February 2018 Progress Report
Hey everyone! Geordan McDougal here with the February 2018 Progress Report for Hiwata no Nadoko!
Since we shared Reika and Aiko’s names in the last progress report, a lot of you have been asking about the names of other bullies. While Aiko’s will be the only storyline playable in the demo, two other bullies will be present as well. Reika’s trouble started when Tomiko Sonohara transferred to Yamamura. Bent on becoming the most popular girl at school, Tomiko paid off once of Reika’s friends, Michiyo Kuwatori, to betray her and spill her secrets. With Michiyo and Aiko’s help, Tomiko tore Reika’s reputation to pieces, and took her place as queen bee.
Our public relations team has launched a new character page on our website, where you can see official character art, and learn more about these characters! We’ll be updating it as we announce new characters, so make sure to keep an eye on that page for the most recent and up-to-date information about our characters.
Our modeling team has been working on adding details to each of Yamamura’s classrooms, and we’ve started modeling the Hinode household. To streamline development for the demo, the only part of the home featured in the demo will be Reika’s bedroom, we should have a sneak peak of her room ready by March.
Our team has been working on modeling the male uniforms and student hairs to fit the character models. The female character model has been fully polished by our lead modeller. However, a character model is not just a mesh; it also needs a skeleton that is rigged to the mesh to allow animation, and it needs a control rig to make animating easier.
We've hit a slight roadblock when it comes to animation. The bullied team is comprised of hobbyists, people who find the project interesting and want to help out in their free time. While we do have many skilled volunteers, no one in our team currently can rig characters and skin meshes professionally.
Our character model has been skinned well enough to do the job, but flaws are still visible in exaggerated movements. The biggest problem we're facing in animating is animating the facial structure of the model. Binding a skeleton properly revolves around topology patterns, which is fairly difficult to achieve without lots of experience. This also goes for character rigging.
For now, the character model's face works on blendshapes. These work great within the modelling software, but they can be tricky to use in the game engine.
We’re really proud to have our own character model. If you have character rigging experience, or know someone who does, feel free to contact us on Discord! We'd really appreciate your help!
And, as always, thank you for supporting the development of Hiwata no Nadoko!