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2013/07/15

Modern Style

The art for Wandercall will have a significantly higher quality bar than Flare's "Fantasy Core" set. Assets will require finished textures, normal maps, etc. to make use of the pixel density.

To get used to this new quality standard I decided to start by making something familiar: denim jeans. This lets me focus purely on the technical aspects and not worry about being creative at the same time. Here are the jeans at Wandercall's default scale: 128x64 base tile size which represent a square meter.

Denim jeans turntable render

Here's the 512px diffuse texture. The base denim texture is a public domain image. I painted the wear, edges, and folds in GIMP. The model also has a normal map baked from a pair of jeans with more details modeled in.

Denim diffuse texture

This scale should be just right for current HD resolutions. The art will hold up at double this size (e.g. for 4K displays). Here are the same jeans at 256x128 base tile size. I've fitted the jeans for the three sizes of models (US sizes 8, 16, 24).

Denim jeans turntable render, size 8 model Denim jeans turntable render, size 16 model Denim jeans turntable render, size 24 model

Why make modern clothes for a fantasy game? I don't think Wandercall will be strictly medieval fantasy. I want to do some time bending and intentional anachronisms. The game world will have little physical or temporal cohesion; it will feel more like a dreamscape or afterlife.

Flare's fantascyore art mostly represents my level of 3D skill as of a few years ago. To me it's worth starting with a clean slate in Wandercall. Here's Flare's male hero wearing the starting cloth armor, rendered to the same scale as the images above.

Male fantasy core quality

Although the mesh resolution hasn't changed much, the finish quality is drastically different. I made that Flare art about 4 years ago now; hopefully it's evident that I've learned a lot since then.

If I'm going to keep making art at this resolution, there's going to be diminishing returns as I get better with 3D. The art I'm making 4 years from now won't be so drastically different? There's only so much detail that can be squeezed out of a few pixels. This is comforting though. I want to settle into a style that won't be obsolete soon. I'd like to be adding to the same set of assets for a few years to come.

The jeans took about 6 hours to make over two sessions. This is faster than I expected. I figured that moving on to more detailed art means that all assets take far longer to create. But I'm also getting more efficient and skilled with the tools. I guess I'm not making "programmer art" anymore.