Improved Character Model and Speech Bubbles

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.

screenshot_0104.png

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.

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19 thoughts on “Improved Character Model and Speech Bubbles

  1. I don’t have anything interesting or constructive to say, so i’m just gonna say your doing a good job, that your game look prettier, and stuff like that.
    Nevermind, i think i have a question, when do you think you will be able to release an other playable build ?

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    1. No worries. It’s difficult to say; there’s still a few show-stopping bugs I need to resolve which prevent me from releasing right now as is, but the more pressing concern I have is that while I do know have my character, I just don’t feel what’s in the game right now is going to be all that interesting. What I would ideally like is the character to have some more sophisticated AI to make interacting with her more interesting and less robotic, but I suppose I’ll release something before. The next release where I can see things starting to come together; I’m going to be focusing on implementing the actual basic gameplay flow: travelling between locations, attending classes, more interactivity, changing time of day, that sort of thing.

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  2. Hello, the Character model looks way better now especially the hair 🙂 as you said its not the finished model but its an good improve, keep it up ! 🙂
    The Chatbox system looks pretty awesome so far with the text changing on where your going or what youre doing.. I like that 🙂 pretty good progress keep it up !

    Cant wait for the next update 🙂
    Have a great Day!

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    1. Thank you very much, this is still more of a proof of concept of how the freeroaming dialogue will work, but that kind of feeling of truly dynamic dialogue is something I’m hoping to get out of it.

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    1. It would actually be really nice to get funding on this, but I still don’t feel comfortable accepting money from people until I feel confident I’m delivering something of consistent value and quality; maybe after a few more updates I’ll open one. I also don’t believe many people would be interested in funding it right now since so little attention has been put on it, to the point that I wonder if it would be worth all the potential complexities of getting any kind of money involved.

      Besides just trying to make more and better content, I actually don’t really know how to get more people interested in this thing. I don’t really make any significant effort to draw attention to this project outside of what I post here and some other places. Still, it would be nice to see this get some more media coverage, though.

      Regarding funding, if I did get some I’d really be interested in investing in new hardware, specifically I had the idea of trying to build a kind of budget motion capture studio based on articles I’ve been reading. That would cut down the amount of time it takes to create new animations significantly, and they’d probably come out look more natural anyway. While motion capture might seem an odd choice for anime-inspired game, I actually believe Love Plus made use of mocap and it turned out very well there. Other things would just be better computer parts to speed up some of the offline rendering processes (light-baking, ambient-occlusion, ect.)

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      1. Hmmm… true. Well youtube seems to be the place to advertise, but as to how to get it recognized… maybe once you have an amount of work you’re happy with you can release a build for people to use and help you debug the game. Its definitely a unique and interesting subject for a game and I’m sure a youtuber will end up playing it. That’s some good free attention right there. (I literally just woke up and proofreading isn’t gonna happen. haha)

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  3. I adore the new character model! If you don’t mind me asking, will the game have voiced-dialouge? If so, I would love to help out with that.

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    1. The plan is and always has been that not every line of dialogue will be voiced, only a select few plot-significant ones, as well as a pool of generic emotes to be used in standard dialogue. This is to allow a faster iteration of writing without having wait for voiced dialogue as well as making localization more practical. I would like to get some voices in, but I am generally intending to maintain fairly strict quality standards for any voice acting I use.

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  4. This doesn’t really have a link with this post, but do you have a twitter or facebook account where you post some minor progress on you work ? Or just one where we can simply follow you, that’s fine too.

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      1. As the admin, I actually have the ability to edit posts, so I’ll look into seeing if there’s an option or plugin which could be added to this blog which would enable people commenting to have access to the same feature.

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    1. I do have a Twitter account, @saracengamedev, but I don’t really use it much for anything than a glorified newfeed which just echoes posts from this blog. I don’t use Facebook either. The closest thing I have is that there is a thread still going on 8chan’s /a/ board where there are a couple of small things which haven’t been shown here yet (https://8ch.net/a/res/349744.html), including some screenshots from the upcoming protaganist’s apartment, but really, the reason there hasn’t been an update recently is although progress is still being made, there hasn’t been anything particularly interesting or worth showing recently.

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