R15 Anthro Import Module

mesh
r15
armature
deformation

#1

As a roblox developer, it’s currently incredibly hard to import mesh characters like our buddy the R15 Anthro (this guy)

I’ve personally made one before, and to get that guy in was a major pain in the you-know-what. The first hurdle was the fact that roblox has no way to import multiple meshes in bulk, so each limb took 15x the time it should have taken to import my character.

The second hurdle came when I learned how to rig the mesh as a character (the whole business of motor6D’s, limb naming, etc.) This required me to reimport my entire rig because I had accidentally made the “Front” face of my parts the back.

After fixing all of that, I hit a wall: My character had holes in his limbs (the top & bottom). I had failed to recognize that I needed to fill in the gaps where the armature had stretched materials in Blender, so once I began animating my character, the whole mesh proved useless and my work was useless & in vain. This really pushed my buttons, so I decided to make this devforum post many months later.

I haven’t seen any steps taken to make it easier to import these anthros, but I think it would be such a fantastic feature to add that I couldn’t stop myself from making this thread.

Here’s how I recommend roblox goes about making this happen:
Method 1
This would be most ideal, but basically there would be a different import option when importing anthropomorphic avatars. Essentially, the importer would expect a rigged mesh that contains bones. Roblox would then take those bones and use them as parts, and process collisions on those instead of on the player’s visual mesh. The vertices attached to he bones would deform like how you’d expect in any other game, and animations would be applied to the bones of a rig. I think this would be the best option because it would make the mesh work exactly how the developer had expected in Blender, and not have any “surprise” behavior. When devs spend lots of time creating anthropomorphic avatars in 3D modelling applications, it’s very frustrating when they can’t be used as intended.

Method 2
This method would help conserve the “blocky aesthetic” that roblox admins love. This would keep the rigid bodies, and simply be an import technique that closes off joints of a rigged armature and creates a mesh that looks good without deformation, and essentially would keep all the other properties of current anthropomorphic avatars in roblox.

Bottom line is I’m pretty stoked to see how these sorts of avatars turn out, and I really want to see some new updates so roblox developers can start using these technologies on a regular basis.

Thanks,
-bigcrazycarboy

Here’s what my anthro looks like:


#2

Yeah, there is no mesh deformation support, and therefore no character skinning in Roblox, so you have to design characters with rigid parts like action figures. What developers usually do for converting a character that was originally intended for a bones and skinning renderer is divide up the mesh at the joints and close each limb part with a hemispherical-ish cap. There are are many ways to do this: I like to select the open edge, extrude it inwards a few times to make a flat end cap with concentric rings, and then draw it up into a hemisphere shape by selecting the center vertex and pulling it with proportional editing turned on with spherical weighting. If you are modeling a character from scratch, it can be easier to start with spheres at the joint locations, split them in half, and build the limbs off of them. In order to not get z-fighting at the joints, you can scale one half of each of the spheres down a tiny amount.

For a character like your military figure, you can get clever about hiding some of the joints. For example, cut the mesh so that the tactical knee pads are on the lower leg parts and slightly overhang the knee joint (looks like you may have done this already!). These are typically very rigid, so it will look correct for them not to deform; in fact, I think it looks weird in modern single-player games when mesh deformation is applied to things like rigid plate armor–skinning is a double-edged sword.


#3

Thanks for the tips - do you think there will ever be something made to help with rigging once the rigid bodies are made? Multi-mesh importing (I know there’s some talk about this on the forums) and a plugin to rig it might do the trick, but I guess there will always be some work to be done in Blender.