Nov 292016
 

surprise_villain_01Bet that was your face when you saw my new eyebrows!

I’ve heard I’ll be getting a tongue and some shiny new teeth as well, but not yet… Not a priority they say…

 


J What a week and weekend! Black Friday really was a great one this year, allowing me to buy, among other things, the Substance Suite.

But I get ahead of myself, let’s start with week 37 which I dedicated to scripting new rigging tools for myself in Python. Since sharing is caring I extended one of them until it was user friendly enough for anyone to use.

It is a very simple script that allows for easy skinned joints selection based upon your own naming conventions. It’s the first in a range of free scripts I’ll be making available via my new Gumroad, so check it out!

Let’s move on to some art, here’s the first edition of Lech’s new texture, completely generated inside of Substance Designer with procedural eyebrows.

nov26th_lechsubstanceeyebrows

nov28th_newtexture

Comparison between new and old.

In the end however, I wasn’t happy with the look of this newly generated texture, I felt it took some of Lech’s personality away, at the very least, it changed it, also, the eyebrows were difficult to control and looked a bit too realistic for my taste.

What happened next, you wouldn’t believe! I split the graphs… Let’s start with the most important part, the skin generator, it simply takes inputs in the form of the textures generated from the high poly and outputs three textures. Albedo, Normal and Rest (R: AO G: Metalness B: Smoothness A: Emissive).

nov28th_skingraph

Skin graph click me!

A final note on the above graph for the people interested in the “FaceTemperatureHue” frame to the left, it’s simply a lot of shapes that create a pattern of red, yellow and blue based upon the science of face color areas. Look it up, it really does add a lot of (make sure it’s VERY subtle) interest to the face, which, when it’s half of your character’s body, is very important!

nov27th_faceareashue

Next up is the eyebrow generator, which is a separate graph that can generate pretty much any kind of eyebrow I can image, it’s a bit clunky and when I start working on a mustache/beard generator I’m going to have to go about it more cleverly. As Neofur was also on Black Friday I’m planning on using the outputs from these to generate a separate texture for the inputs that Neofur needs as well.

nov28th_eyebrowgraph

Eyebrow graph click me!

Arguably more important than the graph itself is the parameters, here they are in all of their glory, rotating hairs, changing colors, moving, scaling and warping, what else could you need?

nov28th_browgraph

Here are three different brows that I’ve generated, once I’ve made the beard and mustache generator I’m probably going to recreate this one as well so I’m counting these as a low priority WIP for now.

nov28th_brows

Finally we come to this, the least impressive looking graph, it simply takes the bakes textures and inputs them into the skin graph, takes the skin output and blends it together with the eyebrow generator, in the case of Lech I’ve added some extra nose reddening since that fits in with his backstory.

nov28th_lechgraph

Combine graph click me!

Here are a few steps inside of Unity where I’ve been using the Amplify Shader Editor to put together a custom shader capable of using the textures that Substance Designer has generated for me.

nov28th_finallech

An important part of my workflow is that the UVs of all of our humanoids have the more or less exact same UV-layout, this allows me to use Transform 2D nodes to mask special regions and still know that the graph will work for another character.

Some things are not going to be the exact the same as you may imagine, Lech gets a small nose reddening and someone else may get some work done on a scar, something that is constant is however, lips and the fact that they are never the same size nor do they ever cover the exact same area. This is why there’s an extra, hand authored black and white map to take care of lips and mouth bag.

The final thing I worked on was an Ambrosia substance, not sure about it, why not leave a comment on it on our Facebook page, I’d love to get some input!

nov27th_ambrosia


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Nov 162016
 

sneezing_villain01Hold o-o-oatchoonnn…

 

 

 


J Lech didn’t get a chance to say anything this week, and I don’t have that many words for you either, but let’s take a quick look-see at what I’ve been up to.

