Update from last time I have since finished the revised character model(shown above), along with Ghostly Apparitions 2nd prototype that shows of the basic AI to player interactions.
I’ll be updating this more when i’m back from going in to Uni to hand in my Dissertation, for now I thought I would upload the revised splash screen image, to show the neat comparison between the original model design from 2013 of this character, and the new one made for Ghostly Apparitions style specifically.
With the intensive elements of my dissertation wrapped up, and the second prototype of Ghostly Apparitions ready for this month’s milestone, I am now to moving my focus to the development of the central character that will be featured for the end of year show.
Grey box of “Bath Time” Level
The premise for the level is “Bath Time”. You are haunting a old man in a hotel room and trying to get him to leave through any means possible, while the old man is trying to set up and have a bath… like The bath, he is really dedicated to it. The game’s tone overall is to focus on Tom and Jerry/Home Alone styled slapstick and humor, with a bit of my own cheeky humor thrown in, based around these kinds of simple yet absurd mission statements and characters.
So to the old man himself. His design is to be a revision of a older unused concept of mine from a few years back, the guy above that I used to throw together the visuals for this games pitch. There are a few changes however that need to be made before I can start modeling a revision of this concept. Stylistic I aim for the character models of this game to be more simplistic and geometric, making them faster to model and easier to animated and adapt. Along with that while I want this character to be distinct, hence the fat design, I want to keep the overall skeleton near neutral so I can use it as a reference for future models that the larger project will require.
Above are the quick concept variants from my second session(the first practice session is shown below) at the design of this character. These aim to give me a anatomical idea of what to aim for, once I set on a overall design I will then move on to doing some style focused concepts and then a finally reference sheet. To partially address the elephant in the room(pun slightly intended) the character of this level is being designed so he can be nude, I will post a longer write on my reasons for this later, but for now i’ll sum it up as being part of the humorous style I intend for my game, however I will be discussing and examining the pros and cons of this, over the lifetime of this project.
Session 1 Concept
It’s been awhile since i’ve done a humanoid concept or model of this style, session 1 was a initial attempt to break me back into the groove of things, while not at a level or look I intend to actually use, the above practices were helpful to get me back into things after only programming for so long.
Mecanim/Root Motion based movement certainly has a lot of pros for a animator, overall sequences of movements and flourishes can easily be done animation side. However simply recreating the responsive feedback of a consistent program and number based movement system is hard to intuitively emulate.
Working with my first attempt at animating for root motion movements, I(as shown above) made a number of paths to move my characters along in blender for reference, changing the root movements direction at each step distance. I then exported these animations to unity and tested how they felt to move, their responsiveness, speed and so on before editing and trying again.
With these initial test I wanted Toasty to feel weighty, clunky to serve as a good contrast to the planned smoother shadow movement later. This may change down the line if this proves to unsuitable for the stealth game mechanics, player feel is one of the key elements I am trying to refine here, but that will have to wait until I can see how this version of the player avatar fits in with the rest of the planned features.
While there hasn’t been time to do a fully textured and modeled player character for the vertical slice I did put some time aside to give the character model some much needed animations to help the player differentiate between their different actions in game.
Above is a video showing all the animations as they were before being implemented in unity. Some of them had to be speed up in engine to better fit their actions, so some of the more cartoony details were lost, so I put this together to showcase them in full.
As the final deadline for this submission is getting closer i’ve spent the weekend getting all the documentation in order to free up this last week for making a final art level for the vertical slice’s hand in. Among that documentation is the art bible below. In it I sum up the aesthetics and some of the technical aspects of constructing the assets for Stoic Sugar Cubes I have been using to this point, along with some screenshots of the more polish game scenes.
After getting the texturing done I wanted to add some more detail to the model, especially at the ends of the dress and face so I decided to add some alpha effects in Blender(which I use for painting).
Above are screenshots of the alpha effects in Unity 5 engine
After exporting the mesh to blender I extruded faces from the original mesh along their normals and then shaped and UV mapped them so I could make a few simple patterns that would be looped around the mesh.
The Texture map and UV layout for the alpha effects
Once This was done I split the alpha mesh and exported back into maya. I ran into some issues with the UVs when trying to merge the alpha meshes with the main clothing items, so instead kept them separate in maya. While I could try to join the entire meshes for optimization sake, I want to keep things separate for unity so I can remove and add components when I present it.
After spending the last week on the woman model I wanted to get back to the video game assignment and just get on with making assets at last. To that end, I did some more concepts for the highgate area and did a practice model in maya, shown below.
I’ve said a lot this past year I want to model more in maya to better learn it, and to that end I certain have, enough to forget most of blenders work flows anyway. However for the art style I am planning for this game, with simple shapes and textures with a need for precise measurement, it may be practical to go back to blender for this assignment.
The Blender Made Assets From Before
Due to it’s easier interface for precise movements, and a good toolset for basic colour texturing alongside the modeling, i’ll be seriously considering it, for this project at least.