Anyone Using Character Shop Yet?

Community Forums/Developer Stations/Anyone Using Character Shop Yet?

Red Ocktober(Posted 2004) [#1]
... if so, a few words on your early impressions of it.



Gabriel(Posted 2004) [#2]
Just the demo. There are a couple of broken animations which Halo doesn't seem willing to fix ( broken = arms well below ground level ) and there aren't enough animations there to put together an entire game. For me, mixing and matching animations is a bad idea.

So until Halo fixes the existing animations and adds more, it's not worth buying for me.

Falelorn(Posted 2004) [#3]
Halo said something about the Dark basic community buying it. You may wanna check there.

*(Posted 2004) [#4]
I have it (full version) its the most easy to use program for creating animation that I have come across. I had a model fully animated within twelve minutes of starting it up first time and thats after tweaking the verts to get the best out of the model.

JoshK(Posted 2004) [#5]
An arm falling a few degrees through a plane on the ground during a death animation is not a big deal, and most people will want to use their own rag-doll deaths anyways. I believe you look for reasons to dismiss viable solutions, because doing so allows you to remain in a state of perpetual nonprogression.

Gabriel(Posted 2004) [#6]
Arms disappearing into the floor smacks of laziness and unprofessionalism. I'll take my chances with own inadequacies, but I won't pay for someone else's laziness and lack of professionalism. I believe you indulge in transference in the ( ineffectual ) hope of masking your own inability to complete a game.

mearrin69(Posted 2004) [#7]
Yowsa. Heh.

Gabriel(Posted 2004) [#8]
lol, he started it :p

It wasn't intended to be mean, but he could use a kick up the arse. He's written a nice program, has some fantastic animations made and then ruins it for the sake of fixing a couple of animations and adding a few more. I know I'm not the only person who's not buying this but would be happy to buy it if those issues were taken care of. If I were just one of the serial complainers who never buy anything, different story, but I bought CShop so he knows damn well I'm not one of those.

mearrin69(Posted 2004) [#9]
I wouldn't mind seeing a couple of changes in CShop myself but I like it in general and will probably buy v5 as well :)

I'm not a potential customer for CharacterShop though...sorry You have to admit that Syb. has a point though. Dude, where's your game?

(I know, where's mine? Well, I never claimed to be a world-class developer so :P~ lol)

JoshK(Posted 2004) [#10]
We don't post shots of our project here. The closest I get is some tech studd that's related to it.

joncom2000(Posted 2004) [#11]
Do you post shots to your website at all Halo ?
If no one can comment on them directly on the page there posted on then none of the problems you had here last time would occur were anyone could see them :)

Red Ocktober(Posted 2004) [#12]
wow... ok, thanks guys for the opinions and info.


Dirk Krause(Posted 2004) [#13]
before the usual 'everyone against halo with usual exceptions' starts (which gets kind of boring), I'd like to ask the following: since you (Halo) had the animations made by professionals it's a case of warranty to fix these deficiencies. wouldn't that be an easy way to get rid of it?

JoshK(Posted 2004) [#14]
I am working on the animation system for Victory Day right now, and will post a demo and release the source to all users. If you have seen earlier animation demos from the Singularity project, it is similar to that, but will be perfect. PERFECT.

I realize getting animated characters to look professional in-game does take a fair amount of work beyond just animation, so I will provide that final step for users.

Dustin(Posted 2004) [#15]
Okay, okay. I am the animator for the Character Shop program. And here's my $.02

I was contracted to create the requested animtions for the project. When Halo gave his final approval of my animations the contract was completed along with my obligations. Halo was aware of the minor ground penetration issues with the death sequence and decided that they were no big deal. He signed off on the work and my job was then complete. There was no "warranty" stated or offered. I am under no obligation to do any additional work.


I'm sorry to hear that people are passing on buying this program only because they feel one or two animations have minor issues. I like this program and believe in what Halo's doing. So even though I'm under no obligation to do so, I've decided (with Halo's blessing) to make animation tweaks on animations that need it.