First up is a new rig for Ambrosia, or rather, the continuation of her rig, I’ve added some fleshy squash and stretch to her legs and I’ve also started to add some more definition to her face, as she’s a hero character that can only ever exist once in a scene, she deserves some more geometry, especially since the humans have already been refined.

nov8th_ambrosiaendoftheworldspecial

Doesn’t look like much, but here’s a quick gif of what we can do now, not that we’d want to.

nov17th_ambrosiarig

More importantly I’ve been working on the facial animations, specifically, I’ve been working on getting them into Unity, if you went to GameOn you’d’ve seen a rather sad preview of Lech talking to this female customer, her mouth open wide, jaw bouncing up and down and Lech’s disturbingly puckered lips.

After a few hours of trying to get the facial animations to work with the humanoid rig setting inside of Unity I switched over to generic, this is going to cause some other issues but after just a few minutes I had my first working animation.

Huzza! Sure, almost, you see, getting the animations to work consistently still wasn’t possible, despite my new exporter script helpers (I love Python!). Enter Maya Game Exporter, I might cover it in a short video in the future, for now, just try it out, it’s amazing. Using the Game Exporter in combination with some basic Python, everything works like a charm, every, single, time!

Here’s a short video on what it could look like (this is not what it’ll sound like though!)

I’ve also updated my post on Shader Forge vs Amplify Shader after the recent 1.29 SF and Beta 2 ASE update.


K So many things I ignored during the pre-GameOn event. But now I’ve had the time for some R&R and to handle most of those things and starting working on smaller fixes to get som functionality into a more stable state. So basically I’ve been all over the code base for some quality assurance.

Next step is either take what we have further to the next step or maybe starting on some dialog, but that sounds a bit early to me, maybe some basic customer behaviors, well it seems the next step is a meeting with Jona.


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Sep 132016
 

derp_villain_01Hey!

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.

sep10th_hairmaya

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.

anisovsiso

Isotropic (uniform) – Anisotropic (directionally dependent)

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!

sep11th_hairtexture

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.

sep11th_hairupdate

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.

sep11th_bush

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.

Pathfinding with RVO local avoidance

Pathfinding with RVO local avoidance


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Aug 152016
 

Neutral_Villain_01

Things are returning to normal after vacations and other unforeseen circumstances.

Let’s see what the boys have been up to over the last week.


J Starting off I’ve radically improved the water shader and the automatic flow map generation, check it out, pretty neat for an automagic system, wouldn’t you say?

Aug10th_WaterFlow

There are multiple parts to this, part of it is shader based, but most of it is done in Houdini, clamping the red channel helped a lot with consistency,  across the surface, here you can see the difference in colors from the last week to this week.

July28th_AutoFlowmap

Before

The red areas above are the main reason to the flow seen below, however, some broken math inside of the shader didn’t help!

Aug10th_Waterflow

Aug10th_Houdini

After

The color of the terrain (red, green and blue) only relates to material type so that can be ignored, what is interesting is how subtle the red gradient is in this new version.

I’m still trying to figure out how to make the water flow, away and around based upon a general ocean direction, but I will put that on the shelf for now, most players wouldn’t notice it anyways!

I’ve also created and scraped two terrain systems over the last week, I may post a break down later, but I didn’t find them to be useful, at least not for Eco Tales.


K After two failed albums and a rather unfavourable review from, “Positive Reviews inc.” Krister is now back on track with game development.


J I managed to catch Lech in the act of listening to the first single.

Curious_Villain_01

Song free intro.

Neutral_Villain_01

Singing starts.

Sad_Villain_01

Three seconds pass.

Screaming_Villain_01

Four seconds in.

Angry_Villain_02

Five seconds.

Gaping_Villain_01

Mp3 player off.


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Aug 112016
 

Jawning_Villain_01

Doesn’t look like a lot has happened this week, although, allegedly making water look worse takes a very very long time.


J I have not managed to do too much this week, at least not on the game, but what has been done is quite cool, if I may say so myself!

Aug10th_Waterflow

Here is the shader to which I’ve added flow (vertex map) functionality, working side by side with the Digital Asset I created in Houdini, as you can clearly see here, the flow map is way too strong, that’s something I will have to managed next week.

