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Some thoughts on the first build

I have been playing around with the first build, and while I had a lot of fun discovering the possibilities I noticed some things:

1) Using the texture builder is fun and once you get the hang of it, pretty versatile. However, I (and probably many others) have no experience in making actual textures or decals (or normal maps for that matter) and trying to get some details right, like the inside of the mouth together with the teeth, the contours of the vagina or eyeliner/shadow is very tedious. I think it would be great to have some presets for teeth, female genitals and maybe makeup, so that you can easily pick their color similar to the eyecolor.
I know that for the bunny example the mouth/teeth texture is given, and I am sure that once the cloud goes online one could extract assets from the works of the very talented people using the creator, but it would still be very much a QoL function for the less technically inclined. The same goes for more hairstyles, but I assume that there will be more models to chose from in future builds (or once the cloud is up).

2) The fluff appendages look very nice when applied thoughtfully (although I miss the furshaders from YL1 a bit), but it would be nice to not have to apply every single fluff instance seperately. What I am thinking of is a "brush" function that you can paint an adjustable density of fluff onto the character.

3) Regarding facial expressions, I can understand that they are not implemented in this first build (apart from one smile setting for the bunny). I have to say though, the reason I like YL1 so much is the sheer number of possible expression you can give your characters (or some characters at least), so I hope this aspect is not forgotten in future builds. I am a bit concerned because of how eyebrows are only implemented as decals, as opposed to YL1, where they were built into the characters and could be directly manipulated through expression settings.

4) This is more of an observation, but the breast physics seem hella wonky when trying to pose a character. I assume that has to do with (unfinished?) collisions, because it only happens in the nature environment. When I lay a character on the ground there, the breasts get squished in random directions.

Other than that, YL2 looks to be the start of a solid product (apart from bugs which are completely understandable for how early it is in the games lifetime), and I look forward to how this develops.

Comments

  • I was going to say some things, but I'm glad I read this post first, because I think you've already covered most of what I wanted to say.

    The only things I feel tempted to add are these:

    1) It would be really nice if we could see the UV maps of the models for the purposes of making our own masks.  The models seem to be bundled, and it's not obvious to me how we can extract them and see their UV layouts.

    2) While making a scalie character, I found myself wanting to add a normal-map/depth-map to get the texture of scales.  I don't currently see a way to do this, but perhaps I'm missing something, and I'm not sure what would be the ideal way to implement this.

    3) It doesn't seem to be possible to modify the texture of model appendages beyond changing the color.  (For example, I don't see shininess or metalness.)  Perhaps this is an intentional omission?  If I want to add a more sophisticated texture to, say, claws, do they need to be parts instead of being appendages?  When exactly are you supposed to use appendages instead of parts?  What's their purpose?  It seems like that could be clarified.

    4) In some of the patreon demos, I saw genitals and orifices being attached and moved around freely, but I can't see how to do that here.  Is this in fact possible, and I'm just missing something?
  • odesodes Administrator
    @kroch

    1) The idea is indeed to offer such pre-made masks to make authoring easier. We just haven't had the time. But more will definitely arrive. And, as you pointed out, you could always extract textures from other characters as well once we get the cloud service going.

    2) Yeah I'm not happy this is the only way to add fluff atm. I want to create tools for quickly adding lots of fluff and manipulating it at the same time. However, bug fixing and cloud implementation has far higher priority.

    3) Facial expressions will mostly definitely be implemented.

    4) There's literally zero testing with breast physics in regards to environment. We didn't have the time. So yeah, these things will be fixed.

    Thanks for your feedback! :)



    1) I should do a tutorial on this. It isn't hard to do once you're shown how to. The trick is to separate the mesh into several parts using "Separate by material" in blender.

    2) You would need to paint those things in something like substance painter or use a detail texture. It's definitely doable. Again, we need to do tutorials on this.

    3) FXMap allows you to configure the metalness/smoothness of appendages. Again, no tutorial, sorry. :(

    4) Nipples can move around, but not orifices. Can you link the text in question so I get a better understanding of what it is you're looking for exactly?

    Great feedback guys. Thanks for sharaing your thoughts!


  • WRT my first point, I mean that I would like to, for example, create mask textures that isolate the teeth and mouth of the scalie head, similar to what's available for the bunny head.  I'm not sure if my point was clear.

