Weekly Dev Update – May 5th, 2015

Hey everybody! Adam here. Sorry again for the delay on this update! I had a 48-hour game jam this weekend and it ate into my posting time on Friday and completely fried my brain for Monday. Now, oooon with the show!


Hello fellow humans!
This week I’ve actually spent with more behind the scenes boring stuff that isn’t very interesting so instead of that I’ll talk a bit about the character work I did the other week.

pbr_characters_wip_01Some examples of the updated characters

Now, there are two major parts to this work with a common goal. The goal was to update the materials to use the new Standard Shader (PBR) in Unity 5.

The first step in doing this was to expand the Substances (procedural textures) to not only output Metallic/Smoothness maps but also to add meaningful controls. The way the Substances for the characters work is that they take RGB-masks to define what area is what so the substance knows where and how to apply colors, extending this to the specular term (Metallic/Smoothness in this case).

Doing this allows setting for example the trousers to be made of shiny metal if we’d want to. Most of the time only details and trims are set to metal since, well, it looks a bit overpoweringly cheesy to be walking around in silver and gold clothes.

The second step is to add Normal maps, and extend the same type of control to them as the Albedo and Specular terms before it. Now I know, normal maps have been around for a long while and were supported prior to 5. The reason we’ve held back on adding them is that its a fair amount of work to add them.

While adding the technical side of it is pretty quick, the main chunk of work is in manually sculpting the clothes. This includes sculpting in seams, details, trims, folds, buttons, pleats, wrinkles of many kinds, and so on.

After the details are sculpted in they are baked out into a Normal map that then passes through the relevant Substance where we can control how much each part of the clothing is impacted by its sculpted details.


This past week was a short one for me. Between other commitments and the game jam, I only really had a chance to address part of the connector placement flow. I should have more to show on that in this week’s update, though!

Post your comment

Dev Update on Monday
Weekly Dev Update – May 8th, 2015
Join our Newsletter!

Please fill in the form and submit to subscribe to the Astrobase Command newsletter to stay informed an up to date on all things Astrobase!