Mount&Blade II: Bannerlord Developer Blog 1 - Hairy Artists

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<p>Fans of the Mount&Blade series and passing readers, this blog is intended as a source of insight to our world of game development and the TaleWorlds family. Our offices are a series of rooms on a long corridor. Each room physically hosts a different team with a different focus, mirroring our actual team based development structure. This week's blog will discuss the artists' team, known to us as artist takimi (Turkish).</p></br> Read more at: http://www.taleworlds.com/en/Games/Bannerlord/Blog/2
 

Kilsin

Recruit
Adorno said:
Welcome to Taleworlds Kilsin  :smile:
Thank you!

Kilsin said:
I am an avid gamer of many genres but mainly RPGs and I really enjoy medieval strategy games.
Adorno said:
I think many of us have high hopes that Bannerlord will be the perfect combination of the two: RPG & strategy.

I am hoping the same thing myself, in the mean time I am playing through Warband again with different mods, so far Floris' mod is a ton of fun.

I can't wait for more info on M&B 2 :smile:
 

klarum

Veteran
FrisianDude said:
Bravado said:
Meevar the Mighty said:
Sure, it's probably accidental that medieval manuscripts usually depict archers wearing the same armour as other soldiers.
Yes, they wore the same crappy leather armor or no armor as "other soldiers" (aka peasant levys) unless you somehow found medieval manuscripts of knights in full plate armor wielding bows.  I would really love to see that.
Battle_of_crecy_froissart.jpg

Most of the paintings like this one were done after the period they illustrate (sometimes centuries after) and depict the artists romantic view of the scene. For example there are paintings like this ones that depict battles fought in antiquity where the soldiers are wearing late medieval full plate. We know by historical accounts that plate armor was insane expensive and only commonly available to professional armies in the 14 and 15th centuries. Before that maybe rich lords had them.
In the medieval period rich armies used mail and certainly not for their archers who where not supposed to see heavy hand-to-hand combat.

So that picture would be the same as a painter in the 25th century painting soldiers in the Gulf War with plasma guns.
 

RalliX

Count
M&BWBWF&SVC
klarum said:
In the medieval period rich armies used mail and certainly not for their archers who where not supposed to see heavy hand-to-hand combat.
Archers in English armies did in fact join the melee as infantry, after either expending their arrows or being ordered.
 

Meevar the Mighty

Sergeant Knight at Arms
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
klarum said:
FrisianDude said:
Bravado said:
Meevar the Mighty said:
Sure, it's probably accidental that medieval manuscripts usually depict archers wearing the same armour as other soldiers.
Yes, they wore the same crappy leather armor or no armor as "other soldiers" (aka peasant levys) unless you somehow found medieval manuscripts of knights in full plate armor wielding bows.  I would really love to see that.
Battle_of_crecy_froissart.jpg

Most of the paintings like this one were done after the period they illustrate (sometimes centuries after) and depict the artists romantic view of the scene. For example there are paintings like this ones that depict battles fought in antiquity where the soldiers are wearing late medieval full plate. We know by historical accounts that plate armor was insane expensive and only commonly available to professional armies in the 14 and 15th centuries. Before that maybe rich lords had them.
In the medieval period rich armies used mail and certainly not for their archers who where not supposed to see heavy hand-to-hand combat.

So that picture would be the same as a painter in the 25th century painting soldiers in the Gulf War with plasma guns.

That picture was painted the century after the battle, which was also in the medieval period, so perhaps it depicts a medieval army with medieval armour and weapons.

Interesting that the romantic artist painted things that look a lot like crossbows, sallets, brigandines and so on, despite being so unfamiliar with medieval warfare. I wonder what else he could have serendipitously depicted accurately.
 

Willhelm

Knight at Arms
In the medieval period rich armies used mail and certainly not for their archers who where not supposed to see heavy hand-to-hand combat.

Lets not forget that Bannerlord is set when the Calradian Empire is falling, so it's not Medieval, more like 400AD
 

Jason L.

Master Knight
Willhelm said:
In the medieval period rich armies used mail and certainly not for their archers who where not supposed to see heavy hand-to-hand combat.

