I made a judgmental call near the beginning of our project that is now coming back to haunt us. When we started modeling our characters I looked at how Epic had done their characters and drew some conclusions. I took these conclusions and passed them onto our character modelers as constraints. For example the poly limit of the characters, I took an average of all the different characters from Epic and passed that on as the constraint.
I also noticed that the resolution for the character textures was 2048:2048, so this is what I informed the character artists. Now for the part that has come back to haunt us. When I looked at the Characters from Epic I noticed that they had two materials, one for the head and one for the rest of the body. I passed this limit on to our character artists as just “you can have up to two materials”. Now, using two materials is just fine. The part that is tricky is that each part of the characters (Head, Torso, Arms, etc.) can only have one material applied to it. Static meshes can have more than one material applied to them and so this restriction never occurred to me.
The even more frustrating part is that if you apply two materials to a single part of a character it looks fine in the editor preview, and the character customization screen. The only time it becomes apparent is in game, you know, the time that really matters.
Here are some picture examples of what was happening with our character materials:
- Character Materials Working In Customization Screen
- Character Materials Working In UT3 Editor
- Character Materials Broken InGame
Only one tutorial I read ever noted this restriction, maybe I did not look hard enough in other tutorials, or misread it, or maybe I ignored it. It does not really matter; the fact of the matter is our character artists have just been given a bunch more work.
I am not an artist, so exactly how much more work this will create I am not sure. I do know though that it will more than likely require re-UVing the characters to keep the UV space as optimized as possible. Once I am able to sit down with our art lead I will make another post as to how we will be tackling this problem. I take responsibility for this mistake, and am frustrated that I did not push to have the characters done sooner.
It does not really matter. The fact is we have more work to do. We will overcome this problem and we will come out of this stronger then before because we will learn from not just my mistake here, but all of our mistakes.