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New Character Designs

Monday, May 16, 2011 9:25am
Lead Developer
With the sky and landscape receiving such noticeable improvements in March, I've been thinking lately that perhaps the previous flat-shaded character designs were falling a bit behind the curve. As I mentioned last month, we've been working on the character meshes this month - and not just to add new playable races, but also to improving the look of Antilia's characters so as to better match Antilia's detailed environments.

Finally, I can reveal the first of the new characters:

This is a development screenshot, and should not be taken for how the game will appear at launch.

New Texture Style

The most effort in this was improving the textures from the basic solid-shaded approach to a more realistic, textured look. Thanks go again to Yatra, who has put weeks now into developing these new textures (not to mention doing so while working around and helping me fix bugs in the mesh editor). These new character textures were exactly what I was looking for.

Fur Shading

Those of you with a good eye will notice something extra about the character above - some slightly fuzzy edges. Antilia's characters now feature realistic fur shading. I have tried to do add this in the past, but have never been satisfied with the results. Considering the nature of the Tapii, however - I decided it was worth one more attempt.

The thing I don't like about the common fur shading techniques documented online is that the resulting fur tends to stick straight out from the character's body. The only ways I knew to avoid that problem, was to either do some trickery with textures to obscure the exact direction of the fur, or to invest some time in developing a new tool specifically for controlling the fur. As we have our own mesh editor that I can easily add features to - I took aim at the second approach.

In the image above, while the right ear exhibits the default 'fur shaded' look you might see in other games - the left ear has been 'groomed' in our new fur normal editor. With it, artists can precisely control the length and direction of the fur across surfaces in the editor, and we are able to create fur-shaded meshes with a much more realistic look. Personally, I really like the way it turned out:

This is a development screenshot, and should not be taken for how the game will appear at launch.

There are a lot of things that Antilia needs to get right in order to be a success - gameplay, quests, community features, character creation, and the right balance of skills are all extremely important. But before a player can experience any of that, they must first be drawn to the game. Watching these new characters come together... I really can't wait to try them in-game.
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