I started a new thread about making a new default character, it has been obvious for many years now that we need a replacement for the default soldier and make a new better usable more generic default character people can use.
This topic was already worked on like 5 years ago, when the steering committee still existed, but the person working on it bailed out and after that the steering committee was abandoned as well as most of the plans that were worked on till then.
I already started the progress of making a new default character, but then I figured out it may not be good enough and may not be the best workflow.
If you just make a dummy character as a placeholder, people will use that and will have a hard time replacing it with something usable later, since you likely cannot re-use anything of it.
Then I figured out making a new default character is not so much about the character itself, but about the implementation, so the new default character should not be something fancy, just a placeholder, but what will be important is that the implementation is made well to show people how it is done and that it can be extended upon, so people can use the prototype to turn into a fully usable character later.
So here was my idea so far:
1. Use Makehuman for the character generation entirely, the advantage with that will be that everyone will be able to create a new character to their liking in Makehuman, so anyone without any modeling skills will be able to replace the character in an instant.
2. Use good settings in Makehuman, in Makehuman there are many types of mesh and rig you can use, but I figured it is best to use the high polygon model as well as the high bone rig. Those will be not good for performance, but it is far easier to remove polygons and bones as it is to add them. I think the model will be around 15 000 polygons, which is roughly the same as the new default soldier anyway, the default soldier has a lot of junk on him, like armor platings, weapons and such which increase the polygon count. So even using the high polygon mesh Makehuman will not increase polygon compared to what we have now. From then on everyone needs to use the same settings when making their characters in Makehuman.
3. Do the implementation, give people a Blender file with everything already set up, like LOD levels, animation editor and all the other stuff you may need. The problem with Makehuman is, it has all kinds of export options, except one that fits Torque3D. What Torque3D needs is metric system and character facing the positive Y-axis. I already made a feature request on Makehuman, but no idea if they implemented it already, until then we have to rotate it manually, which can be tricky, since rotating a skeleton can go wonky if you do it wrong and turn your character into a giant blob.
4. Now we should have a character in Torque3D, without animations, so now we need to add a default set of animations using the default rig, so everyone having made their individual character in Makehuman should be able to link the pre-made animations to his character. The animations should be exported individually, like it is done in Torque3D now, so we can build a library of them and everyone can use them.
5. We need to figure out a way to optimize the models, meaning a way to put the textures on one atlas texture, since Makehuman exports them on many individual textures. What I did was to bake all textures on one atlas texture, but what that does is, it makes it unusable for other people, since everything is already fixed and slight changes on the character would mean to redo all the textures. Therefore I suggest keeping the character naked and overlaying the clothes, this adds polygons, but makes things much easier to use.
So I think that is some kind of ideal workflow and it does not having to do any actual modeling work, which is probably the hardest part. The problem with characters however is, you need to get the initial system right, since if you have to change it later, you have to change everything. Imagine having a rig where bones are missing and you need to add them later and then you need to do the weightpainting again and need to do all animations again. Or is just use rename one bone, you may need to do it in every animation as well and/or retarted the animations.
The most important part of the new default character is not the character itself, but to decide on a standard on how to do it, so it can be used modular, which is not possible with the current one. I already had some supposed dummy default characters opened in Blender that others made, but even having many years of experience in Blender and modeling I had absolutely no idea how to use it and in most cases probably even the creators themselves did not know how to use it, since they did not even had it implemented into a game where it was in fully working state with scripts animations LOD etc. I downloaded almost every free player model there is already and almost everything was completely useless garbage to me, since it was not how I do modeling and it was not how it has to be done for games. Therefore having a default way of doing things ist most important, as well as having it modular, so not everyone who wants to do a change in the character has to know every skill there is to make a fully functioning character.
So what do you think? If possible keep this discussion within people who actually know how to make fully working game characters, otherwise we will not get anywhere like in previous attempts.