I'd like to share some early screenshots from a city area. I've shown these around a bit before and mostly gotten good responses, albeit that there are a few things that need changing or adjusting. However, now that I have the general architecture of the level "carved out" I can start detailing it, which is the more enjoyable part.
Synchromesh had the really interesting idea that I might create some light aerial traffic with an animated skybox.
You'll also see that its using dynamic lighting now...I'm still holding out for someone like Lee or Preben to implement something decent in the future. Here's to optimism
If you are on the discord, you may have seen these before.
Light and visibility will likely change in this area in the future.
A screenshot from higher up. Several of these buildings have already been replaced and the whole scene is a lot less blue now.
The small market will have a few NPC's later on.
I've been experimenting with characters and have a bit to say about that but first I'd like to show you the progress I have made on that city map.
For all the artifacty GG rendering and the faults it has, its really starting to feel like an urban are playing through it. I'm a bit proud for how the player can traverse it and all the alcoves, nooks and crannies it has.
So far I have not done anything major to the colour tinting and overall feel of the level but just detailed it more. Also note that some shots have differences in brightness, as that too is something I'll settle once and for all later on.
Take a look:
If you followed this project since its inception you might have noticed that it went through several iterations of character designs.
Initially I was working with Errant AI's character collection. However, despite being very versatile they are barely usable as civilians and entirely geared towards military type games. Modifying them to look the part for anything else would look extraordinarily cheesy. I'll still use them as armed enemies as their animation pool is just perfect and there are enough masked variants to hide the difference in style with all the other characters.
Secondly I just used retextured versions of the stock Game Guru characters. These came with pretty neat scifi versions and with a few edits to the fantasy pack types I had neat cyberpunk characters. However, I did not want the characters in my game to be instantly recognizable as GG chars. I also found a lot of the civilian and military types to be very generic in style. I understand that this was made on purpose as GG should allow the user to have the ability to make a videogame in any genre he likes but it was rubbing me the wrong way. The androgynous looking female character variants did not strike my fancy either.
Apart from some testing with high poly variants that where all not for my skill level I finally came to a decision.
I own a lot of chars from arteria 3d. Especially the FPSC versions (generally perceived as low quality as it seems they have been made FPSC ready by brute force, quality be damned) have a pretty low polygon count. The retail versions from their store have LOD versions and look genuinely decent. They have an impressive animation pool and can reach quite decent quality. And with owning so many of them I can easily have enough variation going on in my levels without being too taxing on the engine.
Now, there is one extra point to using these. I enjoy salvaging and retexturing old media to my liking. These chars are perfect as they have barely seen any use in FPSC projects. Feel free to guess what pack they are from if you own them
And here are those I have ready so far:
She was pretty much ready to go out of the box and is one of the higher quality characters in acythians collection so far. Same level of detail as Shavra characters later in production.
Talking with Pirate Myke he suggested that I make a smoother version for an up close LOD level of this one. But alas, I came to the conclusion that I sacrifice a lot of quality on other chars and that no matter what I do, I don't have the necessary skills to significantly improve this one. SO this is what he looks like
A military type char I converted to look more like a street crook.
He looks more like a leather gimp than a char to be taken all too serious but I think he turned out neat, despite having some of the worst UV mapping I ever made. Ha!
The outfit turned out alright. I deal with the unfortunate face texture stretching later
LODS, POLYGONS AND ILLUSIONS
Even if I use Lowpoly characters. There are a lot of performance and stability related factors I have to keep in mind.
Naturally, no chars are active once a level starts. This goes without saying. But I have looked for more solutions to keeping those FPS high even with a lot of characters active. Here goes:
*Spawning (of course).
*LOD levels. Specifically a LOD stage that has no mesh (if this does not load properly I just make it a single polygon. I have to test this)
The idea is to completely remove the character mesh once the player is far away enough that he would not see the character anyway. This can be set very close for indoor levels but I need to avoid model popping.
* NPCs just standing or sitting around can be entities rather than characters that loop a single animation track. This alone should have a positive impact on overall framerate.
* Lower texture resolution.
A few more impressions from the city level.
Now that the character issue is solved, I need to figure what kind of vehicles are being used in this games universe. Cars are more or less obsolete in general but I also don't want to just copy something as iconic as blade runners flying vehicles. In the background of this screenshots you can see someone dealing in "vintage vehicle and machine parts".
Yeah, the lack of real time shadows is very rough but I hope the urban decay translates well anyway in these tunnels.
I am also working on a better fire effect to replace these stock decals.
And that is all I got for now. C&C welcome as always