This week has to be the most productive week we have had this year. We had a set plan for development for the month of January that would help us stay on track and keep moving us forward.. We were matching the plan perfectly up until earlier this week when we decided to gave a good long look at the game and decided that there needs to be a lot of visual changes. First off, the animations need to be finalized and we need to get rid of the filler animation set we had made earlier in development. This wasn’t part of the plan but we really didn’t want to release crap software as a first prototype look. On top of that, a few textures were quickly made so we could get an over all feel for the game before we went back and polished them. That’s exactly what prototyping is but we didn’t want to release these prototype aspects to the public as they don’t reflect the final aesthetic goal of this game. These refinements allowed us to also take another pass at all code and refactor, literally, all of it. Head would know more about that.
So let’s take a look at a few visual improvements.
New Walls! We took another pass at the walls to make them look more sci-fi. The redesign also helps us combine a lot of objects into one prefab to make construction easier both in game and in development. As seen here, the lights are now part of the wall mesh instead of being a separate entity. Less prefabs = less to render = higher FPS. It’s also prettier than the block of light we had before. Also, we played around with lens flare. Sure its nice to look at; but I assure you that they get annoying really quickly considering the amount of lights that are in the frame at any given time. It also made it hard for the player to interact with a lot of the smaller objects around the scene.
For the new materials we even decided to bake normal and specularity maps. These might be temporary considering our camera angle. At first I was adamant about not having the maps because the angle of the camera is too high to really notice them anyways. Since the camera is so high, the impact of the normal and spec maps is minimal to the viewer. I don’t really want to allocate resources to rendering 3 textures per material if it’s not going to be noticeable. We might end up using just a diffuse map again if the final camera angle doesn’t utilize the features. Also, like I said, we’re giving animations another pass.
We’re currently in the process of doing the animations so they’re ported to Unity, yet. We were using a simple rig with automatic weight paint before and the animations were snappy and unrealistic. Over the week we took time to really revamp the rig to use Inverse Kinematics and give us smoother transitions between keyframes. Also, with IK, we’re able to use fewer key frames to make the animations look good. The fewer the keyframes, the better for performance. The .gif animation doesn’t do it justice, though.
Finally, we added a neon cafè sign because why the heck not?
So that’s all for this week. Let us know what you think about the new visuals in the forums. A lot of the assets are being remodelled / retextured as well but we have to leave some of it as a surprise. Have a great week, everyone.