I’ve also started working on a custom terrain tool for Eco Tales, that will suit our needs, everything will be built by hand but placed procedurally, in a way that will make sense to all of you readers once I start showing off the assets I have planed.

Suffice to say, there will be no measurements and strict asset height, widths and lengths to fit into a grid based system!

Aug7th_Wall

Ack, definitely going to have to send along some attributes to keep walls from being built upon water and similar surfaces!

Houdini… I can’t recommend it enough, can’t wait for the moment when time allows for a deep plunge into simulations of various fluids and destruction!


K Krister is working on his Hip-Hop career currently, this is a graph in Lech form predicting the buildup of his fandom.

July26th_fracturingRealTimeReverese


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Aug 052016
 

Selfie_Villain_01

For this week’s recap I had to take a selfie, as Jona didn’t have the time to take a picture of me, I think it turned out quite well, I’m much better at this than he ever was!

The fun is over, let’s see what the boys have been up to.


JBeing an avid KJ blog follower, you probably already saw this, but I created a short tutorial on getting pre-fractured animations from Houdini into Unity. If you didn’t see it, I don’t blame you, but do make sure you head over to that post, after reading this one.

Due to a family tragedy this post is rather late, but hey, better late than never, as some people I know are very keen on saying.

Let’s start off with what you’ll be able to do if you follow the above mentioned tutorial, pretty cool, isn’t it? Imagine doing that to a door or a chest your character’s been beating at for a while!

July26th_fracturingRealTime

One of the main things I’ve been working on this week is a water shader for the game, and to help me in that endeavour I’ve used a custom Houdini asset which easily allows me to raise and lower water levels and create peaks of different heights.

With that said, it’ll work on any surface and the waves are fully customizable inside of the shader.

July31st_WaterTest

I have since creating that gif also added in a flowmap which is automatically generated based upon where islands are intersecting the water, it colours the verts and then smooths it into a plane which looks like this.

July28th_AutoFlowmap

There’re a lot of other things I’d like to share as well, but that would make this post a bit too long and I’d rather have it more easily googleable than in just a “regular” Weekly Recap, so look forward to that mostly Houdini and shader centric post, soon… ish.

Joul-joul over and out!


K Boy oh boy did I have a bad week, completely overtaken by a cold bringing me to the brim of death. Even Mr Plešec almost felt sorry for me, almost…

3D printed Lech

3D printed Lech

What energy I did have went into doing these 16 hours 3d prints of Lech 3D printed Lech Plešec this time much larger than the first and just waiting for a paint job by me and Jona.

Well now when this cold is finally starting to change for the better we are beginning to finalize some parts of what we have so far to put together some early gameplay.

This week also marks the end of my vacation so back to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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May 172016
 

ProfilePicFinalArtStation

Oh my! A scary amount of things have happened this week what with one of my devs being sick and having been unable to party for a weekend.

Others than me have received clothes now and I’ve brought out some pillows and such for you to put your merchandise on once you’ve rented that patch of land from me.

Ambrosia isn’t too happy with my company though, so you should get here quickly, she is YOUR pet after all.


JI’ve been sick! Huzza, loads of things have been finished thanks to this, also I’ve held my final lecture at Uni so that didn’t take any time either.

So what have I done then you ask? Let’s start off with this image of some tables and merchandise holders.

EcoMay14th

With the help of Marvelous Designer I was able to very quickly create table cloths and some rather nice pillows for showing off merchandise.

I also created a new PBR shader for the cloth which allows for more advanced manipulation of detail textures, you will be able to buy patterns and cloth colors to customize everything about your shop!

EcoMay15th_Instagram

As you can see, this isn’t restricted to your shop, you will also be able to customize your clothes to fit with your personal style!


K It continues being the end of the semester, on top of that what little time I did have I spent on Gotland celebrating the birthday of my partner, her sister AND her mother, I did this of course with great dubiously joy.

For Eco Tales my work on AI continues, trying to reach our first basic and primitive something to fight against, doing so I have introduced a small bug which I’m sure is an easy fix as soon as I have more than a few minutes to spend on it.

Much joy and hopefully a can scramble together some more time for next week.

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