Crew Rigs With Normal Maps

Hey Folks! Today I managed to get some non-administrative work done. Yeah! I mocked-up some quick-n-dirty normal maps for my rigged crew sprite, and hooked them up to the materials to see how they looked under lit conditions. Here's how they turned out:


They're a lazy crew. Doomed, I tell you.

They won't win any art awards or anything, but as a proof of concept, I think these rigs may work. With more time spent making the artwork, I think it could look pretty solid. Keep in mind that they're just a collection of flat sprites attached to animated bones:


and that these normal maps are literally whatever I could slap together in PhotoShop with about 5 minutes effort each. More detailed efforts, or using tools such as SpriteIlluminator could take the art a lot further.

And in some cases, modders might be able to just reuse existing normal maps and repaint the colors for different outfits. So I think we're in good shape.

The next thing I want to sort out is getting the crew to play animations based on their current interaction. Right now, it kinda works, but the anims play too late, and for too short a time (like a split-second). And walking to a goal needs some special case handlers written.

Anyway, some nice (and visible) progress! Hopefully, more of that to come. Have a good weekend, all!


Malacodor's picture

Nice, can't wait to see them die. ;-)

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

Rovlad's picture

This looks much better than unilluminated sprites from the last time. Keep up the good work!
Brickell and Mann look a bit weird, I suppose it's because of non-right angles?

dcfedor's picture

Thanks, guys! I think these show enough potential that I feel confident in trying animated + normal maps/lighting + swappable parts.

Re: Brickell and Mann, you are correct. The game is using Unity's "point" sampling, which is similar to Photoshop's "Nearest Neighbor." This is partly because I didn't want the blurriness/mushiness of bicubic antialiasing, but also because it enables "cutout" shadows. (I.e. transparent parts of the texture don't cast shadows, while opaque does)

We'll have to see how it looks in practice. In a still-frame, it might look worse because you have a lot of time to read that jagged line. But when things are moving around, you may not have time to register it.

Also, the final art may be a lot more detailed/textured than this test art, which is solid blocks of color. Only testing will tell!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Rovlad's picture

I think that if you'd touch up the art a bit (just add some details on shoulders, like maybe insignias) it'd be perfect.
Game logic should come first though definitely. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

matsy's picture

Firstly, I've just noticed that since the site update it doesn't display a comments count on the home page, so I've never bothered to go into the post to see them lol. I was feeling sorry for you, that no one was commenting!

Is the picture above an indication how big the characters etc will be?

dcfedor's picture

@Rovlad, yeah, I'm hoping the sprite parts can be a bit more detailed so there's more personality to them. E.g. base clothes, accessories, etc. But absolutely game mechanics are top priority. I can't help myself :)

@matsy, yeah, the comments UI is a bit wonky in the new site. I'm hoping the upcoming redesign makes that a bit easier. It's definitely quieter here, of late. But that's not a bad thing. More time for me to work if I'm not distracted :)

As for character art size, the above might not be accurate. I think that was captured from the Unity editor, which is a non-standard game window size. Currently, the sprite art is for a 32x32 pixel character, and I'm thinking the game will be zoomed 2x for a total of 64x64 characters.

All is subject to testing and approval, though!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games