Here's the ground rules:
1) I want to compile a list of animations that users feel need adjustments. I'll review the list and figure which anims need some lovin' (arm in death sequence) and which ones don't.

2) I'm not creating any new anims. I know that everyone has that additional animation that's *so* crutial and should not have been left off the list. Sorry, you'll have to take that one up with Halo. Like I said, my contract is complete so this additional work I'll be doing for the good of the project, not for money.

3) I'll be doing the revisions on my off time so I don't have any ETA on when I'll have any/all of the revisions done.

Now it's up to you guys. State *very* specific issues you have with individual animations (example: elbow through floor in death anim) and I'll plow through and figure which ones will get revisions. I think Halo's already made an excelent tool. But now you guys can help me notch it up a few more clicks! What do you say?

puki(Posted 2004) [#16]
I think 'Character Shop' is an impressive program, regardless of 'bugs'. It is a fast-track way for a novice to animate a character - yes, it is somewhat limited to characters with rifles/pistols, but I was impressed with the demo - not enough to buy it - on the basis that I am not a modeller and have nothing of my own to use. The package might do better with more models ready to use - or how about models that can be purchased separatley, that are already rigged to work with the 'Character Shop'? Although, that is just me being lazy.

IPete2(Posted 2004) [#17]

Well, I think that's very generous of you! Let's remember what this means ... you are offering to sort out these minor 'grievances' for people who haven't yet even bought the programme! That scores in my book!

I would like to suggest that (if it is possible for you and Halo to achieve easily) you put a price on how much it would cost to add specific animations for say platform games, or such like, as requested (in addition of course).

I for one would consider paying towards a new small set of additional animations for climbing ladders, bottom bouncing, jumping into the air punching the air, jump and grab, crouch and grab, kneel and open, open door, close door, sneak, etc.

But I guess the question is, can these be added easily or will it be a real problem?

As I said above - good chap for your obviously genuine offer!

"I believe you indulge in transference in the ( ineffectual ) hope of masking your own inability to complete a game."

Chill man - Josh has not only completed at least one game to my knowledge, he has also at least four applications for creating them or media for them:

Earliest engine I can remember was Inca back in 1998-1999
But completed projects since then...

FPS game called 'Metal'
Cartography Shop versions 1-4.x
Character Shop (versions 1)
Singularity Engine (versions 1-4.x)
Material Shader
WWII Media Pack
An Open GL 'wrapper' for BlitzPlus

Victory Day (in progress and looking very good I might say)
Phobus (unsure if this is the correct name)



Doggie(Posted 2004) [#18]
WHy on earth is everyone calling this an animation program??? It is not. It's a rigging program with built in animations. That's why I'm not interested in it.
I was also put off when reading the help me where it says ok now that you got your character loaded in of course it's going to be all screwed up and will take a bit of fixing. I suppose you could counter that that's just the way it is with 3d models but I've already got truespace and that same headache. If it was an animation program where you could build your own animations after successfully rigging the model with just a few mouse clicks it would be awesome. I'm put off that it's touted as such but falls quite a bit short of that mark. Brutally honest but not meant in a mean spirited way. If it did what I said then I'd pay considerably more than what you're asking now.Of course, that would be a different program but might be worth consdiering going that route as far as the effect it might have on sales.
Also this "You can't sell the models you create" nonsense is a big turn off too. I understand the argument but will never in a zillion lifetimes agree with it. The output of the program I purchase is mine to do with as I please.
It amazes me anyone sees that any different.

Just my thoughts.

JoshK(Posted 2004) [#19]
I know of no program that can create an animation of any quality with "just a few mouse clicks". Interpreting your wishes and desires is beyond the scope of most applications.

But seriously, creating animations is not easy, and no editor can make it that way. What you are suggesting is like "I want a programming language that can make Doom 3 with a few clicks...but not exactly like Doom 3".

