From the beginning we knew we wanted to make a comic style game, but we didn’t want to hand draw every panel. The answer was to build the game in 3D, and develop the tech we needed to make it look like a comic. There are lots of games that use toon shaders of course, but we wanted to go a bit further.
We started with toon shaders on a few naked guys. The look was ok, but it didn’t have that ‘Hand drawn’ feel, (whatever that was).
We spent waaay to much time figuring out how to modify the lighting info with a shader. We tried lots of textures, but quickly decided that we liked the look of the hash marks. We recogonised it as that ‘Hand drawn’ feel we were searching for.
A little refinement of the shadows and the model, and struck a look that we find pretty attractive.
To add to the flat renderered look, we actually render the images out to flat panels. This lets us split the foreground and background elements out, and gives us a pretty neat 2D parallax effect when the camera moves.
We didn’t do anything ground breaking, but for us it was a real win to be able to get something that we all felt looked attractive and interesting. The result is that it’s much easier to make content than it used to be. It’s pretty cool to be able to make a ‘2D’ comic panel with just a couple clicks!