    WRT my fourth point, I think I may have just misunderstood some of your developer posts.  I saw clips of you guys moving around the penis, anus, and maybe also the vagina, demonstrating how the parts are automatically blended into the body.  I assumed we'd be able to do that too, so we could, for example, give a reptile character multiple hemipenises or something like that.
  • odesodes Administrator
    1) Sure. You can do that in external applications, such as blender. You need to separate the mesh by material though - otherwise all the UVs are just on top of eachother.

    4) Ah, I think you're thinking about the mesh blending tech. Currently, that tech is activated for anuses and the balls/sheath mesh. That's all it's used for though.
  • Thanks for the answers. I assumed that some things I ask about are simply not yet implemented/expanded upon, with it being a tech demo of sorts, but glad to hear that they are on the to do list. Also good to know that facial expressions won't fall short, I guess I just wondered how they function techwise with the way eyebrows, headshapes or tongues are implemented (for example, when increasing the tongue offset of the bunny head so that the tongue sticks out of the mouth and then using the smile expression, the tongue sticks through the chin).

    Regarding tutorials, as nice as it would be to have them, I am sure that some community members would take it upon themselves to write something up for others eventually, especially with the surge of interest generated by the first release (and arguably later releases). I think you should focus on your plans for now (cloud, interactions, etc.), but maybe have some kind of incentive for members that help out with tutorials and stuff (Karma, honorable mentions, early demo access,...? Just some ideas).
  • odesodes Administrator
    I just noticed the balls/sheath don't blend as expected. I'm pretty sure it has to do with last minute changes to the mesh that removed some of our previous authoring. That will be fixed for next release.
  • odesodes Administrator
    @kroch
    That's an interesting idea with rewards for contribution. Naturally, karma for uploading characters and such is something we're already intending to do, but we hadn't thought of something like that for tutorials. Maybe something like steam guides could be implemented?
  • edited January 4
    First of all, congratulations on finally reaching this milestone and getting me to back you financially. Damn fine job, too, even with the bugs and incomplete features. Spent all of yesterday night testing it out, and I can already say this blows many character editors I tried out in the meantime right out of the water. Once more feature-complete, I dare say this will be one of the finest ever made, even compared to the tools professionals use.

    That said, I did notice quite a few issues. Nothing gamebreaking, but definitely annoying and frustrating. Let's start with the most obvious one:


    Turns out it's quite easy to make a character too tall for the standard ground clearance to cover. Sure, you can switch to one of the HDRI environments where there's no ground to worry about, but I find the lighting conditions in all of them to be far from optimal, and the Celestial environment's mirror floor doesn't play nicely with the dither fade:


    As you can see, the top refuses to yield to anything other than clipping through it, and while the bottom and sides work, they tend to be rather temperamental about it too:


    Especially looking directly upwards at the bottom fails to trigger the effect, I found.

    Would it be too much to ask to be able to reposition the character in edit mode? Would also help a little with posing, since as it stands now, if I want to put a character on the Nature scene's bridge, for example, I have to hoof it back to the forest road if I need to tweak something.


    Next up, bone scaling doesn't play nicely with the colour masks and attachments:


    Here's Bunny, in her normal size of 0.8, but watch what happens when we screw with that value:


    Oh dear, looks like her eyeshadow ended up on her collarbones, and she's developed a sudden case of whitefoot and hairshrink. It also works in the opposite direction:


    That wig's way too big for you, short-stuff-with-the-big-ears.


    Speaking of troubles with extra parts, the mirroring doesn't quite work:


    So far, so good. Let's see what happens if we try to pose her...


    Well shit, all it took was a press of the Pose Mode button for that to happen. Everyone's got issues with their hair today, it seems. Tried both point-on-mesh and point-on-skeleton attachment modes, but nope, the mirrored object wants to blindly follow its parent like the existentially confused clone that it is.

    Oh, quick note on editing the parts; any chance we could copy-paste existing parts or at least their properties (masks and colours and such) in future? Would improve quality of life significantly, seeing as it is a bit of a pain in the ass to apply two masks and tweak the colours for 14 different hair objects (especially if you later have regrets and want to change them), not to mention the hassle of actually placing them to begin with, rather than just copying it and moving it a little bit.


    Turns out screwing with the head's transform bones has some hidden caveats:


    Why yes, I do like long muzzles, why do you ask? Well, I also happen to like long necks, so what better way to emphasize that particular anatomical feature than by pointing her nose skywards?