*(Posted 2004) [#20]
Its the easiest program to make animated human characters ive seen and ive tried a few in me time =)

puki(Posted 2004) [#21]
I'm with "EdzUp" - although, I've tried no other programs.

boomboom(Posted 2004) [#22]
what doggie wants is atm impossible. but i have an idea to make it happen, working on it :)

Bob3d(Posted 2004) [#23]
Poser does that. but as far as I remember, poser neither allows to sell the outputed 3d mesh, only 2d render. Was/is a tool for compositing and 2d design, mostly, for avi output, or any rendered stuff... not realtime use unles have changed. It has the easiness a coder could handle without passing by all the learning we (gfx people) needed to suffer.
Lowdown is no 3d export legally -unless they changed that- , too hi res for realtime, and too similar meshes, though.

There's no dumb easy tool for animation. Motion Builder, but is not easy, and even more, no format for real time that you could use. FBX only is opened by the big packages like LW, MAya, Max. But having any of those would avoid the need of buying an extra tool :D

Character Fx is good, but not for the standard coder, for what I am seing for quite a time. Not for the user type that Halo is aiming.(mainly coders that can do a bit of gfx)

Other than that, I don't know how good it is, as haven't tested (I am gfx guy and a control freak ;) )

But the main intention, and market aim seems clever.

Gabriel(Posted 2004) [#24]
"I believe you indulge in transference in the ( ineffectual ) hope of masking your own inability to complete a game."

Chill man - Josh has not only completed at least one game to my knowledge, he has also at least four applications for creating them or media for them

I suggest you reread this thread. Josh was the one who spat the dummy. I merely turned what he said back on him.

@Dustin: I've posted precise details about these animations before, so I'll try and find that thread. The screeny I took showing the problem is this ( and despite Josh's "few degrees" comment, It's looking around forty degrees to me ) :

Will edit when I find which two animations this happens on.

Doggie(Posted 2004) [#25]
@halo Yeah, no doubt you're right about that but nonetheless
I guess it's what I'd be looking for. I could get past having to do a little rearrangement of the model in your program if it was capable of producing animations not just attaching them. And I'd also be willing to pay the increased price that upgrade would demand(within reason)
You could even stipulate that the models using any of the built in animations except for basic walking could not be sold and I'd be ok with that. That's all I'm saying.
Knowing nothing of the difficulty of programming an actual animation program I just suggest that there'd be a market for a better mousetrap.

Dustin(Posted 2004) [#26]
@IPete2 Thanks for the positive response. I understand the additional anims that you want but once again this gets towards that slippery slope. The new anims you ask for might be completely different from what someone else is looking for. It's hard to come up with a true *complete* set. Right? While it'd be nice to make the anim list more robust I just don't think it's possible at the moment. Halo's already made his investment in my work. And I'm pretty busy balancing the 50 hour work week along with a Fiance and my own side game I'm developing (not to mention *trying* to get to play a little Doom3 :) )

@Sybixsus Cool! Good start. Obviously I din't animate the arm pointing straight into the ground so somewhere between my export and this finished product something got snafu'd. It'd help to know which specific death anim this is but I'm sure I can track it down. I'll review my anims and see if I can find where it went wrong. Please feel free to add more like this (if there are any :) )

@Doggie I'm sorry to say that Character Shop just might not be the right program for you. I understand what you are searching for and would happily recommend that you turn your attention to the following programs: Kaydara Motion Builder Pro ( and Endorphin v1.6 ( Hopefully these will be the tools that will enable you to get your work done right! Oh, by the way, they sell for $4195 and $15,995, respectively.

Gabriel(Posted 2004) [#27]
Yeah, sorry, but I don't seem to have Character Shop installed any more, so I can't find it. There is a thread around here from when Halo first launched the program where I posted the screenshot and listed the two ( there were definitely two and only two ) animations which exhibited the problem, but I haven't found it yet. Might have been looking in the wrong forum.

