Eric Knittel, our ultra-talented graphics guy, is working with Roman, our Lead Developer, to nail down the visual style of Tails of Fury, and experimenting with an array of different techniques. Since we made the decision to transition from 3D to 2.5D, it’s a bit of an interesting challenge to create an aesthetic that bridges the two worlds. Our idea now is to model the 3D assets in a way that makes them look pixelated in the same way that the 2D sprites are.
Eric starts with highpoly assets subdivided into evenly-sized faces, then generates normal maps using those assets.
He then applies these maps to lowpoly models in order to give them a faceted look that mimics pixelation. The texture is created on very small texture maps so that individual pixels are visible. The idea is for them to match up with the normal map so that each facet of the normal map corresponds to one pixel of the texture map.
One major consideration for this process is how to make slick-looking assets in a way that isn’t too time-consuming. We’re exploring Unity assets that allow for UV mesh editing quickly within Unity, to find a quick way to texture models using premade textures, tile sheets, and atlases.
As with all things game dev, it’s a time-consuming but ultimately rewarding process. It’s already starting to look pretty good!