Mana Tanks inspired game concept

I’ve messed around with shape keys in blender. I’m thinking of making a 3D game where the more mana/ energy the character has the bigger and rounder it becomes via inflation/expansion/weight gain and as you cast spells or use abilities you shrink down with advantages and disadvantages to all sizes. You can be big and have access to more powers with the mass of a wrecking ball knocking things down and pushing others aside like a sumo but you’re an easy target being as big as a kaiju. With less mana you’re smaller, harder to hit but easily sent flying with less access to spells and abilities.

When using shape keys I found that at a certain point the mesh clips into itself and it becomes tricky to achieve the desired shape and proportions. I want the in game characters to grow into semi spherical sumos. To alleviate this I move the bones apart and maybe scale them a bit in the same fashion that the hulk grows his shoulders are farther apart as they grow.

For example: I might use the inflate tool to expand different parts of the mesh while using a cast modifier with a spherical shape on the center of mass of the model and use the lattice modifier to stretch out the mesh and then I’ll move the spine upwards a bit to add height and I’ll spread the thighs apart to widen the hips and do the same to the shoulders to give the model a bit more reach before adding volume around those areas. Making the character bigger, rounder, and taller without losing the too much reach and articulation of the limbs and thus achieving the proportions of a semi-spherical sumo body.

TLDR: What I’m thinking of is use the shape keys while transforming and scaling the bones at the same time with interpolation to grow the character in real time as you’re collecting items that expand it in a 3D world.

Which game engine is suitable for this?


I dipped my feet into Unreal 5 and it’s over whelming. Sculpting in blender made more sense. I was completely lost in how to do and what to do. When I looked up Variables and functions it was all math to me and I hate math. I realize now how over ambitious this is. I may be in over my head rushing into final Boss I didn’t see earlier. I have a lot to learn before I can turn this into a reality.

What made sense to me was “Boolean” being a either a true or false thing like a light switch almost if I have that right.

I was able to figure to use the “Transform modify” on the skeleton “Manny” which is a parent of the Quinn skeleton. Applying “Transform modify” to “Manny” will affect all other skeletons which may be helpful for me in the future when I add more characters. “Transform Modify” needs 2 "local to component"s in order for it work. I want it to raise the spine as the character collects mana potions and then eventually get it working with morph targets to morph the mesh of the character. I want to add rotators for the bones to compensate for the clipping of the morph targets. This will widen the stance of the character as it gets bigger. I might have to look into making changes on the collisions of the character to have them move with the character as it grows.

I got one of the spheres to disappear upon over lapping with it using the “destroy actor” This is the blue print I want to use with the mana potions that will expand the character. I will eventually replace it with a proper mesh I’m making in Blender

I’m open to what ever suggestions anyone can provide. I’m learning as I go along with this journey.

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I am a beginner in blender so please dont laugh at me.
Did you considered adding more base characters to get rid of the bone problem?
For example you have a base mesh with the rig, you add shape keys to a level that the inflation dont deforms the mesh too much. After it you create a new base and continue the process.
In game you could add some transition animation for immersion purposes. Like the char pauses if you collected enough biomass and the base character is transitioned to the new base.

You’ll probably get more help if you joined the Weightgaming Discord. There’s a channel for modeling stuff.

I love the concept but it sounds like a pretty ambitious project. If this is the first game you wanna make, you are probably not going to finish it. I’d reccomend to first try and make a small and a simple game and actually finish it.

Having said that, the Blender model problem is something that I have thought about a lot. I haven’t quite tested it out but the way I would do it is by rigging the skinny character first and then move the arm and spine bones to the fat location. At first it would look really bad like just a skinny model stretched out, but that’s when I’d make it look round using shape keys.

In short the solution would be a mixture between shape keys and armature.

Of course that would assume that you’d have to make skinny and fat version of each animation. Afterwards you could blend between them in the game engine