• Eye for an Eye

    Eyeball Tutorial

    As stated in my last post, I bring you a small tutorial on eyeballs, especially on getting the nice reflections in the iris, that make eyes so much more vivid. So here it goes:
    The first image shows the different parts of an eyeball. From left to right: The outer lens, the pupil, the iris, the eyeball. Of course, the material for the lens would be a transparent yet glossy material (with a high specularity above 100). The pupil would have a shadeless black material, the iris needs an iris-texture (google is your friend) and the eyeball a simple white, but also glossy material. Ok, so far so good, these are the basics most of you already know and like they are shown on many webpages.

    I once read these tutorials, too, but nonetheless had difficulty in getting the nice reflections in the right spot. Either they weren't visible at all or they were on the eyeball and not the iris. The clue is a small fact that you can observe in the second picture. The lens-mesh has a different diameter than the eyball. Many people simply cut the eyeball and use the separated bit for the lens. This does not work very well and, by the way, is not how our eyes really are. The lens has to have a much smaller diameter - with that little change, the reflection will be visible from much more angles (concerning the light source).

    Of course you should test what diameter suits you best - but my experience is that you need to exagerate a bit, that is make the lens even more convex than in nature, and you'll get some nice reflections.
    Of course, this technique is for render-models only. For realtime-models its a different thing, in most cases you don't need an eyeball with that much detail. But for cutscenes or animations I found this approach very satisfactory. 

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  • Antonius - Moodstills for dialogs

    No Place For Traitors - Antonius Moods

    As you already could see on some of the screenshots, the dialog is being displayed on a scroll, which has the typical medaillon at the side, showing the person that is speaking. I want to feature moods for these medaillons, showing a different facial expression depending on the text. For the time being, I decided to do 5 facial expressions (from top left to bottom right): afraid, angry, curious, neutral, smile. 

    The facials have been created with Shape Keys - so they will not be featured on the real-time-model, because unity cannot (afaik) import and use shapekeys - you'd have to do a complete facial rig (instead of just the jaw, which is what we have done...).

    I think the most important thing concerning facial-animations are the eyes, as we as human beings connect to one another mostly with the eyes - small changes can result in an entirely new expression. The crucial part of getting a character alive is the small light-dot-reflection on the eye-ball. As I myself have had some trouble with these reflections, I will post a small how to on getting this light-dot right. Stay tuned...

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  • Turning animation: a small HowTo!

    Blender SCreenshot No Place For Traitors

    We had some hard time with the turning-animation of the main character. In the end, it was a kind of silly mistake (the left/right animations where interchanged), but it had us wondering for some time. Nevertheless I wanted to share our approach of how we faced this challenge. Even high-priced productions sometimes have difficulty to do the animations right concerning the walking and turning of the characters. The problem is that you have to do a small number of animations for a big number of possible actions. The turning-animation is a good example. Everytime the player clicks on the ground, our character first turns in the right direction, then starts to move. Of course, the angle our character turns is not set, it can be anything between 1 and 180 degrees. So how do you do ONE animation for an angle between 1 and 180?

    The current approach we use (and which finally is working) is, we give our character a linear turning speed as a Constant. This speed matches our animation, which, when fully played, does a turn of 90°. The animation will be looped until the character reached the end of its turn, at which point we do a 0.2 frame-long blending into the walk-animation.

    This might still be quite obvious for the most of you. Now comes the tricky part, which might be interesting for some animators: The turn-animation in blender is not one, but two, one for the left and one for the right turn. The final animation has to be without the character really turning, staying on its origin, which is nearly impossible to animate without tricks. Simply rotating the main bone won't help either, because it is quite probable that some of your bones won't copy rotation, so by rotating the main bone, the character might only be twisted in some weird angles. So this is what I did:

    I placed a small (temporary) plane under the character and made it turn linear (important!) 90°. Then I parented a camera to the plane, so that in my preview-window to the right it seems like it is the character, not the plane, turning. Then I animated the turning animation, which (simply put) is re-positioning the feet, so that the foot on the ground always moves exactly with the plane. It is crucial to set linear interpolation for the frames (and only for those), when either the left or the right foot are on the ground. The movement in unity will be linear, because it is quite difficult to match movements with beziercurves, so the animation in blender (or any 3D program) has to work with a linear movement.

    When you have done your animation, you simply delete the plane and import the character into unity. Oh, and be sure to call the right animation when you are implementing the animations :-)

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  • Dialog Choice Menu

    No Place For Traitors Dialog

    We now have a complete Dialog-System working in Unity, entirely scriptable thru our online-Script-Editor. In the image you see Antonius talking to Rafael, the cook. Time to take some time off - it's weekend and the weather is great, so I am leaving the dark rooms of our monastery for a few hours...

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Serious Monk Serious Monk Serious Monk
Editor | COA | Admin

We are an independent gamedesign studio based in Cologne, Germany.

serious monk
Manuel Schmitt
Maybachstrasse 155
50670 Köln
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About this Webpage:

This webpage is a developer-blog, providing information for the interested about the production of our computer-games. This shall not only serve as a product-show-off, but also as a platform for other developers to read about our problems, our solutions and thoughts during the development.

We will offer tutorials, tests, opinions related to indie-game-development and of course information about the games we are currently working on.

Stay tuned. Happy gaming.