Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"Get Better Soon" dev diary #3, skin and light iterations

This is a development diary series for "Get Better Soon", a commissioned game I'm making for Different Games 2014. If you want to see it and play it, then come hangout at Different Games next weekend in NYC!

Kris Hammes is finishing up the character. The 3D model geometry is basically "done" so now I'm just waiting for the last texture tweaks like chest hair. In the meantime, I've rigged the model with a standard "HumanIK" skeleton in Maya (so that I can easily re-target animations in Mecanim) and I've configured the shader so I can start figuring out how to implement these characters into the game.

This was the initial import. I realized that a lot of the material's ability to seem like "skin" depends heavily on the lighting, so I started thinking about lighting setups and what will best highlight these dudes.

Unfortunately, more than 1 active light seems to be a bit too performance-intensive. Every additional light shining on a model means that model must be rendered AGAIN, which I'm suspecting may not be necessarily worth it. Really, I just want some sort of fresnel "rim-light" effect, maybe I could hardcode that into the shader somehow.

(When I got the final shoe 3D models from Kris and imported them, they used the skin texture by default; so basically this guy was wearing sneakers made of human skin. Gross.)

To animate a character, I have to "bind" or "weight" the 3D geometry onto a skeleton / "rig", made of joints. The skin weighting process is not perfect, and artists almost always have to go and correct some strange deformation problems.

Eventually though, I fixed the weighting and now the models deform mostly okay...

As a reminder, if you want to hear more about this project then come to Different Games in Brooklyn this coming weekend. Tickets are free / or on a sliding scale for those who need it.