Okay this is a fairly small update, but I just wanted to demonstrate some things I’ve been working on. I’ve made some effort to address some of the concerns people raised regarding the quality of the character model, and while it’s not a complete overhaul, I’m hoping it is a significant improvement now. As well as tweaks to the body and face, she is also using a brand new shader which features artist-defined warped half-lambert shading, subtle rim-highlights, view-dependant outlines which resize depending on camera distance, and material-specific colourized shadow-mapping. My hope is that this shader will help the characters look better in more varied lighting conditions. I have also fixed some bugs with the morphing system I showed many months back connected with using meshes with UV seams, which actually went unnoticed before since the test models I was using all had separated UV faces. You may notice the blinking which I feel goes a long way to improving the character’s sense of believability in the world.
I am also showing off some new speech bubbles which will allow characters to talk and interact outside of the visual novel segments. My plan for this is to create a whole dynamic rule/response which will choose appropriate phrases depending on the state of the character, player, and the world.
I also added MSAA-support to the engine, probably the best form of anti-aliasing albeit with a significant performance cost, but I will likely be using this in all future forms of media released for the game from now on, and it will be available to anyone with a machine which can handle it. It’s actually not as big of a performance hog as you might expect, since most of the game’s performance problems are currently CPU-bound rather than GPU-bound.
I probably would have had more to show, but unfortunately during my work on this update, I suffered a very severe crash which resulted in me loosing several days worth of work. I keep very frequent backups and utilise revision control, but I still lost my uncommitted changes as a result of this crash, which slowed me down and actually burnt me out quite a bit having to rewrite code I had already written. I will be sure to take more meticulous precautions in future in order to prevent any similar issues from occurring.
I’m at least back on track now so expect something more interesting coming soon.