Monday, 9 April 2012

Mass Effect 1 review part 2 - The look of the character

One of the coolest features that really enjoyed is the fact that I could change the look of commander Sheppard. I was actually blown away that this could be done at all. It's actually quite difficult to do this. Not only is it hard from a technical standpoint, but from  a quality standpoint as well. First of all you have to make sure that the user can actually make their own face within the game or they can make any face they want. Changing 3D elements on the fly is actually pretty hard to do and this game does it quite well.

For those of you who are game designers and want to know how to do this I will tell you how. Basically everything is rendered within the engine and the polygons are then manipulated according to the user's input. All of the dimensions that the user inputs as well as all of the features like skin color and eye color are then stored within a variable. These variables are saved and then when the character is being played and rendered within the engine the game the face is then rendered according to the variables.

It's a really cool feature especially when the face carries over 3 games. I had no idea that this was going to happen but when I imported my character's face into Mass Effect 2 I was thrilled that they did this. Again, all they did was just import the variables. Now when I say "just import" I know that some people are going to think that this can be done in somebody's basement on a Saturday afternoon. In reality it's probably at least 100 variables that have to be checked. The QA is the hardest part of the process.

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