Really nice progress. I like the environment shots!
I think this answer comes a bit late but... thanks
So I´m doing a small update right now including a dev diary.
First - We got a new team addition: The talented Ancient76
, who got our attention with his cool environment work and joined mainly as an environment artist.
Secondly - There´s also some work done on characters. I finally finished my first character for the game which took a long time because of some interrruptions (Abitur, holidays, Gamescom...).
Which brings me to the dev diary:
Creating a character for "Noises of the zone"
The cool thing is that I am allowed to create the character from concept to in engine. This ensures that I can shape the character exactly as I imagine him which is a huge advantage when working separated. I try to maintain contact with the dev team during my work to make sure that it fits the artstyle etc.
Phase one: Concept
You may wonder why this character doesn´t look that STALKERish. Well... I wanted to give it a slightly different stile and make him look more realistic (in terms of design) so I looked at some reference of soviet uniforms and added some provisional "armour parts". Work was done on Photoshop. The result:
Phase two: Highpoly
This was done in Blender which meant that I had to do mre micro detail work in Substance Painter. In the future I plan to upgrade to Zbrush but for this character Blender was enough. Sculpt:
Phase three: Lowpoly
Retopo was also done in Blender using the addon "speed retopo" . It´s a very helpful one which you should check out if you´re using Blender. Final retopo
Phase four: Rigging
Since I wanted to test out the character as early as possible in engine I had to rig him before doing UV unwrapping. It´s easier to change some geometry before UV unwrapping than after it. I used the PlayerSDK (Noises of the Zone is based on GameSDK).
Phase five: In engine testing
I did a test export to ensure that the character is working fine with the animations. Changed a bit on the geometry and spotted issues.
Phase six: UV unwrapping
Nobody likes this phase and I´m no exception. But it´s very important and if you´re doing bad UV work then you´ll probably have to rework it which takes even more time!
Phase seven and eight: Baking and texturing
Baking is like UV unwrapping - not fun but necessary! Texturing however is very fun (especially if you own Substance painter!). I started with the creation of some smart materials which I could use as the basis
of my character and then start tweaking them. After that I imported some texures which I converted before in Bitmap2material3. After that I added some dirt and mud (fun fact: the mud normal map is actually a blurred normal map of a stone texture
This phase consisted of engine exporting and small issure resolving (some last bad weights, Hand IK,...). Finally I just had to do some in engine tweaking (secondary animation on the metal flask) and the character is game ready!
A final progress map:
Sadly that doesn´t mean that everything is done... I still have to do LODs.
Of course this character isn´t perfect and has some flaws (for example: sculpt not detailed enough, polycount too low, too many different meshes instead of fewer merged meshes,) but in conclusion I´m happy with it and will improve these aspects on the next character.
I hope you liked this devblog. Write if you want to see more or what aspects you might want to see.