The first wave of Peeps have hit the Prop Masters store. I concentrated on three fairly easy crowds for this first bunch so it wouldn’t take so long to get them to market. They are also very generalized crowds as more specific crowds will follow. As usual my focus was on providing what I use in higher end 3D applications to iClone users with little or no interaction on the part of the user. If all you know how to do is load an asset or drag and drop them into the work space then you can work with these props.
Walkabout Crowd – thirty animated peeps that wander around in a circular area.
Concert Crowd – a low key standing crowd of thirty peeps with motion.
Sidewalk Crowd – a single file, very long row of characters that can be used as sidewalk, walking down an aisle and other similar uses.
The props do break down into the Simplified and Advanced category as the Simplified merged prop was created to save money and still provide a good prop. The Advanced version is not merged and open to the crowd dummy and peep level. I priced the Simplified version slightly higher than I originally planned due to more work being required on it than I realized during the development of this prop.
The advanced version of the prop also gives access to the motion dummies that drive the characters in direction and movement. You can remove the Peeps from these dummies and attach your own animated props or perhaps link an actual character to them but the poly count will limit how many you can use. You can also substitute a peep or two that may end up close to the camera with a higher poly prop or possibly a character.
While it is true that these Peeps are low poly (averaging around a 1000k each) they will eventually slow down your system if you load too many. When I was working with 300 Peeps it was in the 64bit version of iClone and the preview was choppy but easy to work with as the slider moved easily along the timeline. If load becomes a problem then attach them all to one object and save them out. Remove them from the scene and do your work then load them back into the scene.
I had rather set them to wireframe instead of normal as that way they are still on the screen and the load on the computer is decreased. I have had a 1 GIG… thats right 1 GIG test file that loaded (took awhile) and I was able to work with it. This scene held hundreds of different Peeps as I was pushing the limits to see where it hit the wall. For my system 300 was a good number to work with.
You will find out your limit if you keep trying as iClone will slow way down or simply disappear when too many Peep props are loaded. In some instances of mega-load testing the props just wouldn’t load after a certain point but the scene remained intact.
Texturing is another area that needs to be mentioned again because there is no mapped texturing. Too much overhead for each character. You can change the colors on clothing and skin to mix things up a bit.
These Peeps are the not the answer to everything but they fill a need for myself and I’m hoping for others. I was so tired of empty scenes… of street scenes with little or no movement and out of need the Peeps were born. I also had a lot of encouragement during the development of these initial props and the volume of questions and well wishes was a bit staggering but I appreciate everyone that took time out of their day to give me feedback or encouragement as these are very tedious items to develop. Your enthusiasm kept me at it instead of heading off with Shepard to save the universe in ME3.
There are many crowds and ideas on the list for development as mentioned in my previous post about Peeps. Rock concert crowds holding up lighters and cellphones or moving to the beat, war scenes and if I can pull it off… combat scenes with Peeps flying in the area and being blown apart. To be honest I have no idea if I can do this but I have been able to bring all aspects of such a prop into iClone in various forms. If I can get all that into one prop then its a done deal.
Thanks go out to Kinte, PsylentKnight, Ben Tuttle and others that gave me such great ideas for crowds in a skype convo last week. It’s always great to get the feedback of a group that is that talented and respected in the machinima community.
I especially want to thank Alley for her words of encourgement during this process and again… thanks to all involved!