It's Getting There!
Hey Folks! Hope everyone had a good weekend. It was a pretty normal family deal for us, which was nice in some ways. And thanks to the recent Steam sale, I've been logging hours in Stellaris. Enjoying it so far! (Though my first empire crumbled upon the first war.)
Getting back to animated faces, I think we're making good progress. When I left off on Friday, I was a bit discouraged by a really rough-looking Akiko face. The new rig I setup to fix things actually looked a bit uglier.
However, some ideas occurred to me over the weekend, such as making the lips have a hole in the mesh where the opening is (instead of just transparent faces. I also changed the camera rendering style from bilinear filtering to point sampling, which basically removes antialiasing. Between these changes (mostly the latter), and a slightly improved rig with more mouth verts, we get the Jones you see above.
For reference, Akiko was my test subject, and looked about equally good. So I setup Jones to see if it translated well to another face style.
I'm relatively happy with the outcome here. It could still be improved, and maybe if time and budget allow, I'll hire an artist/animator to do that. But for now, I can throw a bunch of face assets together to mix-and-match faces, and hopefully get a decent variety of faces that can show emotion and other status info.
There's still more hooking-up to do. Right now, it's just a gui image slapped down on the scene over where the old potrait was. And it intercepts WASD controls to change emotion, not anything related to the selected character.
I think what I want to do is to expand the portrait UI section to show all characters in the crew (like an RPG or Rimworld does), make them clickable to select crew (and eventually open UI for each). I'll also need to figure out what other UI can be along the bottom, since this set of portraits eats into my current layout (which shows message log, status priorities, etc.).
And, of course, hook-up AI status to the facial animations. I might just be able to squeeze this in in time for an announcement video!