Hello everyone, this is my first update for my FEZ replication project.
The first thing I’m going to bring up the how FEZ renders all their sprites and world blocks. After doing some research and coming across a few articles (one of them being the blog of the lead programmer) it has come to light that how FEZ renders their world blocks isn’t the “normal way” you would voxels. I’m not going to get into the technical details (considering this is an art blog and all) but essentially a true voxel wants to be rendered as “curved and organic” while FEZ has then rendered as perfect blocks to get the the look of 8-bit games. Thankfully for me, I am just blocking everything out in Maya and won’t have to worry about how they are going to be rendered. The next part of this is how they create the blocks.
From my initial research it looked as if the blocks were just created as standard cubes and textured with 8-bit art to give the illusion of having depth. Upon further inspection and research, I have come across just exactly how they are created. The lead programmer posted a few screen shots of their content editor, the Fezzer, that shows that every block is actually created with holes cut into it and such so it doesn’t look like they use any normal maps. This throws a kink into how I wanted to recreate their art style. Basically I was going to just make standard size cubes with flat faces, nothing fancy, and create normals from my textures to accomplish the look of them game.
(Wireframe of world block in content editor)
So now this leaves me at a fork in the road to go with one of two decisions: do I continue with my original plan to create normals from textures or do I create complex shapes to better recreate their style. I think that the best most effective way to go is creating complex shapes and bake out AO maps for the blocks.
I wish I would have seen this post soon because I have already started to plan out my textures while compensating for shading and such. Although I am not far along this is one step could have helped me direct my initial idea of everything. Thankfully as the art style is some what simplistic creating three or four different world blocks will be fairly easily as I can just place them in a random order.
In the long run I feel this will be easier on me as I can just texture around the cuts in the blocks and such. This should actually cut a bit of time off creating the models because I can just lay base texture colors rather than trying to achieve a true 8-bit style of textures.
That’s it for this week. I should have another post in a week or so. If I feel I have a breakthrough with this project, I’ll post up a new article.
Also, all info about how the voxels are rendered and the screenshot came from the lead programmers blog: http://theinstructionlimit.com/behind-fez-trixels-and-why-we-dont-just-say-voxels