Soul Weaver is a third person platform/infiltration game about a small creature who tries to retake control of its own existence. You, as the player will be controlling and deciding the fate of this protagonist.
There are 2 main characters in Soul Weaver: the Moirai, Nona, the playable character Mori and the minions who share the same design as Mori.
Their designs are based on the silkmoth, the Bombyx Mori, hence the color limitation: white, off-white, black, and brown.
Nona is the Morai who gives life thanks to her hair. She is a gigantic divine being who has control on her minions thanks to the connection that they share.
Nona has 4 different materials, each texture being displayed in game with a resolution of 4096*4096 to keep as many details as possible. In addition some micro-detailed texture has been added as well to emphasize the appearance of her skin and textile.
Mori is the playable character, and shares the same design with the other minions.
The only differences are the mask, the belt and the hairstyle.
Mori was heavily inspired from the traditional silk worker who historically used to be mostly really poor women and children, hence the damaged textile and its rough-looking material.
On the other hand, Nona is a delicate goddess who handles the thread of life with great care. Mostly inspired by Mucha’s poster and Art Nouveau jewellery, her design needed to translate how graceful and unique she was, by using really shining material and fine textile.
The environment can be split in 3 defined parts: each of them differ by their ambiance and their scale.
We begin in the main room where the player starts. This is where Nona resides, and where the minions and Mori collect her hair thanks to the machines that guide them all across the castle.
We tried to work a maximum in modular in order to quickly build and modify our environment, which allows us to construct a large environment both horizontally and vertically.
The purpose of our design is to accentuate the godlike look of the place; to do so we have chosen a mix between gothic and art nouveau.
The gothic part gives verticality and showcases the aesthetic of the curveline
In the minions workshop, a safe area where Nona cannot enter, we will have more time to look at the various assets designed for this area.
Once we enter the minion’s workshop, the gameplay will slow down for a bit, allowing us, as a player, to have more time to look around. Those workshops will be more detailed because of scale which is closer to the player size.
Finally comes the “Forest of Gears” , an animated part of the environnement, where the mechanisms, still activated by the minions, spin and weave Nona’s hair.
For those mechanisms, our references are inspired by traditional devices to spin silk; for instance spinning wheel or weaving machine. To stick to our Art Direction, we have redesigned them with more Art Nouveau style.
Because we want to create a lot of assets in our environment without a low texel density and spend too much time on texturing each asset with too much unique map texture, we decide to implement a pipeline with masks.
This technique,explained in a post by Harvey Wilson, consists of a tileable texture base, where layers of masks as ambient occlusion,edges, damages, or dirt, are added to break the tileable aspect.
Those Masks,with a low resolution compared to unique texture,are painted on Substance Painter and packed. Then the master shader use UV2 or UV3 to apply those masks on object,than can be directly tweakable on material instance to change color,contrast of mask, opacity...etc
Therefore each asset uses only tileable texture (clean and damaged versions for edges damaged) and 3 masks packed in one texture.
Given the choices of our Art Direction, we found ourselves with 4 main different materials: stone, wood, thread and bronze.
The stone references the gothic part of our Art Direction, the assets with this texture are designed to combine the stone with Art Nouveau shapes.
The wood is used on the interior architecture and the mechanisms. Each wood material had to be different: depending on the asset, each texture had a specific variation. Therefore we made refined wood for the floorboard and raw wood for the platform
TRIM SHEET TEXTURE
To add a lot of details and quickly create different types of ornamentation that required a art nouveau style,we decided to use trim sheet techniques.That allow the assets to have a low draw call and optimized textures that can be used on many different assets with a large structural kit.