With much pleasure, we would like to introduce you to the starlet of our first project, Estelle. What started as an exercise in customization possibilities, quickly blossomed into the woman you will all soon get to know and love.
Who is Estelle?
Estelle is a painstakingly handcrafted character that both Pinkalie and myself have poured our hearts into over the last year. She is a culmination of our combined years spent playing and developing video games, researching and understanding complex character systems, and simply admiring the beauty of the human body.
In her current iteration, Estelle incorporates a myriad of underlying systems that seamlessly work together to breath life into her. I plan on going more in depth with the explanations and technical breakdowns of each system for those interested, but for now I will summarize each one and the important role it plays in bringing the lovely Estelle to life. (I will add links to the detailed articles once they’re posted.)
Dynamic bones and physics
Whether it be boobs jiggling, butts wiggling, hair swaying or jewelry dangling, dynamics play a huge role in bringing physicality to a character.
Corrective shapes are an essential part of every character system. Without them, a posed character mesh can quickly collapse in on itself, losing its form and resulting in an ugly mess of intersecting polygons and triangles.
Clothing, accessory and hairstyle system
Equipping and removing clothing, accessories and hairstyles at runtime has to be quick and easy. With a little magic happening behind the scenes, this is now basically a drag and drop operation.
Shaders (customization system)
We were no longer restricted to only three color zones, we had essentially eliminated the previous limitations altogether. This gave us full control over every little individual detail we wished to color onto our character’s body, clothing and accessories.
Grounding within and interacting with the environment
We strive to keep our characters feeling grounded and connected to their environment. To ensure that all interactions with their surroundings are believable, we rely on inverse kinematics. IK allows our characters to physically touch, grab, hold, stand on and look at other objects and characters.
Maya – modeling / morphs / rig / animation etc
From her humble beginnings as mere triangles and vertices, to a fully articulated vixen with curves in all the right places; the process of bringing Estelle from concept to fully realized 3D model was an extremely rewarding experience.
Estelle and beyond!
As time passes, Estelle’s features and capabilities will expand and evolve. Being the first companion of her kind, her experiences will fuel advancements in the subsequent generations of characters to come. She has an exciting journey ahead of her, and we hope you will be part of it.