Toys and Textures: a few production notes

I mentioned that in Bonbon you get to interact with some toys, and since the protagonist is a small child in the 1980's, these are naturally 1980's toys. Quite a lot, but not all, of the toys in Bonbon are based on real toys that I remember having, or knew that others had, or saw in the weird communal toy piles that lurked in places like Grandma's under-stairs cupboard, or in dentists' waiting rooms.

Mr Chatterbox and Wobbly Dog from Bonbon

In Bonbon, these two above are known as Mr Chatterbox and Wobbly Dog. It just so happens that these two (and the Lil Peeps I'll write about next time) are based on classic Fisher Price toys, but not all the toys in the game are. While they're thoroughly researched, they're deliberately not accurate in details, size, functions etc. These two are maybe the closest to their originals.

The original Fisher Price Little Snoopy and Chatter Telephone

Mostly, the differences are just to keep the models simpler, but there are some stylistic choices involved too. For example, Mr Chatterbox has dingier colours, no "realistic" rotary dial, and much darker, fixed eyes that never quite meet your gaze. Wobbly Dog no longer has a lead - he won't follow you, only leave you behind. He is also significantly larger than the original Little Snoopy so as to feel a bit more like a little companion. There is a reason why all of the toys in Bonbon have personal names, and they all specifically have faces... No, they don't come to life. ...OR DO THEY!?!? No. They don't. But it's a significant design choice nonetheless. ...OR DO THEY!?!?

Here are the 3 textures used in the materials for these two models.

Textures in the Mr Chatterbox and Wobbly Dog materials in Bonbon.

The albedo textures (the left hand, normal coloured sections) were made by combining old photos with some painting and photoshop bodging. The right hand bitmaps are what I call MRH maps. I don't know if other people do it this way, but this is the method I tend to use for storing the physical properties of the materials. The MRH map stores the Metalicity, Roughness and Height data in the RGB channels, which is used by my Unreal Engine 4 material graphs for PBR (Physically-Based Rendering). The middle bitmap is just your common or garden normal map.

I hope these little snippets are whetting your appetite. As Bonbon is a short environmentally heavy narrative, I don't want to show too much all at once, plus doling out tiny morsels motivates me to keep devlogging. Soon I'll be able to give you a more blow-by-blow account of where development is at, but for now feel free to ask any questions about the story or about the development, and I'll answer them as well as I can.

Next time: procedurally generated toys.

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