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Old Apr 28, 2010, 06:50 PM // 18:50   #1
Pre-Searing Cadet
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Arrow Outfit styles in Guild Wars - technology issue?

Hello guys, I am currently writing a little disseration and I had an idea to use Guild Wars as an example. It's hard to explain what is it about so I will just post a part of it and I am asking you to tell me if my way of thinking is correct. There is a little about technology there so I'd be amused if someone from ANet could appear and leave a comment on this

And yes I know I made an insane amount of grammar mistakes ;d

Outfit style...

... and how does it affect the entire character creation process in MMORPG games where the customizable art asset pipeline is the main issue during production.
Everyone knows and most don’t even bother to think about so obvious things. What am I writing about? I am writing about ‘/dance’, ‘/flex’, ‘/ponder’ and many more emote commands used in (not only) MMOs. Still not following? Imagine that you create, then rig and weight a character and then because it is customizable, you change its armour. The same rig, the same weighing, completely different geometry. Result – mess...
And that is where advanced parenting and weighting scripts come with help. But the code has to be optimized and there is no place for different scripts for every single armour set so here is the thing, outfit styles.

Take a look at two first characters from the left, then the other two. It is clear that the way they keep their pose differs. In the same time the hands of the 3rd character and the shoulders and hands of the 4th character are different from the basic form. This is how the character classes are distinguished in basic pose no matter what kind of armour they wear (or not). They have a different way of moving, attacking and casting spells as well.
This is very basic, but still customization [(...)means ‘anything made or modified to personal taste’ and it is similar to: personalisation, (...), individualize]. Each of these characters is individual in its own kind of way. The artists task is to create as few rigs and weighting sets as possible to keep the best timing, to keep the project complexity and the game code optimized as everything costs money.
How does it regard outfit styles? Please take another look at the above characters. Outfit styles create an illusion that the following characters have their origin in one particular world, they belong to it. They (outfit styles, and characters) keep the game world integrate, so a player can see it as a whole. That is one thing.
The second bottom is technology. Would it be possible to take one of the above characters, dress it in a thick,’ waving on a wind’ fur coat long enough to reach the ground, and use the very same rig to make it work? It could be hard to achieve. Maybe it would be necessary to create another rig and another weighting set? Or maybe there should be one, very complex rig able to take care of everything? The problem is that kind of rig would be time consuming and ‘buggy’, as well as higher computer power dependent.

Few more examples. Can you see the pattern in the above outfits? Clothes are getting wider below the waist level in a specific, cone-like manner. It is the optimized way to reduce, generally speaking the computing power needed to run the game as well as (and mainly) it is the specific style of the game.
So when a group of artists want to create an efficient customizable art asset pipeline they have to spend a lot of time planning in advance, all the aspects of the technology they are going to use and consequences of their choice.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 02:48 AM // 02:48   #2
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Well I think I understood what you were basically trying to say, but a short explanation of your thesis would help a lot. All in all it made sense to me, but explaining the topic a bit would get you better feedback.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 08:07 AM // 08:07   #3
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Are to trying to suggest that the armors at the bottom have a slightly different animations because they don't seem to move realistically? I'm trying to understand, but there are terms I am not familar with. Can you please 'dumb it down' a little?
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Old May 05, 2010, 06:56 PM // 18:56   #4
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What I got out of it that yes you can "customize" your character by looks and armor, yet you already custom it just by selecting a certain class because each moves, casts, etc. differently. But then when it comes to Armor Art it is fundementaly the same "cone" shape that ends up being used.

:P I want to read the whole thing, I think it would fill the gaps that are missing.
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Old May 07, 2010, 08:12 AM // 08:12   #5
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Characters are animated, 2 different poses from single screenshots can't be related to specifics armor sets.

Skins are already applied on different 3d models. These models are very low poly. They are shaped on same rigs for same pre-computed animation.

Now if you want to modify how it works or extend possibilities, you create design issues first like animations and rigs for mixed set that must be solved first.

You can imagine a new engine or technology, but I don't see where is technology issue you are talking about. (Rigs can be generic enough to allow artist to adapt any kind of animation, and animations can still be bound to the fact you are from tyria or not (and have twitches))
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Old Jun 20, 2010, 07:13 PM // 19:13   #6
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City of Heroes might be a better place to look at this as their character creator is a lot more robust than Guild Wars.
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