EDIT: I'm wrong. Quote from my original post :

Rifle_Death_Backwards and Rifle_Death_Left are the worst, but Rifle_Death_Forward is affected also. Rifle_Death_Right is not affected.

Dustin(Posted 2004) [#28]
Cool. We're looking at it now. Thanks Sybixsus.

Doggie(Posted 2004) [#29]
@Dustin - exactly. That's precisely why I'd consider paying quite a bit more for a good,easy to use "animator" program with no restrictions on the use of the output.
But not going to pay those total rip off prices.
for Kaydara and such...

It's a no brainer.

Red Ocktober(Posted 2004) [#30]
@Dustin- Thanks for the additional info...

i also have to give you kudos for the generous and pro attitude you've taken on the animations issue.


TheMan(Posted 2004) [#31]
Hay Halo, is there any plans adding other character type animation i.e. animals, robots, spiders, and some cyclic animation... etc

Gabriel(Posted 2004) [#32]
Did the fixes for those rifle-death animations ever get put in?

Bob3d(Posted 2004) [#33]
" by the way, they sell for $4195 and $15,995, respectively."

woah, I thought motion builder was cheaper.
the lower version, I think it was offered for 100$ for a time, was a year license, upgradable to a permanent for 200$ late ron. Not sure.

There's now easy way to animate a character at a pro level.

I tried mb and was not easy, I mean, is very well thought, and yep, if u come like me of animating with blender or cfx, anything with some pro features is easier, but for a newbie in animation...(and ppl in this thread, or several, don't even seem to be newbie in that) ...I don't think they find it easy. The other oen, I don't know.

Of course I prefer to animate my self with 100% freedom, but is like when I think about doing a game, while I know C++ and directx is the most professional way, I doubt I would ever be able (mostly with the time life already demands, and being an artist, prefer to dedicate quite a time to art)

So I guess is a good comparison :)

Seems what you have with this proggy is professional anims made by an artist so that provided the mesh is of certain type, it'll b eable to use anims that the usual coder wouldn't be able to output in his/her game.

As a last note: Animation is a profession by itself.Today, when I get into conversations for getting into a job, besides it use to be now word of mouth, (kind of a network of industry friends) , I'm asked to do a bit of all, if possible, but in perhaps other more stablished gaming countries, Animator is a profession by itself, in games. Funnilly is not the same for modelling; a character modeller use to be able to do textures, and uv mapping also. In the very long past, there was the modeller, the 2d guy making textures (usually the modeller made uv mapping, but sometimes the skinner preferred to do it; I do like to take control of all in a character) , and the animator (level designer was apart.) .Maybe this was just an impression I had some years ago, maybe I am wrong.

But today I keep saying offers like these: A company wants a modeller, and they ask him a load of skills, from drawing, to modelling, texturing, uvmapping.Big companies don't ask him making levels too, small ones do (they did to me, ask me every bit, and usually one has not same level in every task) , and apart, ask for "animators".

Imho, animation is key for a character. Of course, hardly a bad modelled character can be helped by a good animation, but animation is the life of it.

Looks this app has an specific viable niche ;)

And imho, at least to me, sounds generous the Dustin offer.

.rIKmAN.(Posted 2004) [#34]
So from reading this, if you rig a character with Character Shop, you cannot use the resulting "character" in a commercial game?

wizzlefish(Posted 2004) [#35]
What ever happened to CharacterFX? Isn't that still good?

JoshK(Posted 2004) [#36]
The rifle animation glitch was my fault, it had to do with the way I merged the animations, and I don't have time to change it.

No, you can use the output models in commercial games, you just can't sell the animations, or sell an animated model to a company, as if you made the animations yourself.

If a company just wanted you to model a character and rig it in CharShop, I don't see a problem with it, as long as they know they are not paying you for animating it.

Gabriel(Posted 2004) [#37]
Thanks for the info. You're probably right not changing it, as I seem to be the only person who's bothered, and the animations are certainly good stuff.