Lets not forget that Bannerlord is set when the Calradian Empire is falling, so it's not Medieval, more like 400AD
The fall of the Empire signs the beginning of the early medieval period. The late imperial  archers were professional soldiers that could wear chainmail, not poorly armored peasants. 
 

Jason L.

Master Knight
Baerke said:
BannerlordArtwork_18.jpg
It's a glorious mixture of all ages, not so much one particular age.
O.K. there is the second fall of the empire (the Roman one) in 1204 (capture of Constantinople by the crusaders) that fits almost perfectly the scenario of the new game.
 

Baerke

Veteran
Jason L. said:
Baerke said:
BannerlordArtwork_18.jpg
It's a glorious mixture of all ages, not so much one particular age.
O.K. there is the second fall of the empire (the Roman one) in 1204 (capture of Constantinople by the crusaders) that fits almost perfectly the scenario of the new game.
Nope.
BannerlordArtwork_22.jpg
That's quite obviously late-Roman armour with medieval(ish) weaponry, just look how how skinny that dagger is.
 

Veli-Matti

Master Knight
WBNW
Indeed that is the case. However I'm going to be a little pissed if they actually go so far as to adding the Great Helmet, which obviously would be like going 1000 years in the future.

And yes I'm fully aware of that this is not supposed to be completely based on one period in European history, but it'd still be great if they could actually keep the sort of Dark Age-ish feeling to the game. Adding the Great Helmet will take away that experience for me.
 

Baerke

Veteran
I don't see any other use for a dagger that skinny except for plate armour. So yeah, prepare to get a little pissed. If the fact that 3/11 helmets being great helmets didn't already prove that they're quite fond of great helmets.
 

Siphine

Recruit
WF&SWB
JakBB said:
Oh hell, that's awesome!
I'll hope you will add some DLCs like napoelonic wars with realistic single-player campaigns, based on the 19th century warfare and military campaigns, cuz in that time politic and warfare were comeplete different things...
twdd_artist_jobs_whiteboard.png

what's that? I see a ww1/ww2 or some 20th century soldier on the board! please make ww1 (but hold your focus on medieval themed game)

Y'know, there is mods for that sort of thing... Really excited to know the factions for this though, and the map ^_^
 

Ahmad Gragn

Recruit
Question- will we have the option of Black/African skin tones in this game?  I have loved Mount and Blade and Warbands, but really one of the few things that has disappointed me is the lack of ability to make an actual Nubian/Moorish character for myself.  Africans were involved with European empires since antiquity (Egypt trading with the Land of Punt and even Memnon of Ethiopia in the Iliad) and I can't imagine it would be that difficult of a task to offer that option to the player at the very least.  Otherwise, amazing games and hopefully I can make my own version of my forum namesake in Mount and Blade II!
 

Meevar the Mighty

Sergeant Knight at Arms
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
When you create your character, you can select from several skins, one of which is dark brown, whether you're male or female. Some of the companions in-game, Devashi, Nizar and Rolf use these skins.

If you want darker still skins, in M&B at least, you can simply replace one of the face textures with one that suits you. It's one of the easiest types of mod to make.
 

mengo

Veteran
WB
I don't know guys. The new graphics look good and all but M&B was never about super polished graphics. For me there was nothing wrong with the old school "ugliness" of the characters faces, in a way it exactly belonged in a gritty dark ages setting. ...
I mean check out "War of Roses", yes it does look awesome but it's just a lifeless husk IMHO.
I've been a fan of M&B since the days of the first beta demo (where you had to push the mouse to swing around). What grabs you straight away and never lets go is the one of a kind singleplayer as nothing can come closer to the feeling of being in the boots of an annonimous scary medieval warlord with his own company of hired thugs and merry men, roaming the country side unchecked and unpunished slowly building a force to be reckoned with challenging the authority of kings and scourging entire kingdoms.....

and the devs I think should focus precisely a lot more on that. Warband was great and I regularly play it SP and MP but it didn't really improve the known formula that much ... that's why there are that many mods that aim to change the SP. To make more immersive. I know it's very hard to be done and with growing older it takes that much more to believe that what's happening on the screen is a living and breathing world but there are certain aspects that really break the story you are creating for yourself and those need to be polished.
 
