This month we are going to be showcasing some other elements of Veridian Valley, starting with the gorgeous clothing items that you will have access to when you arrive in Paleo Pines.
A first glance at clothing
One of our favourite parts of any game is character customisation, so we’ve dedicated a lot of time to clothing. Each area within Paleo Pines has its own clothing items that you can choose from and we wanted to start with showing you some of the items available in Veridian Valley.
Today we are chatting with Abigail and Hannah, two of our talented 3D artists. They’ve been working on developing, sculpting and texturing our clothing items!
Abigail Gelston is kicking this one off as she tells us about the fun of developing different clothing items for Veridian Valley.
Was character customisation always a big part of the game?
The focus at the beginning of the game development for Paleo Pines was of course the dinosaurs, but we also very much thought about the playable character because that’s how you will be experiencing the world. The first initial player design was tested, then the overall body proportions were updated when our concept artists realised the initial larger head made the character look too young.
During this Research & Development (R&D) stage, a few hairstyles were created and the first batch of clothing made. The thought process behind character customisation in the beginning was to test a basic variety of clothing designs with a few hairstyles with different colour palettes alongside a variation of character skin tones. The choices available also needed to reflect the different areas within the game. Since then, time has been put into the updated skin shader, the variety of colour palettes, and the clothing designs and texturing for each area within Paleo Pines.
How did you decide what clothing items to design for the game?
We wanted a variety of choices for the players clothing that could belong in each biome of Paleo Pines, such as the valley, forest and swamp. For each biome, we will have full outfits and separate pieces of clothing and accessories that the player can choose between once collected. All of these options will give the player the opportunity to play with different styles and make their character more unique to them. Currently, the Valley has a classic English countryside feel to the clothing designs, with neat stitching in a range of pastel tones. The forest will have a more handmade feel to the more rustic designs with earthy tones. Of course there’ll be more, but we’d like to keep some surprises!
Hannah Turkington, our 3D artist, is going to talk to us about the process of sculpting the clothing assets and texturing the fabrics.
What went into the creation of the fabrics?
We model the clothes using Blender and texture them in Substance Painter. Usually we create two versions: one low poly and one high poly sculpt so that we can use that to bake in the details to the low poly. When the clothes are modelled and UV unwrapped we then bring it into Substance painter to texture. First thing we do is bake in the high poly to the low poly model so that it has the details and maps needed; this makes it easier for us to see what the model will look like in game! After that we hand paint in the fabric details like in shadows and highlights to make the clothes pop. We also use some of the many brushes in Substance Painter to get different patterns depending on what material look we want to achieve.
Once the textures are looking good you can add some finer details like little buttons/stitches along the seams using a height map. Next, we export all the texture maps/models and import that into unity to set up the shader to make sure that it’s all working to be brought into the game. When the textures and models are all signed off we pass them on to our rigger to get them hooked up to the player rig!
Were there specific things you had to take into consideration with modelling?
Yes, when modelling clothing you need to make sure that the clothes layer properly so that none of the geometry is clipping with other items of clothing. You also need to make sure your topology of the model and resolution supports the current animation setups so that the clothing doesn’t clip through the player or dino steed.
Have you put any of your own clothing into the game?
I worked on the updated dungarees and jeans that are in the game and little pump shoes. There are lots of other clothing items I’ve worked on, but we’re not showing those just yet! My favourite clothing in game would have to be the pretty woolly jumper that Abigail created and I really like how the dungarees look in game! Each developer has been invited to suggest one of their own clothing items for inclusion so we’re excited to see what makes it through the selection process.
The babbling water of Paleo Pines
Paleo Pines is a lush land with different biomes. It was always our intention for water to be an important part of these biomes so it can be found in many different places throughout the game. For those of you who have been following us for a while, here’s a reminder of how our water looked very early in development vs how it looks now.
Next up, it’s time to get technical again with Scott Gil! He created the different water shaders used in Paleo Pines and so we asked him to explain his approach.
How did you create this lovely translucent water?
The water in Paleo Pines is composed of several parts layered on top of each other to give the final effect: The Base Colour, The Normals, The Caustics, The Refraction and The Edge foam.
For the base colour we use a depth pass to get the depth of the water and use that to blend two colours together based on how deep the water is meant to be.
This is then used to tint the terrain underneath to give a transparent effect. With this we can also apply a caustic colour to give the effect of light coming through the ripples in the water based on what’s underneath.
The most important part of the water shader is the normal map. We used two different normal maps moving on top of each other to give the wavy effect. The normals are what gives us the surface normals for those specular reflections.
This is then used for distorting the underlying imagery for the refraction of the water. We add a tint to this as well to make it obvious they are underwater.
The last step is to apply the edge foam to the top of the water. For this, we use a depth pass to get where the water’s edge is and use a sine function to pan over a texture in order to give the following foam effect going from the edge out into the water.
Bringing Mari to life!
Paleo Pines has a bunch of colourful characters you can get to know. We thought it’d be fun to talk to Yazz Herron, one of our animators, about bringing sassy girl Mari to life and how she created her spunky walk cycle!
How did you bring Mari’s personality to life with animation?
Early on, we were told that Mari is a bold, sassy character – almost cocky, but with a charisma that smooths over any perceived transgression. We wanted you to get a sense of her personality the second you see her, knowing this alongside the gorgeous concepts of her character allowed us to think about how she would walk, talk and interact with the world around her.
I love using walk cycles as a way to experiment with personality.! Although there is a formula to getting a walk cycle to look good and work in-game, there are so many ways you can create character and personality through just having the character take a few steps! For example, in Mari’s walk cycle, I made her swing her hips more than you or I might, and I made sure that her long plait swung dramatically along with her, and this exudes the confidence we wanted her to have. Other, smaller details like her curling her hands into a fist when she walks and having her shoulders swing out mean that she has a less traditional ‘feminine’ walk and more of an adventurous, daring strut! Now Mari makes an entrance no matter where she’s going!
And that is it for this month! We hope you’re enjoying these more in-depth looks into our game and getting to know the people behind the scenes.
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