    ...Huh. Why the short face? At first, I figured my sleep deprivation was getting to me, but further experimentation proved otherwise:


    This sound effect comes to mind.

    Curiously, though, the effect only pertains to the head bone. Twirling the neck bone has no such adverse consequences:


    Mayhaps the head's bone deformation controllers are parented incorrectly? That'd be my guess.


    Lastly, some texture bugs:


    These become evident on shiny, metallic characters; unwrap seams on the breasts become noticeable and dots appear in various places. I'm guessing that the normal map texture or some such needs a bit of a clean up in the case of the dots, but the seams could prove tricky to deal with, based on what I've heard. Still, something worth looking into.

    The sheath and balls model seems to not quite inherit the base fill colour correctly:


    Also, there's the lack of that blending tech, but I see that was pointed out already. In case it isn't entirely clear from this picture, here's one with the smoothness turned up to chrome to make it very noticeable:


    I didn't test if putting an additional mask on top of it would have helped, on account of the sun rising to scold me for being up way past my bedtime, heh.

    Oh, one more thing; the digitigrade legs need work. Continuing with the theme of me liking long things, I also like long legs, naturally. I'm sure you can imagine my disappointment when I found out the only way to lengthen the digitigrade leg's "foot" without making it bigger all around is to deform the paw at the end of it, not to mention the crippling lack of posability. Could be a bit of challenge to improve on account of needing changes to the character skeleton, I know, but I'd say it's worth the extra hassle as the more detailed skeleton can also be used for extra articulation for the plantigrade versions, so everyone benefits.

    Also, how's everyone liking the fruits of my night of fevered experimentation? I call her Aeniolus the Bronze Dragoness. I'm quite proud of how she turned out, even if I do say so myself:


    I ended up listening to this song on repeat for most of the time I was working on her, so I guess that'll serve as a nice theme tune for her. Suitably triumphant and grandiose to commemorate this first release, methinks.
  • DogsonDogson Administrator
    Hey, thank you for finding the various map bugs, I'll get to work trying to iron them out.
    We're having more scalie heads down the road for our updates and there's guarenteed to be a long snouted repilian there that I hope will be rather malleable for many peoples needs.

    I must say, that is an very impressive dragon you've done, very good work!. 
  • @Dogson
    High praise there, Thank you kindly.

    Good to hear we've got more heads on the way already. Any equine noggins in there? I'm happy with anything elongated, of course, but I especially like horses, as I'm sure you've guessed. Got several character ideas in that vein all lined up, in fact.
  • odesodes Administrator
    edited January 5

    Thank you!

    About your problems:

    Feet going through the ground when scaled

    We're aware of this problem, and it's quite tricky to solve. During the entire development process, we've been using just a blank skybox when testing the character editor. All calculations happen in world space, so offsetting the character would cause a ton of problems. We've thought about doing the reverse - offsetting the world - but you're not allowed to move static meshes in Unity (and they need to be static for light baking to work). So yeah, I'm not entirely sure how to solve this in a way that won't cause tons of problems atm.

    Celestial dither fade

    We ran out of time, so only the sides and bottom have dither fade on them atm. We should probably be able to apply the same dithering on top. It would only really be useful when the legs go through the mirror though, which is not desirable to begin with. Unlike the nature environment, the mirror could actually just be moved to be where the feet are at. So maybe that would be a better solution.

    TextureBuilder

    Right now, all calculations happen in world space. Naturally, you could parent the masks to the legs for example to have them follow along with the legs as they're moved or scaled. However, radii and stuff like that are still in world space. Perhaps it would be a good thing to tie the radius to its current parent.

    In general, it's advised to texture things after the shape has been established.

    Scale

    The reason hair and ears don't scale along with the head is because of the scaling system which prevents distortion. Right now, the system places the bones in such a way that they will be unaffected/undistorted by whatever bone they're attached to. They'll still follow along, but they won't scale. Perhaps this shouldn't be the default behavior? Perhaps the items should at least inherit the direct parent's scale?

    Mirroring


    Copy paste parts

    Great idea! Adding to todo.

    Scalie head distortion

    Messed up skinning due to lack of time. Adding to todo.



    Map issues

    Thanks for pointing these out! We'll try to fix these for the next release.

    Blending tech

    We just discovered this yesterday and know the cause. It will be fixed.

