G.I. Joe Renegades DS was definitely a fun project to work on. Admittedly, we haven't had a chance to watch a single episode of the show, however we do like the character design a lot. Kudos to the creative talent for injecting freshness into this long running franchise.
The first thing we realized when we were trying to capture the look and feel of the show - we needed to put texture on the surfacing for fine details while still having hard shadows wrapping around the characters at all times. Believe it or not, doing this in runtime engine is actually much easier than doing it in Maya.
If you assign a surface shader to your mesh, you can add a ramp node to get the shadow. Problem is, we also needed to display the texture and since we didn't want to use a light rig to draw the shadow, we decided to draw the texture and the shadow in two passes, all inside the shader.
Surface Shader + layer node -> (pipe in the diffuse as your base layer + ramp(V) node multiply blend mode)
By doing it all in shader, we didn't have to waste time setting up light rigs for render. The artists can focus on modeling and texturing. They even managed to to add a bonus visual treatment (Check out the bio-Viper below). By adding translucency to the shader, it created this nice clear subsurface jelly look.. It reminded us of the Gummy Homer character we did on the Simpsons game
This is the how the set up looked like in the attr. Editors
My favs - Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander
We like the design of the Baroness a lot too. :)
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!