The Modular AI in Cold Comfort plays a big role in maintaining realism and authenticity in a visceral environment. One key feature, and also aim, of the Modular AI system is being resource-efficient. The Modular AI System aims at delivering a certain level of randomness in the appearance of NPCs by combining interchangeable body/clothing parts and altering the texture (adding dirt, blood etc.) with the help of masks and nodes, and can be sustained with a smaller, and thus more resource-efficient library, rather than using a big library filled with different NPCs and texture sets. But in order to make the system work flawlessly there are important aspects in the creation process that need to be taken care of.
In order to make the interchangeability work, areas where the different modular pieces meet have to be identical among all clothing sets. They need to be at the same locations in 3D space and shouldn’t crash into each other. Once a universal scale for all parts is set, the next steps of the modeling process are almost identical with most peoples’ workflows for 3D characters: Block out in Marvelous Designer (for clothes) – High-Poly in ZBrush – Retopology in Maya (or 3Ds Max). Now, regarding the retopology, in our case, there are certain things that need additional attention.
UVs & Texturing
Regarding the UVs and texturing, our process does not require any specialized work. UVs and Texturing will, however, play a big role in the NPC transformation to a zombie article. For now, it’s only important to follow the common steps that are crucial for a good UV Layout in order to texture properly. Since we are going to be creating a lot of heads, due to the previously explained setup, it’s a good idea to keep recurring meshes like the eyes, or the mouth on the same locations in UV space in order to reuse their textures for other head variants.