Almost didn’t catch the camera on time, loads of things have happened this week and there are some very exciting things on the horizon for the KJs, you should look at what they’ve been up to, looks interesting.
J Here’s something which most of the little Eco people will be quite happy to see, it won’t however influence Lech in the slightest.
Without wasting any more time, here’s the first hair prototype! Still not 100% sure if planes are the way to go, but sculpting each and every hairdo is going to take too long, and that may have decided this for me.
Above you can see what the hair looks like inside of Maya, not really the most good looking thing I admit, glad I managed to struggle through and get it into Unity, maybe I shouldn’t see this, but out of all the images in my part of the post, this is the most important one, why? Well, read on why don’t you?
Important to note is that all of the three meshes above, left : black alpha mess, mid : loads of planes, right : planes using the vertex normals of a sphere, actually have the exact same geometry.
Most interesting of the above is undoubtedly the model to the right, why have I edited the normals to make it look like that? To know this we have to deepen our understanding of how specular highlights (or in real world terms reflections) travel along a hair “surface”.
I’ll keep this short and sweet; since a hair “surface” in the real world is actually composed of thousands upon thousands of micrometer thin tubes, each of which has its own specular highlight. Any light falling upon this “surface” will be stretched along each strand defining it as an anisotropic or directional dependent light distribution.
Don’t take this as the absolute truth, in reality it’s much more complicated, however, this is how we can look at it when creating a shader to visualize hair.
Here’s a video of a test I created for Legends of Aethereus back in the Unity 3.5 Alpha, look at the black hair, that’s what I’ve been babbling about for what must feel like ages!
Here’s the texture that currently drives the hair, two small patches of thick and thinner clumps of hair which have been placed with a few percentages of randomized scale and rotation. R and G controls alpha cutting; B and A controls alpha blending.
Finally we have the in engine result, where I have, for now at least, skipped everything we just talked about. Instead, every hairdo currently undergoes two separate shader passes, the first one, is a double sided alpha cutoff, and the second, an alpha blend to create the thinning at the edges of the do.
Looking at the outline of the hair, you can tell that I’ve made good use of the manipulated normals, using a Fresnel effect to highlight the edges and make it look even more as if it’s a whole rather than a load of separate planes.
I might be back next week with an aniso-shader, however, I’m afraid it’s going to look too photo-real, and that’s not something we’re looking for.
With a lot of hair research, creating and trashing, the only other thing I’ve had time to create was this bush, at the time of creation I thought that the difference in hue and brightness of the different leaves was enough, looking at it with fresh eyes, I realize that this asset will need another hour.
Now I’ve only got one more paragraph until I’m done, if you look at the leaves, could you guess that they were created inside of Substance Designer? Pretty cool, isn’t it?
K We are on a roll, we have some super exciting news that we won’t be sharing just yet.
We have been putting more focus on the shop part of Eco Tales this week and and will continue doing so for some time now. I’ve started with the customer and shop interaction and more specifically I’ve begun with pathfinding.
In the store the customers will be able to walk around, look at the goods before possibly come to the decision to make a purchase and if you manage your store like a pro you want it to be full of customers and that is why we have pathfinding with local avoidance so the NPCs just wont stand tightly squeezed into a small shop but they will walk around the other customers to get to there point of interest.