January 2019 Update: working on graphic overhaul!
Like said in the previous update I started working on a complete visual overhaul. This is very important as it will allows me to finally give the go for people to build their ships, start building npc ships for the game, but also start doing PR more actively.
I have started to work with talented artists also: on the concept and character side I have found two amazing artists, but I am still searching and testing on the 3d side.
Now, on to the style I want to target: I want to game to depart from pixel art to move to a more modern stylized PBR look, like Overwatch for example. Now, the game wont look as amazing as Overwatch, I dont have the same budget as Blizzard of course but there is also some heavy constraints due to the voxel nature of the game.
Still I think you guys will be pleasantly surprise with the new style and will enjoy building with it. But the overall philosophy wont be changed: the star is your own construction, not some fancy shader or texture. Which means I will keep the level of details low, with simple and easy to read blocks and textures.
In stylized PBR there is two parts: the first being the stylized aspect, which means handpainted textures. Some people might be scared by that part, but the handpainted style I am targeting is very clean and minimal and will suit well the technological and boxy world of the game. One of the reason that push me to do this move is that it will allow me to do better characters, amazing natural environments and good looking VFX, which was always problematic with pixel art. The asteroids and torus will move from their current cubic look to a more organic one - which will be better for performance and easier to do.
The second part is PBR, a fancy word that means Physically Based Rendering. Long story short, for us it means that we will get some nice shiny metal ;-). This is the big lesson of Overwatch, PBR is not only for realistic looking game but works amazingly well with stylized games also.
I think you will really enjoy that part. It means that I wont have to pick a crappy light blueish gray color supposed to like metal, but actually make a real metal. I will be able to make subtle variations for metal to mine and craft, and also some more radical one like gold. Going hand in hand is also the addition of normal mapping which will bump up the details (gamedev pun intended). I will show you all this in a following post and on twitter in the coming days, so watch out!
I am still working on the art test, but the previous is 95% sure. I have some tech work to do, find a good artist to work on the new blocks (or do it myself - "if you want something really hard, do it yourself" is my motto), but next month I should be able to show you the new look!
See you in the next one!