Hey Suspects! Today, we’ll be talking about Animation and Visual Effects.

In short, Animation and Visual Effects (VFX) allow us to breathe life into our games to make them look awesome.

In the case of Suspects, we use them mostly for legendary skins and environment effects. So today, we’ll be sharing some of what goes into making these along with examples from behind the scenes, that we hope you’ll enjoy!


Legendary Skins


When making legendary skins, it’s important to make sure they are way more unique and exciting than other rarities. One way to achieve this is to add VFX to them with a bunch of sparkles, smoke and flares. I’ll explain a bit of what goes into making these look awesome.


Shader “Magic”

Shaders are what computers use to decide how to show something on screen. It’s possible to make a lot of cool looking effects using shaders! Let’s take a look at how the shader for the Midas legendary skin was made:

  • Firstly, we get the character texture and turn it into black and white. In this example we’re using our dear Nix, but this needs to work for every character in the game — that’s why it’s important to make sure all the color is gone so we can do the next steps.
  • Next we use a technique called gradient mapping to change the colors into gold. It’s like it’s really Midas!
    • We also add a noise texture (like cloud shapes) to have a bit of variation inside the character.
  • Finally, we add a scrolling sheen effect on top and the shader is done!
    • Now we only have to add glitters and sparkles to finish the look of the skin.


Kill Animation

Another way to make the legendary skin feel special is to have an exclusive Kill Animation, with lots of cool VFX as well.

Using the same shader shown above, we’re able to turn any victim into solid gold and break them apart, with a following burst of sparkles and gold dust.

We can plan each animation in many ways. A common one is sketch animations like these ones:

It’s important to keep it very simple. The focus here is to iterate fast and test ideas for the chosen legendary skin. We show them to our Art Director and choose which one we like the most so we can go to the 3D animation stage:

As soon as we finish the character animation, we need to animate the accessories and skins the character could be wearing, so we have to be careful to make sure the animation works for all the characters and accessories. We put a skin set on them and make sure it’s working.

In this example I put another character’s body on Nix. But we could go even further, like this:

The Dragon kill animation is another one of my favorites, with glowy eyes, smoke and flames!



Environment VFX


To help the map feel more alive, we can also use environment VFX spread across the whole scene. These need to be subtle so they don’t take attention away from the gameplay. Here are some examples of VFX used in the Hotel to give it a bit of a creepy vibe!

The blinking lights can really help give the player an uneasy feeling… Is there someone hiding in the corner of the room?


And this is how we use animation and VFX in Suspects! Keep an eye out for upcoming legendary skins, I’m sure they’ll leave you frightened! 

Article by Gabriel Sanches and Vitor Poli