As an indie studio with limited resources and big ambitions, we are always looking for methods and tools to help us work efficiently and quickly. We know not to underestimate the development work required to build a high-quality 3D RPG like RUBY REI, and one of our biggest challenges is to make characters believable and fully animated.
This is where Mixamo comes in! Their database of high-quality motion captured animations and character models can be just dragged and dropped right into your game.
Mixamo is incredibly customisable. The animations can be tweaked to fit your animation style with the help of the easy-to-use sliders provided with each animation. You can speed them up, slow them down, make the bodies more open or closed, and much more. We use it all the time when we’re bringing our language learning adventure game to life.
You can also upload your own character model and rig it using Mixamo’s rigging tool, which is very easy to use and gives great results in no time. You can then use any of the 2,900+ available animations on your own model.
And if you want to create a customised character yourself, you can use Mixamo Fuse, which looks very similar to The Sims – Create a Sim mode. Select a bunch of presets and tweak them around to make your own custom character without moving a single vertex!
Everything from Mixamo can be easily exported to a Unity-friendly format. After that, it’s just a matter of setting up the Character Controller. I will explore Character Controllers in a future post.
Mixamo’s biggest restriction is that it can only be used for humanoids, which isn’t so bad for starting off, but is still a big constraint. Also, the Fuse models and Mixamo’s own character models are very high poly, so they’re not ideal for mobile platforms.
[Mixamo does have another tool, Decimator, which is in preview right now. The tool can be used to reduce poly count and the preview seems to work well.]
All of these services are free currently, but they may move to a subscription-based model, like it was before Adobe’s acquisition of Mixamo.
Overall, the pros massively outweigh the cons, and Mixamo is a great tool to have in your arsenal for quick prototyping or creating production-ready assets. We’re certainly having a lot of fun with it!
By Amaan Rizvi, Game Developer of Ruby Rei.