the world via a positional camera but controls more than one character. Age of Empires II. © 2001 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

or drive vehicles, or they have only one weapon. In conceiving of a character type, know beforehand some of the character's attributes. If a character is human or humanoid, the process of adding a skeleton to a 3D mesh will be easy because most 3D programs like 3ds Max 8 have a default skeleton that takes on a humanoid form. If your character is to be, say, a six-legged monster with two tails and a goofy long ponytail, you'll have to manipulate a humanoid skeleton to fit and drive the character mesh.

The weapon models that a player character uses also drive its polygon count and animations. Different weapons require different postures and attachment locations and sometimes force you to increase the polygon count on the model at joint areas so that the model flexes more naturally. Multiple dummy objects are also needed so that the game engine knows where on a character a weapon should be attached or what limbs of the character should attach to certain points on a vehicle or other object.

A background story for the character in question is important because it dictates many attributes such as how the character looks, moves, and sounds throughout the game. The background story also provides a history for your character and is usually documented in reference material printed while and after the game is published. In Chapter 2, "Preparing to Model: Configuring 3ds Max and Referencing Sketch Art," I develop a character concept and background story in conjunction with some sketch art to be used for creating characters throughout this book.

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