Overview

In following these tutorials, users will learn how to create a character designed for the CryENGINE. Please make sure you have all the necessary plugins installed. There are various validation tools which will warn you if something is setup incorrectly upon export but if there are still issues this page should help as well.

Example Files

Before continuing you will want to download the Agent.rar. This file contains everything the topics below will discuss.

These sections covers how to create characters and export from 3ds Max, Maya or XSI:
* [Character Authoring in 3ds Max]
* [Character Authoring in Maya]
* [Character Authoring in XSI]

[Character Physics]
This section covers how to create a the proper physics setup for various DCC tools, this includes the Main, Ragdoll and phys mesh skeletons for each.

[In Engine Debugging (Animation, Hit Detection, Physics)]
This section shows how to import your characters into Sandbox.
 
[SceneRoot]
This section goes over a simple node used for Maya users.

File Layout

Naming of bipedal hierarchies does not need to match the 3ds Max organizational method. This is only necessary if you want to make use of the existing animations. There are a few other things already preset with the Bip naming conventions but can be changed in the file which you define the parameters for IK, the .chrparams file. There is some hard coded joints as well which go into detail here: Leg and Foot Ground Alignment

For the most part, a .chr is the main CryENGINE character file format. There is also .skin which is used for skinned meshes. Whatever skinned attachments you have will be attached to the .chr in the Character Editor and from there a .cdf file will be saved which will be used as the main character file from there. For a complete overview of the file formats used in CryENGINE, see: Art Asset File Types.

The following is a brief explanation of the main terminology which will be used when creating characters. These terms are consisted of render meshes (.skin attachments), a general animated skeleton (.chr files), and the physics skeleton (included in the .chr file).

The Render Mesh (.skin files)

These are the mapped character geometries that you see in the game which will be exported as a .skin.

Things to keep in mind before you skin the render mesh to a rig:

Live Deforming Skeleton (.chr files)

This is the skeleton that deforms the render meshes (animation) and also has physics geometry parented to it which is exported as a .chr file. Bones can be used for anything whether its simple animating or helpers for weapons or particle effects to emit from.

Here are some general tips to follow when setting up your rig:

Phys Skeleton

This skeleton is nested in the same scene as the Live Deforming Skeleton. You can think of it as a set of switches; a node being present in this skeleton signifies that it's counterpart in the live deforming skeleton is physicalized in the engine while the character is alive and dead. In Maya this skeleton is only used for parentFrame nodes as the Live Deforming Skeleton can store all the physics parameters without it even being able to parent the physics proxies directly to the joints.
Here are some general tips to keep in mind while preparing this skeleton:

For Pre-3.5 Builds

Ragdoll Skeleton

This is the skeleton that deforms the render meshes in the event of ragdoll simulation. This skeleton is exported as a LOD of the Live Deforming Skeleton. This skeleton is usually similar (in most cases identical) to the Live deforming skeleton with its associated physics proxies.

Each node in this skeleton also stores physical properties for its corresponding bone in the deforming hierarchy, this is stored in the phys bone's IK properties.

This is a complete character creation tutorial that explains the character creation process whether its through 3DS Max or Maya.