mengo said:
I don't know guys. The new graphics look good and all but M&B was never about super polished graphics. For me there was nothing wrong with the old school "ugliness" of the characters faces, in a way it exactly belonged in a gritty dark ages setting. ...
I mean check out "War of Roses", yes it does look awesome but it's just a lifeless husk IMHO.
I've been a fan of M&B since the days of the first beta demo (where you had to push the mouse to swing around). What grabs you straight away and never lets go is the one of a kind singleplayer as nothing can come closer to the feeling of being in the boots of an annonimous scary medieval warlord with his own company of hired thugs and merry men, roaming the country side unchecked and unpunished slowly building a force to be reckoned with challenging the authority of kings and scourging entire kingdoms.....

and the devs I think should focus precisely a lot more on that. Warband was great and I regularly play it SP and MP but it didn't really improve the known formula that much ... that's why there are that many mods that aim to change the SP. To make more immersive. I know it's very hard to be done and with growing older it takes that much more to believe that what's happening on the screen is a living and breathing world but there are certain aspects that really break the story you are creating for yourself and those need to be polished.

You don't have to worry. Mount&Blade is made to suit a wide public, starting from those with low-end computers to those with high-end machines. If you feel like your computer cannot run at the quality or performance shown in those screenshots, you can always choose to lower your graphics and carry on playing. They're a big team of around 50 people, and not all of them are graphical artists. Some of them work for the engine team, some others are improving the code, another group is making animations and improves the ombat system, then yet another separate group is working on graphics. Seeing pretty screenshots doesn't mean that all the 50 employees work on graphics.

I totally disagree that mods are the ones who got to enhance the game. It is a disgrace for a company to release an unfinished product only to be completed by mods (see Rome II). Their job, as a gaming company, is to deliver a polished and finished product to the community that can be enjoyed as it is. The game must contain everything you'd want to make it fun from the every beginning. If some talented people decide to add or create something original as a mod, I'm all for it, but it doesn't mean that TaleWorlds has to release the game in the form of a source code that it not worth playing in its original state. (take this as a general opinion)

I also have to mention that the WOTR guys had a publisher poking their back and demanding a faster release. It resuled in an unifinshed game full of annoying stuff and DLC's. TaleWorlds doesn't have a publisher anymore, so they can take their time.

Edit: Grammar and spelling.
 

RalphDamiani

Recruit
Hello everyone. I'm recently addicted to Mount and Blade and I'm very much looking forward to the next one. You're doing an outstanding job from what I can see. As a fellow artist though, I'd like to suggest some improvements to the facial work done thus far. I understand everything is a WIP, but I simply can't resist the urgent to barge in (I've been a forum lurker so far).

Here's a quick overpaint meant to demonstrate how to achieve a more natural look, in my humble opinion:

blog6express5.jpg

blog6express5_X.jpg


1) Clean up your normal map a little. I understand you're going for the rugged crinkled look, but if you add too many wrinkles and bumps to the normal, it won't sit well with a variety of expressions (unless your morph the textures as well). The nose bridge and laugh lines while accentuated in some expressions, will look distorted in others.

2) Correct some of the anatomy. Especially the muscle and bone structure, particurlarly around the nose area, which could use a few tweaks. The ear height could be slightly raised and the eyes could be slightly less deep (unless this is a random facegen creation, which might explain the oddities).

3) I understand with the amount of characters on screen, the skin shader can't be an advanced one, with accurate sub-scattered surfaces. If you're expecting some harder shadows, I'd suggest to tone down the bump mapping and restrain some more the specularity map to the more shiny areas. That will sit better with a simpler shader. If there's to be a dirt map or dirt on the color map, I'd suggest dirt speckles on places where they can't break up the reading of important expression lines. What I suppose is meant to be dirt around the mouth, might accidently be adding too much age to the character.

4) I also understand you can't accurately cast self shadow on the eyes, so I suggest to tone down the whiteness of the eyeglobe textures, in order to compensate for the lack of those. It would really help if you could always cast a light on the eyes for that sharp specular sheen. I'm not sure how Valve did it with HL2, but it was big thing back then to help give some life to their characters. That was back in the early 2000's source engine, so I can't imagine being too taxing on the hardware.

I hope these don't come across as insulting or anything, I mean that not as cheap criticism (they're already miles above M&B models), but as a friendly attempt to contribute!

PS: I love the work done on the hair! Great job indeed.
 
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