Having A Ball - (Art, Tech)

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Having A Ball - (Art, Tech)

Howdy, all. This is Warcabbit coming at you, live and in charge. Possibly on fire.

We made a pretty huge breakthrough Monday over at City of Titans, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you all about it. Well, not all about it - certain elements, like how, precisely, it works, we’re keeping a little quiet on till we make a little more progress on it.

It’s our costumes.

We’ve had spandex working for a while, but I’ve got pretty high standards. I’m not going to let us release anything that doesn’t beat what the old game did. More than that, I want to equal or exceed anything on the market.

It’s taken a lot of work, but I think we finally have something. Meet the Sphere.

This is a testing rig. It is a simple object, which means we can test techniques on it without worrying about ‘deformed tris’ or ‘missing normals’ or ‘scaling issues’. In theory. It’s just a sphere, and that’s all it is.

Now, we know, by virtue of the spandex test we did back in A New Dawn, we can color that sphere all sorts of things, put patterns on it, and anything else we want.

(The anniversary video, in case you missed it.)

But costumes aren’t just spandex. There’s jackets, and belts, and jodhpurs. There’s big clunky boots and iron gauntlets. There’s helmets and armor and eventually, capes.

And if we tried to just fake that with a simple object and fancy painting, it’d look pretty horrible.

So, we built a piece of clothing for the sphere. Yeah, we liked it so much we put a ring on it.

If you look to the right of the sphere, you’ll see a ring. It’s another simple object. If we can get this ring on this sphere, and make it look good, we can put clothes on a human shaped mesh and make them look good.

It didn’t look so good. This is a recreation, but for the longest time, the technique we were using would give us these incredibly weird ripples and smears up and down the ring, like it was made out of construction paper.

Now, we could have just put object on object, but I wanted something more. A lot of games have problems with clipping - in the old game, ever wear a suit, then jump? You’d see a white flash at the armpits, as your shirt would clip through the jacket.

I wanted more.

So we worked harder. We got rid of the ripples and smears - but something still wasn’t right.

And then we tried one last thing…

And it works. We’ve got a sphere wearing a ring. And it’s perfect. And that means we can put other items on _over_ that ring. We can now take any spandex outfit, and go the full Clark Kent - put a shirt, tie, and jacket on over it.

Making a character that wears clothes is easy. Making one that can wear any clothes we want it to? That's hard.

Our gloves can be of any length, our boots of any height. Other games, they fix what you can swap out, making sure that things match, making sure that this zone is for gloves, this zone is for sleeves. We can do clothes we can’t even imagine right now, layered any way you choose. Jacket and no shirt? No problem! And there’s another feature I’m not talking about till we’re sure it works - you’d kilt me if I couldn’t follow up.

(I am so darn proud of the team right now)
There’s going to be some more tests - some of which will involve a quest for a decent pair of pants - but we’ve made a huge leap forwards, and I can’t wait to show you what this really means.

Of course, it means we have to redo our male and female characters to make this work for them. But we’ve learned a few things since the last time.

And once we get all the things hooked up, it’s going to be nothing but clothes, clothes, clothes. And our art department’s ready and willing.

From: Warcabbit and the Costume Task Force of City of Titans.

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