LODs

Here's the last thing you can do to optimize the mesh in the game. The LODs for the Hicks model represent the varying mesh densities that the character will have in relation to the distances of the other players. It's important to have these LODs, because it would bog down the game engine to unnecessarily process a 3,000-polygon model that a player can't see from afar. I'll show you how to make two LODs.

1. In the Schematic view, you should have the Detail2 and Hicks mesh objects; they currently should not be linked to anything. Just link the Detail2 dummy object to the Bip01 object (the root of the biped). This represents the lowest level of detail—the higher the number, the higher the detail. Of course, these are just reference markers for the game engine to use.

2. With the Detail2 object still selected, you need to create another dummy object representing the highest level of detail. The easiest way to do this is by clicking Edit, Clone on the top menu bar. In the Clone Options dialog box, make sure Copy is checked. For the name, type in detail64 and click OK. The number is arbitrary, but it's good to keep the trailing number large, so you know that the larger the number, the higher the mesh density will be. Now look back to the Schematic view, and notice that the new detail marker has been added and attached to the Bip01 object, because it is a clone.

Figure 8.20 The properly attached nodes to the biped.

3. With the detail markers in place, you need to create a single LOD mesh using the Multi-Res modifier. First select the Hicks mesh object in the Schematic view; then create a clone of the mesh. Just click Edit, Clone, and name the new copy Hicks model64. This represents the highest LOD.

4. Finally, reselect the Hicks mesh object. Then, in the Modifier panel, apply a MutliRes modifier to this mesh. In the Mul-tiRes rollout, click Generate. Change the Vert Percent parameter to 50.0, which reduces the polygon count to 50 percent of the original mesh, or in this case, about 1500 faces. That's not bad, considering there's not much loss in detail. This represents the lowest LOD that other players will see from afar. You should now have two Hicks model meshes in your scene (Hicks mesh and Hicks model64) that are referenced, by the Torque engine, by the detail dummy markers Detail2 and Detail64, respectively.

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