    Balls color wrong

    This really interested me. After investigating, it's quite easy to see why this is happening - for whatever reason, the balls are not using the reflection probes cubemap, but instead the skybox. You can see this in the reflection. Now why the balls aren't using reflection probes, I don't know yet.

    If you use a HDRI level you can see the balls have the same color as the body.

    Leg/Feet scale

    Sorry, we ran out of time. The feet will receive more articulation and you'll be able to scale feet without distorting toes. This is on todo.

    Your character

    Wow, that's an awesome looking character. Nice to see some metalness used in an interesting way!
  • edited January 5
    Good to see this thread can answer plenty more questions :) and I too like myself some big dragon girls, she is gorgeous.

    Come to think of it, and that is probably a more of a future technical side of things question: In YL1, the hair of some characters, as well as tails moved dynamically, with tails (and wings for that matter) even having their own bones to pose them. Are you planning on making that possible in YL2, or rather is that possible with how hair and tail models are implemented as selfmade objects? How would you apply the boney gizmos to custom tails, or will that be reserved to preset tails included with the app?
  • DogsonDogson Administrator
    @Brownmane ;
    The next head update is an equine one, we're going to do the horse from Yl1 which will also mean a first version of an horse head for trying out in the app.  :)
  • While I had a lot of fun futher messing around in the editor, here are some more things I've found:

    1) Regarding the head distortion: Something similar happened to me when trying to make a chubby character. As soon as I posed the arms in a way that they reached out in front of the character, the arms and fingers looked super compressed. Can't take a screenshot atm, but should be easily reproducable (bunny body, generic hands, arm/hand/finger bones set to 1.25 in both x and z directions).

    2) I tried to make a dog with different colored ears, but without success. Since the ears are mirrored, every mask I apply to one ear to change color affects the other, and placing them as seperate parts has not worked as then they would both be right ears. A workaround would be to extract the model and mirror it by hand, then re-importing it, but even then I imagine getting the placement right to have both ears at the same place would be iffy.

    3) I think this has been mentioned before somewhere, but fluff keeps resetting their alpha mask when loading a character. Not only that, sometimes the orientation of certain fluff (or appendage model) instances is changed, however I was not able to reproduce it on demand. For example, I did fluff on a foxes face and body (both in the same fluff group), but on loading the character, the fluff on the face had its tilt reset while the fluff on the body stayed the same. Similarly, on another character the claws stood up in weird directions when loading, although that didn't happen on other characters.

    That's all for now, keep up the good work!
  • odesodes Administrator
    edited January 9
    1) Screenshots and character files always help. I tried to reproduce the error you're describing on bunny, but I wasn't successful.

    2) That's true - there's currently no way to flip a part. Adding to todo.

    3) Alpha mask bug is fixed.

    If you can share a file where fluff saves/loads incorrectly, and preferably where only the offending fluff is present, that would help us tremendously.

    Thank you!
  • 1)

    Here is the arm in the default position.



    And here when pointing forward. Notice how short the fingers get. Also the arm gets much chubbier and shorter.



    One more with the hand distorted when turned to the side.




    3) Regarding the fluff, I wasn't able to reproduce the problem. I tried editing the fluff on the cheeks again, but this time it stayed the way I wanted on reload. Anyway, heres the character:


    Regarding the claws, one more thing I noticed is that one some parts, there are angles at which the claw can not be created. When trying to create the claw on the outer toe in the following 2 pictures, the rotation jumped straight from the first position to the second, no angle in between was possible:



    I left it at the position seen in the second pic, and on reloading, this happened:


    Not only does the outer claw stand up, the other 2 claws get slightly misaligned too. Here's the character file:

  • odesodes Administrator
    Thanks for the files and error description. I will have a look at these as soon as I can.
  • odesodes Administrator
    About hand distortion - chest scale is the culprit. If you restore it, or use uniform scaling for it, it will work as expected.

    Chest is the only bone that doesn't use undistortion tech, because that tech caused problems with tits. I thought I could get away with it, but as discovered now, not using it will cause problems for hands.

    Gonna see if there's anything I can do.
  • That's a bother, though I guess having only one slider for uniform chest scale wouldn't hurt customizability too much?
  • odesodes Administrator
    I used a whole day to fix this issue. You're now able to scale chest in a way that won't cause distortion. I've also added an upperchest and breast sliders (for scaling). These will be included in the next build.
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