Expose Knight - Snap Shot 04

We are back! The last few weeks was a frustrating experience of moving our office quite literally three minutes walk down the road, it turns out years of documents, office equipment, and studio gear takes a long time to pack and move. 

But we back!

So today I wanted to get back into the routine of our Snap Shot releases with Expose Knight and the discussions around our animation style for the game. Today we will talk about the face mechanics we want to employ.

I have been asked to first warn you all that the animations you're going to look at today are all WIP and are far from finished, however, they do serve a great example on what we are attempting to accomplish.
The face in Expose Knight needs to move, it needs to react and it needs to emote. Emoting is easy, you draw a new face, you swap it during the moments that expression is needed. The trick is to push as much as you can from each emotion as possible, small movements, blinks, smiles, eyebrow movements, etc. These can be derived from existing art, add in our 3D imitation goal means we needed to find a solution.

Within Spine - our chosen animation program - you can weigh vertices to control bones, then these control bones become a child bone to the rig that controls the head. Getting the movement just right is a matter of trial and error, but needless to say the illusion is created when only some of the control bones move, others are left in place when movement is applied.
First comes the head bones, these cover most of the face.
Next, we need to detail what parts of the eye are affected by control bone movements, the effects change depending on how detailed we make each area.
Lastly, we have the mouth, you can more clearly see it here but the blue gradient represents when the base sprite is blurred to assist with the movement, its worth remembering this is a 2D image we are working with.

I hope you enjoyed this little look-see into how the sausage is made! More to come soon!

Stay moist Kinksters!