Character Creator Attachment Tutorial
After deciding to use the stock meshes as characters for my game project Spectre, I've recently imported my first custom hair style for the CC.
A user has asked me how to do this and while I gave him a short overview on how it works, I noticed that this was probably too cryptic for someone who is completely new to custom 3d imports and rigging.
The default collection for the CC is rather sparse and there are very few head and hair styles to select, resulting in numerous NPC's in GG games looking the same. This tutorial will teach you a couple things on how you can have more variety and even import your very own custom meshes.
Notice also that I can not teach you how to make custom hair, helmet or head meshes on your own. That would require me to go through all the basis of 3d modeling and it would be pointless as many of you use various 3d software. Besides, I use milkshape 3D and writing out a full tutorial on how to use this ancient and outdated software wouldn't benefit many of you as I assume that the software most used for 3D creation around here is blender.
I will however use fragmotion to rig the custom mesh in this tutorial. There is a free version available and besides, its a great tool to have in your collection for converting to .x meshes, converting numerous older formats the more contemporary 3d software no longer recognizes and its exports work flawlessly with GG.
To make sure that things go over smoothly remember to always do clean exports of your meshes....that means only 1 material attached to a mesh and only 1 texture as well. Delete any excess materials in fragmotion.
Now without further ado, lets get started.
Part 1: Custom face textures
This is just a short overview on how to create multiple face texture variants using the stock ones as a template. If you go into your files/characterkit directory you will find all textures, meshes and relevant files for the CC. You can copy any of the stock textures and start modifying it to your hearts content. If your image editor does not support .dds files, there is a free tool called paint.net that you can use to convert to and from .dds (direct draw surface) files. Once you have your custom texture ready (be this a whole new face or just different eye color, skin tone or some scars/tattoos) all you need to do is copy the .png and .cci file and enter the relevant information. Make sure that the .png files name ends in _thumb.png. It would look something like this:
A cci file looks like this (you can edit it using windows notepad):
Notice that mesh, diffuse and normal requires you to enter whatever files you want to use for your new face. Chances are that the mesh and normal line remain the same, this works just fine if all you want to do is change the diffuse file.
So much for part 1 of this tutorial. Now on to something more challenging:
Part 2: Custom head attachment
For this tutorial we are going to add a new set of female hair. You can, however, import any mesh you want. A helmet, a hat, a pair of glasses, it does not matter.
Note: The CC differentiates between male and female variants using the cci and png name. That means that for the editor to know that your new attachment is for a female char, it will need to have "fmale" in its name. Please notice that the male head meshes are slightly larger than the female ones. So a hairstyle version rigged for a female character needs to be slightly larger for a male one, otherwise the head mesh will clip through.
Now, to rig the mesh, we will use the propellerhat as a template. It exists in both a male and a female variant, you have pretty good visual aid for how large your mesh has to be and where to position it and its the most useless prop in the whole CC, therefore its no big deal if you accidentally overwrite it
Your first import should look something like this in fragmotion. Be sure to use the 4 viewpoints mode to accurately place the mesh on top of the propeller. (Open the propeller head mesh and then merge
it with your mesh). You can now scale and move the mesh so it perfectly overlaps with the propellerhat mesh.
There we go, now all you need to do is select your hair mesh (make sure the vertices are selected!!) and then you click on the skeleton panel. Right click on the bone, a menu will appear where you select "assign selected vertices to bone"
Neat, now a colorful bar will appear on screen. Here we will weigh the bone. Make sure you drag it all the way up in the reds... full weight needs to be applied, otherwise the hair will lag behind and hover around in the characters animation.
There you go. Now all there is left to do is export your creation and create the relevant cci and png file for the editor. And you are now done.
I think this covers pretty much all there is to it but feel free to ask any questions you might have here, I will check in periodically to see if I can answer them.. Cheers!